2011 Acura TSX Sport Wagon
Wagons are back, wagons are on the way out--the 24-hour-news cycle has nothing on the auto industry when it comes to churning old memes into new content.
So which one is it: is the 2011 Acura TSX Sport Wagon a herald of a new crossover-free day to come, or is it a latecomer to an exclusive party with only a few European brand names on the VIP list?
It's neither, of course. Wagons never went away, and our appetite for SUV-ish caricatures guarantees they're not making any big sales comeback. What it is, simply, is our favorite Acura because of its innate Honda-ness--compact, light, responsive, reeking of efficiency. And it's neat shorthand for the nebulous idea of "near-luxury."
Acura flew us to the Bay Area, assembled a fleet of all but identical TSX Sport Wagons, and plotted a path to Bodega Bay--where Tippi Hedren had her famous run-in with some birds and set back the whole idea of cruelty-free poultry about fifty years. Up the 101, down the 101, curling around Lucas Valley Road and Nicasio Valley Road, the TSX Sport Wagon didn't distance itself from the TSX sedan much at all. Cheers to that, since that four-door made TheCarConnection's short list for "Best Car to Buy 2011," and earns an overall rating of 8.5 out of 10. That's a winning formula to leave alone.
The Wagon's trim body comes from Europe, and on looks alone, it's the most pleasing Acura. It underplays the warrior-shield grille that's been excoriated all over the Web, as it's applied to the RL and TL sedans, and you don't quite get the same "it's Miller Time!" urge to open bottles under the logo's calipers. It's a European, of course, and even if it's a Honda Accord sold over there, the TSX Sport Wagon lifts nicely with a form-first taper with almost Subaru slimness. Inside, it's never ruthless in its efficiency, even though grey plastic of a few textures and tones completely misses the wood-trim cliche boat. An arcade of silvery plastic hones some of the visual weight from the dash, and the touchy bits never let on any lower-rent vibes.