2011 Acura TSX Sport Wagon: The Roadtrip Report, Pt. I
December 05, 2011
Whew! The morning after my T-day weekend round trip blast from Los Angeles to Corvallis, OR, I jumped on a plane to Tokyo. Seems like I've been gone forever. Anyway, I haven't forgotten that I said I'd respond to your inquiries regarding the TSX on that trip so long ago.
First up is ed124c's question. Here goes.
ed124c: "Do the good things about the car negate that it has an automatic and isn't very fast? My mind set is that a slow car with an auto is much, much more boring to drive than a slow car with a stick."
No doubt about it, the automatic is one of this TSX's biggest letdowns. Now, I'm of the mind that slushboxes are soul-sucking tools of the devil. I wouldn't buy an automatic-equipped car of any stripe, but will concede that some are better than others. The TSX's automatic is behind the times. Its shifts are not smooth, and nor are they executed particularly quickly.
Having a manual mode/paddles helps make the best of a lame situation, true, but the lack of rev-matched downshifts makes for lurchiness. Considering Honda makes some damned good manual gearboxes, the situation with the auto is that much more aggravating. Buy the stick, folks.
Engine-wise, certainly there's some throttle mapping trickery going on at the first few millimeters of throttle tip-in intended to make the TSX feel strong off the line. I feel this calibration is too exaggerated and the car is jumpy as a result, only to be followed up with not-much-home if you proceed to really dip into the throttle's travel.
As for freeway speed, the TSX felt sprightly enough for this trip. Never really underpowered per se. Low end torque is not its strong suit but it has a nice flat torque curve even as revs climb towards the red. The engine also sounds good and is smooth, so it encourages giving it revs. On this trip it had unstressed passing power on the freeway.
So in summary, the power is fine (enough) but the automatic transmission is a bummer.
Jason Kavanagh, Engineering Editor