The 2015 Acura TLX is a good looking car that combines a low, sporty, stance with just enough fancy chrome to let you know that it’s a luxury car. It also has enough horsepower and torque to leave you feeling like a boss on the highway. What it does best, however, is give you a taste of luxury and performance at a much lower price than you’d expect.
There are two engine choices, starting with the base 2.4-liter 4-cylinder that I tested. It provides 206 horsepower with 182 lb-ft of torque paired to an 8-speed automatic with paddle shifters. Anytime there’s paddle shifters in an automatic, I’m skeptical. It’s like they’re trying to make you think a car is sporty by throwing them in when there’s no manual option. It feels like cheating.
In the Acura TLX, it most definitely is not cheating.
You’ve got your choice of Normal, Economy, Sport, or Sport+ for your drive modes. The car’s driving dynamics change with each choice with an Economy mode that makes things predictably lackluster, a comfortable and responsive Normal mode, and a more aggressive Sport mode. Then there’s Sport+ and it’s time for those paddle shifters.
On most cars, when using paddle shifters, there’s a point where the car will figure you forgot how to drive and it will shift on its own. If you’re trying to let things rev high, this is infuriating. Guess what? Once you’re in Sport+ the Acura TLX is completely in manual mode and will not shift without your permission. Only if you come to a complete stop will it shift down to 1st gear.
This is brilliant!
It is also a ridiculous amount of fun and makes the price to get into this thing hard to believe. It starts at $31,445 without any packages. Yes, you can get some serious luxury performance for just over $30K. Our tester also came with the Technology Package that upped the sticker to $35,025.
That package adds in things like navigation with voice recognition, AcuraLink for real-time traffic conditions, ELS Studio premium audio with 10 speakers, HD radio, and a slate of safety features. Those include blind spot monitoring, forward collision warning, lane keeping assist, rear cross traffic monitor and rain sensing wipers.
This is all in addition to standard features like anti-lock brakes, multiple airbags, vehicle stability assist, rear view camera, and electronic brake distribution. Your heated, 10-way power adjustable driver’s seat and 4-way power adjustable passenger seat will also get leather trim with the Technology Package.
These extras add to the luxury car vibe that the TLX is just skating at the edge of capturing completely. The interior is very comfortable with plush seating front and back, although rear room is a little tight, especially for taller passengers.
There is dual automatic climate control, a Pandora interface, XM Satellite radio, and the On-Demand Multi-Use Display Screen. That last one is a lot of words to describe what is a very clean and easy to understand infotainment system. It’s nicely uncluttered with an intuitive display that doesn’t leave you searching through endless menus.
Surfaces look good, never cheap, keeping up the luxury impression. It’s not over-the-top like a true luxury car, but that’s something an aspiring new owner might not even notice. Neither will anyone else unless they happen to own a car that already sits thousands of dollars higher than the TLX.
Fuel economy numbers are good, but if you do a lot of highway driving they may disappoint. The Acura TLX is rated 24/35/28 city/highway/combined. Those numbers aren’t at all bad, but they fall a little behind competitors, especially on the highway. The Lincoln MKZ hits 39 on the highway and the Mercedes-Benz CLA will get you 38, both for roughly the same price.
This is an entry level luxury performance sedan in every respect. It boasts the looks and performance just at a price that doesn’t require a big bank account.
2015 Acura TLX 2.4L
Base Price: $31,445
Price As Tested: $35,025 (not including destination charge)
- Great Value
- Luxury Styling
- Sport+ Mode
- No Manual
- Limited Options
- Tight Rear Seating