La Grange, Illinois, United States
With Acura widely expected to consolidate its TSX and TL sedans into one model line in the near future, the fate of the TSX Sport Wagon is unsurprisingly in doubt. The long-rumored one-for-two sedan replacement is said to be dubbed TLX, and will sit above the Honda Civic-derived ILX, a model that already encroaches on the TSX's pricing and size. According to Ward's Auto, Acura officials are refusing to confirm that today's TSX wagon - effectively a re-schnozzed European-market Accord estate - is facing extinction. Reading the tea leaves, however, things certainly don't look good - the European Accord itself is said to be on the bubble and may not be replaced.
The TSX Sport Wagon was brought to the US as a niche play for the 2011 model year, with Acura of Canada taking a pass on the bodystyle. Officials said at the time that it hoped to shift 4,000 units per annum, roughly a 10-percent sliver of US TSX sales. And while Acura doesn't normally break out the wagon in its sales reports, Autoblog was able to obtain the model's totals for the last two years: the company sold 3,210 Sport Wagons in 2011, improving to 4,234 units last year. The current 2013 model began trickling into showrooms in December, but some dealers are still looking to clear out remaining 2012 models at handsome discounts.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has revealed its annual list of Top Safety Picks, an award that highlights automobiles it says offer "superior crash protection." A new and still more significant award, the Top Safety Pick+ honor, is given to those vehicles that earn good ratings for occupant protection in four out of five areas of measure. And while some 117 vehicles were given the TSP seal of approval for 2013, just 13 passed muster for TSP+.
To be fair, IIHS only evaluated 29 vehicles with its new testing procedures for TSP+ (we'd expect that the number of qualified cars will rise substantially for 2014). Luxury and Near Luxury midsize cars were the first groups evaluated, followed by midsizers in the Moderately Priced Cars category - unsurprisingly, it's only midsize cars that you'll find among the class this year.
Only two luxury sedans made the list of 13 for 2013: the Acura TL and Volvo S60. The other 11 cars on the list included entries from domestic, Japanese and German car makers: Dodge Avenger, Chrysler 200, Ford Fusion, Honda Accord (sedan and coupe), Kia Optima (but not its close kin, the Hyundai Sonata, strangely), Nissan Altima, Subaru Legacy and Outback, Suzuki Kizashi and the Volkswagen Passat all made the grade.
If you've ever lived in a wintery climate, you may have noticed something strange: no, not the perilously enticing sparkle of cold metal in the sunlight or the way your warm breath suddenly becomes visible in the frigid air, but the way your seatbelt seems increasingly reluctant to retract as the temperature drops. Acura, however, has found the problem more serious than a minor inconvenience, and is recalling some 43,000 vehicles across the United States to address the issue.
The recall in question affects about 7,000 RLX sedans (from the 2014 model year) and another 36,000 MDX crossovers (covering the 2014 and 2015 model years) to have their front seatbelts replaced. In the affected vehicles and in very low temperatures, Acura has found that "the driver's and front passenger's seatbelts may not release from the retracted position." Needless to say, seatbelts that can't be used don't offer any protection in the event of an accident, so the Japanese automaker is notifying owners and dealers to hook up to have those seatbelts replaced.