Avoid the Acura TLX, the Kia Stinger is Better

My co-workers and I got into a discussion today about Acura. To be more specific, we were discussing how the manufacturer seems to have lost its way a bit with its sedans. Sadly, I have to agree. There was a time when Acura was respected, and Kia was a joke. But today, Kia is in the same pool. So, I thought it would be a good time to compare the base trim of the Acura TLX and the base trim of the Kia Stinger to see which would come out on top of the mid-size sedan category. 

2020 Acura TLX
2020 Acura TLX | Acura

The Specifications 

2020 Kia Stinger GT Line

  • Powerplant: 2.0-liter, twin-turbo, four-cylinder / available V6
  • Output: 255 horsepower
  • Transmission: 8-speed transmission
  • Rear-wheel drive with the option for all-wheel drive
  • Mileage: 22-mpg city / 29-mpg highway /25-mpg combined
  • Price for the basic trim level: $33,090

2020 Acura TLX P 

  • Powerplant: 2.4-liter, four-cylinder / available V6
  • Output: 206 horsepower
  • Transmission: 8-speed transmission
  • Front-wheel drive with the option for all-wheel drive
  • Mileage: 23-mpg city / 33-mpg highway / 27-mpg combined
  • Price for the basic trim level: $33,000

When all that matters is the specs

Both of these mid-size sedans, the TLX and Stinger, are within $90 of each other. Additionally, they are very comparable at the gas pump as well, with the Acura beating out the Kia by only two miles per gallon on the combined loop. The Kia Stinger, however, excels in horsepower. It has 49 more horses of output out of its four-cylinder. The big difference between the two, if the statistics are the decision-maker, is that the Stinger is rear-wheel drive. The TLX is front-wheel drive. That is a matter of preference. 

Kia Stinger compact executive 4-door fastback on display at Brussels Expo
The 2020 Kia Stinger | Sjoerd van der Wal/Getty Images

It is not all about the specs

The decision to purchase a car is not all about the statistics, though. While some people are just looking for a mode of transportation from point A to point B, others actually care about the way the vehicle looks. The design language of the car’s body has to speak them.

This is where things seem to breakdown for Acura. It seems that Acura’s bland and dated styling is allowing products from other manufacturers to grab some attention, like Kia’s Stinger. The Kia speaks more.

One co-worker put it best when they said, “I’ve never been in the market for a new car and been like “ah yes, an Acura, that is what I want”. 

The Kia Stinger has a design language that speaks of a serious performance machine. The pronounced rear shoulders of the car flow into a C-pillar design. This works together to give the impression of a muscular road controlling machine. The car also has a couple of hood vents for good measure. Overall, it is an attractive package. But, design language is a matter of preference.


Is the Acura TLX Worth the Big Money Upgrade Over the Honda Accord?

Overall, the TLX and the Stinger base trims are very close in many aspects of the mid-size sedan category. They are both nice cars. But, the Stinger has more horsepower and looks more aggressive and fresh. Yet, the TLX is the more surefooted in inclement weather since it has front-wheel drive. So, this really boils down to two questions, which design speaks to you, and do you want front or rear-wheel drive? I would avoid the TLX and spend my money would go to the Stinger.