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The Acura TLX has always been relatively lackluster for a luxury car. So Acura completely redesigned its midsize sport sedan for the 2021 model year, marking the beginning of its second generation. But the automaker sent the first generation out in style by releasing 360 handbuilt 2020 Acura TLX PMCs.

Some first-gen Acura TLX years, such as the 2016 model, aren’t bad, and their owners love them. But one model year, in particular, has displeased its drivers.  

The Acura TLX at a glance

A 2017 Acura TLX on display at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah
2017 Acura TLX | Neilson Barnard/Getty Images for Acura

In 2015, Acura replaced its long-standing luxury sedan, the TL, with the TLX. According to MotorTrend, the TL had four generations that started in 1996 and replaced the Vigor.

After the TL’s last model year, 2014, Acura debuted the TLX the next year. It was available with a four-cylinder 2.4-liter engine, paired with an eight-speed dual-clutch transmission, producing 206 hp, or a six-cylinder 3.5-liter engine mated to a nine-speed automatic transmission for an output of 290 hp.

And for 2021, Acura announced the second-generation TLX. It will also bring back the Type S model from the TL’s third generation.

Consumer Reports likes the 2021 TLX for its “energetic” engine, acceleration, transmission, and front-seat comfort. But the review lists more negatives than positives. For instance, CR knocks this model for engine and road noise, “confounding” infotainment system, ease of access, and rear-seat room. Overall, CR gives the 2021 TLX a low rating of 56 out of 100. And the owner satisfaction score is a so-so 3 out of 5.

Although those ratings don’t paint a rosy picture of the 2021 Acura TLX, the 2017 model year has truly frustrated many owners.

The 2017 Acura TLX has a rock-bottom owner satisfaction rating

Though owners generally reported a good driving experience and a comfortable ride in the 2017 Acura TLX, Consumer Reports gives it the worst owner satisfaction rating of 1 out of 5. About half of the owners CR surveyed thought it didn’t provide good value for the money.

But what really tanked the 2017 TLX’s satisfaction rating is whether owners would definitely purchase the 2017 TLX again. Only 43% said they would purchase another 2017 TLX after knowing what they knew now. 

Interestingly, Consumer Reports gives the 2017 model a perfect 5 out of 5 reliability rating and recommends it. What’s even more intriguing is that the 2017 model has a recall related to problems with the fuel pump, and many owners complained about problems with the transmission. 

Owners don’t like the 2015 model either

Sometimes the first model year of a vehicle is a home run, and sometimes it’s a foul ball. According to owners, the 2015 Acura TLX falls into foul ball territory. In fact, we previously discussed why the 2015 TLX is the most complained-about model year. It received a “Beware of the Clunker” seal from and racked up 174 complaints.

Most of the complaints concerned the transmission. Many owners reported it jerked between gears and in stop-and-go traffic. Acura provided a software update and issued a recall for some transmissions but didn’t completely resolve either problem. Additionally, two owners reported the steering wheel locked up, with one owner crashing their car as a result. 

If you aren’t interested in shelling out $37,500 to $53,100 for a 2021 Acura TLX, a used model could be a good buy as long as you steer clear of the 2015 and 2017 models. And if you really want a newer model without paying a hefty price, the Honda Accord is nearly as luxurious as the TLX and significantly cheaper. Plus, the Accord has consistently ranked as one of the most reliable vehicles. Luxury, reliability, and less money out of your pocket — what more could you want?


Refreshed 2021 Acura TLX Leads to Critical Improvement