If Honda products seem to be on the decline (according to some), sister company Acura is putting thought and smart styling into two of its newer vehicles.
The TSX Sport Wagon (above) should be perfect for upscale American families who want a car with some road potential as well as trimmed-out functionality and plenty of space.
But no, says the New York Times’ Lawrence Ulrich, most of them are still foolishly in love with heavier, less efficient, poorer handling SUVs, and they will likely ignore a new car that’s better, cheaper and more functional. Dummies.
The TSX Sport Wagon features a 4-cylinder that performs well, offering 30 mpg on the highway (22 in town), good electro-tech, and flexibility, with a 5-speed that Ulrich wasn’t crazy about.
Base price is $31,845; adding the Technology Package, “perhaps the industry’s best in terms of mapping, route calculation speed and ease of use,” gets you to $35,495.
Susan Carpenter of the L.A. Times wrote a too-cutesy review directed at new parents, which praises the convenience and capacity features of the car.
I don’t think this wagon has a real competitor until you get to Audi’s A4 Avant, which starts in the $36,000 range.
Honda is now focusing Acura on entry-level luxury cars, a smart move on its part, since competing head-on with the Big Three German makers is likely to put you into the wall.
The 2012 TL with the Advance Package has won plaudits from a number of reviewers for the same reasons they liked the TSX: good engineering, efficiency and good looks. Some of the excesses of the former big-mouth grille that ticked off so many have been tamed (above). One reviewer dared to praise the car as “torquier” and “more exciting” than the BMW 3 Series.
Styling is greatly improved over the 2011 version. In fact, Japanese car design gets a real push forward with this car, though you have to add the SH-AWD option with 25 additional hp to make it move. But then you’re looking at $42,420, including destination charges.
Do you think Honda’s strategy of pushing entry-level luxury will work? What do you see as its competition?