2015 Acura TLX GT Long-Term Road Test - Wrap-Up

2015 Acura TLX Long-Term Road Test

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2015 Acura TLX

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What We Got
When the 2015 Acura TLX was added to the brand's lineup, it had a difficult mission. It was designed to replace both the compact TSX sedan and the midsize TL sedan. That meant it had to offer the sharp handling of the TSX without giving up the comfort of the larger TL.

Not an easy goal to achieve but one that would put the TLX in a better position to compete with its established rivals. In order to get a better idea of just how well it fulfilled its mission, we decided to add one to our long-term fleet.

We chose the TLX with the 290-horsepower 3.5-liter V6. It not only provided more power than the standard four-cylinder, it came standard with a new nine-speed automatic transmission with a unique push-button shifter. We also opted for the high-tech all-wheel-drive system instead of the standard front-wheel-drive setup.

Our car included the Tech package, which added navigation with voice recognition, AcuraLink real-time traffic, a 10-speaker audio system, perforated leather seats, a blind-spot warning system, forward collision warning, lane keeping assist, rear cross-traffic monitor and rain-sensing wipers.

We also added the Advance package: adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking (a.k.a. "collision mitigation"), road departure mitigation, front and rear parking sensors, LED foglights and remote engine start.

In other words, our TLX was loaded with everything Acura offered in the new sedan, so its final sticker price rang in at $45,720. That put it right in line with stiff competition like the BMW 3 Series and Audi A4. After more than 20,000 miles here's what we learned.

Performance

  • "In Sport mode, the Acura strikes an almost perfect balance between a hardened high-performance sport sedan and a mind-numbing, feel-nothing luxobarge. You know you're driving this car. It's responsive and provides real interaction between driver, machine and road. But it never feels harsh or forces the driver to sacrifice in the name of driving a 'sport sedan.'" — Scott Oldham


  • "The nine-speed automatic transmission is buggy. I liken it to an awkward conversation between the gas pedal and the automatic transmission. The 2-3 upshift is rough in a way that lurches the car forward. It does this at pretty much all throttle levels. Then there are some awkward, high-revving moments for no apparent reason." — Mike Monticello


  • "When I felt some vibration in the brake pedal on my way down a lengthy high-speed grade, a series of traumatic Honda flashbacks ensued. If there's one thing Honda has done a less than bang-up job with over the years, it's brakes. I'm not saying our TLX is threatening to shake itself to pieces. It's not nearly that bad. But I submit to you that 17,000 miles is rather early for a $45,720 luxury sport sedan's brakes to be palpably degrading, even if it's subtle." — Josh Sadlier

MPG

  • "As Dan Edmunds and I have learned, the TLX will beat EPA highway estimates even while moving at a decent clip with several passengers. Two of the nine fill-ups for (September), for example, surpassed the 31 mpg mark." — Cameron Rogers


  • "The Sport mode oversight cost me the game. I set a new range record at 486.1 miles with 18 miles haunting me on the DTE meter. I wanted 500. My average was 32.2 mpg, which was higher than the EPA's 31 mpg estimate, but short of our 33.7 mpg best. Dang." — Mike Schmidt

Comfort

  • "Over broken, battered and practically cobbled surfaces, the TLX feels smooth and generally unfazed. Part of the credit for this gentle ride goes to the suspension, but I think the tires deserve some credit, too. The TLX's tires have 4.43 inches of sidewall. That's not the tallest sidewall in the world, but it goes a long way toward soaking up road imperfections and providing a comfortable ride." — Travis Langness


  • "If there is one thing I took away from this drive it was that the driver seat of the TLX is an excellent fit for my body. Seat adjustability paired with a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel allowed me to find the perfect driving position." — Mike Schmidt

2015 Acura TLX

Cargo Space

  • "The luxury sedan swallowed four mounted 15-inch wheels and tires (which my '69 Camaro once wore) so easily I almost couldn't believe it myself. I expected to get one wheel and tire in the trunk, maybe two. And the other two would have to go in the backseat. But three fit in the trunk. Three! And the trunk closed. No problem." — Scott Oldham


  • "The three boards were 8 feet long, a foot wide and an inch thick. After folding the rear seats down I had a fairly wide opening to slide them in. They extended right up to the middle of the center console before the back end tucked into the corner of the trunk. The only real constraint was the opening between the front seats. I turned the boards to make them fit, but I could have adjusted the passenger seatback, too, if I really need more room. It was that simple." — Ed Hellwig

Interior

  • "I think (the push-button shifter) works for two reasons. One, the "Drive" button is not only big, it's right in the middle. It doesn't take much fumbling around to find it. Two, instead of a button for reverse, it basically has a rocker switch that you actually pull backward. Yes, pull backward to go backward, ingenious. Maybe I'll get into a situation where this setup becomes annoying, but so far I haven't found one." — Ed Hellwig


  • "Our TLX's brown leather adds a welcome bit of visual contrast compared to an all-black cabin, but is less prone to discoloration than gray or beige seats. After more than 17,000 miles, our seats are slick, but not visibly dirty or turning blue from jeans wearers." — James Riswick

2015 Acura TLX

Audio and Technology

  • "I like the way the (audio) system sounds. I'm not going to claim I'm a hard-core audiophile, but in my listening, music played through the ELS system has sounded detailed and accurate. Bass output is modest (it's not capable of any body-panel-shaking feats), but the system on the whole is balanced." — Brent Romans


  • "Another reason I like the onboard navigation: The picture above shows my next steps. I could plop my iPhone 6 into a cradle and look at that instead, but with a get-up like the one built into the TLX, I don't have to. Would I pay a huge premium to have an onboard navigation system? Nope (when I sold cars, the up-cost of a built-in navigation system was about $2,000). Would I pay a small premium? Yep. And depending on the brand of car, the extra cost can be just a few hundred bucks." — Matt Jones

2015 Acura TLX

Maintenance

  • "Jay told you in his last blog that the collision damage to our 2015 Acura TLX 'looks worse than it is.' Now it looks as bad as it is. We got into the body shop to document the start of repairs on our TLX and it isn't pretty. Here's what $6,300 worth of broadside collision looks like." — Mike Schmidt


  • "Our first service cost $80.64 for an oil change and tire rotation, but this service was much more work and cost quite a bit more. With fees and taxes, the total for the service came to $279.24. The pickup was easy and the service only took about three hours." — Travis Langness

Miscellaneous

  • "If I were buying one, I'd go with a TLX V6 AWD with the Technology package (skipping the top Advance package). When I brought up our pricing pages, Edmunds TMV was $38,678. To me, that's a justified step up from a loaded family sedan but not as dearly priced as some other entry-luxury sedans like the 3 Series or C-Class." — Brent Romans


  • "If I have to be a part of the unpredictable, mindless river of humanity that characterizes L.A.'s terrible freeways, I like adaptive cruise control. I do not like the adaptive cruise control on our TLX. For starters, this system is extremely paranoid. It's an orchestra of beeps and warnings, most of which stem from something I can't identify. And about half of the time, it seemed to pick random speeds to stick to while the car in front went five, 10, or 50 car lengths out of our range." — Mike Magrath

Maintenance & Repairs

Regular Maintenance:
Our TLX requested its first service at around 6,000 miles. This was basically just an oil/filter change and tire rotation, and it cost about $81. Our next service was just before 15,000 miles and was more involved, including an oil/filter change, a rear differential drain and refill, and a full battery of inspections. That one cost us nearly $280.

Service Campaigns:
A recall was issued for our TLX for a not-insignificant issue that could shift the car into neutral without warning, and prevent the transmission from shifting back into Drive until the car was shut off and restarted. It was fixed with a software update.

Fuel Economy and Resale Value

Observed Fuel Economy:
EPA fuel economy estimates for the TLX were 25 mpg combined (21 city/31 highway). We averaged 24.5 mpg during our test. Even though that's 0.5 mpg shy of the EPA estimate, we think it's pretty impressive given that many of us drove the TLX in its Sport mode setting (faster acceleration, snappier gearchanges). Our best single tank got up to 33.7 mpg and our best single tank of range covered 486.1 miles.

Resale and Depreciation:
Our Acura TLX had an as-tested MSRP of $45,720. After one year and 19,809 miles, Edmunds' TMV® Calculator valued the sedan at $34,471, based on a private-party sale. That reflected 25 percent depreciation. For comparison, our 2013 Lexus GS 350 depreciated 30 percent.

Summing Up

Pros: V6 engine delivers strong acceleration; refined suspension makes for a smooth ride on any surface; spacious cabin has plenty of room for four adults; high-quality materials used throughout the interior; long list of high-tech features.

Cons: Transmission doesn't always pick the right gear quickly enough; high-tech driver aids like adaptive cruise control and lane keeping assist didn't always react fast enough.

Bottom Line:
If you're looking for a well-appointed luxury sedan that offers excellent value, the Acura TLX is a strong contender. From its smooth and powerful V6 to its long list of high-tech features, this sedan offers everything you could ask for in a well-built package that looks and feels refined from top to bottom.

Total Body Repair Costs: $6,389
Total Routine Maintenance Costs: $359.88 (over 12 months)
Additional Maintenance Costs: $50
Warranty Repairs: Software update for recall notice
Non-Warranty Repairs: Extensive collision repair
Scheduled Dealer Visits: 2
Unscheduled Dealer Visits: 0
Days Out of Service: 61
Breakdowns Stranding Driver: None
   
Best Fuel Economy: 33.7 mpg
Worst Fuel Economy: 14.6 mpg
Average Fuel Economy: 24.5 mpg
   
True Market Value at service end: $34,471 (private-party sale)
Depreciation: $11,249 (or 25% of paid price or original MSRP)
Final Odometer Reading: 19,809 miles

The manufacturer provided Edmunds this vehicle for the purposes of evaluation.


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