As far as sport-luxury sedans go, the Acura TLX doesn't stand out in any one particular area. Some competitors are more posh, and others are better to drive. What the Acura TLX does deliver is great value for money and bulletproof build quality, and if those are your priorities, it's well worth a look.
The Acura TLX sedan was introduced as a replacement for two vehicles, the slightly smaller TSX and the slightly larger TL. The TLX is a solid performer with no significant drawbacks, though it's not as prestigious or as exciting to drive as its rivals. Acura has attempted to address the latter complaint with the TLX A-Spec, which gets a stiffer suspension, sharper steering, and a unique tire and wheel package. It definitely ups the excitement factor, but we imagine Acura's loyal buyer base will be happiest with the regular version, which feels a bit more comfortable.
Fortunately, there are plenty of other reasons to recommend the Acura TLX. It offers excellent value for money, especially when compared to its German rivals, and it's based on the Honda Accord (Acura is a division of Honda) so its build quality is bulletproof.
Current Acura TLX The Acura TLX is available in 2.4L and 3.5L models, denoting four- or six-cylinder power, respectively. All TLXs have keyless entry and ignition, dual-zone climate control and — most importantly — a full suite of active safety features, including collision detection with automatic braking, adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning and correction, and automatic high beams. The 3.5L versions get bigger wheels and more power-adjustment options for the front passenger seat.
While most luxury cars have a dizzying array of stand-alone options and packages, the TLX keeps it pretty simple. The 2.4L models can be had with a Technology package, with leather, automatic wipers and a premium stereo, among other features. The 3.5L offers the Technology package along with an Advance package with more creature comforts and the A-Spec package, which turns the car into a sportier proposition.
All 2.4L models are powered by a 206-horsepower 2.4-liter engine that drives the front wheels through an eight-speed, dual-clutch automatic transmission. The 3.5L models get a 290-hp 3.5-liter V6 with a nine-speed automatic that can be ordered with either front- or all-wheel drive. (All-wheel-drive models do without the four-wheel steering system.) Edmunds timed an Acura TLX 2.4L to 60 mph in 7.4 seconds, which leaves it trailing most other sedans in this segment. The V6 with all-wheel drive did better — we clocked one example at 6.4 seconds and another at 6.1 seconds. EPA fuel economy estimates range from 27 mpg for the 2.4L down to 23 mpg for the V6-powered A-Spec, though we've had trouble achieving these numbers in real-world driving.
Out on the road, the Acura TLX is a sharp performer, and the all-wheel-steering system on front-wheel-drive examples definitely ups the excitement factor, though it can be a bother in long, sweeping corners. Unfortunately, the low-grip all-season tires really let the driving experience down. The A-Spec model is noticeably sharper and more responsive, though it's still off the pace set by rival sport sedans.
The Acura TLX has other charms, however, including supportive seats, a comfortable ride and an active noise-canceling system. There is some engine noise, and that's fine with us since both engines provide a great soundtrack as they race to their redlines. Interior assembly quality is good, though the TLX's dash design might not match everyone's idea of luxury. Interior space is generous in most dimensions, although rear-seat headroom is a bit tight. Overall, the Acura TLX is a sensible package but one that might not appeal to all luxury buyers.
Used Acura TLX Models The Acura TLX was a new model for 2015 that replaced both the TSX and TL. There were no changes for 2016 or 2017, but the 2018 models received revised front-end styling, an updated infotainment system and a new performance-oriented A-Spec model.