What do you get when you take an Acura TSX and a TL and put them in a garage, put on some romantic music, and put a do not disturb sign on the door? Well, 9 months later a new car is born, called the Acura TLX, which replaces the TSX and TL. We spent a week reviewing the 2015 Acura TLX AWD with the V6 engine and the Elite equipment package.
The Acura TLX went on sale late last year, as a 2015 model and is offered with a 4 or a 6 cylinder engine in front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive configurations, the AWD is only offered on the V6 equipped cars. Customers can choose from seven different packages, which are listed below with available engines and starting price without PDI of $1,995:
TLX Base: FWD, 4-cylinders: $34,990
TLX Tech: FWD, 4-cylinders: $38,690
TLX SH-AWD: AWD, V6: $39,90
TLX V6 Tech: FWD, V6: $41,690
TLX SH-AWD Tech: AWD, V6: $43,890
TLX V6 Elite: FWD, V6: $45,290
TLX SH-AWD Elite: AWD, V6: $47,490
As mentioned above, you can either go for the 4-cylinder engine or the V6, however, if you are looking for AWD, you’ll need to pick a V6 equipped model. Both of the engines are pretty powerful, the 4-cylinder is more rev-happy and the V6 is great for highway cruising.
The 2.4 liter 4-cylinder with direct injection produces 206 horsepower at 6,800 rpm and 182 pound-feet of torque 4,500 rpm. Power is sent to the front wheels via a dual-clutch 8-speed automatic transmission. According to Acura, the 4-cylinder engine consumes 9.6 L/100 km in the city and 6.6 L/100 km on the highway.
The other engine is the 3.5 liter V6 with direct injection, producing 290 horsepower at 6,200 rpm and 267 pound-feet of torque at 4,800 rpm. Power is sent to either the front wheels or all wheels, depending on the model, via a 9-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters. The FWD consumes 11.2 L/100 km in the city and 6.9 L/100 km on the highway, the AWD consumes 11.2 and 7.5 L/100 km. Our combined consumption was 8.7 L/100 km on my test loop of 25 kilometers, with half city and half highway driving, the test loop drive is done in a normal gentlemanly way with no racing from red light to red light etc. The average for the week was 12.0 L/100 km but that included mostly city driving and not very gentlemanly use of the accelerator pedal.
From a distance, the TLX looks very similar to the TL, but upon closer inspection you do start to realize this is an all-new design. The TLX is a bit smaller than the TL, with the same wheel base, and a bit bigger than the TSX.
The TLX is a pretty decent looking car, with a safe approach to its design. It isn’t going to offend anyone, like the TL from a few years ago with the big “shield” at the front or the massive grill of the Lexus IS. On the other hand, the safe design approach isn’t going to turn heads either, if you’re looking for that sort of attention.
Driving the 2015 TLX is quite fun; the car is pretty sporty and the “Super Handling” AWD system keeps you pointed in the right direction in the wet and dry. The suspension on the V6 equipped models is softer, giving the car a more grand touring feel. The 4-cylinder engine equipped cars come with a bit harder suspension, which gives them a more sporty feel.
The V6 engine is quite powerful and has lots of low end grunt for slow city driving and plenty of power for highway cruising and passing. The 9-speed automatic transmission is a very smooth shifting unit and can be manually shifted using the steering wheel mounted paddle shifters.
The TLX comes with four driving modes: Eco, Normal, Sport, and Sport Plus. I mostly drove the car in Eco or Sport+ modes. The Eco and Normal modes are a pretty good way to get around town, you don’t feel a lack of power but you do feel like you’re being more “Eco-friendly”. Our review car was equipped with the engine stop/start feature, which is great for saving fuel at stop lights. This is the first non-European car I’ve driven that has this feature, and I have to say good job Acura. The turning on and off of the engine at a full stop is much smoother than any of the European cars I’ve reviewed so far.
The Sport and Sport Plus modes make driving around on twisty roads quite fun. In the Sport Plus mode the gears are held much longer and you can actually hear the engine and exhaust notes, it really inspires you to go over speed limits. Not that we ever go over speed limits, but we do have to test the car at higher speeds 😉
My only complaint for the driving part is the electronic gear selector. It is something an owner will get used to over time, as opposed to me only spending a week in the car. But it is a bit of hassle, especially if you’re parallel parking the car in a tight spot and have to go quickly between Reverse and Drive. With the electronic gear selector, every time you press the “R” or “D” button, you have to wait a second or two for the car to change gears before you press the accelerator, otherwise there’s a bit of jerk when the accelerator is pressed and the car shifts into gear.
The interior on the TLX is also not too bad looking, the materials are high quality but mostly soft plastics. The layout is quite simple and easy to understand but I just feel there is no “wow factor” here. It looks a little plain, since this is a luxury sports sedan, it should come with a more premium looking interior in my opinion. My other complaint is the graphics on the touchscreen, I think Acura has made this screen look the way it looks for ease of use but I personally would’ve like a bit more flair.
Other than that, the interior is a very nice place to be in. The interior is very quiet, I find it much quieter than the Lexus IS and our personal Infiniti Q50S. The softer suspension also makes the ride quality a lot better, combined with the quiet interior, the TLX is a very relaxing car to cruise around town or take on long highway trips.
The seats on the TLX are very comfortable and there is lots of support for the back, the front two occupants are treated to heated and ventilated seats with the rear passengers getting heated seats. There is lots of room in the front, with the power adjustable seats being able to go far enough back to seat 6+ foot driver. The rear seat has plenty of room if the front occupants are average height.
Our fully loaded review TLX came with all the bells and whistles you’d hope to find in a new sports sedan. The interior may not have as much flair as I like but it makes up for it with the available gadgets and gizmos. Acura is offering more equipment than the competition at this price range (I’m comparing it to a similarly priced IS300 and Q50S). Below is a list of some of the safety and comfort features offered on the TLX SH-AWD Elite trim:
- Remote start
- Proximity/Approach light
- Proximity key with push-button starting
- Heated steering wheel
- Navigation with voice command
- Rear camera with cross traffic monitoring
- Forward collision warning with collision braking system
- Front and rear parking sensors
- Blind spot monitoring
- Lane departure warning
- Road departure mitigating system
- Power folding side mirrors with auto dimming
- Rain-sensing wipers
- Adaptive cruise control
- Seatbelt E-Pretensioner
- Dual front, knee, and side curtain airbags
- Tire pressure monitoring system
- Bluetooth connectivity
- USB port
- Satellite radio
- Acura link connectivity
The technology offered here is more than enough to keep you safe on the road and in parking lots. I especially like the front and rear parking sensors, and the rear camera with cross traffic alert is also very handy for backing out of mall parking lots. My only complaint here is the voice command for the navigation system, it took me quite a bit of time to enter an address using this system. I usually just pulled over to type in the address instead of using the voice command. This system definitely needs improvement.
I was pretty impressed with the 2015 Acura TLX AWD, it’s a fun car with a comfortable ride and can be very sporty when you want it to be. It’s pretty fuel efficient and offers a lot of tech gadgets. The interior does need more flair but then again, you do get more features than you’d get in a similarly priced Lexus or Infiniti. If I had to choose between the TLX, IS300, and the Q50, I think I’d have a hard time deciding, all three cars have their positive attributes.