2021 Acura TLX: 7 Things We Like and 2 We Don’t

2021 Acura TLX: 7 Things We Like and 2 We Don’t

11/07/2020

Acura has given its luxury TLX sports sedan an inside-out redesign for 2021. This time around, there’s a big emphasis on “sport.”

Related: 2021 Acura TLX Review: Subtle Changes, Big Improvements

Make no mistake: The latest TLX is not just a sporty version of a typical family car. It’s actually incredibly driver-focused, from the longer and lower body to the powerful new engine. And, it offers an entertaining, refined ride. You really do get an elevated experience for the price — even if it will set you back a bit more than the outgoing model.

Thinking of adding a TLX to your garage? Aaron Bragman lays out all the need-to-know info in his review, available via the related link above. For our take in a nutshell, here’s what we like (and don’t) about the 2021 Acura TLX:

Pros

1. Elevated Drive

The Acura TLX exhibits sporty pep when you need it and offers cruising comfort when you’d rather have that. The overall effect is a premium driving experience, which can be further enhanced with selectable driving modes that actually do quite a bit to vary your drive. Comfort mode offers a smooth, town-car-like ride, while Sport mode jacks up the firmness without making the suspension too aggressive.

2. Powerful Powertrain

The new — and only, for now — engine is a turbocharged 2.0-liter VTEC-equipped four-cylinder that makes 272 horsepower and 280 pounds-feet of torque. Overall, it’s a massive improvement over the TLX’s old engine, especially the significant performance bump this gives the base model. The engine feels perfectly matched to the new 10-speed automatic transmission. Altogether, you get smooth shifts and strong acceleration on tap right when you need it.

3. Chassis Changes

Part of the premium driving feel comes from the improved chassis. Better weight distribution, added rigidity and an upgraded double-wishbone front suspension create the perfect storm: controlled body roll, responsiveness and smooth ride quality.

4. Supercar-Inspired Brakes

Acura says the TLX’s new electronically controlled brakes take some cues from those in the NSX supercar. Electronic by-wire braking systems sometimes get a bad rap for an artificial feel, but not so in the TLX; even if you’re not pushing them to their limits, they work well.

5. Luxe Interior

From the driver’s seat, the TLX looks amazing — soft-touch, premium materials throughout, real wood and real metal trim, and a hand-stitched dashboard. You can tell Acura is after luxury models like the Audi A4 or even BMW 3 Series with an offering like this.

6. Safety Tech

A host of safety features come standard on the Acura TLX, including adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist and a lane departure control system.

7. Value

For 2021, the TLX sees a $4,500 increase on the base price, which is now $38,525 (including destination). No one likes shelling out more money, but considering everything that comes with the larger price tag, this is actually a great value. The top-level TLX Advance Package comes “comfortably equipped” with everything but the kitchen sink and tops out at $49,325.

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Cons

1. Front Occupants Only

The TLX is not a great family car. While the driver and front passenger are comfortable up front, the poor people relegated to the backseat will experience a lack of both head- and legroom. The backseat could be more usable than it is. 

2. Tech Hang-Ups

As well as the multimedia technology works, it still has its issues. The most glaring problem is the lack of a touchscreen. This seems like an odd choice on Acura’s part considering how familiar a touchscreen interface is. The remote touchpad control takes some getting used to, as does the push-button transmission.

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