Unlike its more plebian Honda
mother ship, Acura has never sold a wagon in the U.S. Until now, that is. The all-new 2011 TSX Sport Wagon represents a first for the marque, which is introducing a low-slung family-hauler at a time when year-to-year sales of its RDX and MDX crossovers are up 52 and 47 percent, respectively. Odd timing? Perhaps, since the crossover segment continues to grow and the wagon segment remains niche. But, according to Acura's assistant VP of product planning Vicki Poponi, there are two very plausible reasons why the TSX wagon may surpass its modest 4000-units-per-year forecast.
First, 15 percent of TSX sedan "leavers" -- those customers who replace their TSX with something other than another TSX -- shift to SUVs. As Acura sees it, there's an opportunity to keep them in the TSX fold with a vehicle offering SUV-like versatility. Second, Acura believes the TSX wagon's target customers -- 30-plus-years-old couples with college degrees, $120,000 household income, and a child on the way -- prefer greener and sportier alternatives to more fuel-thirsty and higher-riding crossovers. With EPA city/highway fuel economy numbers of 22/30 mpg and a low center of gravity that helps deliver an estimated 0.82 g of lateral grip, the TSX wagon is indeed green and sporty.
Compared to the 2011 TSX sedan on which it's based, the wagon adds 3.6 inches of length and 1.2 inches of height, making it dimensionally larger than its main competitors, the Audi A4
Avant, Bmw 3
28i Sport Wagon, and Volvo V50
. But those bigger measurements don't add up to a discernible cargo advantage. The TSX wagon, with 60.5 cubic feet behind the front row and 25.8 aft the second, delivers capacity on par with the others, coming closest to the Bmw
(60.9/25.0). That said, it's worth noting that the TSX offers more cargo room than its crossover sibling, the Honda Accord
Crosstour (51.3/25.7), and nearly as much as the RDX (60.6/27.8).