2015 Acura TLX: Sport Equals Normal
by Ronald Montoya, Senior Consumer Advice Editor on October 26, 2015
Ever notice how it takes a while for an LCD TV to power on? I do. Does it bug you when you press a button and there's a noticeable lag before the action takes place? Yeah, me too. I've been noticing this lag on the accelerator pedals of many modern cars.
Our 2015 Acura TLX is no exception, but I've found a way around it.
We're only talking about a couple seconds here, or fractions thereof, but sometimes you need to quickly dart out of an intersection and Normal mode wasn't cutting it for me. Add the rough start-stop system and the TLX's reaction time gets even longer.
In addition to the lag, I also felt a general sluggishness to the pedal, as if there was a force field beneath it. Put the car in Sport mode, however, and this all goes away. The car feels more responsive, shifts at slightly higher RPMs, and feels like you're actually driving a car with 290 horsepower.
I should note that I've no interest in driving this car in any "sporty" fashion. I just want the pedal to react when I step on it, the way pedals used to, before electronic throttles and quick-shifting transmissions were calibrated to deliver increasingly stringent EPA fuel economy numbers.
In some cars, Sport mode makes the transmission hold gears longer, which can feel just too high-strung for street driving. Our TLX's Sport mode isn't like that, though if you wanted something similar, I imagine Sport+ would do the trick. The car is also smart enough to remember what mode it was in when you've parked it. It's ready for you the next time.
Its intelligence fails when it comes to the start-stop system, however. It's the default setting and must be manually turned off every time you drive.
All this Sport mode goodness comes at a cost, of course. I only drove the car about 100 miles last weekend, but the in-car fuel meter was estimating between 19-20 mpg, well under the EPA's estimate of 25 mpg for combined driving.
If you're interested in a car with selectable driving modes, make sure you test out its Sport mode. It may change your mind on how the car drives. Just know that it will likely come at the expense of fuel economy.
Ronald Montoya, Senior Consumer Advice Editor