Acura, Honda’s upscale and premium line of coupes, sedans and crossovers, has born a new model. Acura’s 2015 TLX sedan fills the gap when the TSX and TL models were discontinued in their line.
The front drive TLX is a completely new midsize luxury model that offers sporty handling, impressive fuel economy ratings and is available in AWD, almost a necessity here in the Snowbelt.
TLX is offered with two engine choices. The first is a standard 2.4-liter, 206-hp four-cylinder with 182 lb/ft of torque that couples to an 8-speed automated dual-clutch transmission. This duo gets EPA mileage ratings of 24 city, 35-highway mpg. The combination was tested at 7.4 seconds for 0-60 mph, which is not a neck snapper, but suffices for most car owners. Or, you could select the Sport Plus mode as downshifts are quicker and it holds lower gears longer for a trite more performance. A turbocharger, though, would be nice.
Then there’s the 3.5-liter, 290-hp V6 that generates 267 lb/ft of torque and couples to a 9-speed automatic trans. That combination garners EPA’s of 21/34 mpg or 21/31 with the AWD option. And that’s the kicker. To get AWD, TLX buyers have to opt for this more potent and pricey powertrain.
To maintain its luxury status, the TLX’s interior has undergone a posh makeover. Nicely padded and perforated leather front seats offer just the right amount of lateral support. The back seats are good for two adults or three tweens, and are a bit firmer. Ingress/egress back here could be somewhat easier if the rear doors opened a smidgen wider.
As for the dash, it’s adorned in glossy wood and brushed aluminum trim. The entire ensemble blends ever so nicely. And that goes for the way Acura designers melded the two LCD touchscreens; a 7-incher atop the dash and an 8-incher on the dash. The upper display is mainly for GPS nav, audio and apps, whereas the lower unit is for HVAC and other operating functions. Here’s where there are some quirks. For the front seat heaters, driver’s must touch the seat heater icons on the display, then select plus or minus for one of three heating positions. A distraction that surely requires taking the eyes off the road. A simple thumb wheel on the console would have been safer and easier to use.
Otherwise there are several apps for CNN, Foxxh, ESPN Xtra and more, which includes the usual array of USB and pod receptacles. There’s also a large, spacious console box and deep door pockets for small items that round out a pleasing, comfy, stylish interior.
Back in the 13.2 cubic foot trunk area, one large and one small roll-a-long luggage will fit. And by pulling two handles in the trunk, the 60/40 rear seatbacks flip forward to accommodate two golf bags or other lengthy items.
The ride on Goodyear 17-inch tires is smooth albeit a bit firm. Parking is easy thanks to the rear-wheel steering feature. The car is nimble and planted when encountering sharp, quick turns. And overall, it’s a sporty yet touring type ride.
The test car had no extra cost options, as it was the TECH version. As such, the base price of $35,025 included such safety features as blind spot monitoring, forward collision warning, lane keeping assist, rear cross traffic monitor, rain sensing wipers plus a host of other important safety and amenity items too long to list.
With an $895 delivery charge, the TLX bottom-lined at $35,920 or about the same price range of an Audi A3/A4, but less than a BMW 3-Series so configured.
The Institute for Highway Safety gave the TLX the highest “Good” rating in a series of crash tests and an “Acceptable” for small-overlap frontal-offset collision tests.