With the ILX at the bottom of Acura’s sedan lineup, and the flagship RLX at the top, it was just a matter of time before the two-lettered TL joined the three letter club as the TLX. But, there is more to this story than just a name change. The TLX is actually a two-fer, as it replaces both the TL and the TSX, becoming Acura’s new all-purpose mid-size luxury sport sedan. So is this two-for-one the real deal? Or just sleight of hand?
The all-new 2015 Acura TLX follows a line of admirable cars that succeeded in blending athleticism, with top shelf amenities, and high tech tidbits. A formula that pretty much defines today’s middle-weight luxury sport sedan segment.
Indeed, the competition from European stalwarts like BMW, Audi, and Mercedes-Benz, other Asian brands, as well as Cadillac, for this core premium four-door buyer has never been fiercer.
The new TLX fits right in. The wheelbase is the same as the outgoing TL, at 109.3-inches, slotting between the Audi A3 and BMW 3-Series. But, it’s longer than both in overall length at 190.3 inches, allowing for quite pleasing proportions.
The exterior design is heritage Acura; that is tasteful if a bit generic; with the brand’s “shield-like” grille, highly sculpted fenders, and now-signature Jewel Eye headlights adding to its contemporary edginess.
Engine choices also seem familiar, a 3.5-liter V6 like the TL, and a 2.4-liter I4 like the TSX. But, both are actually all-new i-VTEC Direct Injection units with more power and efficiency. The V6 now rates 290-horsepower and 267 lb-ft. of torque. Even more noteworthy is what it’s connected to, a new 9-speed automatic transmission with push button gear selectors. Super Handling All-Wheel-Drive is a V6 extra.
The front-drive only inline-4 may have 2-less cylinders, but it has the same number of camshafts, putting out 206-horsepower and 182 lb-ft. of torque. And it has some transmission trickery of its own, an 8-speed dual clutch automatic with a torque converter.
Driving through the rural roads of The Commonwealth State, the TLX felt very luxurious as things inside stayed extremely quiet. Our 3.5-liter SH-AWD example proved very capable as well, if not overly dynamic. We found it hard to know when the all-wheel-drive is lending handling assistance as it works so seamlessly, and things stay flatter than you’re expecting when you push the TLX hard.
Cars not equipped with AWD, compensate with Acura’s Precision All Wheel Steer for a handling boost of their own. But, it was a 2.4-liter TLX that we took to our test track for home town driving impressions.
And while we can say the top handlers in this class have nothing to worry about, Acura buyers will find a very familiar and secure feel here. But they’ll also find a fair amount of stay-safe front-drive understeer should they go looking for it.
The chassis is much stiffer now and Agile Handling Assist uses selective braking to smooth out transitions. Both Sport and Sport+ driving modes are available with the Integrated Dynamics System as well as ECON and NORM.
The 2.4 launches without much urgency. It lacks the grunt of rivals with turbo-4s. 0 to 60 takes 8.7-seconds, and it needs 16.7 to eclipse the quarter mile at 87 miles-per-hour. This is the engine for former TSX buyers where true TL fans will still want the excellent V6.
Thanks to the torque converter, shifts from the 4’s DCT 8-Speed are very smooth and sedate feeling whether triggered manually or not. Braking performance was good, with average stops from 60 coming in at 128-feet.
The interior layout is similar to the RLX, but younger and sportier; with some materials more fitting to a top drawer Accord. There’s a Honda styled stacked flat panel setup for info, with a bottom touchscreen. True to Acura tradition the TLX comes with lots of premium standards including multi-angle rear view camera, paddle shifters, dual zone climate, and power driver’s seat.
Likewise extras are included in only one or two packages with available content, such as navigation, remote start, and active safety features like Lane Keeping Assist depending on engine choice. ELS Studio 10-speaker premium audio is also available. Sound quality is great but class typical. Small item storage is abundant.
But the highlight of the interior for us are the incredibly comfortable and supportive front seats. The rear seats are more comfortable too and now, thankfully, fold to expand the already decent sized 13.2-cubic foot trunk.
Government Fuel Economy Ratings are 24-City, 35-Highway, and 28-Combined with the I4. The V6 SH-AWD numbers aren’t that far behind at 21-City, 34-Highway, and 25-Combined.
Pricing starts at $31,890 for a 4-cylinder TLX. That’s a couple of grand less than a 320i. The TLX V6 begins at $36,115, with SH-AWD: $42,345. All models deliver a lot of content for the price, and it is after all a Honda.
By melding the TL and TSX into a single model, Acura has reduced showroom confusion and put the best of both cars into one solid, comfortable, high tech, luxury sport four-door. While it still lacks some of the crispness of the best European rivals, that will likely not matter to Acura buyers that tend to favor competency over ultimate prowess. For them, the new TLX is a 2-into-1 trick that works.
Long Term Updates
Date: April 2015
We’re just still in break-in mode with our Acura TLX. But, things got off to an unusual for a Honda product start, as we experienced some loose-sounding, left side, front end noise over rougher pavement.
A quick trip to the dealer to have a service bulletin performed; the re-torqueing of the front strut bolts; and it’s been quiet sailing ever since.
Very much a thinking man’s sport sedan, means the fun comes from elements like Precision All-Wheel-Steer and an 8-speed DCT attached to our car’s 206-horsepower 2.4-liter I4, which actually has a torque converter that provides a smoother feel and no jarring shifts.
Only 1,000-miles in, and our fuel economy average is off to a great start at 30.8 miles-per-gallon.
So, a little torqueing aside, we’re looking forward to a delightful spring and summer of back road driving fun in the Acura TLX.
Date: April 2015
The miles are rolling up rapidly for our Acura TLX, as it dreams of warmer weather travel ahead.
The design may be a little more conservative compared to Acura mid-sizers of the past, but there’s now a clear family resemblance across the lineup.
Our cars Tech Package adds navigation with real time traffic and ELS premium audio, as well as perforated leather seating and upgraded safety features.
So far, we’re very happy with the standard 2.4-liter 206-horsepower I4 and the 8-speed DCT transmission. Maybe a little too throttle happy that is, as fuel economy has slipped from 30.8 to 25.1 miles per gallon of Premium.
Date: June 2015
Three months in, and our Acura TLX long-termer doesn’t sit still very long, as the odometer is quickly approaching 11,000 miles.
Most of those miles have been racked up with the TLX’s Integrated Dynamic System in Sport mode which enhances throttle, power steering, and P-AWS all-wheel-steering responses. It makes this car truly feel like the sport sedan it claims to be.
Still, our mileage ups and downs are back on the upswing, as our average now stands at 29.2 miles-per-gallon of Premium; from our cars 2.4-liter I4 and 8-speed dual-clutch automatic combo.
Things inside are well-appointed, as they say; and as the miles climb, the TLX continues to provide equal amounts of comfort and luxury.
No problems to report this go around, and very few picky comments from our drivers; which is usually a good thing as that means there’s nothing to complain about in our TLX. We’ll see how long that continues.
Date: September 2015
Summertime usually means one thing around our shop…summer vacations! And, for long road trips this year our 2015 Acura TLX has been a great, smooth-performing choice.
Sure there’s not quite as much room as a full-size ride, or even the TL that it replaced; but all except our tallest staffers had no problem getting comfortable or packing plenty of stuff into the TLX.
On a 2,000-mile round trip to Northern Michigan, the TLX proved plenty hospitable with minimal complaints from those onboard. The ride is firm yet silky, and lane keeping assist helped us color between the lines.
With the thrifty 2.4-liter averaging 30.2 miles-per-gallon and 17.0-gallons in the tank, stops were more for emptying bladders and filling stomachs than getting gassed.
As the miles have racked up, now over 16,000, we’re noticing more undecidedness from the TLX’s 8-speed DCT. But, it behaves best when the Integrated Dynamics System is set to Sport. So as fall nears, we motor on in the TLX.
Date: October 2015
As for our mid-size 2015 Acura TLX sport sedan, it has seen us through 3 seasons quite well here in the Mid-Atlantic, so it’s a given that we’re looking forward to it taking us through our leaf-peeping fall as well.
So far, our only gripes revolve around an indecisive 8-speed dual-clutch transmission, and the less than intuitive split screen infotainment interface.
Those complaints aside, the spacious, well done interior and excellent ride quality continue to impress; as the TLX has a mostly European ability to feel very compliant over bumps yet very solid in corners.
Mileage from the surprisingly quiet 2.4-liter I4 continues to rise, as having just put 20,000 on the odo, we’re averaging 30.4 miles-per-gallon of Premium.
Date: December 2015
So far, our 2015 Acura TLX has taken us 21,000-miles and through 10-months on the calendar; and by far, the positive comments in our log book clearly outweigh the negatives ones.
Chief among those positives are the TLX’s fun to drive nature and its Integrated Dynamics System that does a really good job of giving you exactly the type of feel you’re looking for when you dial in Sport or Eco.
Obviously we’ve been spending more time in Sport as the 2.4-liter I-4 continues to deliver impressive zip, but mileage has dropped a little this go around, still respectable at 29.9 miles-per-gallon of Premium.
Everything inside is holding up very well, and Acura’s dual screen display has grown on most of us. It may not be the most intuitive system around, but once you get familiar with it, things do work very well.
As does the blind spot monitoring, though we find the collision warnings to still be a little on the sensitive side. But as they say, better safe than sorry.
Date: February 2016
It’s never easy when one of our long-term cars heads out for the last time; and that’s surely the case with our now departed 2015 Acura TLX midsize sedan.
So, what will we miss? Its sporty nature with enough capability to make commute time fun, a very comfortable tech-laden interior, its advanced safety systems that saved our hides a time or two, and its bullet proof operation.
Plus, after a year and 25,721 miles, a 30.2 miles-per-Premium-gallon average from the 206-horsepower 2.4-liter I4.
Now, as for what we won’t miss, there’s the overly complicated dual screen infotainment setup, and the herky-jerky 8-speed DCT transmission.
But overall, the TLX has a lot more hits than a misses, and we will miss it a lot.
Engine: 3.5-liter V6/ 2.4-liter I4
Horsepower: 290/ 206
Torque: 267 lb-ft./ 182 lb-ft.
0-60 mph: 8.7 seconds
1/4 mile: 16.7 seconds @ 87 mph
EPA: 24 mpg city/ 35 mpg highway for I4 & 21 mpg city/ 34 mpg highway for V6