Acura Automobiles: 2012 Acura TSX

The 2012 Acura TSX provides an extremely high level of standard safety equipment. Key safety technologies include the Advanced Compatibility Engineering™ (ACE™) body structure, a total of six airbags and the use of active front head restraints on the front seats. In addition, due to its heavier weight (versus the four-cylinder model), the TSX V-6 features a special polypropylene foam box added to the front bumper beam to provide enhanced energy absorption during a frontal impact.

Acura’s “Safety Through Innovation” initiative is based on the brand’s commitment to leadership in safety, and excellent safety is a paramount element in every new car Acura builds. The initiative’s goal is for all Acura models to provide a high level of occupant protection along with injury mitigation to pedestrians, as well as increased crash compatibility with other vehicles, regardless of size or price.

Advanced safety technology

Advanced Compatibility Engineering™ (ACE™) body structure enhances occupant protection and crash compatibility in frontal crashes.  The ACE™ design utilizes a network of connected structural elements to distribute crash energy more evenly throughout the front of the vehicle. This enhanced frontal crash energy management helps to reduce the forces transferred to the passenger compartment and can help to more evenly disperse the forces transferred to other vehicles in a crash.

Inside, the TSX incorporates dual-chamber front-seat side airbags with front passenger-side Occupant Position Detection System (OPDS) and active head restraints for the front seats that are designed to reduce the likelihood of neck injury in the event of a rear collision. These features compliment a 4-channel Anti-lock Brake System (ABS) with Brake Assist, front seatbelts with automatic tensioning system and load limiters, dual-stage/multiple-threshold front airbags, side curtain airbags for all outboard seating positions and an advanced pedestrian injury mitigation design for the hood, hood hinges and windshield wiper mounts. Daytime running lights (DRL) and driver and front passenger seatbelt reminders are also standard.

Standard safety features include:

Active Safety Systems

  • 4-wheel disc Anti-lock Brake System (ABS) with Electronic Brake Distribution (EBD) and Brake Assist
  • Vehicle Stability Assist™ (VSA®) with traction control (electronic stability control)
  • Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS)

Passive Safety Systems

  • ACE™ body structure
  • 3-point seatbelts for all seating positions
  • Front seatbelts with automatic tensioning system and load limiters
  • Dual-stage, multiple-threshold front airbags
  • Dual-chamber front seat side airbags
  • Side curtain airbags for all outboard seating positions
  • Front seats with active head restraints
  • Head restraints for all outboard seating positions
  • Lower Anchors and Tethers for CHildren (LATCH) child car-seat attachment system located in the rear seat outer positions


Like every other Acura vehicle, the 2012 TSX features Advanced Compatibility Engineering™ (ACE™) unit-body design. ACE™ is an exclusive body design that enhances occupant protection and crash compatibility in frontal crashes. The ACE™ design utilizes a network of connected structural elements to distribute crash energy more evenly throughout the front of the vehicle. This enhanced frontal crash energy management helps to reduce the forces transferred to the passenger compartment and can help to more evenly disperse the forces transferred to other vehicles in a crash.

If the TSX should collide head-on with a vehicle of different size, the Advanced Compatibility Engineering™ structure helps provide good engagement with the other vehicle’s frame thanks to a special lower member that extends below the front bumper beam. This lower member helps ensure that if the TSX collides with a vehicle of differing size, the lower front member will better engage the other vehicle’s bumper system. This helps reduce the risk of intrusion while simultaneously helping to disperse the crash energy across a wider area at the front of the vehicle.

Inside frame rails

Longitudinal frame rails are positioned above the floor panel rather than below it, to better withstand severe side impacts as well as for aerodynamic improvements.


Standard equipment on all models of the TSX is Vehicle Stability Assist™ (VSA®)- an Electronic Stability Control system that enhances controllability while the vehicle is accelerating, braking, cornering, or when the driver makes a sudden maneuver. The VSA® works in conjunction with the vehicle’s Drive-by-Wire™ throttle system and its 4-channel anti-lock braking system (ABS) to help the vehicle maintain the driver’s intended path of travel. VSA® functions by applying brake force to one or more wheels independently while also managing the throttle, ignition and fuel systems to reduce engine power output.

Vehicle Stability Assist™ constantly analyzes data from seven sensors that monitor wheel and vehicle speed, steering input, lateral G-forces and yaw rate- then compares the driver’s control inputs with the vehicle’s actual response. Whenever the vehicle’s actual response falls outside of a predetermined acceptable range, VSA® intervenes with corrective action. If VSA® detects an oversteer condition, the system may apply braking force to the outside front and rear wheels to counteract the unintended yawing effect. Or in the event of understeer, VSA® may apply braking to the inside rear wheel while reducing engine power to help return the car to its intended course.

Vehicle Stability Assist™ is calibrated to work in a nearly transparent manner, meaning that drivers may not even be aware of its operation. Therefore, to keep the driver informed, an indicator light flashes on the instrument panel anytime the system is enhancing vehicle stability. While the driver may deactivate the VSA® and traction-control functions via a switch on the instrument panel, ABS and Brake Assist remain fully operational at all times.


The 2012 TSX is equipped with 4-wheel disc brakes and a sophisticated 4-channel / 4-sensor anti-lock braking system. The system helps improve active safety by offering a firm brake-pedal feel and a short activation stroke, as well as Electronic Brake Distribution (EBD) circuitry that automatically proportions braking force between the front and rear wheels based on the vehicle’s weight distribution. EBD helps maximize braking effectiveness whether the TSX is transporting only the driver, or is fully loaded with passengers and luggage.


Brake Assist (which utilizes some of the VSA® system components) recognizes emergency braking situations and assists the driver apply maximum braking force to slow the vehicle more quickly. This important system is controlled by special computer logic that determines when the speed and stroke of the brake pedal exceed a typical range- as they would in a panic stop. At this point the modulator pump increases braking pressure to ensure maximum stopping force and help shorten braking distance. Brake Assist functions only when the driver is pressing the brake pedal, and the additional braking force provided by the system ceases when the driver releases pressure on the brake pedal.


Both the TSX driver and front passenger are protected by advanced front airbags that incorporate dual-stage and multiple-threshold activation technology. In the event of an airbag deployment, these two features work together to help minimize the likelihood of injuries that could sometimes be caused by the airbags themselves. In doing so, Acura’s sophisticated dual-stage, multiple-threshold system matches the airbag deployment rate to both the speed and severity of a crash.

The control logic also takes several other factors into consideration, including the seating position of the driver, the weight of the front passenger, as well as whether the seat belts are in use.

For instance, during a lower-speed collision or if the seat is too close to the steering wheel, the inflators in the driver’s frontal airbag will activate sequentially (instead of simultaneously) to help reduce the initial deployment force. In a high-speed collision or if the seat is positioned farther back, both airbag igniters are triggered simultaneously for more rapid inflation. The TSX’s passenger-side frontal airbag is designed to operate in a similar manner, however a sensor under the passenger seat calculates whether the weight on the lower cushion meets a minimum value specified by NHTSA. If it doesn’t, such as in the event a child is occupying the seat, the airbag is deactivated and a light on the instrument panel indicates such a condition.

The driver’s front airbag is located in the steering wheel while the front passenger airbag is located on the top of the dashboard. When deployed, the passenger airbag inflates upward and then rearward to maximize its protective potential while reducing the likelihood of injuries being caused by the activation process.


The TSX has front-seat side airbags featuring a dual-chamber design that enhances protection for the torso and pelvis in the event of a severe side impact. Replacing the previous single-chamber airbags, the dual-chamber units have a larger upper chamber that provides improved protection for the chest area, as well as a smaller lower chamber that protects the lower-back/hip area. A single inflator unit fills both airbag chambers. Dual-chamber airbags are significantly more effective in helping minimize potential injuries caused by impacts from larger vehicles, such as a side impact involving a truck.


Full side-curtain airbags provide head protection for occupants of both the front and outboard rear seats. The airbag modules are mounted in the roof and are activated by a central sensor and sensors in the side of the TSX that (depending on crash severity) determine the most appropriate timing and deployment rates in side or other impacts depending on severity.


Front seatbelts

The TSX front seatbelts are equipped with an automatic tensioning system and load limiters to help minimize injury potential in a frontal collision. If an impact occurs, the automatic tensioning system automatically tightens the front seatbelts (removing unwanted slack) to help hold the occupant firmly in position.

Each front seatbelt retractor also incorporates a load limiter that works in conjunction with the automatic tensioning system. If deceleration forces rise above a predetermined threshold, a load limiter releases a small length of seat belt webbing to reduce the pressure applied to the occupant. The load limiter system helps reduce the injuries that seat belts can cause in a severe high-speed collision.

The TSX’s front seatbelts also feature adjustable height shoulder anchors.

Rear seatbelts

Three-point seatbelts are standard for all three rear-seating positions.


Active front head restraints

The TSX front seats are fitted with active front head restraints designed to help minimize the risk of neck injuries in the event of a rear impact. The head restraint system is mechanically linked to a lumbar plate located inside the front seatback. In a rear impact, the occupant’s body pushes against the seatback, causing the head restraint to move forward and upwards in a carefully prescribed arc. This motion helps equalize the impact forces transmitted to the neck and spine during the collision. Effectively managing and dispersing this crash energy is critical to help minimize the potential for injuries.

Adjustable rear head restraints

The TSX’s rear seat features individually adjustable head restraints for all three passengers.


The 2012 TSX includes a LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tethers for CHildren) child-seat mounting system for the outboard rear seating positions. LATCH features built-in lower anchors and ready-to-use tether attachment points that allow compatible child safety seats to be installed without using the vehicle’s seat belt system. Additionally, the LATCH system simplifies child-seat installation when an owner installs a LATCH-compatible child seat. The rear seat center passenger position has upper tether anchors only.


An integrated Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) alerts the TSX driver whenever the air pressure in one or more of the vehicle’s tires decrease significantly below the recommended pressure level. Using four sensors (one in each tire), TPMS monitors and transmits information regarding tire air pressure to the TSX’s Multi-Information Display system. When the pressure in one or more tires drops to a significantly low level, it causes a low tire pressure indicator in the instrument cluster to illuminate.


The Acura TSX makes pedestrian injury mitigation a high priority, and adopts several pedestrian-injury mitigation measures that United States law does not require. These features include a deformable hood panel (positioned high enough above the engine and other under-hood components to have space to deform) as well as deformable hood hinges and movable windshield-wiper pivots. These components help dissipate collision forces in the event of contact with a pedestrian, thereby helping to reduce the likelihood, and potential severity, of pedestrian injuries caused by the vehicle-pedestrian contact.

Anti-Theft Features

The TSX offers a wide array of security features including an electronic engine immobilizer to help thwart would-be thieves. Security is also advanced by the use of reinforced door lock cylinders to help deter break-ins along with protectors for the hood and trunk locks.

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