Saturday, January 9, 2021

2021 Acura TLX SH-AWD Advance: New Design, New Flagship Car


Highlight: The TLX is being built in Ohio.

Test Vehicle’s MSRP: $49,325 (Base Model: $38,525)

Seating Capacity: 5 (a snug 5 seater)

Standard Safety Features: airbags; ABS; vehicle stability control system; forward collision brakes; collision mitigation braking system; a road departure warning system; a radar activated cruise control system; a 360-degree review camera; a hillstart assist system; automatic high beams; a tire pressure monitoring system; and a tire sealant and a repair kit

Standard Equipment (Base FWD): 18-inch wheels; a 10-speed automatic transmission; a dual overhead cam engine; paddle shifters; a 10-inch infotainment screen; a dual zone automatic climate control system; a push button ignition system; leather-like seats; memory driver’s seat; heated front seats; 10-way power front seats; a manual operated tilt/telescopic steering wheel; automatic rearview mirror; remote start entry (front doors); and a power moonroof

Standard Equipment (Review Vehicle): 19-inch wheels; all-wheel drive; a single overhead cam engine; an agile handling assist system; a heads up display (HUD) warning system; a cross traffic monitor; parking sensors; heated side mirrors with reverse tilt down; a 17-speaker premium audio system; a 3-d navigation system; an electronic gear selector; leather seats; thigh extension and side bolsters (front seats); heated rear seats; a heated steering wheel; 16-way power seats; ventilated front seats; authentic wood pore trim; LED foglights; remote start entry (all doors) and rain sensing wipers

Optional Features On Test Vehicle: none

Other Trims:

Technology Package

A SPEC- Package

Standard Audio On Test Vehicle: AM/FM/HD and SiriusXM audio system 

Apple CarPlay/Android Auto: Yes

Bluetooth Connectivity: Yes

USB Connectivity: Yes

Bumper-to-Bumper Warranty: 4 years or 50,000 miles

Powertrain Warranty: 6 years or 70,000 miles

Standard Engine/Horsepower: 2.0-liter, 4-cylinder/272-hp

Recommended Fuel: Premium

Standard Fuel Mileage: 22-city/31-hwy

What’s New:  The stylish second generation TLX is all-new for the 2021 model year. With the RLX being sent off to car heaven, the TLX becomes the brand’s flagship car.

Why: The midsize TLX is available in both a front wheel drive and an all-wheel drive configuration.

With a starting price under $40,000, this year’s model offers a more athletic appearance due to its slightly longer wheelbase, wider stance and a lower roof. The premium sedan, which navigates between the compact and midsize segments, is a well-equipped five seater, that is available in a variety of trims.

And this year’s model was launch with a 272-horsepower, 2.0-liter, 4-cylinder raspy aluminum engine. A peppier 6-cylinder will be available in the Spring. That engine will be exclusive to the more performance-oriented S-type trim, with an out of the gate price in the $50,000 range.

Inside the vehicle, one will be greeted by a well-crafted, racing inspired interior. With its piano key-like interior gear selector and supersize infotainment screen, the interior design team made sure that attention to detail was a top priority. In fact, the A-Spec TLX, with the available eye-popping red interior, literally adds a bold, but sporty flair to the vehicle.

Moreover, each TLX is outfitted with everything from comfortable, form-fitting power front seats to an automatic ventilation system to push button start to a power sunroof. Added to that, the TLXs are outfitted with such diver aids as a radar activated cruise control system to a road mitigation system to a lane mitigation system.

Furthermore, for those seeking more premium features like a navigation system, they can step up to other trims. Our Advance package, which currently the priciest vehicle in the model’s line up, tops out with a sticker price just shy of $50,000. Some of the features included in the higher end trim includes everything from leather seats to a navigation system to a concert-like 17-speaker audio system to heated rear seats.

But: The rear seating area is cramped due the midsize vehicle being smaller than comparable premium midsize vehicles.

We also found the finger-like, mechanism to adjust the infotainment system radio stations and seems to be quite complicated to navigate. We would have preferred a less sensitive mechanism and knobs to adjust the audio system.

Furthermore, it would be great if the wheels and the spoiler available on the A-Spec trim was also available on other packages.

And, as it relates to the powertrain, currently only one engine is available. In this year’s model, the powertrain team has eliminated the 6-cylinder engine. A 3.0-liter, 6-cylinder is expected to make its debut in the Type S trim later this Spring.

Lastly, the rear of the vehicle could easily be mistaken for a Buick. However, if we had the option of adding on sportier blacked-out wheels and a spoiler to the Advance trim we reviewed, it could change the ride, handling and look of the TLX.

Verdict: While this isn’t the Legend that literally placed the Japanese brand on the map eons ago, this year’s TLX does live up to all of its anticipated hype. The stylish sedan, which seems to be positioned between the compact premium and midsize premium segment seemingly has entered the car market, as consumers seemingly are drawn toward crossovers, trucks and SUVs. While this is arguably one of the best premium sedans the brand has designed, unfortunately it might be too late for the car to get its footing in the market place

Competition: Audi A4; BMW 3-Series; Cadillac CT5; Infiniti Q50; Mercedes-Benz C-Class; and Volvo S60

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