2011 Acura TSX Sport Wagon: Like Honda used to make — Boston Overdrive…

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photos: Clifford Atiyeh/Boston.com Click photo for larger

It took several attempts for the TSX to find traction and pose for photo. We blame the tires.

hasn’t brought Americans a wagon since 1997. We forgot about the slow-selling Accord when the CR-V, a car-based SUV with all-wheel-drive and a picnic table, came out same year. It’s one of Honda’s most popular and one of the top-selling cars in the small segment.

Toyota dropped Camry wagon in 1996. venerable Taurus and Mercury wagons disappeared in 2005. Its Focus wagon went in the hotrod Dodge Magnum and practical Mazda 6 wagon in Saturn threw out the midsize which included a wagon, in

And the plastic wood-paneled Buick and Chevy Caprice wagons last seen when gas was a per gallon. That last makes me weep.

Few automakers have remained to wagons. Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Saab, Volvo, Volkswagen, and have sold wagons year in the US since the early some for decades. There are 100,000 sold each about 1 percent of the US market less than the share of

Americans, apparently, have happier with higher clearance and a few extra millimeters of despite the fact that five-passenger crossovers and SUVs similar space and cargo as a decent station wagon.

So has taken a big risk by launching a sport wagon in a small of stubborn holdouts? No, Cadillac They brought a spanking new CTS Wagon last year and the 556-horsepower CTS-V for 2011.

imported the European-market Honda Tourer. flipped the H logo down, and called it a day.

In doing so, they created a wagon that’s $8,000 than a CTS and $6,000 off the tiny BMW 3 wagon and Audi A4 Avant. The taut body looked fit in our tester’s Vortex Blue paint, and even made unloved chrome beak In price, the 2011 TSX Sport is right with the Volkswagen wagon and Volvo XC70. there is no six-cylinder engine or all-wheel-drive, both potential in the luxury segment.

With and a set of milquetoast Michelins, our TSX slipped often in light snow, as any two-wheel-drive car with all-season (which today seem for three seasons than But when the roads clear, the TSX is pleasant to drive, despite the four-cylinder noise under acceleration.

The 2.4-liter engine 201 horsepower, and because it’s Honda, it revs smoothly and up power all the way to its high 7,100-rpm (like Volkswagen and Audi it requires premium.) The 5-speed clicks off a series of quick, ratios that leave the quiet at cruising speeds. My economy in mostly city in mostly blizzards was an average 20 It’s EPA rated at 22 city, 30

More than anything, the TSX Wagon feels light and to toss into corners. down, the body allows a amount of roll and the electric rack exhibits a remarkable of accuracy. The suspension is pretty on all but the worst expansion joints and and all the TSX really needs is the sedan’s six-speed manual.

In fact, if offered a stick and shed the cow for cloth, it could knock two or three grand off the $31,820 price. Maybe delete a few options and whittle it down to a palatable Honda price. But for that’s fantasy.

Honda DN-01 Automatic Sports Cruiser Concept

Automakers don’t want profit margins in such a segment, and Americans aren’t to remember 1997.

Buying pricier European Accord has its particularly inside. Unlike the US and Crosstour hatch. with messy spreads of odd-shaped scattering the center stacks, has reduced the button soup a narrower and older-looking layout. of HVAC controls on opposite of the console, they’re below the navigation, and phone controls in one

The thin LCD strip showing the selections is actually near the without the Accord’s horizontal splitting them apart. eye and arm movement, less distraction, and intuition. It just works.

many automakers, Acura the driver adjust climate and without peering into the LCD screen. And they go a step with simple voice you can turn down the heat, a phone number, and select an track without repeating a dozen times. Maps and could be rendered in higher but they’re easy to navigate, real-time traffic, and even restaurant reviews.

Soft-touch surfaces, snug, seats, and great tactile from the stalks and switches the TSX worthy of its price.

Depending on needs, our loaded $35,470 can also buy a top-of-the-line Subaru which offers a hefty system and more powerful engine. For a little more, the XC70 stocks more like lane departure and adaptive cruise control at segment’s higher end. playing it smart by keeping the reasonable, though it could at offer keyless entry and as part of our car’s $3,650 Package.

Could the station market crack 2 percent year? If more crossovers the Accord Crosstour came out of the and admitted their wagon there’d be a shot. As wage-deprived reminisce the boom times of the and remember the fun, down-to-goodness we once drove Acura make a catch.

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