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2015 Acura TLX: New Car Review

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ADDITIONAL MODEL INFORMATION

author photo by Autotrader September 2014

The popular Acura TL and TSX are no more, replaced by the brand's all-new 2015 Acura TLX sedan for the latest model year. It's a bold move, considering the long history of the TL and TLX: Both have been around for more than a decade, but Acura is committed to its new lineup, with the compact ILX sedan serving as the entry-level model, followed by the midsize TLX and the luxurious flagship RLX.

What's new with the TLX compared to its predecessors? Virtually everything. Longer than the TSX but shorter than the TL, the TLX offers two engines: a 2.4-liter 4-cylinder and a more powerful 3.5-liter V6. Front-wheel drive is standard, but all-wheel drive is optional. TLX models boast some of the best fuel economy in their segment thanks to all-new 8- and 9-speed automatic transmissions.

Of course, technology is also a priority: Standard features include LED headlights, a push-button starter and a backup camera, while options range from adaptive cruise control to an exciting Siri Eyes Free system for iPhone users.

What's New for 2015?

The TLX is all new for 2015, replacing the TSX and TL. It offers a totally new interior, new styling, new transmissions, and a wide array of new features that you couldn't get in either of its predecessors.

What We Like

Reasonable pricing; excellent fuel efficiency; good interior room; lots of technology

What We Don't

Dull styling; not as sporty as rivals; 4-cylinder feels a little underpowered

How Much?

$32,000-$45,700

Fuel Economy

The TLX offers two engines. Base models carry a 2.4-liter 4-cylinder that makes 206 horsepower. It's joined to an 8-speed automatic transmission, and it's offered with only front-wheel drive. That engine and transmission combo gets an excellent 24 miles per gallon in the city and 35 mpg on the highway.

Drivers interested in more power can step up to a 290-hp 3.5-liter V6, which is only offered with a 9-speed automatic. Choose standard front-wheel drive, and you'll get 21 mpg city/34 mpg hwy; optional all-wheel drive cuts things down to 21 mpg city/31 mpg hwy.

Standard Features & Options

The TLX doesn't really offer trim levels, though Acura organizes the sedan's pricing structure based on engine choice: There's a 2.4-liter 4-cylinder and a 3.5-liter V6.

Base-level TLX models use the 2.4-liter engine ($32,000). Standard features include a multiview backup camera, LED headlights, keyless access with push-button starting, steering-wheel paddle shifters for the automatic transmission, a power driver's seat, Bluetooth, a USB port for music with iPod capability, SiriusXM Satellite Radio and Siri Eyes Free. Of course, the TLX also comes standard with a wide variety of typical features, including alloy wheels, leather upholstery and power accessories.

Step up to the 3.5-liter V6 ($36,200), and you add a few other features. Of course, there's the 6-cylinder engine, but the V6 model also offers a power front passenger seat, an electronic gear selector and larger alloy wheels.

Two major option packages are available for the TLX. Four-cylinder and V6 models are available with the Technology package, which includes a navigation system, automatic wipers, Acura's impressive lane-keep-assist technology, upgraded leather upholstery and the brand's AcuraLink infotainment system. The package costs around $4,000.

Drivers who choose the V6 can also upgrade to the Advance package, which includes even more high-tech features: adaptive cruise control, a forward-collision system with automatic braking, front and rear parking sensors, and a remote engine starter.

Safety

The TLX comes standard with a wide variety of safety features. In addition to the usual complement of airbags and traction controls, the TLX features a multiview rearview camera and powerful LED headlights. Drivers who opt for upgrades -- choosing the Technology package or the Advance package, for instance -- can get even more features, from Acura's lane-keep assistant to a forward-collision warning system with automatic braking, front and rear parking sensors, automatic wipers and adaptive cruise control.

Owing to the TLX's recent arrival on the market, neither the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety nor the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has crash-tested the sedan.

Behind the Wheel

To us, the TLX is a sedan that focuses on value, fuel efficiency and technology in a segment full of models that emphasize sportiness and bold styling. For some shoppers, that's a good thing; not everyone is interested in precise handling and the accompanying harsh ride, but drivers who want the last word in handling and performance should probably look elsewhere.

Still, the TLX is an excellent car to drive -- but for different reasons. It offers a smooth, supple ride, taking bumps with ease. Handling might not be razor-sharp, but it's tremendously secure; there's no vagueness in steering feel. We found visibility to be excellent in all directions, aided by Acura's standard multiview camera.

As for comfort and quality, we think that the TLX delivers adequately on both counts. The interior doesn't stand out as the best in its class, but it's easy to use. It also manages to make traditionally complex high-tech gadgets seem simple. The seats are comfortable, with more than enough room in the front or back for even some of the tallest drivers and passengers. That makes sense, considering that the TLX shares its wheelbase with the outgoing TL, despite a smaller overall size -- suggesting that Acura preserved interior room above all else.

Other Cars to Consider

Audi A4 -- The A4 starts around $36,500, making it far more expensive than the TLX, and it doesn't offer the features or performance to back up that price premium. Many people prefer its Audi brand name, though, and the A4's interior is among our favorites.

Infiniti Q50 -- The newly renamed (and redesigned) Infiniti Q50 replaces the G37 sedan. Performance is superior, with the Q50 touting 328 horses and rear-wheel drive, but the TLX offers more of a focus on comfort -- and a dramatically lower starting price.

Lexus IS -- The Lexus IS offers bold styling, rear-wheel drive and some of today's latest high-tech features. It outperforms the TLX, both in IS 250 and IS 350 form, but the TLX holds a major price advantage, undercutting even the IS 250 by around $5,000.

Autotrader's Advice

The 2015 Acura TLX is a formidable player in the luxury-car world -- assuming you're not into all-out performance. Still, we'd go for the more powerful V6, largely because it costs the same as base-level 4-cylinder powerplants in rival cars. We'd also add on the Technology package for its impressive equipment, though we're not sure that we'd ever find a use for most of the advanced features in the aptly named Advance package.

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This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
2015 Acura TLX: New Car Review - Autotrader