2015 Acura TLX: Awkward Conversations
by Mike Monticello, Senior Road Test Editor on December 14, 2015
I had heard considerable grumbling about our 2015 Acura TLX long-term car before I drove it. Cynical me, I figured my colleagues were just being overly critical. The transmission issues couldn't possibly be that big of a deal, right?
Wrong. The problems are real. To the point you question how a respected company like Acura could let this happen. To the point where you wonder if it's our test car in particular that's plagued with these weird driveability issues, or is it all V6 SH-AWD models. Regardless, the nine-speed automatic transmission is buggy.
I liken it to an awkward conversation. You know the kind: No matter how hard you try, you just can't seem to get on the same page with the person you're talking to.
Except in this case, the awkward exchange is between the Acura's gas pedal and the automatic transmission, not two humans.
Here are the oddities: First off, there's the two-three upshift. It's abrupt. Like, about 90 percent of the time (yes, I kept track; it was a slow day). It's rough in a way that lurches the car forward. It's only the two-three shift, not the one-two shift, not the three-four. And it does this at pretty much all throttle levels.
Then there are some awkward, high-revving moments for no apparent reason. Sometimes at light throttle pressure the transmission just decides to rev the engine out pretty high. It sheds some light into just how dysfunctional the relationship is between the throttle and transmission. It reminded me a bit of a 2016 GMC Terrain Denali we had in here recently, in terms of the high revs you didn't ask for.
The defining moment came when Senior Editor Josh Jacquot and I were carpooling into the office (the long-term 2015 Ford F-150 had left him stranded at home; more on that later). I was changing into a higher-speed lane, floored the throttle, and literally nothing happened for about two seconds.
Even though Jacquot was in the passenger seat, he knew exactly what had just happened. In typical understated Jacquot fashion, he simply said: "Oh my word."
Mike Monticello, Senior Road Test Editor