The mid-size TLX is the “meat” in Acura’s sedan lineup, sandwiched in-between the compact entry-level ILX and RLX flagship. Debuting in 2015, the sports sedan with pretensions to luxury, or vice versa, is now a sophomore and remains a viable option for buyers looking to get a little more for their money in this segment than they might from a BMW 3 Series or Mercedes-Benz C-Class.
The TLX is pulling double duty, filling the shoes of both the former TSX and TL after Acura decided to trim some of the fat from its four door offerings. In terms of appearance, the vehicle looks more like a shrunken-down TL, measuring nearly 100 millimetres shorter in comparison, than an evolution of the TSX.
Although defined bodylines and an athletic profile are present, features such as the now omnipresent Jewel EYE LED headlights give the car an undeniable sophisticated, grown up air. While perhaps not on the same level as the Germans, Acuras have always had decently-plush interiors and the TLX carries on the torch using alloy and wood accents throughout the cabin and a one-piece soft-touch dash cover.
In keeping with industry trends, the company has been moving in the direction of providing a variety of safety and convenience technologies such as Siri Eyes Free, which lets drivers execute smartphone functions through the infotainment system
One area they are still lagging behind in is navigation, particularly when you consider how other manufacturers, including Ford with SYNC 3, have leapt ahead. The optional GPS, controlled via a combination of buttons and the seven-inch On-Demand Multi-Use Display touchscreen, is slow to respond and not intuitive to input addresses.
When you approach the vehicle, it detects the key fob and puddle lights illuminate the ground in a subtle manner and without any garish logos. This is something not truly appreciated until you’re fumbling for your keys in a dark parking lot.
Two powertrains are available depending on the trim level – there is a 2.4 litre four-cylinder motor that makes 206 horsepower and 182 lb-ft of torque, or a 3.5-litre V6 putting out 290 hp and 267 lb-ft of torque in my SH-AWD Elite press car. The latter is an improvement of 10 hp and 13 lb-ft over the TL’s 3.5-litre engine.
While the V6, mated to a nine-speed automatic, feels buttery smooth, don’t expect to burn up the tarmac when you put your foot down. The Integrated Dynamic System has four settings (ECON, Normal, Sport and Sport+) to tailor the throttle and shift behaviour according to user preferences, and the Sport mode does make performance feel a little livelier.
The base 2016 Acura TLX starts at $35,490, and the fully loaded all-wheel drive Elite model comes with a price tag of $47,990.
Highlights (as tested):
Photos: Benjamin Yong