The Acura TSX Sport Wagon just debuted in New York. A compact, sporty station wagon? What's not to like? Plenty, starting with the lack of both a V6 (or a diesel) and a manual transmission.
I first drove the Acura TSX Sport Wagon five years ago. "But wait," I hear you cry through a series of tubes, "this is a new car!" Well, dear readers, five years ago I was living in London and the 6th generation Honda Accord Tourer had just debuted. That's right, Acura is rebadging a European Honda model and selling it to us silly Americans as a luxury car. Good thing most car buyers here like nothing better than having the wool pulled over their eyes.
That Accord Tourer was great. It was big enough to haul around four tire-shod S2000 wheels in the
boot trunk without folding the seats down and it was fun to drive thanks to a sharp FWD chassis, a six-speed manual transmission and a torquey diesel engine. It was even nice inside, belying its budget badge and fuel efficient, returning 40 MPG (US) combined in the Euro cycle. It was exactly the kind of car people want: fairly light, very fuel efficient, fairly quick, fun to drive and you could haul shit.
Here's where we run into problems with the Acura. In translation from Euro Accord to ‘Merican TSX it's lost the manual gearbox, replaced the 2.2-liter hate-something-change-something diesel with a 2.4-liter gasoline engine and gained both an ungainly beak and a luxury badge (and presumably a $30k-ish price tag). What was a fun, practical, economical wagon is now an underpowered, expensive, slushboxed luxury car. Sorry Honda, but you fucked this one up.