Acura, as most of you reading might be aware of, is the luxury division of the Japanese automaker, Honda. The TLX sedan is an entry-level luxury sedan and is the most basic Acura that your money can buy. Into its second generation now, the TLX was developed in Acura’s Los Angeles design studio and was first unveiled at the 2014 New York International Auto Show. Acura as a brand hasn’t quite been able to capture the market and the TLX is one of Acura’s desperate attempts to expand its business. In the process, Acura has done a few things really good while they have gone wrong on a couple of instances.
We shall start by looking at what’s under the hood first. The TLX is offered with two engine options, a 206 HP, 2.4-liter 4-cylinder engine which is mated to an 8-speed dual clutch transmission. The other power unit is a 3.5-liter V6, which pumps out 290 horses and is coupled to a 9-speed torque converter automatic box.
If you get the smaller engine, then the power is directed to the front wheels only. While if you get the bigger engine, you have your power and torque distributed to all the 4 wheels. Now, if you are largely going to be driving around the city only, then the 4-pot engine is pretty sufficient for you.
The TLX does handle really well and power delivery is also pretty linear across both variants credit to the 8-speed DCT and the 9-speed auto box. The gear shifts are smooth and slick and you don’t really get the head nods. With the 4-pot engine, the Acura TLX delivers 23 MPG in the city while on the highway it can haul up to 33 miles on a gallon of fuel. Again, good enough but not really impressive. 2018 Acura TLX is for a sportier driving experience and more power with 3.6 litre V6 unit.
However, one should remember that this is supposed to be a luxury car, which means you cannot really expect it to offer a sports car-like performance. The steering characteristics of the car are also pretty decent. The steering is light and we would expect it to offer a bit more feedback. Overall, the handling characteristics are OK and not the most impressive.
As far as the looks of the TLX go, there certainly are going to be a mixed bag of reactions and opinions. The TLX does look sexy and upscale and isn’t like any other boring conventional sedans. It has got a chunky, wedge-shaped, chrome surrounded, front grill with the large Acura logo sitting in the center. The pointy LED headlights to complete the look of the car giving it a sporty yet mature facia.
On the sideways, you notice a smooth line that starts at the front wheel arch, flows across the waistline of the car and meets the wrap-around tail light at the rear. The alloy wheels also look great on the car. The roof, with the shark fin tail antenna mounted on top of it, that swoops down at the end additionally gives the car a scintillating appearance. The rear end of the car, however, is disappointing. It just feels the designers at Acura hurried a bit and spoiled the rear look of the car. From the tail end, it just doesn’t really feel that this end belongs to a luxury automobile. In-a-nutshell, the TLX is a looker but not really a head turner.
When you step inside the TLX, you are greeted by the luxurious interiors. Acura hasn’t cheaped-out on the quality of materials and you’ll find high-quality materials all-over. As you climb up the trim levels, you also get the option of getting the interiors of the car with wood trims and contrast piping and stitching.
Being an entry-level luxury sedan, not many people will have this car chauffeured around but will drive it all by themselves. Seats at the front are pretty comfortable and are nicely cushioned along with Milano leather upholstery. Leg, shoulder, and headroom up front are also decent and tall passengers will also have no complaints about it. However, it is at the rear where things start getting a little bit difficult. The rear seats somehow feel a bit too cramped and the headroom is also a little compromised, credit to the sloping roofline.
The 14.3 cubic inch of luggage storage on offer is also further disappointing. Standard infotainment features of the TLX include a 7-inch touchscreen, an 8-inch infotainment display, a 4.2-inch driver information display, multi-angle rearview camera, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Siri Eyes Free, AcuraWatch which is an advanced safety system developed by Acura, Pandora music streaming and a seven-speaker surround sound system. Safety features include automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, road departure warning, and a forward collision warning system.
Starting at $33000, the 2018 Acura TLX comes in 12 different trim levels with a plethora of options to choose from. In this territory, the TLX faces stiff competition from the big three Germans, the Audi A4, the Mercedes Benz C-Class, and the BMW 3 Series. However, the TLX is priced the least when compared to its rivals but the Acura badge up front somehow fails to appeal the masses and also doesn’t possess the snob that the Germans have and so people usually tend to shell out more money on the German cars even when they don’t make much sense.
The Acura TLX, however, is pretty balanced package and offers great value for your money. If you like to stay low profile and understated and do not like being noticed, then the TLX is your go-to the car. However, if grabbing eyeballs is on your priority, then you may shell out some more bucks and get one of those German entry-level luxury sedans.