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2016 Acura TLX Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2016 Acura TLX was new.


Performance: 8.3

Some auto writers say the 2016 Acura TLX's base four-cylinder engine provides strong acceleration, while others note that competitors' turbocharged four-cylinder engines are stronger. Reviewers report that the available V6 engine is more powerful. Critics praise the standard eight-speed automatic transmission for its silky, quick shifts, and test drivers like the TLX's poised handling and comfortable ride. Still, some critics note that rivals are more fun to drive. The TLX's fuel economy estimates are a bit better than average for a luxury midsize sedan.

  • "Perhaps in part because the TLX's engines need to work harder to deliver the goods, they also performed relatively poorly in our real-world fuel economy testing despite boasting strong EPA estimates." -- Edmunds
  • "If you enjoy being behind the wheel and if most of your driving does not involve spirited apex-bashing on challenging roads, this car will meet your needs." -- AutoWeek (2015)
  • "The 4-cylinder feels lighter and more nimble, with crisp turn-in thanks to the 4-wheel steering system. Previous TSX owners will more closely identify with the spirited nature of this model. The V6, thanks to its abundant power and active noise cancellation, is quieter and feels more substantial, with a driving experience closer to the previous TL." -- Kelley Blue Book (2015)
  • "We had a chance to drive all three flavors of TLX ranging from the 2.4- and 3.5-liter versions both equipped with P-AWS as well as the 3.5-liter with SH-AWD, and found each to be a worthy competitor to their targeted competition, including the Mercedes-Benz C-Class, Lexus IS, Audi A4, and BMW 3-series." -- Left Lane News (2015)

Acceleration and Power

The Acura TLX comes with a 206-horsepower, 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine and an eight-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. A 3.5-liter V6 engine that produces 290 horsepower is available and is mated to a nine-speed automatic transmission. The Acura TLX also comes standard with Normal, Economy, Sport and Sport+ driving modes. Each mode alters throttle response, transmission shift points and power steering assistance. The EPA estimates that the base TLX earns 24/35 mpg city/highway, which is just above average for the class.

While some critics think the base four-cylinder engine feels underpowered compared with its turbocharged competitors, others say it should satisfy most drivers. Reviewers agree that the available V6 engine is stronger but note that you'll have to push the accelerator hard for brisk acceleration. The TLX's standard eight-speed automatic transmission earns praise for its fast, smooth shifts.

  • "While the four is perfectly fine for family-sedan duty, it pales in comparison with the turbocharged fours offered by most luxury-brand competitors. The V6 is certainly much more muscular, but you still have to get the revs up for serious acceleration." -- Edmunds
  • "Sampling all three flavors of TLX, we found the base 2.4-liter four-cylinder mill offered brisk acceleration that will satisfy the bulk of shoppers considering the sedan. The eight-speed DCT transmission provided flawless shifting during our time in the car, and we were jazzed to find a double-step down paddle shift operation while hoofing it in Sport+ mode." -- Left Lane News (2015)
  • "The 8-speed dual clutch transmission, which has steering wheel-mounted paddles in addition to the conventional console mounted shift lever, is smooth, refined and quick in changing gears, further adding to the sporting flair of the 2.4-liter package, which has plenty of power for a car this size." -- Kelley Blue Book (2015)
  • "TLX V6 models leap off the line with eagerness, the shifts are buttery smooth and both seems perfect content holding gears for more than a few moments, which is the polished performance customers in this segment expect." -- Autoblog (2015)

Handling and Braking

The 2016 Acura TLX comes standard with front-wheel drive and an all-wheel steering system, or P-AWS for short. The V6 model is available with all-wheel drive, which cannot be paired with P-AWS. Automotive journalists report that the 2016 Acura TLX has secure handling and the P-AWS system effectively aids steering through turns. Still, a few critics note that some rivals offer a more engaging drive. Test drivers are pleased with the TLX's ride comfort.

  • "There's also respectable handling prowess on tap, whether you're talking about the front-wheel-drive models with their rear-wheel steering system or the all-wheel-drive TLX V6, which can apply engine torque to individual wheels to help the car quickly power out of turns." -- Edmunds
  • "The BMW or Audi competitors deliver a greater sense of driver control than the Acura and the Lexus IS. The TLX gave the feeling that the car was going to take care of all that control stuff at the limit for you and just don't you worry about it, pal." -- AutoWeek (2015)
  • "After a few hours of trying to expose a weakness in the ride, I gave up and simply enjoyed the serenity - the TLX will make its owners look forward to the daily commute, whether three miles or three hours." -- Autoblog (2015)
  • "In practice, the [P-AWS] system is virtually invisible to the driver, though in brisk back-roads driving, the Acura does feel plenty willing, with positive turn-in and not much body roll." -- Motor Trend (2015)
  • "The 4-cylinder model feels nimble, much like the previous TSX, thanks to its slightly lighter nose and the assist from the rear-steering system." -- Kelley Blue Book (2015)

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