2015 Acura TLX SH-AWD Long-Term Road Test: Introduction
March 24, 2014
What Did We Get?
Our latest addition to the long-term fleet is a two-for-one deal. Allow us to explain.
The story starts a few years back when the third-generation Acura TL became an unexpected hit between 2004 and 2008. It was the right size, looked great and offered tremendous value. But then subsequent generations slowly got bigger, less interesting to drive and a bit odd-looking.
Even after some redesign rhinoplasty, the TL never got its groove back, so when the time came for an all-new car, Acura tried something radically different. Instead of merely updating the TL, it would create an all-new car that would take the place of both the TL and the smaller, compact TSX sedan.
The 2015 Acura TLX SH-AWD is that something new, and given its critical role in the company's lineup, we knew it deserved a place in our long-term road test fleet for the next year.
What Options Does It Have?
Like big brother Honda, Acura eschews the à la carte options list, favoring instead a rigid system of options lumped into very specific styles.
The base TLX starts at $32,365 and includes a 206-horsepower 2.4-liter four-cylinder, eight-speed dual-clutch transmission with paddle shifters, all-wheel steering, heated front seats, LED headlights, touchscreen display, Bluetooth, rearview camera, Siri Eyes Free and keyless ignition. That's a heckuva good starting point, but our new long-termer is a few steps up the ladder.
Specifically, it's the 2015 TLX 3.5 V6 9-AT SH-AWD with Advance package. That's a mouthful, so let us break down what its $45,720 price includes.
For starters, this TLX swaps the four-cylinder for a 290-hp 3.5-liter V6 and the eight-speed automatic for a nine-speed gearbox. Instead of front-wheel drive, it gets Acura's Super-Handling all-wheel drive. These changes result in a drop in EPA-estimated fuel economy to 25 mpg combined (21 city/31 highway) from 28 mpg (24 city/35 highway).
The included Tech package adds navigation with voice recognition, AcuraLink real-time traffic, an ELS Studio Premium 10-speaker stereo, perforated leather-trimmed seats, a blind-spot monitor, forward collision warning, lane keeping assist, rain-sensing wipers and a rear cross-traffic monitor. The Advance package further ups the safety with adaptive cruise control, collision mitigation braking, road departure mitigation, front and rear parking sensors, LED foglights and remote engine start. V6 models also have a push-button gear selector that replaces the normal lever-based selector. This is sure to be a talking point.
Why We Got It
Attempting to replace two models with one doesn't happen often. So when Acura decided to do just that by discontinuing its TSX sedan and TL sedans in favor of the all-new TLX, it was a bold move.
With a choice of a base four-cylinder engine or an optional V6, along with either front- or all-wheel drive, the TLX covers a range of price and performance. Regardless of how it's equipped, the TLX is a capable handler that's remarkably comfortable and quiet on long drives, and it offers a truly impressive suite of features for the price.
Its biggest hurdle is the competition. The TLX sits squarely in the heart of the entry-level luxury sport sedan segment. Cars like the Audi A3/A4, BMW 3 Series, Cadillac ATS and Mercedes-Benz C-Class are fighting for the same customers as the TLX, so it has to offer a little bit of everything to compete. On paper, it looks as though it has all the tools it needs, but we'll see if it delivers over the next 12 months. Follow along on our long-term road test blog to see what it's like to live with Acura's newest sport sedan.
Best MPG: 23.5
Worst MPG: 19.2
Average MPG over 1,289 miles: 22.1
The manufacturer provided this vehicle for the purpose of evaluation.