Last year Acura launched the all-new TLX premium luxury sport sedan. The TL/TSX replacement was well received both by consumers and automotive media alike. We reviewed the base model last year and recently spent time in a TLX with all the bells and whistles along with larger engine and advanced technology.
During its freshman year the new TLX garnered a host of accolades that included being named to several best buy or best value honor rolls as well as best new/redesigned car. It arrives in the compact sedan category for EPA purposes but seems right at home to compete against some midsize entry luxury models as well. Nearly everything we liked about the inaugural car last year carries over here with added emphasis on this larger powertrain with one more cog in the gearbox and a host of other driving/safety/infotainment technologies.
We begin under the hood with the spirited 290hp 3.5-liter direct-injected V-6 engine with variable cylinder management. There was power on demand when needed but we also saw better than expected fuel economy under lighter driving conditions thanks to three cylinders not being used when they weren’t needed. A nine-speed automatic transmission is paired with this engine and features sequential sportshift and paddle shifters. A new pushbutton shifter is utilized in this model TLX and we were not big fans of it. Give me back my old-fashioned shift lever, please.
Our TLX tester arrived with the next-generation Super Handling-All Wheel Drive that constantly overdrives the rear drive unit by 2.7-percent to provide a torque-vectoring effect across a broad spectrum of driving situations and enhance cornering capability at lower speeds and tighter corners. This system works in tandem with Acura’s Precision All-Wheel Steer and Agile Handling Assist for an even more precise driving experience. Rounding out the driving systems is the Integrated Dynamics System that offers selectable drive modes including ECON, Normal, Sport, and Sport+. IDS can impact a number of electronic driving systems in the vehicle to allow the best response of that system for the situation the driver is facing.
There are a number of safety systems in the new TLX as well and these may even outnumber the driving technologies. Some of them include collision mitigation braking, adaptive cruise control, road departure mitigation, blind spot information, lane departure warning, forward collision warning, expanded view drivers side mirror, lane keeping assist and rear cross traffic monitor.
All of the new technologies are wrapped in a tight, rigid chassis that Acura engineers designed to incorporate these systems and provide a safe yet fun driving experience. TLX delivers on that, big. While the car delivers a very comfortable ride under most normal (boring) conditions, the TLX really shows its stuff when drivers find some twists and turns. This car hugs each curve and embraces the road surface as it holds occupants in their places comfortably.
The TLX we tested last year was at the entry end of the sales spectrum in the Acura showroom. Fast forward a year and this 2016 TLX 3.5L with SH-AWD and Advanced Package rolls in with a final sticker of $45,720. Fuel economy is rated at 21 mpg city and 31 mpg highway but we found ourselves averaging 32.4 mpg on a weekend road trip with the AC going full blast and the car in normal and sport IDS modes.
The TLX truly brings back not only the styling many have loved with Acura over the years but the driving experience as well. It may be the luxury brand for Honda but it proves there is just as much sport delivered in this compact luxury sport sedan as well.