Finding a car that fits a specific personality should be an easy task in a market with high vehicle availability. However, special needs call for special products. The inner streets of Mexico City could very well be considered one of the world’s toughest concrete jungles, and performance – in some people’s unfortunate opinion – must be combined with certain restrictions, which brings us to our current automotive review. If your heart wants adventure but you still crave some safety, you will find that the Acura TLX is your best option. Reading between the lines of this intriguing vehicle was both fun and a headache, but it was definitely worth our while.
In the Driving Seat
The newest version of the Acura TLX will not make you stand out. It is a premium car with a discrete look, but it has enough elegance to make up for it. Even so, Acura made sure that its new LED headlights could give the TLX an extra flare to minimize its quite serious-looking lines. Its interior is extremely inviting with its fully automatic and easily-programmable features, allowing you to create a truly enjoyable driving experience. Although it could use some additional lateral support, especially in closed curves, the seats are very comfortable. Combining those with a really smooth suspension, this limousine-like machine can lead drivers into a deep relaxation state.
However, the console and the dashboard are a bit too similar to a regular Honda, which for a premium brand is not that special. We should keep in mind that this car is supposed to compete with giants like the Mercedes C-Class, the BMW 3 Series, and the Audi A4. Obviously, this is not an easy task for anyone, but the car should provide a little bit more oomph.
Ride and Performance
This midsize will give you the same cruising experience on any road. It does not matter if you are in the city, a highway or a mountain track, you will fall victim to its engine and pedals’ responsiveness, which will inevitably loosen you up and make you relax. Having said that, tuning the 9-speed automatic transmission towards the ECO and comfort modalities makes the car lose some of its responsiveness, especially compared to the 8-speed gearbox/4 cylinder version. Nevertheless, the shifting paddles make up for most of it, and its four-wheel steering feature is so precise at high speeds that it makes taking any curve a child’s play. The same cannot be said about low speeds though, given that the car feels a little bit out of control in short turns and quick accelerations.
On the other hand, its suspension and noise control are absolutely exquisite. While the former makes Mexico City’s dreadful roads feel like a recently paved race track, the latter makes this car the most silent vehicle we have ever driven. There is no noise and no harshness whatsoever, only smooth zooming all the way. Unfortunately, acceleration and Acura do not mix properly. Although its engine is rather powerful and while driving at a cruising speed of 180Km/h is no problem whatsoever, nothing makes you want to push its acceleration pedal too abruptly. When tempted to do so, you immediately feel the car was not built for high rpms and the drive becomes quite unstable and the normally very smooth transmission becomes somewhat rough.
Features & Safety
The new TLX is one of the most complete cars in terms of features, even more so than its competitors, and they add a nice touch to the otherwise dull interior. Nevertheless, the settings and hardware were not planned that carefully, resulting in a dual screen display equipped with a touch interface, plus a joystick and an excessive amount of buttons. If you combine all of them, there is an enormous amount of options for really simple tasks, which makes accessing some of them a true quest. The Acura also offers a very special gearbox from the inside; it has no joystick, handle, or a normal stick standing in the middle or by the steering wheel, though it offers and advanced set of buttons – yes, more buttons – to make you park, drive, reverse or stand in neutral. It is questionable how positive this sophisticated feature is. It definitely adds to the overall set of options that the TLX is filled with more than any competitor, but this new type of gearbox is somewhat confusing to manage – every valet needs an explanation – and it doesn’t make the car save any space for that matter. Time will also have to show how durable these buttons are compared to a strong metal stick.
Something we have not made up our mind about is the strong safety focus of the new Acura. On one hand, the car offers an amazing grip on the road, with extremely direct and responsive brakes, so you do not have to worry about going at ridiculously high speeds. Additionally, the Acura includes all the possible safety electronics you can think of like ACC, Lane Keeping Assistance, Blind Spot Detection, and a rear-view camera, giving you a complete understanding of your surroundings. On the other hand, it is incredible that you cannot control the GPS while driving, even when you are the passenger. We understand that it creates conscious to not get distracted while driving, but just imagine that you and a passenger end up lost in the dodgiest neighborhood you have ever seen. This would be the ultimate moment to use GPS, but because of this shortcoming, you would actually have to pull over to be able to control the system. Not a very good move, honestly.
The Acura TLX is subtle on the outside and comfortable in the inside. While it is not a petro-head driving fantasy, it is stuffed with enough technology to give you a satisfactory driving experience. The easiness of its handling and silent cabin will take away any stress that you may arise from this hectic city, which is very well appreciated. However, if you like to feel the ride and enjoy the power of the engine, I would not suggest this vehicle, since it does not offer any motivation to push it to the limit. In our opinion, this car is perfect for the serious businessman that needs a bit of peace at the end of the day.
At a Glance
- Make: Acura
- Model: TLX V6
- Engine: V6 i-VTEC 3.5 liters
- Power: 290 HP at 4500 rpms
- Top Speed: 215Km/h
- MPG: 21 to 34 MPG
- 0-100 Km/h in 5.7 seconds
- Shift by Touch
- Variable Cylinder Management
- Manual transmission settings: Normal, Econ and Sport
- Automatic transmission settings: Drive and Sport+
- Precision All Wheel Steer (P-AWS)
- Integrated Dynamic System: Econ, Normal, Sport and Sport+
- Jewel Eye Headlights
- ACC, LKAS, and Blind Spot Information
- Collision Mitigation Braking System
- Rear Traffic Monitor
Price (At time of review)