The Acura TLX is a small luxury sedan that competes with the likes of the Audi A4, BMW 3 Series and Mercedes-Benz C-Class. While older Acura sedans have developed something of a cult status, more recent four-door models have fallen short in terms of both performance and luxury. With a full redesign, Acura plans to fix that with the 2021 Acura TLX.
2021 Acura TLX
- Many standard safety features and driver aids
- Optional ELS audio system is excellent
- Roomy and comfortable front seats
- Rear seats can feel cramped
- Handling isn't as athletic as the styling suggests
- Not as fuel-efficient as German rivals
- Less-than-smooth power delivery
- Fully redesigned for 2021
- Improved interior materials
- Longer and wider than predecessor
- Kicks off the second TLX generation for 2021
The 2021 Acura TLX gets its power from a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 272 horsepower and 280 lb-ft of torque. That's slightly less horsepower but more torque compared to the first-generation's V6 engine upgrade. A 10-speed automatic transmission sends power to the front wheels by default, and all-wheel drive is available as an option.
I drove the TLX in both A-Spec (the second-highest trim, complete with a sporty appearance package) and Advanced (the top-tier trim, which includes an adaptive suspension with different driving modes) guises and came away with a mixed impression.
Like Acura's RDX and MDX SUVs, the TLX is quite comfortable. The ride is forgiving when you're driving over bumps and ruts. Our guess is that Acura's engineers prioritized ride comfort over outright performance. Opt for the TLX Advanced, and the suspension is downright soft when you have the car in its Comfort drive mode.
Acura has seriously stepped up the TLX's materials compared to the last generation. The outgoing TLX had quite a bit of cheap-feeling plastic. Acura's designers proudly told us: "If it looks like metal, it's metal. If it looks like wood, it's wood." There's still a generous amount of plastic, but it's sturdy, textured stuff for the most part, and there's quite a bit of stitched leather and faux leather around to offset it.
Once again, I came away with mixed feelings about the TLX's technology features. The touchpad-based infotainment system is likely to remain polarizing in this generation, even though it has been improved. I appreciate Acura repositioning the volume knob and seek buttons to the console next to the pad, and Acura's work to improve the responsiveness of the touchpad and handwriting recognition has helped. But for fine control in situations such as manipulating the navigation interface, Acura's touchpad still isn't an ideal system. At least the 10.2-inch screen is crisp and attractive.
The TLX's official cargo volume has shrunk more than half a cubic foot, but at 13.5 cubic feet it's still doing well for the class. The trunk opening is generous, as is the cargo pass-through with the seats folded down.
The good news is that the new four-cylinder engine is more economical than the old V6. Slightly. Acura expects the 2021 TLX will get 25 mpg combined (22 city/31 highway) with front-wheel drive and 24 mpg combined (21 city/29 highway) with AWD. That's a gain of 1 mpg over the outgoing V6.
The TLX is available in four trim levels: base, Technology, A-Spec and Advanced. Technically, Acura refers to each as packages, but they're no different than trim levels. A 272-horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder engine is standard, as is a 10-speed automatic and front-wheel drive in all trims. All-wheel drive is optional across the range.
The 2021 Acura TLX's more aggressive looks, higher-quality interior, improved technology features, and strong engine add up to the best Acura sedan in years. But this still isn't a home run for Acura, with some compromises that seem likely to keep it from claiming the top spot in the class.
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Most helpful consumer reviews
Recently picked up a redesigned AWD TLX w/turbo 4 cyl. in A-Spec trim. Really wanted the Type S but decided that the eventual ramp up in cost and lower fuel economy probably would have been deal breakers. I am very glad the TLX is no longer based on the Accord platform as it looks great and can stand out more from its Honda brethren. Here are my initial impressions. Pros: - Engine has some zip and should be more than adequate for most people (enthusiasts can continue waiting for the Type S) - Looks like a sleek sports car (especially if you choose the red/black interior seating)! - Seats are super comfortable, even more so than the ones on the MDX I was driving. Good support and I can imagine long drives being pleasant. - Suspension has been upgraded to double-wishbone. I don't feel I miss the active-dampening of the Advance trim. - Trunk release button is handy for when your hands are full (just stand there with fob in proximity and push the button!) - Awesome ELS sound system - Wireless phone charging Cons: - There is no spare tire (for additional fuel economy). You'll deal with a compressor and sealant in the trunk. You can always ask roadside assistance to do it for you. - The touchpad takes some getting used to. Unfortunately the method to operate the tactile pad for Acura apps is not the same as for when you use Carplay. I can't comment on the Android version but it may be the same issue. I've gotten used to this but I can see this being a deal breaker for some folks. - Car is marketed to compete with the BMW 3 series, C-Class, etc. and is competitive in price, interior space, trunk space, but not in fuel economy. I believe the exterior being more like the 5-series or E-Class size and the weight has quite a bit to do with it. This oddball combination forces the TLX to be more of a direct competitor with the Kia Stinger GT-Line for these reasons (fuel economy is identical). Speaking of weight, the TLX is only about 250 lb less than the MDX I gave up. Luckily the engine is more than sufficient to power the car on the highway. I always hated how underpowered a 2012 C-Class I owned was similar in weight to this TLX but struggled to accelerate with its underpowered V6. In conclusion, I'll stop short of saying this car is for "Acura fans only" but it is definitely not for everyone. The looks may keep sales high but only time will tell how long-term owners feel. Either way, it is most definitely worth it to get a test drive if you are on the fence after this review!
I just lease a 2022 tlx advance this are my first impressions on the car. Nice looking, from the outside and the inside, the inside side is also beautiful, drives very well and comfortable, very impressive with the sound sistem, i absolutely love it, one of the best in the market, the materials inside are top class, all the safety features are in the car, very satisfied with the car so far. My complaints are for example that it doesn’t have power tilt steering wheel even on the advance, that is a shame for a car that cost almost 48,000 and the it comes with regular floor carpets without the logo, if you want those you have to buy them separately shame on that too, also thee is not an usb charge for the back passengers. It would be nice if Acura offers a better variety of rims. It is a very good looking car.
The biggest flaw I found after driving a 2021 TLX advance package was the Acura logo on the grill and all it controls. When this gets dirty or snowy none of your convenience/safety features function at all. Over all this car is absolutely astounding and a blast to drive and the sport mode is a blast, cant wait to see how the Type -S hanldles in comparison
As others have noted the styling is much sportier than the outgoing TLX, but the transmission doesn't live up to those lofty standards. Off the line pep seemed adequate until I drove a neighbor's Accord sport, and it definitely had more get up and go than the TLX. The TLX in lower gears shifts quickly to redline and gets underway, but in highway passing the gears are spaced too for apart (or there are just too many). The interior is nicely laid out and the ELs system is good for a $50k car. For those that think this is a premium sound system, please hop in a Lexus with the Mark Levinson system or a BMW with a Harman Kardon, no comparison. This car isn't a straight line burner, but the new suspension and SH-AWD do wonders keeping the car flat in corners. My review is really based on Acura marketing this car as a sports sedan, which I think is a mistake and why I only give it 3 stars. It isn't a sports sedan. A BMW 340i or even an Alfa Giulia are sports sedans in this class. The new TLX is an entry level sedan and is very good at being that, but if you market a car to me as something else I am going to grade you based on how it was described to me.
2021 Acura TLX video
Edmunds gives our first impressions review of the new 2021 Acura TLX and Acura TLX Type S. Check out the specs, 0-60, redesign details, price and more. Is the new Acura TLX a good car? Let’s find out with Mark Takahashi.
SPEAKER 1: In 2015, Acura introduced the TLX, an entry level luxury sports sedan. It replaced two other Acura models, the smaller TSX and the slightly larger TL. We'd liked its for its comfort, its reliability, as well as its value. But it never really was competitive against the established German rivals. I sort of considered it luxury adjacent because it didn't have the performance or excitement and interior quality of what you'd expect from BMW, Audi, or Mercedes. That may change with the all new 2021 Acura TLX when it goes on sale this fall. Prices will start right in the mid $30,000 range for the base TLX. You're going to get a two liter turbocharged four cylinder. That's good for 272 horsepower and 280 pound feet of torque. It's going to feel more responsive, a lot more exciting. It's going to be mated to a 10 speed automatic transmission that drives the front wheels. Acura's super handling all wheel drive will be available as an option. And it's the new fourth generation SHAWD. That means it'll be able to send up to 70% of available power to the rear wheels, which is an increase of about 40% over last generation. Also, the response between shifting power between front axle and rear axle will also be quickened up in the order of about 30%. The translation? This new TLX will put a lot more power to the pavement. This new TLX is all new from the ground up with a much stiffer platform it's working with. Gone are the front strut suspension replaced by a double wishbone setup for better handling. Sounds good, right? We'll just wait until springtime. That's when the Type S TLX comes out. The TLX type S gets a 3 liter turbocharged V6 with much more power. Acura isn't going into details just yet. But if I were a betting man, I'd say between 350 and 400 horsepower. One can hope. The Type S will be the first Type S from Acura that's eligible for the super handling all four wheel drive. In addition to that, the Type S gets upgraded brakes. You have four brembo calipers with larger rotors. The brake system itself is derived from the NSX and its electoral servo system. It eliminates the mechanical contact between the pedal and the brakes. Its brake by wire, but at least in the NSX, we couldn't tell the difference. And that's a good thing. Sadly, I'm not allowed drive either of these today. So we're going to have to wait a little while to see how all these improvements stack up. We do have plenty of time to talk about everything else. So let's start with exterior styling. Up front is a familiar Acura grill, not far from the 2018 refresh of the last generation TLX. There is an integrated radar emitter here for the frontal collision as well as adaptive cruise control. And to me, it looks a little tacked on, but does make sense because it has one the widest spreads of a radar unit out there. There are also some really nice, deep, sharp creases in the hood that converge all at the top of the grill just like the last generation TLX. The TLX's profile best illustrates what's new with it. Right off the bat, you can see it has a much longer hood. Designers referred to this as the dash-to-axle distance. That's from the bottom of this roof pillar to the center of the front wheel. It's much, much longer than the previous generation TLX. Along the side, we have a lot of creases and surface treatments to break up some of the sheet metal over here. In particular, this crease here starts just behind the front wheel travels all the way down and over these rear haunches with the door handles following them. These rear haunches are also much wider than before. They lend it a much sportier appearance, which I'm all for. Along with all these surface treatments, it's just bigger overall. There's 3.7 inches longer when it comes to wheelbase. That's the distance from the front and rear axle. Also the roofline has been lowered out 6/10 of an inch. Overall, it gives it a sportier, more hunkered down appearance. In a lot of ways, it reminds me of the four series Gran Coupe from BMW. And that's a compliment. There are also echoes of BMW in the rear tail lights and fascia. In particularly, I like these cutouts here in the bumper that breakup some of that space. They suggest that they're air extractors but they're just holding reflectors. Now, you get too thin tailpipes on the regular TLX, but on the Type S, you get four round pipes. The width of the car increases by about 2.2 inches, and the wheels are also pushed a little further apart. The result? A slightly bigger trunk at 13 1/2 cubic feet. And it's a very usable space with remote releases for the seat backs. Overall, I think this new TLX is far more attractive than the last generation. It has the right proportions to give the sporty character the designers were going for. But let's see how that translates to the interior. Inside, the TLX gets a major modern makeover. The dash is much deeper with deeper creases with the screen plopped right on top. At the top of the center stack, we have a lot of controls that are logically organized. We have climate control buttons right here at the top of the center stack. Right underneath, a lot of the drive functions. And then the infotainment controller is right where your hand rests on the center console. The big dial in the middle is for drive modes, whether it's comfort, normal, or sport. There's also a new individual mode where you can fine tune it to your particular tastes. That means you can have a softer ride from the available adaptive dampers while still enjoying the response from the engine in sport mode. The Type S will further benefit from a sport plus mode. I've never been a fan of Honda's gear selector, and well it's the same here as it is a Honda. Now it actually is fairly easy to use once you're used to it. I get it. But to me, it takes up just about as much space as a regular lever and it's not quite as attractive either. On top of that, it's the same shifter, or something similar, that you'd get in a Honda Accord. And as much as I liked the Honda Accord, I expect it's something just a little more special in the Acura. It's likely most people will have a bigger problem with the infotainment system though. They're using a touch pad here, much like what Lexus does. And Lexus' system is regarded as one of the worst in the industry. According to our last rating of the Acura RDX though, this does function better than the Lexus, but it does take some time to get used to. And even then, it's more difficult to use than a standard dial or touchscreen. The display is nice and bright and big at 10.2 inches, and it's right in my sightline. That means less distraction. There's also an available head up display right in front of me. Other tech includes a Wi-Fi hotspot and remote monitoring and control over the car through a smartphone app. It also comes with the Acura Watch Suite of advanced safety features. These include frontal collision mitigation, lane keep assist, adaptive cruise control, traffic sign reader, and a drowsy driver monitor. In other news, the TLX debuts a new front passenger airbag with three chambers. When it deploys, it looks a lot like a catcher's mitt and functions much the same. It's able to control the motion of that front passenger just in case things go horribly wrong. We're in the top trim of the TLX, which means it gets this nice leather covered dashboard. Otherwise, it's kind of a vinyl that's well textured. There's also some really nice open pore real wood here on the trim, on the sides. And it's one of my favorites. For me, if it's would trim, it has to be open pore and matte. There's a decent amount of storage too. These cup holders are well-placed, and there's a very smartly located wireless charging pad here. Now, you can put your phone down and still close the lid, and it's still somewhat visible. It will have Apple CarPlay and Android auto as standard. The bin here is pretty well sized, as are the pockets in the doors. So on a long road trip, you're not going to be running out of places to store your personal effects. Of course, we're in a sedan. So I'll have to check up the backseat as well. I'm pleasantly surprised by the amount of space I have in the back seat here. And that's impressive for these four door coupes that are permeating the market. My head is just barely brushing the headliner. I don't have that much space under the seat, but my feet are in a good position. And I have tons of knee room. Outward visibility is also good, so you'll never feel claustrophobic back here. The first generation Acura TLX didn't have a shot at taking on BMW or Audi, but the second generation redesign definitely has some strong potential. Of course, we won't know for sure until we get to drive it for ourselves. So keep checking back here for driver impressions over the next couple of months. Until then, for more information on the TLX and all of its competition, head on over to Edmunds.com. To see more videos like this, hit Subscribe.
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Is the Acura TLX a good car?
What's new in the 2021 Acura TLX?
According to Edmunds’ car experts, here’s what’s new for the 2021 Acura TLX:
- Fully redesigned for 2021
- Improved interior materials
- Longer and wider than predecessor
- Kicks off the second TLX generation for 2021
Is the Acura TLX reliable?
Is the 2021 Acura TLX a good car?
How much should I pay for a 2021 Acura TLX?
The least-expensive 2021 Acura TLX is the 2021 Acura TLX 4dr Sedan w/2.0T (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 10A). Including destination charge, it arrives with a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of about $37,500.
Other versions include:
- SH-AWD 4dr Sedan AWD w/2.0T and A-Spec Package (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 10A) which starts at $46,250
- SH-AWD 4dr Sedan AWD w/2.0T and Advance Package (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 10A) which starts at $48,300
- 4dr Sedan w/2.0T and A-Spec Package (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 10A) which starts at $44,250
- 4dr Sedan w/2.0T and Technology Package (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 10A) which starts at $41,500
- 4dr Sedan w/2.0T and Advance Package (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 10A) which starts at $46,300
- 4dr Sedan w/2.0T (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 10A) which starts at $37,500
- SH-AWD 4dr Sedan AWD w/2.0T and Technology Package (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 10A) which starts at $43,500
- SH-AWD 4dr Sedan AWD w/2.0T (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 10A) which starts at $39,500
What are the different models of Acura TLX?
More about the 2021 Acura TLX
2021 Acura TLX Overview
The 2021 Acura TLX is offered in the following submodels: TLX Sedan. Available styles include SH-AWD 4dr Sedan AWD w/2.0T and A-Spec Package (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 10A), SH-AWD 4dr Sedan AWD w/2.0T and Advance Package (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 10A), 4dr Sedan w/2.0T and A-Spec Package (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 10A), 4dr Sedan w/2.0T and Technology Package (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 10A), 4dr Sedan w/2.0T and Advance Package (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 10A), 4dr Sedan w/2.0T (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 10A), SH-AWD 4dr Sedan AWD w/2.0T and Technology Package (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 10A), and SH-AWD 4dr Sedan AWD w/2.0T (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 10A).
What do people think of the 2021 Acura TLX?
Consumer ratings and reviews are also available for the 2021 Acura TLX and all its trim types. Overall, Edmunds users rate the 2021 TLX 4.2 on a scale of 1 to 5 stars. Edmunds consumer reviews allow users to sift through aggregated consumer reviews to understand what other drivers are saying about any vehicle in our database. Detailed rating breakdowns (including performance, comfort, value, interior, exterior design, build quality, and reliability) are available as well to provide shoppers with a comprehensive understanding of why customers like the 2021 TLX.
Edmunds Expert Reviews
Edmunds experts have compiled a robust series of ratings and reviews for the 2021 Acura TLX and all model years in our database. Our rich content includes expert reviews and recommendations for the 2021 TLX featuring deep dives into trim levels and features, performance, mpg, safety, interior, and driving. Edmunds also offers expert ratings, road test and performance data, long-term road tests, first-drive reviews, video reviews and more.
Our Review Process
This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.
We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.
What's a good price for a New 2021 Acura TLX?
2021 Acura TLX 4dr Sedan w/2.0T and A-Spec Package (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 10A)
The 2021 Acura TLX 4dr Sedan w/2.0T and A-Spec Package (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 10A) can be purchased for less than the Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (aka MSRP) of $45,275. The average price paid for a new 2021 Acura TLX 4dr Sedan w/2.0T and A-Spec Package (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 10A) is trending $3,349 below the manufacturer’s MSRP.
Edmunds members save an average of $3,349 by getting upfront special offers. The estimated special offer price in your area is $41,926.
The average savings for the 2021 Acura TLX 4dr Sedan w/2.0T and A-Spec Package (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 10A) is 7.4% below the MSRP.Available Inventory:
We are showing 270 2021 Acura TLX 4dr Sedan w/2.0T and A-Spec Package (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 10A) vehicle(s) available in the Ashburn area.
2021 Acura TLX SH-AWD 4dr Sedan AWD w/2.0T and A-Spec Package (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 10A)
The 2021 Acura TLX SH-AWD 4dr Sedan AWD w/2.0T and A-Spec Package (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 10A) can be purchased for less than the Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (aka MSRP) of $47,275. The average price paid for a new 2021 Acura TLX SH-AWD 4dr Sedan AWD w/2.0T and A-Spec Package (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 10A) is trending $3,408 below the manufacturer’s MSRP.
Edmunds members save an average of $3,408 by getting upfront special offers. The estimated special offer price in your area is $43,867.
The average savings for the 2021 Acura TLX SH-AWD 4dr Sedan AWD w/2.0T and A-Spec Package (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 10A) is 7.2% below the MSRP.Available Inventory:
We are showing 220 2021 Acura TLX SH-AWD 4dr Sedan AWD w/2.0T and A-Spec Package (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 10A) vehicle(s) available in the Ashburn area.
Which 2021 Acura TLXES are available in my area?
Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 2021 Acura TLX for sale near. There are currently 770 new 2021 TLXES listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $37,500 and mileage as low as 0 miles. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a car from our massive database to find cheap vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a used vehicle you're interested in, check the AutoCheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the 2021 Acura TLX.
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Find a new Acura for sale - 8 great deals out of 13 listings starting at $7,582.
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Edmunds has deep data on over 6 million new, used, and certified pre-owned vehicles, including rich, trim-level features and specs information like: MSRP, average price paid, warranty information (basic, drivetrain, and maintenance), features (upholstery, bluetooth, navigation, heated seating, cooled seating, cruise control, parking assistance, keyless ignition, satellite radio, folding rears seats ,run flat tires, wheel type, tire size, wheel tire, sunroof, etc.), vehicle specifications (engine cylinder count, drivetrain, engine power, engine torque, engine displacement, transmission), fuel economy (city, highway, combined, fuel capacity, range), vehicle dimensions (length, width, seating capacity, cargo space), car safety, true cost to own. Edmunds also provides tools to allow shopper to compare vehicles to similar models of their choosing by warranty, interior features, exterior features, specifications, fuel economy, vehicle dimensions, consumer rating, edmunds rating, and color.
Should I lease or buy a 2021 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.
Check out Acura lease specials