Tuesday, December 2, 2014
Acura TLX: A Great New Sedan
Over the past few years, some car industry observers, including this one, have surmised that Honda has been somewhat neglectful of its luxury brand, Acura. Recent offerings from the higher end of the Japanese automaker have been greeted less than enthusiastically.
So, enter a brand new sedan.
The TLX replaces the TSX and TL, both of which had their own merits, but neither of which made enough of an impact on the market to survive.
The 2015 TLX doesn't take a radical departure, appearance-wise, from recent Acura styling conventions.
But it has its own brand of attractiveness, which is to say that it's neat without being gaudy.
It assumes a role in the Acura lineup smack between the ILX, an entry level sedan, and the RLX, which has become the big Kahuna for Acura in cars.
It's a bit shorter than the outgoing TL, and its reduced size is most noticeable on the interior.
Not to say that the TLX is cramped, though, because front passengers can be seated reasonably comfortably and rear passengers will be alright if they aren't above average size.
The TLX has a 2.4-liter four-cylinder base engine that makes 206 horsepower and is linked to an eight-speed dual clutch automatic transmission.
If you choose to upgrade, you get a 3.5-liter V-6 with a nine-speed automatic.
Fuel economy is rated at 24 mpg city and 35 highway for the four cylinder and 21 and 31 for the six-banger.
All models get the all-wheel steering system, which Acura introduced on the RLX. Acura touts its benefits as gaining improved handling in corners by moving the rear wheels counter to the front, but letting the rear wheels pivot just a tad on high speed lane changes, allowing for smoother movement.
On the V-6 models, all-wheel drive is optional.
The interior design of the TLX is understated, but pleasant. You won't find anything that will make you oooohhh and aaaahhh, but neither will you find anything that will make you wretch.
Enjoy the mellowness.
Standard technology includes Bluetooth connectivity with audio streaming, USB/iPod port, Pandora Internet radio, an auto-dimming rearview mirror and Siri Eyes Free technology which combines with an iPhone to give the driver command over certain functions via voice commands. If you choose, a navigation system with Zagat restaurant review, real-time traffic and rerouting and GPS-linked climate control are optional.
The TLX doesn't radically change the luxury sedan market. But it adds an intriguing element of wonder to it. So check it out.
It starts at around $32,000 and ranges to around $45,000.
For a nice, practical midsize sedan, the TLX is worthy of much consideration.