SEATTLE, April 7, 2015 — For 2015, Acura really stepped up its game with the TLX. This mid-sized sedan, which starts around $31,000 for the base model, offers some compelling packages that bring with them good power, nice handling and available all-wheel-drive. Once you step up to the SH-AWD model, however, you’re looking at a base price of $41.575.
The SH-AWD comes standard with the 3.5-liter i-VTEC V6 and is rated at 290 horsepower with 267 lb-ft of torque. Not bad overall, but still lags behind some of its competitors in this price range. It seems to propel the car rather well but the biggest annoyance we found was the 3-5 second lag from the time of pressing down on the accelerator on the freeway and having the engine actually respond to that engagement. After a while of driving this car, I had to learn to compensate for that lag when passing other vehicles.
The nine-speed transmission with paddle shifters is very solid and provides an ultra-sporty feel to the driving experience. The available three different driving modes of normal, ECO and sport all come with different shift points but in sport mode, you’ll really see how this transmission shines. It holds gears longer and more aggressively and does a great job of helping the car “come alive” in a sense – a great option for those seeking a far more spirited driving experience. It’s still good in the other two modes, however, a bit more “plain vanilla.”
Acura did a great job with the stitched-leather seat surfaces, which not only have a soft, elegant feel to them but are also very comfortable – even on longer trips. We took the car on a 4.5-hour drive and found overall comfort to be very good with nothing to complain about whatsoever.
Our test model was decked out with the “advance package,” which includes things like adaptive cruise control with low-speed follow and a collision mitigation braking system – code for, if you’re not paying attention, the car will apply the brakes to keep from hitting an object in front of you. Other components this package offers over the technology package are the front/rear parking sensors – i.e. annoying alarms which alert everyone in the car that you are too freakin’ close – as well as remote start from the keyfob.
Infotainment in this car includes the high-end ELS audio system with 10 speakers, which has good sonic clarity but not a lot of balls to it. Sure, it turns up rather loud, and for the most part is clear; however, it could use a great deal of help in its bass response. On-board navigation works well but still looks a bit antiquated, graphically, and is also rather easy to use. There’s support for all the latest media input options, including AM/FM/XM Satellite radio, CD/mp3/wma, Bluetooth audio and Pandora. It’s great to have these choices for audio sources, but it’d be nice to see Acura give the entire graphical interface a refreshed, more up-to-date look.
Something that is appreciated is the dual screen setup between the top navigation/menu screen and the bottom display/menu screen. It’s a setup similar to what we’ve seen in the latest Infiniti Q50, where the top portion has the mapping and certain functions while the lower one handles other chores. One of the nice benefits is that you can have the map fully up and still see what song you’re listening to on the screen below – no split-screen action required here.
Read Also: Road Tested: 2014 Infiniti Q50S
The way this car handles is very sporty, and its all-wheel-drive is great around the Seattle area with all the inclement weather we receive. With the right tires, the TLX SH-AWD will make those snow-skiing trips a breeze in the winter. The only real issue I had with the TLX on our extended drive was the road noise. It’s not horrible at all, but there are other sedans in this category that do a better job of providing a quieter cabin area while at freeway speeds – especially on concrete paved ones. Of course, some of that is likely the tire selection that Acura equips the car with, but a good deal of it also lies in the amount and kind of noise insulation used.
There’s a lot to enjoy about this car, and we do; however, the glitch with the accelerator pedal is hard to ignore. Having said that, the TLX is a good value compared to some of its competitors, even though it does lack some of the horsepower we find in the others. Acura did a good job of providing a car that handles well, looks good, has “Honda reliability” and is priced very competitively.
If you’re in the market for a mid-sized performance sedan, then make sure to test-drive the new TLX – we’re sure you’ll find it to be an overall worthy car for the money.
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