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The 2015 Acura TLX is a very interesting car, and not just because it straddles two size classes, offering the space of a mid-size sedan in something closer to the footprint of a compact. In replacing the former Acura TL and TSX, the TLX also brings a host of new technology to bear on the near-premium segment.
The TLX was shown at the 2014 Detroit auto show as a prototype, a lightly veiled version of the sedan due in Acura showrooms this fall. The new car adopts some of the cues found on the larger RLX sedan, with emphatic use of LED headlights and exaggerated fenders that house the 20-inch wheels of the concept car. LED lights also underline the sideview mirrors. Character lines accentuate the flared rear fenders, further hinting at the sport potential of the TLX. At the rear, rather simple curves coax a trunk lid spoiler from the form of the metal, while carefully inset and inconspicuous tail pipes sit at the bottom of the bumper fascia. The TLX’s best angle is, to most eyes, its rear three-quarter view.
Three types of TLX are available: a four-cylinder, front-drive base model; a V-6, front-drive upgrade; and a V-6, all-wheel drive model as the premium option.
For the enthusiast, the entry point to the TLX range may be the best version, even though it's not available with all-wheel drive and all of the premium extras you’ll find at the top of the TLX expanse. Why? Because it’s immaculately balanced, supremely chuckable, and still comfortable enough to drive the in-laws to brunch on Sunday.
That 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine isn’t massively powerful at 206 ponies, but it’s willing, and sounds great when revved out toward the top of the tach. Better yet, it’s mated with a truly brilliant (though counter-intuitive) 8-speed dual-clutch transmission mated to a torque converter. Why a torque converter? Because it completely eliminates all of the lurch and jerk of a traditional dry-clutch arrangement, while delivering all of the crisp upshifts and zingy rev-matched downshifts of the usual arrangement. It’s smart, it’s lightweight, and it just works.
On the size side of things, the TLX fares very well against its similarly-priced competition, with roomy front and fairly spacious rear seats, and ample trunk space. Door bins, a center console area, and a glove box offer fair in-cabin storage space.
The TLX’s materials, on the other hand, are nice, but don’t shout true premium—certainly not in the way the 2015 Mercedes-Benz C-Class does. The design, from the dual-screen infotainment layout, to the seats, to the rather plain and bleak passenger side of the dashboard, falls short of the style-meets-comfort aesthetic found in the upper end of the class, too. That’s not to say the car truly disappoints in any of those respects; it just doesn’t make as good a first (or second) impression, even in upper-tier trim levels where leather wraps many surfaces.
One thing the TLX does better than nearly any other car on the market--and certainly as well as or better than any car in its competitive set--is keep quiet. Wind and road noise are almost non-existent below 80 mph, making for a serene driving experience that allows conversations at normal volumes and takes stress out of long drives.
*This vehicle is Certified Pre-Owned and is eligible for our third party warranty program.