If you're shopping for an entry-level luxury sedan this year, you won't be hurting for choices, as at least a dozen vehicles are currently available. Within this group, the 2014 Acura TSX, thanks to its broad mix of qualities, could be an appealing pick. But a lot of other cars have also been recently redesigned or updated, and that's going to make your decision harder.
For the TSX, Acura gives you the choice of either four-cylinder or V6 power. The four-cylinder delivers solid fuel economy numbers for this class (among normal gasoline engines), while the V6 is there if you desire sharper performance. Similarly, if it's a comfortable ride you want, the base TSX will satisfy, while the V6 model's sport-tuned suspension will be of greater appeal to shoppers seeking more athletic handling. All TSXs boast a handsome-looking interior that's respectably roomy for a car in this class. Finally, an extensive list of desirable standard features, including xenon headlights, a sunroof, heated front seats and a premium audio system, helps pump up the value quotient.
So what's not to like? Well, for starters, the front-wheel drive TSX can't match the full-on performance potential of some competitors, which offer sportier suspension tuning (for better handling) and, in some cases, rear-wheel drive. Many cars in this class also offer all-wheel drive, something you can't get on the TSX. And while Acura does pack on the standard features, some increasingly common options, such as blind-spot monitoring or a slick touchscreen infotainment interface, aren't offered here, either.
With that in mind, you'll certainly want to shop around. If it's a luxury sport sedan you're after, perennial performance-oriented favorites like the Audi A4 and BMW 3 Series are better choices. If style or image are priorities, the Mercedes CLA-Class and Volvo S60 are worth checking out. You'll also find other cars that successfully do a little of everything just like the Acura, such as the Buick Regal, Hyundai Genesis, Nissan Maxima and Volkswagen CC. Overall, the 2014 Acura TSX remains a solid choice here, but we wouldn't be surprised if something else resonates with you more.
The 2014 Acura TSX compact entry-level luxury sedan offered in base (available with the four-cylinder engine or V6) and Special Edition (four-cylinder only) trim levels. A wagon body style (the Sport Wagon) is reviewed separately.
Standard equipment includes 17-inch alloy wheels, automatic xenon headlights, foglights, heated mirrors, a sunroof, dual-zone automatic climate control, leather upholstery, an eight-way power driver seat, driver memory settings, a four-way power passenger seat, heated front seats, 60/40-split-folding rear seatbacks and a tilt-and-telescoping steering column. Other comfort and convenience features include an auto-dimming rearview mirror, Bluetooth connectivity and a seven-speaker audio system with a CD player, satellite radio, an auxiliary audio input jack and a USB port.
The TSX Special Edition is the same but adds a more aggressive-looking front spoiler, a unique rear bumper fascia and side sills and distinctive wheels. Inside, the Special Edition has faux-suede seat inserts, red interior stitching, red cabin illumination, aluminum pedals, bright silver trim elements and a black headliner.
For the base TSX with the four-cylinder engine, the optional Technology package gets you an 8-inch display screen, a rearview camera, a navigation system, voice recognition and a premium 10-speaker surround-sound audio system. The TSX with the V6 comes standard with the Technology package.
Inside the 2014 Acura TSX, you'll find a pleasing design done up in high-quality soft-touch materials. At first glance, the dash seems covered by an indecipherable mass of buttons, but with a little time, using these controls becomes fairly intuitive. The base audio system's display screen looks rather down-market, however, so opting for the navigation system is wise given its better aesthetics and easy operation. The available ELS premium audio system is another option we heartily recommend.
Front seats are comfortable and supportive. The rear seat is roomier than some competitors, though taller occupants will still wish for a little more legroom. The trunk's 14 cubic feet of room is better than average, and the 60/40-split-folding rear seatbacks make it possible to expand that cargo capacity when the need arises.
The 2014 Acura TSX sedan is available with a choice of two engines. The 2.4-liter four-cylinder puts out 201 horsepower and 170 pound-feet of torque (172 lb-ft when equipped with the manual transmission), while the 3.5-liter V6 produces 280 hp and 254 lb-ft. A five-speed automatic transmission with manual-shift paddles and front-wheel drive is standard on all models, with a six-speed manual gearbox available as an option with the four-cylinder engine only.
In Edmunds testing, a TSX sedan with the four-cylinder engine and manual transmission accelerated to 60 mph from a standstill in an unremarkable 7.7 seconds. With the automatic transmission, 0-60 times are about a second slower. The V6 is quicker, posting a more competitive 0-60 time of 6.4 seconds.
Estimated EPA fuel economy for the TSX sedan with the four-cylinder engine and automatic transmission stands at 26 mpg combined (22 mpg city/31 mpg highway). This is decent for this class, though some other rivals with turbocharged four-cylinders do even better. With the manual gearbox the four-cylinder TSX drops to 24 mpg combined (21/29). Numbers for the V6-powered sedan fall off farther to 23 mpg combined (19/28).
On the road, the 2014 Acura TSX has two different personalities. The standard four-cylinder engine produces adequate, but far from thrilling, acceleration with the automatic transmission. The available six-speed manual gearbox livens things up a bit, but if that's what you're after, we'd recommend just stepping up to the V6, which offers much more muscular performance. The Acura's automatic transmission provides smooth, precise shifts, but competitors offer automatics with six, seven or even eight forward gears, and the result is typically better acceleration and fuel economy.
While it may not be in the same league as some legendary German sport sedans, the TSX offers solid, confidence-inspiring handling, especially with the firmer suspension tune on V6-powered models. The TSX's relatively smooth ride, combined with its quiet interior, should meet most shoppers' expectations for comfort and refinement.
Standard safety equipment on the 2014 Acura TSX includes antilock brakes, stability control, traction control, active front head restraints, front-seat side airbags and full-length side curtain airbags. A rearview camera is included with the Technology package.
In Edmunds brake testing, both the four- and six-cylinder versions of the TSX stopped from 60 mph in 133 feet; comparable entry-level luxury sedans we've tested have braking distances that are a significant 10-15 feet shorter.
In crash testing conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the TSX earned a top rating of "Good" in the moderate-overlap frontal-offset, side-impact and roof strength tests. In the small-overlap frontal-offset test, it received a second-lowest "Marginal" rating. Its seat/head restraint design was rated "Good" for whiplash protection in rear impacts.
The 2014 Acura TSX returns unchanged.