Acura’s all-new TLX effectively replaces the TL and TSX, but we can’t help but feel like we’ve been driving an Audi for the past week.
The Acura TLX is unique in the that it’s an all new model, yet technically replaces two. By being affordable, feature filled, and versatile, it’s going to offer a ton of value making your forget all about the TSX and TL before it. What it will remind you of though is… an Audi. After a week behind the wheel of the V6 AWD model with the Advance package, that’s what it kept repeatedly reminding me of, and that’s not a bad thing.
Let’s start with how it looks, conservative yet muscular and refined. The “jewel-eye” LED headlights are probably the most eye-catching feature, but paired tastefully with LED taillights and 18″ wheels to help balance things out nicely. Compared with its two fore-bearers it ironically perfectly splits the difference, between 4″ longer than the TSX but 4″ shorter than the TL. Styling wise the TLX is a handsome package with some interesting body lines although I still think the C-pillar treatment is a little feminine I doubt it’s going to offend anyone. Once again think Audi.
The interior is where the TLX really shines. It’s incredibly modern with nice touches, thoughtful design, soft-touch materials everyone, and some of the most comfortable front seats anywhere. Bordering on futuristic, there’s about every tech gadget you can think of, including ones you might not have. This is the first vehicle I’ve encountered that has an auto setting for the front seat cooling and heating. It automatically adjust which element and intensity is needed in conjunction with the climate control – brilliant! The rest of the interior is fairly large and well laid out, even in the back seat including 14.3 cubic feet of trunk space.
Up in the front, the heart of the new TLX is a 3.5 liter V6 with direct injection rated at 290 hp and 267 lb-ft of torque. It’s paired to one of the most sophisticated transmissions currently available: a 9-speed unit from ZF. The two work in tandem as a great pair. No matter what the situation there’s always the right gear available and ample thrust. Fuel economy for the V6 AWD model is rated at 21 MPG city and 31 MPG combined. I managed to hit right in the middle, averaging 25.7 MPG for a weeks worth of mixed driving.
On the road, is where the TLX reminds me most of Audi. Between the comfort and sport pendulum it falls almost directly in the middle, erring slightly on the side of comfort. Engine, road, and wind noise are all nicely muted, but it you really get on it, there’s a really nice growl lurking under the hood. The electric steering is slightly artificially feeling on center, but it’s one of the more nicely weighted units. It’s a small price to pay for the nice grip though without sacrificing ride comfort. While the Acura doesn’t boast race track handling, the AWD really kicks around corners and off-ramps helping you exit them much quicker than expected. Acura calls it “super-handling all-wheel drive” (SH-AWD) and with precision all-wheel steering (P-AWS) system, you can really feel a difference.
That impressive Acura technology doesn’t end there though, the TLX literally has an alphabet of every gadget available in the automotive world. While Acura won’t admit or even talk about it, the vehicle can basically do everything on it’s own except change lanes; including warning you if you take your hands on the wheel for to long. It’s fascinating to see how far we’ve come, or even more intriguing is where all this technology will take us in the future. One feature I enjoyed are the seat belts that would tighten themselves around me if I corned harder than normal.
Acura clearly has sites on the German competition when it comes to pricing. The TLX V6 AWD starts at $41,575, fully loaded with the Advance package as our tester was rings in at $44,800. Regardless, both figures are thousands less than it’s rivals, with some not even offering the same level of equipment. While Acura’s TLX may not be the best at every category compared to it’s competitors, it’ll easily trounce them when it comes to reliability. Combining that with an overall a great package and value gives you a strong reason to pay your Acura dealer a visit.