Refreshed 2021 Acura TLX Leads to Critical Improvement

Since it debuted in 2015, the Acura TLX has always just kind of been meh. That is not the case with the new 2021 model, which got a complete redesign that is turning heads. Furthermore, when we say complete redesign, we mean complete. There have been so many things changed for the 2021 TLX that it almost seems like a brand-new car. In fact, the changes have been so impressive that the TLX was a finalist for a most improved award.

One of the most improved cars for 2021

A blue 2021 Acura TLX Type S model driving down a forest highway
2021 Acura TLX Type S | Acura Newsroom

Even though the 2021 TLX was not declared the topmost improved car, U.S. News did rank it as the third most improved car for 2021. They gave it a score of 8.1/10, which is an improvement of 1.2 points from 2020. A large part of the improved score was that Acura updated what had become a very outdated car. The MSRP has always been on the lower end of the luxury market, which partially compensated for the dated qualities of the TLX. Now, it has received significant updates while still keeping its price lower than competitors. 

What changes made the 2021 model better than the 2020 model?

Pretty much all of the changes made to the TLX are improvements. The exterior is wider, lower, and has a more aggressive appearance than it previously did. It comes standard with a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that puts out 272 hp and 280 lb-ft of torque and is equipped with a 10-speed automatic transmission. The base model comes with front-wheel drive, and you can upgrade to all-wheel drive. If you decide to go with the TLX Type S, you get a 3.0-liter turbocharged V6 engine that puts out 355 hp and 354 lb-ft of torque and comes with standard all-wheel drive. 

The interior also received a major overhaul, with higher quality materials, including leather upholstery and a more contemporary design. It has seating for five, and the front seats are a little lower, giving it a very sporty feel. The infotainment system was also upgraded to a 10.2-inch display, along with a 7.2-inch gauge cluster display. It does not have a touchscreen, but the touchpad controller is very responsive.  

The 2021 Acura TLX

In addition to the above updates, the TLX also has updated brakes and an adaptive suspension that delivers a very smooth ride. It also comes with an impressive number of safety features courtesy of AcuraWatch, Acura’s suite of smart safety features. Those features include forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, pedestrian detection, and a rearview camera. You can also add features like rear cross-traffic alert and a surround-view parking camera system. 

The standard TLX has eight trims available, four with front-wheel drive and four with all-wheel drive. In addition to the base trims, you can get the Technology Package, the A-Spec Package, or the Advance Package, which is the highest trim level. The starting price ranges from $37,500 for the base front-wheel drive trim to $48,300 for the all-wheel drive with Advance Package trim. The TLX Type S starts at $52,300, which currently only has one trim available, though you can add lighter tires for around $800.

If you are looking for luxury on a budget, the 2021 Acura TLX is a decent choice. The much-needed redesign has improved the model’s engine performance and interior luxury while keeping a fairly competitive price tag. Additionally, many standard safety features also make the TLX a good choice for a luxury sedan. All in all, it definitely qualifies as one of the most improved cars. Hopefully, Acura gets a certificate or a small trophy for its troubles.

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