Following a continuing theme this year is another test drive of an all new vehicle, notably this week’s impressive 2015 Acura TLX sedan.
For those still unaware, Acura is the luxury name plate of parent Honda and competes directly with all the luxury vehicles worldwide. TLX, meanwhile, replaces the former TSX and TL models and does a great job in doing so. Built in Marysville, Ohio, TLX offers entry into the luxury/sport luxury division and offer consumers an excellent springboard into opulence as the base model starts at just $31,445 and then escalates upward to its top all-wheel-drive (AWD) model at $44,700.
Our mid-size TLX tester came with the standard 2.4 liter four-cylinder engine and a most notable “TECH Package” designation that retails for $35,920 including $895 destination off a base price of $35,025. Overall, not a single option was found on the sticker price, as the TECH package took center stage. Included are voice recognition “3D view” navigation, wide angle multi-rear view camera, Acura-Link real time traffic and communication, superior ELS Stereo with 10 speakers, HD radio, perforated leather seating (very nice), blind spot information, forward collision warning, lane keep assist, rain sense wipers and rear cross traffic monitors.
This TLX TECH feature is responsible for Acura receiving some terrific safety rating awards, most recently a “safest cars on the road” honor from the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (IIHS). Specifically, the TLX scored high grades in overall safety systems including forward collision avoidance and other IIHS enhanced safety procedure tests. The reality of TLX being one of the IIHS “Safest Cars on the Road” will undoubtedly play into consumer buying decisions as the new model becomes more and more popular. Other Acura models to make the IIHS “safest list” are Acura MDX in Luxury SUV and Acura RLX in Large Luxury Cars. Perhaps the best thing about Acura vehicles is its ability to attract all demographic age groups, from Millennial to Baby Boomer and everyone in between.
Power for the TLX comes from the aforementioned 2.4-liter, 206 horsepower four cylinder connected to an eight-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. If you want more “go,” choose the 290-horse 3.5-liter V6 that connects to a nine-speed automatic.
Fuel mileage for both engines is outstanding, with the four coming in at 24 city and 35 highway while the six isn’t that far off, generating 21 city and 34 highway.
Further, our four-cylinder TLX performed well overall, but with only 206 horses under the hood we found that when four adults were in the car and luggage in the trunk it did labor a bit when asked for some extra pep. To correct the concern, the 290-horse V6 sits ready and willing and comes standard if you order the AWD TLX, which starts at $41,575.
Me? I’d take the six, but please drive both before deciding as under normal everyday use, the four-cylinder should be adequate.
Not surprisingly, TLX’s ride is very good as both handling and comfortable receive high grades. The interior is very quiet, seating is firm yet comfy and the power driver seat offers lumbar and 10 specific settings to arrive at ultimate comfort. The front passenger seat is a four way power until and both are heated. A standard power moonroof blends nicely with the overall cabin motif while rear seat legroom is adequate to very good for adults of all sizes. In addition to the safety mentioned in the TECH package, a complete “ACE body” structure features roll-bar like construction and then adds all the airbags (including knee), traction control, electronic ABS disc braking and much more. Your dealer will explain in depth the advantages of the new TLX when it comes to safety.
Although this review concentrates mostly on Acura’s safety enhancements and IIHS honors, I need to remind all consumers that parent Honda becomes the first manufacturer to include a rear-view back up camera as standard on every car it builds, from tiny Honda Fit to the acclaimed SUV Honda Highlander. Granted, backup cameras become government mandates in 2018, but this is 2015 and proves Honda and Acura are still a very proactive car company.
Important numbers include a wheelbase of 109.3 inches, 5.8-inch ground clearance, 3,492-pound curb weight, 13.2 cu. ft. of cargo space, and a 17.2 gallon fuel tank.
There’s much to like about the new Acura TLX and I bestow a Test Drive “recommendation” in the mid-size personal luxury car market. Kudos to Honda/Acura for its safe build philosophy and a new TLX that will surely be a winner at your area Acura store.
Entry Price: $31,445
Price as tested: $35,920
TECH safety package
Quiet and refined ride
Touch screen controls
Four-cylinder labors when loaded
Where’s the turbo?