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The second-generation Acura TLX is much improved, taking a step forward over its predecessor. Equipped with a 272-hp turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder and 10-speed automatic transmission, it feels more refined. It’s also nicely styled inside and out, looking handsome and distinguished. 

However, according to Edmunds, the new 2023 Acura TLX also took a step backward. It lacks the perform mance to back up its looks and is slower and less fuel efficient than its rivals. This detracts from the initial impression that it is a serious performance sedan. Additionally, its infotainment system is frustrating to use, requiring you to navigate menus with a touchpad controller instead of a simple touchscreen interface. Let’s dig into how the 2023 Acura TLX plays both sides of the coin.

The 2023 Acura TLX’s engine and transmission are more refined

The 2023 Acura TLX Gotham Gray Edition parked with stormy clouds in the background
2023 Acura TLX | Acura

Edmunds tested the TLX A-Spec with the turbocharged four-cylinder engine and all-wheel drive. It recorded a 0 to 60 mph time of 6.5 seconds, slightly quicker than most midsize luxury sedans with four-cylinder engines. The review particularly noted the new 10-speed transmission – a massive improvement over the previous nine-speed automatic. 

Using Acura’s SH-AWD all-wheel-drive system contributes to the TLX’s responsive handling. It feels agile and controlled at speed and very maneuverable in tight spots. It works well with the athletic chassis making the TLX feel competent and entertaining to drive. 

The 2023 TLX reminds you that Acura can build a good performance sedan. One that provides a good balance of ride and handling and inspires confidence to drive.    

However, it lacks the performance and fuel economy of its rivals

While the Acura TLX may be a bit quicker than some of its four-cylinder midsize luxury sedan competitors, it falls short of the top contenders in the pack. Worse yet, its fuel economy doesn’t match up to its rivals. 

Edmunds tested an all-wheel-drive Acura TLX, which gets an estimated 21 mpg city, 29 mpg highway, and 24 mpg combined. That lags behind competitors like the Audi A6, which gets 27 mpg, and the BMW 530i xDrive, which is good for 26 mpg. Overall, Edmunds’s posted a more competitive real-wold 26.2 mpg, which is more in line with its competition. 

Perhaps the biggest problem is the 2023 Acura TLX’s excellent ride and handling need a more powerful engine. Fortunately, Acura does offer the TLX Type S with a 355-hp 3.0-liter V6 with the SH-AWD as standard equipment.   

Infotainment is not the 2023 Acura TLX’s strong suit

Let’s get the worst out of the way first. At a time when most car manufacturers offer intuitive touchscreen infotainment systems, Acura still uses a trackpad interface. Edmunds found using it annoying and distracting and, at times, “infuriating.” The trackpad mimics inputs like a touchscreen but isn’t large enough or precise enough to effectively navigate all the buttons and menus.  

Those issues aside, there are sharp-looking maps and a navigation system that is easy to use. However, it thought the system’s point-of-interest search was sometimes “a bit wonky.” It lacks directional information, so there’s no way to tell if a point of interest is coming up ahead or if you’ve already passed it. Fortunately, the A-Spec and Advance trim levels offer an ELS audio system with a much-improved interface.  

Both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard but cannot be operated wirelessly. There also aren’t any USB ports for the rear seats. This lack of functionality may be acceptable on a less expensive vehicle but not one with a $44,000 base price in 2023. Other vehicles in this segment offer these features; the 2023 Acura TLX should too.  


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