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The 2021 Acura TLX Features the Same Clunky Infotainment System

As we move into the second half of 2020, more and more companies are rolling out their 2021 models. Back in 2019, Acura made headlines with the first rumblings of a new Type S vehicle, which turned out to be the 2021 TLX. Since then, we’ve received a steady trickle of information, finally culminating in a full reveal of the 2021 Acura TLX. The company has made improvements to both the interior and exterior and its set of impressive changes.

The new 2021 Acura TLX exterior

The 2021 Acura TLX marks the second generation of the vehicle. After mediocre reviews and a pretty clear sign that the 2020 model was going nowhere fast, Acura reworked the entire vehicle for 2021. Since the exterior is the first thing most consumers will notice, it makes sense that Acura started there.

The entire front grille has been redone, and daytime observers will definitely notice the LED running lights Acura chose for this year’s model. In addition to the new grille and lights, the cabin has been resituated, and Acura will also release the TLX A-Spec appearance package. 

The appearance package will feature the following: 19-inch Shark Grey wheels, gloss accents, headlight and taillight improvements, and even a rear spoiler. But an exterior appearance package isn’t the main headline on the 2021 Acura TLX. Acura has also reworked the interior for the second-generation model, and it’s quite impressive.

MotorTrend’s take on the interior

MotorTrend recently reported on the changes that make up the 2021 TLX’s interior. They started off by comparing it favorably to the Acura RDX, a vehicle with its own share of controversy. After establishing that the 2021 TLX’s interior beat the RDX’s by a mile, MotorTrend continued to elaborate on some of the TLX’s more interesting specs.

One of the TLX’s “highlights” is the 24-color ambient lighting system. With the ability to set the cabin to an array of colors, the TLX leans into its status as a second-generation model. Another improvement over the RDX is Android Auto, which the 2021 TLX boasts along with Apple CarPlay. The MotorTrend review did criticize the rear seats for feeling cramped at times, but there’s a reason the TLX puts the “sport” back in “sport sedan.” It’s not designed to haul a soccer team.

But in the event that the TLX does need to take over and carry luggage, it performs about as well as you’d expect. The trunk is spacious for a sporty vehicle, and it holds a few suitcases. The legroom for passengers isn’t tremendously comfortable, but it seats five reasonably well given the design restrictions. Acura had a few large holes to fill with their previous versions of the TLX and the RDX, and they’ve done an appreciable job.

Where the Acura TLX interior falls short

RELATED: The Honda Accord Is Just as Luxurious as the 2020 Acura TLX

However, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay can’t make up for the fact that this year’s TLX, even after the redesign, boasts the same clunky infotainment system as before. Acura had the opportunity to completely rework it into a fully digital display, but it really only went halfway. A mediocre design for the infotainment system sours what could have been a massive leap forward for Acura’s sporty TLX.

As the TLX rolls onto dealer lots, there’s only so much Acura can do to improve it. The hardware is built-in, and Acura certainly doesn’t have the technological reach of a company like Tesla to push firmware updates. But Acura has announced that they’ll be improving the software to be easier to use wherever possible, and they’re training dealerships to better explain it to customers. Let’s hope that’s enough; the clunky infotainment system brings down what’s otherwise an amazing vehicle.