2012 Acura TSX Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2012 Acura TSX was new.


Performance: 7.7

Reviewers say the 2012 Acura TSX has good performance. Of its two available engines, they prefer the V6 engine because it is more powerful, though the standard four-cylinder should be fine if you aren’t interested in the horsepower boost. Both models have strong brakes, but test drivers think the TSX is prone to understeer.

  • “The 4-cylinder sounds loud, and to some testers, unrefined, particularly as its speed rises. The V6 has a great performance sound and is nearly silent at cruise." -- Consumer Guide

Acceleration and Power

Reviewers say the 2012 Acura TSX is quick and fun to drive, but only with the V6 engine.

The TSX's base 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine makes 201 horsepower. The other option is a 3.5-liter V6 engine that makes 280 horsepower, which reviewers prefer because it has the most passing power. A five-speed automatic transmission is standard with both engines, and a six-speed manual is optional with the base engine. Reviewers say the automatic transmission is smooth and responsive.

The EPA gives the four-cylinder engine with the automatic transmission fuel economy ratings of 22/31 mpg city/highway, and ratings of 21/29 mpg with the manual. The V6 engine with an automatic gets 19/28 mpg.

  • "TSX models equipped with the 4-cylinder engine have surprisingly good low- and mid-range punch given an engine that produces its maximum horsepower at a rather lofty 7,000 rpm. Sedans with the manual gearbox boast light shifter and clutch action, making this premium compact very easy to drive. V6 sedans make easy work of passing and merging and are helped by a responsive automatic transmission." -- Consumer Guide
  • "Slick-shifting six-speed manual." -- Cars.com

Handling and Braking

Most reviewers feel that the 2012 Acura TSX handles well, especially with the additional weight the V6 provides. One common complaint is understeer, which makes driving on windy roads difficult. Understeer occurs when a car turns wider than the driver wants it to. The brakes, on the other hand, perform well, stopping the TSX quickly and smoothly.

  • “On our drive through some of the best roads in the Santa Monica Mountains we noticed the steering feels a bit heavier and a touch quicker than the four-cylinder TSX too. And that, along with the additional weight makes the car feel more substantial." -- Popular Mechanics
  • "The driver must be responsible for managing the V-6 model's extra thrust-and 200-plus pounds of additional beef, most of which takes up residence over the front wheels. With its 62/38-percent front-to-rear weight distribution, this is a recipe for eminent understeer. And sure enough, our preview drive on some of the most challenging mountain roads through Malibu, California-with almost no runoff room and few guardrails-provided us with more than a few intestine-twisting moments." -- Car and Driver
  • “This premium compact carves corners with grippy assurance and little body lean. V6 models are subject to some torque-steer wander, but it's fairly well controlled. The electronic steering system offers light effort at low speeds but firms up nicely on the highway or twisty mountain roads. The brakes deliver short, controlled stops.” -- Consumer Guide
  • "Remains flat during aggressive cornering." -- Cars.com

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