2011 Acura TSX Sport Wagon: Does the Baby Fit?
December 23, 2011
As a new working mom, Ive been thinking about getting a wagon to accommodate the needs of my growing family. Im considering a wagon because it has the styling, sportiness, and fuel efficiency of a sedan, but with what appears like more cargo space.
Currently, I take my son to day care in our 2005 Dodge Ram 1500 Quad Cab truck, and then swap with my husband for our 2000 BMW M roadster to commute to work. The Ram has plenty of space for the baby and gear, but loading and unloading at the trucks ride height is taking its toll on my back. It also takes a toll on my wallet, with the 10 mpg the truck averages around town. The BMW is great on gas mileage, but as a tiny two-seater, you can take the baby or the gear but not both.
So I figured a wagon would be the happy medium.
On a Saturday I simulated my morning routine, packing our long term Acura TSX Wagon with my sons baby gear. It was surprisingly difficult like playing a game of kiddie Tetris. The stroller only fit lengthwise across the cargo area, and the cargo areas fender wells prevent the stroller from being pushed all the way in against the back seat. (Well, it is kind of the Hummer H2 of strollers.)
This left space behind the stroller for other items, but I doubt Id remember to stick things back there on a busy morning. With a lot of pushing and shoving I was able to get it all in: stroller, walker, ride-on car, activity gym, blanket, toy bag, and diaper bag. (Who knew that babies need all this stuff?!)
Unfortunately, all this cargo completely blocked rear visibility from the drivers seat. This is even more of an issue with the TSX than other wagons because the sloped roofline which gives this wagon its sleek style also impacts its cargo capacity. I relied on the back-up camera and outside mirrors to navigate safely out of my driveway and we drove to the farmers market, a typical Saturday event at my house and probably a typical event for new moms in general.
With respect to car seat installation, I installed both an infant and a convertible car seat in the wagon. Both seats were easy to install with the LATCH anchor points easily accessible. The only kink was that I had to completely empty the cargo area to access the latch for the convertible car seats top tether. With both car seats installed, the back seat seemed to disappear. The back of the passenger seat butted right up to the infant car seat, and on the drivers side, there was almost no rear legroom when the drivers seat was positioned to accommodate my 6-foot-4 husband. It made me realize that a wagon is just a sedan with a big cargo box grafted onto the back; the passenger space doesnt magically increase in size just because its called a wagon instead of a sedan.
Outside of the kiddie cargo challenges, the Acura TSX Wagon is comfortable and well equipped. The cockpit controls are intuitively placed and I was surprised at how responsive the car was with just a 4-cylinder engine. It was easy to park at the farmers market, which is important because people are coming and going all the time. We came back with fresh tamales and some watermelon drinks like always.
Bottom line I really enjoyed driving the TSX Wagon, but wedging my infant sons gear into the back like a puzzle has proven more of a challenge than Id have the patience for on hectic mornings. Probably I should consider a utility vehicle, but I really just like a wagon. Right now, my husband is talking about putting a Chevy V8 in our hobby car, a 1956 Chevrolet Bel Air Beauville wagon thats dark red with champagne gold. Now thats a sensible choice, right?
I just cant quite figure out which car is right for me at the moment.
Katti Ehoff Fields, V.P., Strategic Planning, Edmunds.com