The 2021 Acura TLX hits the scene with dramatic visual changes, and a playful, endearing personality. This feels like a statement that should be naturally made about an Acura sedan. As Honda’s more upscale, luxurious branch, Acura made a name for itself by developing performance focused four-doors long ago. This new TLX feels like a deliberate attempt to revitalize that somewhat faded reputation, and return to what Acura does best.
There’s a lot of new happening in 2021 with the popular TLX sedan. A complete redesign in fact. The focus for this latest generation TLX was extreme excitement and fun. Helping in this is the sophisticated new chassis. Precision tuned with the driving experience in mind. A capable 10-speed Automatic Transmission controls all 272 hp. Acura demonstrates the magic it can conjure up with a small 2.0L 4-cylinder engine. A turbo that is fast-winding and eager to please doesn’t hurt. Neither does their famous variable valve timing VTEC system. At high rpm’s, when the turbo is spooled all the way up and the VTEC crossover hits, the TLX truly transforms from fun to ferocious. The acceleration is impressive for the big, heavy, 4-door sedan it is. You’ll hit 60 mph from a dead stop in under 6.0 seconds. Unfortunately, there’s no getting around the lack of guttural tone from the somewhat wheezy 4-cylinder.
On the inside, The new Acura TLX is polished and modern. Sporty seats are leather trimmed. The push-button shifter keeps the center control stack neat and organized. The center display is sharp and bright, with high resolution graphics. Unfortunately, the True Touchpad interface controlling it all can be a little clumsy to use at times. Open-pore wood trim adds a premium look and feel. So does the use of real aluminum. Contrast stitching and strips of colored lights that run across the doors and center console is an upscale surprise straight from the Mercedes playbook. Colored lighting can be adjusted right from the vehicles settings, each choice named after an iconic driving road or racetrack, like “Suzuka” or “Pacific Coast.”
An advanced Package will heat the back seats along with the front seats and steering wheel. Adding ventilation to the fronts as well. An important feature in the Arizona desert. Your ears will be treated to a 17-speaker ELS Studio 3D audio system. A Surround View camera will help with those tricky parallel parking moments. LED fog lights, a heads-up display and more are included. Throw in the many driving aides, parking sensors, a wireless charging pad and other tech, and the true value or the exciting new Acura TLX really begins to emerge.
The latest version of the Acura TLX represents a strong return to its roots. 2021 ushers in a more dynamic driving experience. A responsive chassis, more powerful engine, aggressive design and excellent interior. Add in the standard SH-AWD system for that extra measure of agility and confidence in bad weather, and the TLX looks equally strong on paper as it is in person. It’s easy to love all these changes, and even easier to look forward to the upcoming Type S version with anticipation and justifiably high expectations.
Price as tested: $49,325.00