Cars

Why Acura TLX Owners Complain About the 2015 Model the Most

The Acura TLX has only been around for six model years, first arriving for model year 2015. This first model year sticks out as the worst of the six, with far more owner complaints than other years. The TLX’s three most serious issues are also all for the 2015 model year.

A 2015 Acura TLX on display
A 2015 Acura TLX | Aaron Davidson/WireImage

Owner-submitted problems on the 2015 Acura TLX

Owners of the 2015 Acura TLX submitted their issues to the website CarComplaints.com. The site collects everyone’s problems and displays them visually by model year and by biggest issues.

The 2015 TLX has enough problems submitted by owners that CarComplaints.com gave it the “Beware of the Clunker” seal. The year tops out with 174 total complaints. Later model years have far fewer, with 23 for 2016 and fewer than five to date for each of the years through 2020.

Transmission jerks between gears

By far the biggest issue with the 2015 TLX is with the transmission. Of the 174 total complaints, 120 were for transmission problems. Out of those, 50 were specifically for jerks between gears.

CarComplaints.com describes the shifting of the gears as “feeling like a washing machine full of bricks.” The transmissions have already been recalled and replaced for not properly shifting into park, and there is also a class-action lawsuit on the transmission’s jerky performance.

A couple of owners said the jerky feeling was bad enough they thought they had been rear-ended. The problem appears on average around 4,950 miles. There’s no average repair cost since many owners weren’t able to have the issue resolved.

Transmission jerkiness in stop-and-go traffic

The second biggest issue for the 2015 TLX was transmission jerkiness in stop-and-go traffic, with 21 complaints submitted. Owners again talked about feeling like they were being rear-ended.

One mentioned the jerking was rough enough that he kept banging his head against the headrest. The problem appeared very early, at 4,450 miles on average. Some owners mentioned their issues started almost immediately after delivery of the car.

A software update improved the problem for some people but not for others. Acura didn’t seem to be able to provide a repair for many owners, so there was no average repair price submitted.

Steering wheel locks up

The third most serious complaint for the 2015 TLX is that the steering wheel locks up. While submitted by only two owners, one of them had a car crash after being unable to steer or brake. The other mentioned he had to pull over without having power steering, and that restarting the car fixed the problem but only temporarily.

This is another low mileage problem, which on average started happening around 5,500 miles. It cost owners about $5,500 to have the problem repaired.

The Acura TLX

Acura rolled out the TLX in 2015 as its sedan replacing the TSX and TL. The TLX settled in between the two in both interior room and price. Compared to its competitors, the TLX is definitely an entry-level luxury car. Its handling and design haven’t always gotten it high marks.

Owners’ views are reflected in the mediocre ratings from Consumer Reports as well. Owner satisfaction for 2015 as well as 2016 and 2017 was just one out of five. It moved up to a two for 2018 and a three for 2019.

The predicted owner satisfaction rating for 2020 is back down to two. The reliability verdict rating isn’t much better. The TLX earned a three out of five each year except for 2016, which got just a one.

The 2015 Acura TLX is one that used car buyers should avoid. Even cars with low mileage are likely to soon develop one of these common problems. In addition, other newer model years of the TLX have fewer owner-submitted complaints but don’t earn great ratings from Consumer Reports.