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The 2017 Acura TLX has carved out a nice little niche for itself. It's longer and wider than most of its compact-luxury competitors and provides nearly as much space as you'd find in a midsize sedan, but its price is lower than most premium-branded compacts. The TLX owes its extra space to its underpinnings, which it shares with the generously sized Honda Accord, though the TLX's shorter and wider dimensions and attractive angular styling give it a distinctively athletic look.
Your experience behind the wheel of the TLX largely depends on which engine is under the hood. Acura offers a 2.4-liter inline four-cylinder engine that produces 206 horsepower and 182 pound-feet of torque as well as a 3.5-liter V6 making 290 hp and 267 lb-ft. The 2.4-liter engine gets a sportier automatic transmission: an eight-speed dual-clutch automated manual, as opposed to the V6's traditional nine-speed automatic. Nevertheless, the V6 is the engine of choice for drivers who like speed. (It's also the only way to get all-wheel drive.) Edmunds track-tested both powertrains, and while the four-cylinder's 7.4-second zero-to-60-mph run was decent, the V6's 6.1-second sprint was much more exciting. In real-world driving, the four-cylinder just doesn't have the punch of the TLX's turbocharged competitors.
Unfortunately, real-world gas mileage isn't as good as the EPA numbers would lead you to believe. The EPA figure for the four-cylinder TLX is 28 mpg combined (24 city/35 highway), but in Edmunds fuel economy testing, the car returned a disappointing 23.6 mpg. Likewise, the all-wheel-drive V6 is rated at 25 mpg combined (21 city/31 highway), but in our testing it only achieved 21.6 mpg.
It's not that we didn't find things to like in the TLX: Ride and handling is good by class standards, but the TLX lets in more road noise than its rivals. The cabin is roomy and stylish, and while quality is generally good, there are a few trim pieces that are not as substantial as what you would find in the Acura's German competition. The rear seat is plush and offers generous legroom, though headroom is tight for taller passengers. We don't quite know what to make of the TLX's unusual dual-screen infotainment setup. The system's menu structure is easy to learn, but the control knob is oddly placed and the touchscreen is awkward to use while driving. That said, the TLX's optional ELS sound system is lovely, and enough reason by itself to spring for the optional Technology package.
The TLX is also a very good value. It's sold in a single model, and many luxury features that are optional on other cars come as standard equipment on the TLX. Instead of higher trim levels, Acura offers a Technology package, which, as the name implies, bundles infotainment and driver aids, and the Advance package, which includes additional comfort and safety features. How should you equip your 2017 Acura TLX? Edmunds will be happy to help you find just the right one.
Edmunds attended a manufacturer-sponsored event, to which selected members of the press were invited, to facilitate this report.