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

Anyone in the market for a new midsize sedan likely has the 2020 Honda Accord near the top of their list and for good reason. The Accord consistently performs well in ratings for safety, reliability, cost to own, and customer satisfaction. It’s been named to Car and Driver’s annual 10Best list a stunning 34 times — more than any other vehicle, period.

Even with all of the Honda Accord’s impressive accolades, though, it’s impossible to consider it without also taking at least a cursory look at the Acura TLX. Honda is the parent company of Acura, and the two vehicles have always had several similarities. However, for better or for worse, the TLX is in the luxury car segment, which begs the question: Should you shell out the extra money for the Acura, or stick with the Honda Accord?

Acura TLX: Above-average?

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Peak performer. #TLX A-Spec

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The 2020 Acura TLX garners a considerable amount of attention for two primary reasons. One is its extensive list of standard safety and technology features, which include a dual-screen infotainment system with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay integration, automatic emergency braking, active lane-keep assist, and automatic high beams.

The second most notable thing about the TLX is that it has the lowest base price tag of any midsize luxury sedan, starting at $33,000. This provides an excellent opportunity for shoppers looking to enter the segment. 

There are two available engines on the Acura TLX: a 2.4-liter four-cylinder with 206 hp or a 3.5-liter V6 that puts out 290 hp. Acura’s Super Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD) is available for the V6 engine. Inside, the cabin offers a smooth and quiet ride, but the rear seats are cramped. A large storage area underneath the trunk’s cargo hold makes up for it — slightly. Dual-zone climate control, a moonroof, and heated seats are all standard features.

Hats off to the Honda Accord

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The stunning 2020 Honda Accord is now available.

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The 2020 Honda Accord was a finalist for two awards from U.S. News: Best Midsize Car for the Money and Best Midsize Car for Families. It gets excellent fuel economy, comes with an impressive number of standard features, has an interior that rivals much more expensive luxury cars, and it’s fun to drive thanks to its turbocharged engine. 

The Honda Sensing suite comes standard on the Accord, which includes traffic sign recognition, automatic emergency braking, and lane keep assist, among many other safety and driver-assist features. Owners love the roomy trunk, sporty yet family-friendly styling, and the responsive 7-inch infotainment system. With a starting MSRP of $24,020 and a multitude of trims and available packages, the Accord is a fantastic value. 

Is the Acura TLX the one to buy?

The Honda-Acura rivalry is a tale as old as time, with plenty of champions on both sides of the fence. Unless you truly have your heart set on owning an Acura or want the status of driving a luxury car, though, choosing the Honda Accord is a no-brainer. The Acura TLX has a starting MSRP of nearly $9,000 more than the Accord’s MSRP. For the same price, you can get a fully-loaded Accord EX-L with an upgraded turbocharged engine and heated leather seats. Or, spend a few thousand dollars less and get the Accord Sport with an 8-inch infotainment system and a moonroof.

Aside from strictly cost considerations, the Honda Accord is actually a better car. It has a more spacious and higher-quality cabin, more storage space, a more solid engine, and it handles better. Plus, Accord owners love their cars.

If you’re still leaning toward getting the Acura, you may want to hold off just a bit. It’s rumored that the TLX is getting a complete redesign for 2021.