For the latest model year, the TLX receives revised exterior styling along with a new sport-oriented A-Spec model. The new TLX also makes some improvements on the technology front.
The TLX's mid-cycle update includes all-new styling from the A-pillars forward. Acura's somewhat controversial "shield" front grille has been replaced with a mesh design that debuted on the MDX crossover. Headlights are still Acura's signature jewel LEDs, but their overall shape has been redesigned to be more cohesive with the new grille. Outback the TLX rear bumper has been updated to include dual exhaust outlets on V6 models.
Inside, the TLX boasts a modern, streamlined dashboard that keeps buttons to a minimum by way of Acura's dual-display setup, wherein the eight-inch upper unit displays navigation and audio information and the seven-inch lower touchscreen furnishes access to the same as well as the climate control system. For the latest model year the dual-screen system has been updated to include Apple CarPlay and Android Auto functionality. Acura says the speed of the system has also been improved by 30 percent.
Not forgoing the luxury fundamentals while implementing all of that tech, Acura also fitted abundant upmarket furnishings like a one-piece soft-touch instrument panel cover, alloy- and woodgrain trim, and available Milano premium leather upholstery.
Standard heated front seats (ventilation is optional) accommodate the driver and front passenger, while the rear passengers enjoy respectable space in all dimensions and newly available heated outboard seats. The trunk affords 13.2 cubic feet of stowage space, which can be increased to 14.3 cubes by way of an available underfloor storage compartment. Standard 60/40 split folding rear seats allow the TLX to carry longer or bulkier items.
Safety is a highlight of the new TLX, with every model shipping standard with the AcuraWatch safety suite, which includes Autonomous Emergency Braking, Adaptive Cruise Control, Lane Keeping Assist and Road Departure Mitigation.
In order to tap the enthusiasts crowd, the TLX lineup now includes a sporty A-Spec model. It features more aggressive wheels and tires, a tuned suspension, sport seats and steering wheel, and a revised exhaust system with dual round outlets. TLX A-Spec models also feature black accents in place of the car's standard chrome trim.
The TLX's entry-level engine is a 2.4-liter four-cylinder that produces 206 horsepower and 182 lb-ft of torque. That mill teams with a novel eight-speed DCT automatic that features a dual-clutch design for quick shifts as well as a torque converter for refined low-speed operation.
Those after more power can select a 3.5-liter V6 that uses a nine-speed automatic and makes 290 horsepower along with 267 lb-ft of torque.
Front-wheel-drive is standard with both powertrains; Acura's Super-Handling All-Wheel-Drive system, which features torque-vectoring, can be added to either engine. FWD models benefit from Precision All-Wheel Steer, which adjusts the toe angle of the rear wheels in order to increase both agility and stability.
Fuel economy is rated at 24 mpg in the city and 35 mpg on the highway for the four-cylinder model; FWD and AWD V6 iterations return 21/34 mpg and 21/31 mpg, respectively.
A standard Integrated Dynamics System lets the driver choose between four drive modes that adjust steering settings, throttle response, shift mapping, SH-AWD or PAWS control logic, and even Active Noise Control and HVAC settings.
Trim Level Breakdown
Each of the TLX powertrain configurations in offered with either two or three trim levels.
The TLX base model comes standard with leatherette upholstery, heated and power-adjustable front seats, a sunroof, a proximity key, dual-zone automatic climate control, a seven-speaker AM/FM/CD/SiriusXM stereo with AUX and USB inputs. Bluetooth connectivity, a HomeLink garage door opener, auto on/off headlights, a multi-view rear camera and all-LED exterior lighting are also included. Base four-cylinder models get 17 inch wheels. V6 models benefit from standard 18-inch wheels, as well as standard fog lights and dual exhaust outlets.
Adding the Technology Package brings perforated Milano leather upholstery, navigation system with real-time traffic information and rerouting capability, a 10-speaker ELS Studio premium audio system, rain-sensing windshield wipers, smart entry, cross traffic monitor, blind spot monitor, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility and GPS-linked climate control.
The V6 with Advance Package builds on the Technology Package with heated and ventilated front seats, wireless phone charging, remote start, front and rear parking sensors, auto dimming and power-folding exterior mirrors, heated rear seats and a heated steering wheel.
Opting for the TLX V6 A-Spec nets 19-inch wheels, a sports suspension, black accents, revised exhaust system, sport seats with available Alcantara inserts and a flat-bottom steering wheel with paddle shifters.
All TLX models come standard with dual front, front side and full-length side curtain airbags in addition to a driver's knee airbag and traction and stability control systems. Other standard tech includes Forward Collision Warning, Collision Mitigation Braking System with Head-Up Warning, Lane Keeping Assist System, Road Departure Mitigation System and a Multi-View Rear Camera.
A Blind Spot Information System and Rear Cross Traffic Monitor can be added with the Technology package.
As it's positioned between the traditional compact and midsize luxury sedan segments, the TLX can be shopped against a variety of different vehicles. At one end of the spectrum, there's smaller but similarly priced rivals like BMW's fine-handling 3 Series, the well-rounded Mercedes-Benz C-Class, and the sport-flavored Cadillac ATS. Buyers after more space can also consider larger, more expensive rides like the Mercedes-Benz E-Class, Lexus GS and Infiniti Q70.