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The Acura TLX is a prime example of affordable luxury. They start at $37,500, and with that comes decent power, a comfortable interior, adequate gas mileage, and plenty of room. Honda started making the TLX in 2015 as a follow-up to the Acura TL, a four-door luxury car that ended its tenure on this Earth in 2014 with a 3. 7-liter V6 with 305 horsepower and all-wheel-drive. 

It could have a manual transmission and weighed as much as 3,873 pounds. They were always comfortable, had decent acceleration, solid braking, and responsive steering. The TLX continues this tradition, with more Honda excellence in the way of reliability, power delivery, and overall delivering a pleasant driving experience. But is it worth the extra scratch?

An impressive Type-S variant

2021 TLX TYPE S | Acura

The TLX just jumped into a new generation this model year, with two engine options. The first is a turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-four, making 272 horsepower, which is a lot. Buyers can opt for the Type-S variant, which sports a 3.0-liter turbocharged V6 making 355 horsepower. The Type-S only comes with all-wheel-drive, but 70-percent of the power can be sent to the rear wheels. The TLX Type-S also has a stiffer suspension and four-piston Brembo brakes in the front. 

The TLX uses the patented Super Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD). It’s a sophisticated system that redirects engine power depending on weight distribution, traction, driver inputs, and the general environment. It does this with a computer that constantly monitors the car’s wheel speed, steering angle, lateral g-force, and yaw. While cruising, the SH-AWD sends up to 90-percent of the power to the front wheels to maximize fuel efficiency. Likewise under acceleration through a corner, that power is redirected to the rear wheels.

AcuraWatch is included

2021 TLX TYPE S | Acura

As you can imagine the TLX comes with all the usual safety refinements. Adaptive cruise control, emergency braking, and lane-keeping assist are among the best safety features, all part of the AcuraWatch suite which comes standard. It has new features as well, including traffic sign recognition and a driver awareness monitor. The TLX even earned a five-star rating from the NHTSA. 

Reliability is dialed in

2021 TLX Advance | Acura

Being part of the Honda family, the TLX is extraordinarily reliable and has been since its 2016 model. The 2015 TLX was wrought with transmission problems, where it would shift into neutral, or not be able to shift into park. Owners complained about the car jerking between gearshifts, and hesitation.

Grinds and gear slippage were also problems with this model year. Beyond transmission problems, the 2015 model had issues with its engine and brakes. Thankfully, Honda seems to have ironed out the TLX’s little idiosyncrasies as of late, with hardly an accusatory finger pointed in the last four years. 

All in all, the TLX is a fantastic buy for someone looking into entry-level luxury sedans. It’s reliable, comfortable, safe, provides great power, and outright invades the affordable sector. If buying used makes more sense, then that’s completely reasonable as well, though they do seem to hold their value. A TLX that’s a few years old still costs around $30,000, but as is proven, it’s well worth it.


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