2020 Acura TLX
2020 Acura TLX Review
- Interior is quiet and trimmed with high-quality materials
- Several desirable driver safety aids come standard
- Back seat comfortably accommodates adults
- Competent but bland driving character
- no real zest or gusto
- Four-cylinder engine is underpowered
- No significant changes this year
- Part of the first TLX generation introduced for 2015
A lot of what we have to say here about the 2020 Acura TLX comes with qualifiers. Whether this is a good thing or bad thing largely relates to the type of sedan you want.
The TLX bridges the gap between mainstream and luxury sedans. It starts under the hood with a choice of either a four- or a six-cylinder engine. The four-cylinder isn't inspiring, but it's the one we'd pick. While the V6 generates smooth power, and even sounds great doing so, it comes lashed to a nine-speed transmission that often fumbles around for the right gear. The four-cylinder uses a different eight-speed transmission instead and returns a respectable 27 mpg in combined city/highway driving in the bargain (26 mpg in A-Spec guise).
Inside, the TLX's cabin is trimmed in quality materials and upholstery. It's not quite the rich premium leather you might find in an Audi, Mercedes or Volvo, but it's assembled well. A roomy back seat and a host of standard infotainment and tech features, including standard driver aids such as adaptive cruise control and lane keeping assist, round out the TLX's appeal.
Acura isn't trying to match its global competitors in adrenaline output. Instead, the TLX ties together value with satisfying levels of comfort and convenience. But there's no denying that paying more gets you a noticeably nicer sedan such as the 3 Series or the C-Class. Alternately, loaded versions of our top-rated sedans such as the Honda Accord and Mazda 6 cost less than the TLX yet provide essentially the same qualities.
If you don't need the flash and dash of the Europeans, and regular sedans are just a bit too dull for you, the TLX will likely satisfy. Otherwise, we suggest checking out the competition.
What it's like to live with the TLX?
Edmunds' editorial team acquired and lived with a 2015 Acura TLX SH-AWD for a full year, logging 20,000 miles. We found the TLX to be a well-appointed luxury sedan with a refined ride and ample motivation from the optional V6 engine. We weren't a fan of its nine-speed transmission, however, especially in the earlier generation models. Check out our long-term TLX test to learn more.
Note that the 2020 Acura TLX differs from our long-term TLX in that it has received a cosmetic face-lift inside and out and has a revised infotainment interface. It's the same generation, though, so most of our observations still apply.
The TLX serves up enjoyable performance when equipped with its V6 engine and sophisticated all-wheel-drive system. It lacks the interior sheen of Europe's small sport-luxury cars, but it's still well-crafted and balances practicality and spirit. It also costs less than most of its nearest rivals.
How does the TLX drive?
We tested the 3.5L A-Spec. Throttle response is immediate, and the V6 makes a nice-sounding snarl when you mat the gas. But acceleration is slower than the competition, even with smaller turbocharged engines. But there's plenty to like about the TLX's handling attitude.
The A-Spec's steering effort is just about right. In a turn, feedback is excellent, giving you confidence. Thanks to its Super Handling All-Wheel Drive system, the TLX handles neutrally on long turns, provided you go in slow and smoothly squeeze the throttle, letting the torque vectoring do the work.
How comfortable is the TLX?
The TLX A-Spec offers a secure, sporty interface with firm, grippy and multi-adjustable seats (include thigh extenders) and a ride quality that deftly balances comfort and sport. Bumps in the road and harsh impacts are well-suppressed, and the car shows great composure when tossed from side to side. Active noise cancellation also helps to quiet the cabin.
We're less impressed with the climate system. It's best to leave it in Auto, and even then it takes some time to reach maximum cooling. The seat ventilation is woefully inadequate, especially considering how warm the seat is normally. Some controls are hard buttons, but full functionality requires using the lower display.
How’s the interior?
The TLX's interior design is busy but functional. The dual-screen interface presents a lot of info, but it's a bit overwhelming at first and requires some time to learn the commands and menu structures. A wide range of seat and steering wheel adjustability makes finding a comfortable driving position easy, although large front pillars block what are otherwise good sightlines to the car's front sides.
The cabin is just about right for its size. You never feel as if you're in a big car, and the TLX doesn't make you feel claustrophobic either. The center console armrest and the door armrest are at the same height, and rear knee room and toe room are excellent for the segment.
How’s the tech?
The TLX throws up a lot of info on two displays. It's also distracting when interacting with it. For instance, the screen that looks as if it's controlled with a knob is actually a touchscreen, while the screen that should be a touchscreen is controlled with a knob. At least the optional ELS system is a truly premium surround-sound upgrade.
Built-in voice controls are dated and limited. It's best to stick to Siri and Android voice commands if you have a compatible device. The A-Spec comes with multiple driver's aids, including adaptive cruise control. The latter lags in traffic, but it does OK as long as there are no large discrepancies in speed.
How’s the storage?
The TLX's efficiently laid-out interior and trunk prove you don't need an SUV to have a functional day-to-day vehicle. The trunk space is good for the class, with a deep, low floor. The trunk shape works well for longer pieces of cargo; wide items will have to be Tetrised in. The deep compartment below the trunk floor can hold three to four grocery bags. Interior storage includes a moderate-size storage space in front of the shifter, underneath the infotainment system, and a large storage box under the center armrest.
There's plenty of room in the back seat for a rear-facing child seat, and the lower car seat anchors are easy to find and access. The top tether anchors, however, require more careful and awkward threading of belts through the rear shelf.
How economical is the TLX?
The TLX's V6 engine is great, but the cost for its high-revving nature is efficiency. The EPA says the TLX A-Spec SH-AWD gets 23 mpg in combined city/highway driving. The four-cylinder TLX is better but, of course, not as fun.
Is the TLX a good value?
The TLX is a bargain, no question. It offers modern tech, responsive powertrains and pleasant manners. But it comes at the expense of the interior polish. Simplified trim and package structures make buying a TLX easy, and warranty coverage is better than average.
The popularity of SUVs means sedans can be more niche-focused. The TLX A-Spec embodies that philosophy with a sport-tuned suspension, sport seats, classy upholstery and a muscular V6. While most cars are going to smaller turbocharged engines, Acura forges ahead with this old-school six-cylinder. It sounds and feels fantastic, even if it's not the fastest, cleanest-shifting or most fuel-efficient big engine in the class.
The TLX's sophisticated all-wheel-drive system and poised handling make it fun and surprisingly practical. Only its transmission and infotainment system need some fine-tuning.
Which TLX does Edmunds recommend?
Acura TLX models
Choosing an Acura TLX is straightforward. You can get it with either a four-cylinder or a V6 engine and a couple of option packages.
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Most helpful consumer reviews
Our experts’ favorite TLX safety features:
- Lane Keeping Assist System
- Helps keep the car centered in the lane by providing alerts and steering assistance when the car approaches the edge of the lane.
- Collision Mitigation Braking System
- Applies brakes automatically to help reduce the severity of a crash if drivers don't take corrective action on their own.
- Forward Collision Warning
- Provides audible and visual alerts when it detects what it perceives as an impending collision.
Acura TLX vs. the competition
2020 Acura TLX
2019 Honda Accord
Acura TLX vs. Honda Accord
If you're considering one of these over the other, you're likely aware that the TLX is related to the Accord. (Both are built on a shared global platform.) There's a bit of price overlap between one of the Accord's top trims and the base TLX. But if pressed, we'd take the Accord. However, moving just slightly higher up the TLX trim ladder delivers refinements you won't find in the Accord, such as a quieter and nicer cabin.
Acura TLX vs. Infiniti Q50
The TLX and the Q50 are closely matched on price and specs, but the TLX tends to offer more standard features than the Q50, including heated seats. The TLX also has more trunk space and gets better fuel economy. The Q50, however, packs more performance — more engine power and torque — and standard rear-wheel drive lends it more of a sport sedan feel.
Acura TLX vs. BMW 3 Series
The 3 Series is the car to which all sport sedans aspire. Its Mercedes and Audi competitors may disagree, but all seek in their own way to achieve the balance of power, handling, comfort, and refinement that's made the 3 Series a sport-sedan benchmark for decades. The TLX isn't in the same league as the 3 Series, but it's not far off either. While it can't match the kind of rock-solid road feel and acceleration of the BMW, the TLX fares well when it comes to overall quality and handling ability.
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Is the Acura TLX a good car?
What's new in the 2020 Acura TLX?
According to Edmunds’ car experts, here’s what’s new for the 2020 Acura TLX:
- No significant changes this year
- Part of the first TLX generation introduced for 2015
Is the Acura TLX reliable?
Is the 2020 Acura TLX a good car?
How much should I pay for a 2020 Acura TLX?
The least-expensive 2020 Acura TLX is the 2020 Acura TLX 4dr Sedan (2.4L 4cyl 8AM). Including destination charge, it arrives with a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of about $33,000.
Other versions include:
- 4dr Sedan (2.4L 4cyl 8AM) which starts at $33,000
- 4dr Sedan w/Technology Package (2.4L 4cyl 8AM) which starts at $36,700
- 4dr Sedan w/Technology Package (3.5L 6cyl 9A) which starts at $40,100
- SH-AWD 4dr Sedan AWD w/Technology Package (3.5L 6cyl 9A) which starts at $42,100
- 4dr Sedan (3.5L 6cyl 9A) which starts at $36,200
- A-Spec 4dr Sedan w/Red Leather (2.4L 4cyl 8AM) which starts at $39,400
- A-Spec 4dr Sedan (2.4L 4cyl 8AM) which starts at $39,400
- A-Spec 4dr Sedan (3.5L 6cyl 9A) which starts at $42,800
- SH-AWD A-Spec 4dr Sedan AWD (3.5L 6cyl 9A) which starts at $44,800
- A-Spec 4dr Sedan w/Red Leather (3.5L 6cyl 9A) which starts at $42,800
- SH-AWD A-Spec 4dr Sedan AWD w/Red Leather (3.5L 6cyl 9A) which starts at $44,800
- SH-AWD 4dr Sedan AWD w/Advance Package (3.5L 6cyl 9A) which starts at $45,950
- SH-AWD 4dr Sedan AWD (3.5L 6cyl 9A) which starts at $38,200
- SH-AWD PMC Edition 4dr Sedan AWD (3.5L 6cyl 9A) which starts at $48,950