2012 Acura TSX Review

Pros & Cons

  • Impressive number of standard and technology features
  • spacious interior
  • sporty handling with V6 sedan and wagon
  • excellent build and materials quality.
  • Button-happy center console
  • unimpressive braking performance
  • slightly underpowered four-cylinder.
List Price Range
$8,800 - $13,990

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Edmunds' Expert Review

Though not quite as compelling as a couple other rivals, the 2012 Acura TSX is nonetheless a smart choice for an entry-level luxury sedan or wagon.

Vehicle overview

Somewhere between sensible and luxurious, the 2012 Acura TSX has found a home. With a sprinkling of sporty athleticism thrown in for good measure, the TSX is the epitome of the multi-talented entry-level luxury car.

Within the Acura TSX lineup, buyers can choose varying degrees of performance and utility. The base models run with a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine, which we've found to be merely adequate. Fortunately, there's also a higher-output 3.5-liter V6 that we prefer in this large sedan. Prospective owners may select the standard sedan or opt for the more utilitarian TSX Sport Wagon, which boasts cargo capabilities that rival a crossover SUV.

Occupying this middle ground between common and special has its drawbacks. While the Acura TSX models are certainly pleasant to drive, they're not as sporty as some other choices, nor are they as opulent as models that make luxury more of a priority. When compared to the established Audi A4 and the segment-leading BMW 3 Series, the TSX's shortcomings become readily apparent, though it's worth noting that these German competitors will end up costing you more. The Volvo S60 might be another possibility given its more expressive Swedish flair.

However, if you find yourself shopping for a car that's both sensible and luxurious, we see no reason why the 2012 Acura TSX shouldn't be at the top of your list.

2012 Acura TSX models

The 2012 Acura TSX is a compact entry-level luxury sedan available in base, wagon and V6 sedan trim levels. New for 2012 is a Special Edition package that is offered only on the four-cylinder sedan.

The base TSX and TSX Sport Wagon standard equipment list includes 17-inch alloy wheels, automatic xenon headlights, foglights, heated outside mirrors, a sunroof, keyless entry, dual-zone automatic climate control, a tilt-and-telescoping steering column, an eight-way power driver seat with memory, a four-way power passenger seat, leather upholstery, heated front seats, an auto-dimming rearview mirror and a 60/40-split-folding rear seatback. Also standard are Bluetooth and a seven-speaker sound system with a CD player, satellite radio, auxiliary audio jack and a USB port. In addition to more horsepower and displacement, the V6 adds a firmer suspension, 18-inch wheels and a road-noise-cancelling feature for the sound system.

The TSX Special Edition package (base sedan only) adds a more aggressive front spoiler, a new rear bumper fascia and unique side sills and wheel treatments. Within the cabin, upgrades include faux-suede seat inserts, red interior stitching, red cabin illumination, aluminum pedals, bright silver trim elements and a black headliner.

The optional Technology package adds a rearview camera, a hard-drive-based navigation system, voice recognition, real-time traffic and weather forecasting, a 10-speaker Acura/ELS surround-sound system with single-CD player, digital music storage and, for the wagon, a power liftgate.

2012 Highlights

The 2012 Acura TSX sedan gets a new Special Edition package with sporty styling touches. The TSX Sport Wagon receives additional cargo-area storage space courtesy of a compact tire repair kit.

Performance & mpg

The 2012 Acura TSX is available with a choice of two engines. The 2.4-liter four-cylinder makes 201 horsepower and 170 pound-feet of torque (172 lb-ft when equipped with the manual transmission), while the 3.5-liter V6 generates 280 hp and 254 lb-ft (sedan only). A five-speed automatic transmission with sport shift paddles is standard on all models, although a six-speed manual is available for the four-cylinder sedan only.

In Edmunds testing, a manual four-cylinder TSX sedan loped to 60 mph from a standstill in an unremarkable 7.7 seconds. The automatic sedan and Sport Wagon both crossed the lights about a second slower. The V6, on the other hand, posted a competitive 0-60 time of 6.4 seconds.

EPA fuel economy estimates for the four-cylinder automatic TSX sedan are 22 mpg city/31 mpg highway and 26 combined; the manual version drops to 21/29/24. The wagon achieves 22/30/25, while the V6 comes in at 19/28/23.

Safety

Standard safety equipment on the 2012 TSX includes antilock brakes with brake assist, stability control, traction control, active head restraints, front seat side airbags and full-length side curtain airbags. In Edmunds brake testing, both the four- and six-cylinder versions of the TSX stopped from 60 mph in 133 feet; comparable sport sedans that we've tested have braking distances that are 10-15 feet shorter. The Sport Wagon came to a halt in 127 feet.

In crash testing conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the TSX earned a top rating of "Good" in both frontal-offset and side-impact tests. In government testing, the TSX sedan and wagon were both awarded a top score of five stars for rollover protection.

Driving

The 2012 Acura TSX rides calmly and quietly at highway speeds. Power from the four-cylinder engine is adequate, though compared to other entry-level luxury cars, it leaves the TSX with a somewhat uninspired driving character. The V6 and Sport Wagon are more spirited thanks to their sport-tuned suspensions, and -- in the case of the V6 -- gutsier acceleration. Both transmissions work well; the manual is easy to work thanks to a short-travel clutch and linear throttle tip-in, while the automatic provides pleasantly smooth shifts.

Interior

While the 2012 Acura TSX's interior is on par with other entry-level sport sedans as far as design and quality are concerned, there are a few sticking points to take into account. The cockpit has an overabundance of knobs and buttons, which can be daunting at first. With some time and familiarity, though, most operations can become intuitive, thanks to a logical layout of controls. The optional navigation system, on the other hand, is fairly easy to use from the get-go, with voice commands, real-time traffic, weather forecasting and a large LCD screen with a secondary control knob. We also think the accompanying Acura/ELS surround-sound audio is worth the extra cost.

Interior space will likely be more than adequate for most needs, offering considerably more room than the competing Lexus IS 250. The 12.6-cubic-foot trunk capacity is on the small side for the sedan, while the Sport Wagon's 61-cubic-foot capacity is one of the most accommodating in this class.


Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 2012 Acura TSX.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

Better than I expected!
oldsnwbrdr,04/24/2012
It's interesting to read reviews from those who traded "down" from a European brand. I did the same, and my monthly lease payment is $120 lower than the Mercedes C300 AWD Sport I traded in. My family actually prefers the Acura for a lot of reasons... the only things I miss are the 6-cylinder refinement and the Mercedes bank vault build quality.
TL owner moving down but not by much...
dadoftwogirls,02/14/2012
I was tired of getting 17.5 mpg on premium gas around town with my 2009 Acura TL. I looked at BMW, Mercedes and Audi. However, I just couldn't justify the extra money. Everything cost EXTRA. I went back to Acura and they had a Milano Red Limited Edition loaded TSX on the showroom floor. I immediately fell in love with the looks and bought it on the spot. To me it is the most agressive looking Acura with the body kit. It just looks sexy and strong. Although I am giving up a lot of power vs. the TL, I am also getting about 6 miles a gallon farther down the road. In addition, I hardly ever found a time when I could 'drive' the TL agressively. At this point, I am not missing it much.
Love This Car
thumper16,07/30/2012
I've probably have had 20 new cars and that many used in my life but can't say I've liked any more than this. Love the size, the quality in and out, sound system, handling, gas mileage 25-35. Have had it about 6 months and 6,000 miles-no issues.
Excellent value for the money - but not perfect
mtsn,04/10/2012
I traded in an aging BMW X5 with a V8 that I loved but couldn't handle the expensive repairs any longer. The TSX with technology package is roughly $12-$15k less than a similarly equipped BMW, Audi, Mercedes and also $5-10k less than a similarly equipped Infiniti or Lexus. I've been very pleased on the value the car offers for the price, but it definitely does not drive "German". The 4 cylinder noise is not pleasing the ear, but it does offer decent power and economy. The safety ratings are excellent, the sound system is very good, it has lots of standard equipment (xenons, leather, sunroof, bluetooth), and is a very solidly built car. I am happy with my purchase...but I still miss my BMW :)

Features & Specs

See all Used 2012 Acura TSX features & specs

Safety

NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    DriverNot Rated
    PassengerNot Rated
  • Side Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
  • Side Barrier Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    DriverNot Rated
    PassengerNot Rated
  • Combined Side Barrier & Pole Ratings
    Front SeatNot Rated
    Back SeatNot Rated
  • Rollover
    Rollover5 / 5
    Dynamic Test ResultNo Tip
    Risk Of Rollover9.9%
IIHS Rating
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
  • Side Impact Test
    Good
  • Roof Strength Test
    Good
  • Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
    Good
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test
    Good

More about the 2012 Acura TSX

Used 2012 Acura TSX Overview

The Used 2012 Acura TSX is offered in the following submodels: TSX Sedan. Available styles include 4dr Sedan (2.4L 4cyl 5A), Technology Package 4dr Sedan (2.4L 4cyl 5A), Special Edition 4dr Sedan (2.4L 4cyl 5A), Special Edition 4dr Sedan (2.4L 4cyl 6M), 4dr Sedan (3.5L 6cyl 5A), and Technology Package 4dr Sedan (3.5L 6cyl 5A).

What's a good price on a Used 2012 Acura TSX?

Price comparisons for Used 2012 Acura TSX trim styles:

  • The Used 2012 Acura TSX Base is priced between $8,800 and$13,990 with odometer readings between 67089 and138037 miles.
  • The Used 2012 Acura TSX Special Edition is priced between $8,938 and$10,583 with odometer readings between 96353 and125187 miles.
  • The Used 2012 Acura TSX Technology Package is priced between $13,314 and$13,314 with odometer readings between 60354 and60354 miles.

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Which used 2012 Acura TSXES are available in my area?

Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 2012 Acura TSX for sale near. There are currently 8 used and CPO 2012 TSXES listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $8,800 and mileage as low as 60354 miles. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a used car from our massive database to find cheap prew-owned vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a used vehicle you're interested in, check the AutoCheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the Used 2012 Acura TSX.

Can't find a used 2012 Acura TSXs you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used Acura TSX for sale - 2 great deals out of 14 listings starting at $18,691.

Find a used Acura for sale - 7 great deals out of 14 listings starting at $14,602.

Find a used certified pre-owned Acura TSX for sale - 12 great deals out of 20 listings starting at $11,701.

Find a used certified pre-owned Acura for sale - 2 great deals out of 11 listings starting at $14,016.

Should I lease or buy a 2012 Acura TSX?

Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

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