2015 Acura TLX: Cops Like It
July 13, 2015
Our 2015 Acura TLX is back. After several weeks at the body shop waiting on panels and parts, after spending time with Acura's engineers to make sure everything checked out copasetic, after a further delay to fix something with one of the speakers, our Acura mid-sizer is back on the road.
It's wasted no time making impressions, specifically on the police.
"This is a nice car. What is it?" a polite Irvine motorcycle cop asks me at a Saturday night sobriety checkpoint, alternating his flashlight between my license and the TLX interior. I tell him and he asks how I like it.
I run down the good: nice cabin and seats, very comfortable, clean audio system and technology interface. Good power from the V6. "Wow, sounds quiet for a V6," he says."
He leans in the window a bit closer and asks what I don't like about it. Featherweight steering, too many controls wrapped up in this touchscreen ("very distracting, officer, very distracting"), and just a general ho-hum effort for a brand that aspires to compete with the German sedans.
"Oh, so they're trying to be like BMW?" he asks.
I suddenly realize this officer is no longer engaging me to smell my breath or gauge my speech. He's showing some real interest in the car. Well, sure, I say. They've always tried to be the alternative to the German brands and undercut them on price with nice cars that come very close to matching those German standards.
"Hmmm. Well, it looks really nice. Interesting color; what is this?" he asks, stepping back and passing his flashlight over the door and front quarter-panel.
"I don't know the name. It's like a Coca-Cola brown or something. Kinda dull, actually."
I've said too much. He gives me a quizzical look. We've been talking for a couple of minutes at this point and he hasn't asked to see the insurance card. Possibly a combination of cautious praise and unflattering critique has aroused a suspicion that I might not actually be the happy owner of this new car. He could ask me outright if the car is mine and we could start a little tap-dance around a gray area of civil rights, my opinions on the car not quite being a reasonable suspicion for that line of questioning.
But also knowing that these checkpoints are increasingly meant to snare unlicensed or suspended license drivers, and other general criminal activity besides drunk driving, I pre-empt the whole thing and launch into a practiced explanation of what I do for a living and why I don't own the car.
And the same response every time, cop or civilian: "Wow, that sounds like a really cool job." ("Yeah, it definitely has its moments").
And, clarity: "Acura is Honda, right?" (Correct). "I like Honda bikes. Good quality."
And, inevitably: "What's the coolest car you've driven?" ("Maybe the Mercedes SLS AMG." I can see him scan his memory banks for that one, but certainly AMG rings a bell).
And with a final glance over the dash and instrument panel, he taps the windowsill, bids me be safe and good night, and waves me through.
Dan Frio, Automotive Editor