Used 2015 Acura TLX Sedan
Used 2015 Acura TLX Sedan for Sale
Edmunds' Expert Review
The 2015 Acura TLX faces the unenviable task of replacing not one, but two, of Acura's most popular sedans. But with a more appealing middle-ground size and upticks in performance and luxury, the TLX is now a closer match to its competition.
If the TLX name sounds vaguely familiar, that's because it is. Acura has removed the compact TSX and the midsize TL sedans from its lineup and combined them into one all-new vehicle, the 2015 Acura TLX. Size-wise, the TLX is longer than the TSX but shorter than the TL and, as such, is better suited to appeal to entry-level luxury sedan shoppers.
Thankfully, the TLX has inherited many of the attributes from its forebears. Acura gives you a choice of two updated engines -- either the TSX's four-cylinder or the TL's V6 -- and both offer enhanced fuel economy thanks in part to new eight- and nine-speed automatic transmissions. As was the case with the TL, all-wheel drive is available with the V6 and it's again utilized to provide both enhanced traction in inclement weather and sportier handling.
The TLX also gives you a nice mix of luxury and sport. The roomy and impressively quiet cabin is a comfortable place to spend your commuting hours, and it comes with plenty of high-tech equipment as standard. Away from the highway, the TLX is enjoyable to drive. It feels nimble around turns, and all TLXs come with shift paddles to give you direct control of those new transmissions.
Of course, combine two cars and there's bound to be a little collateral damage. The four-cylinder engine, while certainly capable enough, can't match the stronger punch provided by turbocharged four-cylinders found in many competing models. The TL also features Acura's latest dual-screen electronics interface, but we've found its functionality leaves a little to be desired. And while the TLX is impressively well rounded, it can come off as a little bland compared to the more lavish or customizable designs of some rivals.
This might be the case should you check out the all-stars of the segment, the 2015 BMW 3 Series and 2015 Mercedes-Benz C-Class. The 3 Series continues to offer an excellent mix of sporting performance and luxury, while the redesigned C-Class sets new levels for interior opulence. Other great picks to think about include the 2015 Audi A4, 2015 Lexus IS and 2015 Volvo S60. Yet if you do some research you'll no doubt discover that these cars often end up costing thousands more when comparably equipped to the TLX. So if you factor in that value along with its sporty driving demeanor and everyday comfort, the Edmunds.com "B" rated 2015 Acura TLX is definitely an entry-level luxury sedan you'll want to check out.
Trim levels & features
The 2015 Acura TLX is a midsize luxury sedan offered in three main trim levels: base, Technology and Advance. Technology and Advance are essentially options packages that are available on both front- and all-wheel-drive TLX models.
For standard equipment, the base TLX gets 17-inch alloy wheels, all-wheel steering, LED headlights and brake lights, a sunroof, heated side mirrors, keyless ignition and entry, dual-zone automatic climate control, vinyl (leatherette) upholstery, heated front seats, an eight-way power driver seat (with power lumbar), a four-way power front passenger seat (eight-way on V6), 60/40-split-folding rear seatbacks, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel and an auto-dimming rearview mirror. Also standard are Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, a rearview camera, Siri Eyes Free functionality, two display screens (an upper 8-inch display and a lower 7-inch touchscreen) and a seven-speaker sound system with a CD player, satellite radio, smartphone app integration (Aha and Pandora), an auxiliary audio input jack and an iPod/USB audio interface.
Upgrade to the Technology package and you get leather upholstery, driver memory settings, lane departure warning, a blind-spot monitoring system, rear cross-traffic alert, forward collision warning, voice commands, a navigation system and an Acura/ELS 10-speaker sound system. Available only with the V6 engine, the Advance package adds 18-inch wheels, front and rear parking sensors, remote ignition, LED foglights, auto-dimming side mirrors, ventilated front seats, adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assist and automatic braking for forward collision mitigation.
Performance & mpg
The 2015 Acura TLX gives you a choice of two engines: a 2.4-liter four-cylinder and a 3.5-liter V6. The 2.4-liter engine generates 206 horsepower and 182 pound-feet of torque. It's offered only with front-wheel drive and is paired with a specialized eight-speed automated manual transmission. (It's an automated dual-clutch manual, much like's VW's DSG or Porsche's PDK, but Acura has also fitted a conventional automatic's torque converter to it for claimed smoother operation at slow speeds.)
During Edmunds testing, a TLX 2.4 accelerated from zero to 60 mph in 7.4 seconds, which is on the slow side for this segment. EPA estimated fuel economy with the 2.4-liter engine is 28 mpg combined (24 city/35 highway), which is very good for this class of car. On our mixed-driving evaluation route, however, we observed 23.6 mpg, which is lower than what we've obtained from some turbocharged competitors.
As for the 3.5-liter V6, it's rated at 290 hp and 267 lb-ft of torque with a nine-speed automatic transmission. The V6 is offered with either front-wheel or all-wheel drive.
At the test track, a TLX 3.5 with all-wheel drive sprinted to 60 mph in 6.4 seconds. That's generally fairly brisk, if still nearly a second off the segment speedsters. Fuel economy is an EPA estimated 25 mpg combined (21/34) with front-wheel drive. Interestingly, going with all-wheel drive still gets you 25 mpg combined (21/31). Our observed fuel economy was again disappointing, though, checking in at 21.2 on our evaluation route.
Standard safety features on the 2015 Acura TLX include antilock disc brakes, stability control and traction control, a rearview camera, front seat side airbags, side curtain airbags, a driver knee airbag and active front head restraints.
During testing of both a TLX 2.4 and TLX 3.5, we recorded identical stopping distances from 60 mph of 129 feet, which is about 7 feet longer than average for this segment.
Optional safety equipment includes front and rear parking sensors, a blind-spot warning system, lane-departure warning, lane-keeping assist, forward collision warning and automatic braking for frontal collision mitigation.
During Insurance Institute for Highway Safety crash tests, the 2015 Acura TLX was given the highest possible rating of "Good" for moderate-overlap frontal-offset collisions, side impacts, roof strength and seatbelt and head restraint design for whiplash protection in rear impacts. In the small-overlap frontal-offset collision test, the TLX received the second highest rating of "Acceptable" from the IIHS.
For the 2015 Acura TLX, one of your first decisions will be which powertrain configuration to get. The four-cylinder delivers excellent fuel economy, and its power is certainly adequate for everyday use. Selecting the transmission's "Sport +" mode notably perks up performance, as downshifts come swiftly and lower gears are held longer, thus keeping the engine in the sweet spot of its power band. Still, almost all other rival base engines in this class are turbocharged, making the TLX's performance seem a little underwhelming if you drive them back to back. If you've got the need for speed, the V6 is certainly the way to go.
The TLX is lighter than the TL it replaces and you can feel that weight difference in the way it drives. There's an enjoyable combination of everyday comfort and sporty back-roads prowess here that should meet your desires for a luxury sport sedan. The steering doesn't have a lot of feel, but the TLX still goes around turns with an unexpected level of nimbleness. This is true of both the front-drive models (thanks to their rear-wheel steering feature) and all-wheel-drive TLXs that can apply engine torque to individual wheels to help the car quickly power out of turns.
However, regardless of which TLX you drive, the chassis' athletic abilities are let down during more spirited driving by their tires' relatively meager levels of outright grip. In terms of ride quality, over rutted city streets the TLX's suspension can seem a little stiff (though far from objectionable), but on the highway it's controlled and smooth-riding.
The TLX's interior is a step up compared to the TSX and TL. The front seats in the TLX have thick yet soft padding and decent lateral support to provide high levels of comfort. The rear seat is quite plush, too, with a comfortable seatback angle. Rear-seat headroom will be a bit tight for tall adults, though legroom is generous for this segment. Acura says it employed extensive noise-cancelling measures in the TLX. The latter seem to have worked, as very little wind and road noise makes its way into the cabin, which makes for easy conversation.
The interior's overall look is clean and similar to Acura's flagship RLX sedan and MDX crossover. The gauges are easy to read and the stacked display screen combo is used to show and control most of the car's functions. The learning curve for this interface is pretty painless but some of the touchscreen controls are tedious to use and the overall graphic resolution is underwhelming. And while overall interior quality is certainly nice, a few of the trim pieces aren't quite as rich-looking or -feeling as what you'll find in an A4 or C-Class, for instance.
Trunk space, at 13.2 cubic feet, is average for this class.
Features & Specs
More About This Model
Acura's all-new TLX is an entry-level luxury sedan designed to replace both the larger TL and smaller TSX sedans, which have been discontinued. In terms of size and price, it's in the same league as the BMW 3 Series sedan, Mercedes-Benz C-Class sedan and Cadillac's ATS sedan. In terms of feel, it's a capable handler with modest limits. Think of it as a luxury sedan with an edge, more so than a true sport sedan.
What Is It?
The Acura TLX is an all-new four-door luxury sedan that slots below the RLX and above the ILX in the brand's lineup. It effectively replaces both the TSX and the TL and rides on a wheelbase that is within an inch of the Audi A4, BMW 3 Series and Cadillac ATS.
The base TLX comes with a 206-horsepower 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine driving the front wheels through an eight-speed automated dual-clutch transmission. V6-powered models are available in either front- or all-wheel drive and both come with a nine-speed automatic transmission. Rated at 290 hp, the TLX's 3.5-liter V6 makes slightly less power than most of its competitors' optional engines.
We tested two models: the base four cylinder and the full-zoot V6 with Acura's Super Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD) system. The base car was equipped with the Technology package, which adds navigation, real-time traffic and premium audio as well as a blind-spot monitor, forward collision warning and a lane-keeping assist system among other features. At $35,920 including shipping, the base TLX offers good value at the cost of marginally reduced performance relative to some rivals.
Our V6 tester cost $45,595 with the Advance package, which adds adaptive cruise control, collision mitigation braking (autonomous braking), ventilated front seats and more.
How Does the TLX Handle?
Though both versions of the TLX have sporting intentions, it's the V6 SH-AWD model that has real chops when it comes to driving with purpose. Torque biasing, which routes power to the outside rear wheel during cornering, is the next step in making cars handle and fun to drive.
In the TLX, the system works seamlessly and is effective enough that we found ourselves getting on the gas earlier out of corners thanks to the car's ability to rotate and hold a line. Driven hard, the SH-AWD-equipped TLX offers an engaging (if low-limit) driving experience.
We say low limit because the handling is hampered by all-season tires that have both soft sidewalls and modest grip. On our skid pad the TLX only managed a pedestrian 0.85g , an average number for this class. More aggressive tires would likely make the TLX feel far more capable.
In addition to the optional all-wheel-drive system, the TLX also offers Acura's Precision All-Wheel-Steering system on front-wheel-drive models. It's optional on the four-cylinder and standard with the V6. It's designed to deliver a smaller turning radius at slow speeds and increased stability at higher speeds. The effects are subtle, though, and in most scenarios, the rear-wheel steering is barely noticeable.
How Well Does It Accelerate and Stop?
The top-trim TLX's V6 is rated at 290 hp, which is slightly less than its competitors' top engines. Our V6 tester hit 60 in 6.4 seconds, while the four-cylinder model took 7.4 seconds to complete the same test. Those numbers are slower than other six-cylinder competitors, but on par with comparable four-cylinder engines in the BMW, Cadillac and Lexus models the TLX competes with.
Both versions of the TLX offer shift paddles for changing gears and rev-matched downshifts for smoother braking. On V6 models, the transmission lever is replaced by a push-button setup on the center console. It's weird and unnecessary, but might add novelty for some drivers. We'd prefer a conventional shifter.
When it comes to slowing down in a hurry, the TLX shows some signs of weakness. Pedal feel is solid during normal driving but more aggressive use quickly changes the brakes' ability to deliver quick stops. Our four-cylinder tester showed signs of brake fade after the first stop, and its 60-0-mph distances were longer than average. The V6 model showed less fade, but its distances were also long for the class.
What Is the Interior Like?
Comfort and technology features abound inside the TLX. Its overall design isn't ground-breaking, but it is simple to use. A dual-screen layout allows you to view both a navigation map and the various climate and audio controls simultaneously.
Though navigation is standard on the top-spec V6 SH-AWD model, it's also available on both of the lesser trims. Multiple USB and 12-volt outlets are standard and well placed in both the center console and beneath the center stack.
Heated front seats are available across the line, and ventilated front seats are available on V6 models. We found the TLX's seats amply comfortable on multi-hour trips, and a 10-way-adjustable driver seat is standard on every model. Real leather is available on any trim and is standard on V6 SH-AWD trims.
Rear seat passenger room is solid for the class. Ample hip-, shoulder and legroom make it feel plenty spacious for average-size adults. Only the tallest passengers will notice that it's short about an inch on headroom when compared to its main competitors.
Trunk space, at 13.2 cubic feet, is better than most competitors, and the 60/40 split-folding rear seatback improves utility by folding nearly flat.
What Safety Features Does It Offer?
Front, front side, side curtain and driver's knee airbags are all standard across the TLX line, as are antilock brakes, stability control and traction control. Every TLX is also fitted with a rearview camera with moving guidelines.
Available safety features include a forward collision warning system, collision mitigation braking system (autonomous braking), lane departure warning system, lane-keeping assist system, road departure mitigation system, blind-spot warning and a rear cross-traffic monitor.
We found Acura's lane-keeping system, which utilizes a camera to recognize the lane markings, to be highly effective in balancing the TLX's placement in the lane. It's not autonomous driving, but its subtle inputs are helpful.
Neither the federal government nor the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety have crashed tested the TLX yet.
What Kind of Fuel Economy Can You Expect?
The EPA rates the four-cylinder TLX at 28 mpg combined (24 city/35 highway) and the V6 SH-AWD version at 25 combined (21 city/31 highway). Front-drive V6 models are in between at 25 mpg combined (21 city/34 highway)
In combined driving, our four-cylinder test car delivered 26.3 mpg, while the all-wheel-drive V6 model only managed 20.9 mpg in mixed driving.
What Are Its Closest Competitors?
BMW's 3 Series sedan is among the most popular and best-driving cars in the class. It's available with two different four-cylinder gas engines, a four-cylinder diesel and both standard and hybrid six-cylinder engines. All-wheel drive and a six-speed manual or eight-speed automatic transmission are available depending on the configuration.
2015 Mercedes-Benz C-Class sedan: Redesigned for 2015, the C-Class is also offered with turbocharged four- and six-cylinder engines and all-wheel drive, though both are paired with a seven-speed automatic transmission. Striking styling and high-end interior bits coupled with solid performance allowed it to beat Audi's A4 in our recent comparison test.
2015 Cadillac ATS: Though its wheelbase is identical to the TLX's at 109.3 inches, the ATS is shorter and considerably narrower. It does, however, offer turbocharged four-cylinder and V6 powertrain options as well as all-wheel drive.
Why You Should Consider This Car
Value is the TLX's biggest strength. A BMW 3 Series sedan equipped with all-wheel drive and similar safety and technology features will cost as much as $10,000 more than the TLX SH-AWD. Base model TLXs offer a similar value equation at a lower price. The TLX is also extremely comfortable and quiet in day-to-day driving and will likely earn excellent crash test ratings.
Why You Should Think Twice About This Car
Although packed with plenty of high-tech hardware, the TLX falls short of its competitors when it comes to all-out performance. It also fails to match some of the German brands when it comes to luxurious interior materials.
Edmunds attended a manufacturer-sponsored event, to which selected members of the press were invited, to facilitate this report.
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Should I lease or buy a 2015 Acura TLX?
Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.