If I Didn’t Own a Honda S2000, I Would Buy a 2021 Acura TLX

As a car enthusiast that drives different press cars every week, it’s hard for me to pick a favorite car. In fact, whenever someone asks me what my favorite car is (after hearing what I do for a living), I always say the same thing: “My personal car, which is a 2008 Honda S2000.”

No, it’s not the fastest or best-handling sports car out there, but for the price, it’s pretty darn good and it puts a smile on my face every time I drive it, which is something that most press cars fail to do. At least, that’s what I thought until I drove the 2021 Acura TLX A-Spec.

The Acura TLX isn’t perfect, but it’s balanced

Just to get it straight, I’m not saying that the Acura TLX provides a great comparison to the S2000 because, after all, they’re two completely different cars. One is a sporty sedan meant to instill some thrills in your day while you take care of the mundane errands, while the other is a sporty convertible that you drive on the weekends and use for autocross events. Together, they would make a sophisticated “one-two punch” of a personal car fleet combination.

2021 Acura TLX A-Spec
2021 Acura TLX A-Spec | Joe Santos

But alas, I have no use for a TLX since I drive press cars a lot and my S2000 just sits all by its lonesome. However, if I didn’t own an S2000, then I would most likely be looking into TLX lease deals at my local Acura dealer. Why? Because, as I found out, while the TLX isn’t perfect by any means, it is very well-balanced and satisfying to drive.

2021 Acura TLX A-Spec
2021 Acura TLX A-Spec | Joe Santos

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What’s so balanced about the Acura TLX?

What makes the Acura TLX so balanced is that it handles well, has a very neutral feel when coming out of corners, and surprisingly has a good amount of power. Yes, I said it, the turbocharged 2.0-liter engine that’s currently available (before we get the Type-S treatment) in the TLX is, in my opinion, enough power to get you through your day.

In fact, I don’t think I even made use of all 272 hp aside from the times that I deliberately floored the pedal to see how the car felt. And trust me, you can definitely feel it. The 280 lb-ft of torque comes fully online at just 1,600 rpm all the way up to 4,500 rpm, which provides a nice, flat pull all the way to the redline. To be honest, I’m not sure why anyone would really need the 355hp that’s coming in the Type-S version, but it sure would be nice to have.

As for the ride and handling aspects of the car, I found that the TLX is perfectly comfortable for a long-distance drive and it’s definitely agile around town. I was able to put it through its paces on a windy canyon road and not once did I feel unconfident while making my way through the turns. The A-Spec trim that my TLX tester came in has a well-dampened suspension that soaks up curves as well as it does bumps and other road imperfections, as such, I didn’t miss not having an adaptive suspension like you’ll find in the higher-trim Advance model.

2021 Acura TLX A-Spec
2021 Acura TLX A-Spec | Joe Santos

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The TLX kind of gives me S2000 vibes

So it’s safe for me to say that the Acura TLX just feels right. It provides a great balance of handling and power as it does necessity and enthusiasm. You can take the kids to soccer practice (thanks to a giant trunk) and then hit up the nearest canyon road for some much-needed alone time. And with the TLX, that alone time will be rewarding and, in the end, just might put a smile on your face.