2018 Acura TLX

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MSRP: $33,000 - 45,750

2018 Acura TLX Review

At first glance, the 2018 Acura TLX brings a lot to the table with a long list of standard features that includes an easy-to-use dual-screen infotainment system. However, it ranks near the bottom of its class because of a below-average cargo hold and an underwhelming base engine. 

Pros & Cons

  • Generous list of standard features
  • Below-average starting price for its class
  • Updated infotainment system is faster and easier to use
  • Underwhelming base engine
  • Below-average cargo space 

Is the Acura TLX a Good Car?

The 2018 TLX is a solid vehicle, though it doesn't quite match the level of luxury found in other classmates. It has a nice interior with comfortable seats, but there are a few hard plastic interior trim pieces, and rear-seat space is limited. Its base engine is adequate but doesn't accelerate the TLX quickly. Fortunately, a more potent engine is available. Where the TLX comes out ahead of its rivals is in value. It comes with a plethora of standard features at a below-average price. Its mixture of quality and value make it a finalist for our Best Luxury Midsize Car for the Money

Should I Buy the Acura TLX?

The 2018 Acura TLX is a good choice if you want a luxury sedan but you don't want to burn a hole in your wallet. Its starting price of $33,000 makes it one of the lowest-priced luxury midsize cars, but it still has many of the features you’d expect in a luxury vehicle.

Should I Buy a New or Used Acura TLX?

Acura introduced the TLX as an all-new model for the 2015 model year, replacing the outgoing Acura TL and Acura TSX. There have been few major changes to the TLX since its debut, so if you're looking to save money, you could shop for an older model without sacrificing many features. The main difference between a new 2018 TLX and used models is the availability of the A-Spec trim. This trim was introduced for 2018 and delivers slightly more engaging handling through a sport-tuned suspension and a quicker steering ratio. It also adds sport seats, a sport steering wheel, and wireless phone charging. 

To research some other models in this generation, check out our reviews of the 2015, 2016, and 2017 Acura TLX. If you decide an older model is right for you, check out our Used Car Deals page to learn about savings and discounts on used vehicles.

Compare the 2016, 2017, and 2018 Acura TLX »

We Did the Research for You: 44 Reviews Analyzed

We’ve analyzed 44 reviews of the Acura TLX and combined them with information like fuel economy estimates and crash test results to provide you with everything you need to know to make your car buying decision. This 2018 Acura TLX review incorporates applicable research for all model years in this generation, which spans the 2015 through 2018 model years

Why You Can Trust Us

We have over 75 years of combined experience in the automotive industry, and we’ve been ranking cars, trucks, and SUVs since 2007. You can count on us to provide objective analyses of the vehicles we cover because we have no horse in this race; our editorial team does not accept expensive gifts or trips from automakers, and all of the advertising on our site is handled by a third party.

How Much Does the Acura TLX Cost?

The 2018 Acura TLX is now available with a starting price of $33,000, making it one of the least expensive cars in the luxury midsize class. You can upgrade to a more powerful V6 engine for $3,200 and add all-wheel drive to V6 models for an additional $2,000. The available Technology package ($3,700) and Advance package ($10,750, V6 models only) add features like a 360-degree-view camera, heated outboard rear seats, navigation, and voice command.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Acura dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Acura deals page.

Acura TLX Versus the Competition

Which Is Better: Acura TLX or BMW 5 Series?

The BMW 5 Series' $52,650 starting price is much higher than the TLX's, but it's worth it. The BMW has a potent engine lineup, including a 248-horsepower base power plant that has plenty of pep and a hearty 456-horsepower V8 that really ups the ante. The 5 Series favors comfort over agility with its smooth, composed ride. While the TLX's 14.3 cubic-foot trunk is small for the class, the 5 Series has 18.7 cubic feet of trunk space. Additionally, the 5 Series tops the TLX’s tech with a standard 10.2-inch touch-screen infotainment system with voice and handwriting recognition. While the TLX's system features a user-friendly touch screen, it's only seven inches, and you have to upgrade to get voice command. Moreover, with the 5 Series, you can motion your hands in front of the screen to control certain functions like volume (not available in the TLX). If you can afford to spend $19,400 more than the TLX, consider the 5 Series.

Which Is Better: Acura TLX or Lexus GS?

Similar to the 5 Series, the Lexus GS costs much more than the TLX ($46,310), but it offers many advantages over the Acura. Though both cars offer four-cylinder and V6 engines, the GS has a more powerful V8 engine option in its lineup. In addition, the GS is much more agile through turns than the comfort-minded TLX. Inside the GS, you'll find walnut trim, soft-touch materials, and matte finishes, while the TLX has a few hard plastic surfaces. The Lexus has plenty of room for adults in both rows and an abundant list of standard and available features. Despite its higher price tag, the GS is worth the extra money.

Which Is Better: Acura TLX or Honda Accord?

The Honda Accord doesn't have a luxury badge, but it's a good alternative to the TLX. Its starting price of $23,570 is $9,430 lower than the TLX’s. The Accord's base engine has 14 less horsepower than the TLX's, but it doesn't suffer from underwhelming acceleration. Similarly, a turbocharged 252-horsepower four-cylinder engine gives the Accord quick acceleration, but it doesn't match the output of the TLX's optional 290-horsepower V6 engine. However, the Accord’s fuel economy estimates are better (30/38 mpg). While Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, and a touch screen isn't standard in the Accord (all are standard in the TLX), you can add on these features and still pay significantly less than the TLX's base price. The Accord's interior is filled with top-notch materials and has a stylish design, though it's a step below cabins in the luxury class. The Accord's top trim is $34,000 and is a great budget-friendly alternative to the TLX.

Compare the TLX, 5 Series, and Accord »

TLX Interior

How Many People Does the TLX Seat?

The 2018 Acura TLX seats five. Standard features include leatherette upholstery, 60/40 split folding rear seats, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, a 10-way power-adjustable driver's seat, and heated front seats.

Available features include leather-trimmed upholstery, an eight-way power-adjustable front passenger seat, a driver's seat thigh extender, Milano leather-trimmed upholstery, ventilated front seats, Alcantara-trimmed upholstery, a sport steering wheel, sport front seats, heated rear outboard seats, and a heated steering wheel.

Tall passengers will feel cramped in the TLX. Although the seats are comfortable, there isn't much leg- or headroom in the rear – especially when the front seats are pushed back. The front seats are roomier, but they lack lateral thigh support. Opt for the upgraded sport seats for extra bolstering and more support.

TLX and Car Seats

There are two sets of lower anchors in the rear outboard seats and upper tethers on all three rear seats. This LATCH child-seat system received a Marginal rating (the second-lowest score possible) from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, as the anchors are located too deep in the seats and can be difficult to attach car-seat straps to.

TLX Interior Quality

You'll find mostly high-quality materials inside the TLX, though there are some hard surfaces. Upper models have stylish wood trim and contrasting piping and stitching for some added flair.

TLX Cargo Space

The TLX has 14.3 cubic feet of cargo space, which is slightly below average for the class. If you anticipate needing more trunk space, you may prefer the Lexus GS (18.4 cubic feet) or BMW 5 Series (18.7 cubic feet). However, the TLX does have places within the cabin to store smaller items.

TLX Infotainment, Bluetooth, and Navigation

The 2018 TLX comes standard with the latest technology, including Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, an 8-inch display, a 7-inch touch screen, hands-free text messaging and email, and Siri Eyes Free.

Available features include a 10-speaker sound system, wireless phone charging, LED ambient lighting, and the AcuraLink telematics system, which allows you to lock or unlock the car from your phone, request roadside assistance, view vehicle technical data, or track your TLX if it’s stolen.

The TLX's infotainment system has two screens: a lower 7-inch touch screen and an upper 8-inch display. The 8-inch display shows information pertaining to Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and fuel economy. The infotainment system is faster and more organized than the 2017 TLX's, with less steps to go through to carry out functions.

For more information, read What Is Apple CarPlay? and What Is Android Auto? Then, see the Best Cars With Apple CarPlay and Best Cars With Android Auto.

Read more about interior »

TLX Performance

TLX Engine: Upgrade for More Fun

The 2018 Acura TLX comes standard with a 206-horsepower four-cylinder engine and an eight-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. A 290-horsepower V6 engine and a nine-speed automatic transmission are available.

The TLX’s base engine is adequate for driving around town, but it won't excite you. For more power, upgrade to the V6; you'll get stronger acceleration that allows for easy highway passing. It's no Lexus GS, though. With the GS, you’ll have three powerful engines to choose from, with the most powerful V8 producing 467 horsepower.

TLX Gas Mileage: Above-Average Estimates

The 2018 Acura TLX delivers 23 mpg in the city and 33 mpg on the highway. This is slightly above average for the class. With the V6 model, expect 20 mpg in the city and 32 on the highway. The base BMW 5 Series gets slightly better fuel economy of 24/34 mpg city/highway.

TLX Ride and Handling: Comfortable, Not Athletic

Front-wheel drive is standard in the 2018 TLX, and Acura's Super Handling all-wheel-drive system (SH-AWD) is available. The new-for-2018 A-Spec trim brings a touch more sportiness to the TLX, which typically favors a supple ride over a sporty one. Steering in all models is numb, though. The available SH-AWD improves the car's handling around turns.

Read more about performance »

TLX Reliability

Is the Acura TLX Reliable?

The 2018 TLX has a predicted reliability rating of three out of five. That’s average for the automotive market as a whole, but most luxury midsize cars receive better scores.  

Acura TLX Warranty

Acura covers the TLX with a four-year/50,000-mile basic warranty and a six-year/70,000-mile powertrain warranty. This is the same coverage as many other luxury cars, including the BMW 5 Series and the Lexus GS.

Read more about reliability »

TLX Safety

TLX Crash Test Results

The 2018 Acura TLX gets perfect scores of five out of five across the board from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in overall safety, frontal crash tests, side crash tests, and rollover tests. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gives the TLX the highest rating of Good in four crash tests and an Acceptable rating (the second-highest) in the small overlap front driver’s side test.

TLX Safety Features

The TLX comes standard with a host of safety features, including a multiangle rearview camera and its suite of advanced driver assistance features as part of AcuraWatch. This bundle includes lane keep assist, forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, road departure warning, and lane departure warning. Available safety features include blind spot monitoring and a 360-degree-view camera.

Read more about safety »

Which Acura TLX Model Is Right for Me?

The Acura TLX doesn't come in traditional trim levels like many of its rivals. Instead, Acura categorizes the TLX based on its engine and available packages, making for a total of six different models. All-wheel drive can be added to V6 models for $2,000.

The 2018 TLX has one of the lowest starting prices in its class, meaning you can get the top-of-the-line model and still not spend as much as you would on a base Lexus GS. If you're also considering a more expensive competitor, you might as well go all the way up the TLX A-Spec. Upgrade to the V6 for more power, add all-wheel drive for improved handling, and pile on the comfort and tech features Acura offers, such as wireless phone charging, a 360-degree-view camera, voice command, Alcantara leather-trimmed upholstery, and a heated steering wheel. 

Acura TLX 2.4L

The base TLX has a starting price of $33,000. It comes with a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine and an eight-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. Standard features include Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, satellite radio, 60/40 split folding rear seats, a dual-screen infotainment system (with a lower 7-inch touch screen and an upper 8-inch infotainment display), a 4.2-inch driver information display behind the steering wheel, leatherette upholstery, a multiangle rearview camera, push-button start, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, heated front seats, Bluetooth, a seven-speaker sound system, a USB port, Siri Eyes Free, and AcuraWatch, which is a suite of advanced safety features including lane keep assist, forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, road departure warning, and lane departure warning.

Acura TLX 2.4L With Technology Package

The TLX with the Technology package starts at $36,700 and adds navigation, blind spot monitoring, leather-trimmed upholstery, voice command, a 10-speaker sound system, GPS-linked climate control, and AcuraLink, which allows remote access to your TLX.

Acura TLX 3.5L

Starting at $36,200, this Acura comes with a 3.5-liter V6 engine, a nine-speed automatic transmission, and the base TLX features. It adds an eight-way power-adjustable front passenger seat and exclusive interior color options with contrasting piping and stitching.

Acura TLX 3.5L With Technology Package

Starting at $39,900, the 3.5-liter model with the Technology package comes with all of the lower-model features, plus a driver's seat thigh extender and Milano leather-trimmed upholstery. 

Acura TLX A-Spec

The new-for-2018 A-Spec model starts at $42,800 and comes with a 3.5-liter V6 engine and a nine-speed automatic transmission. It comes standard with lower trim features and adds ventilated front seats, leather and Alcantara-trimmed upholstery, a sport steering wheel and front seats, wireless phone charging, and LED ambient lighting.

Acura TLX 3.5L With Advance Package

The top-of-the-line 3.5L model with the Advance package starts at $43,750. It comes with all lower features and adds a 360-degree-view camera, heated outboard rear seats, remote start, and a heated steering wheel.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Acura dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Acura deals page.

See 2018 Acura TLX specs and trims »

The Final Call

The refreshed 2018 Acura TLX has improved upon the 2017 model by adding a more responsive and intuitive infotainment system and a more athletic trim. It also comes with more standard features and has one of the lowest starting prices in the class ($33,000). However, its base engine is underwhelming, and its rivals offer more cargo space.

Don’t just take our word for it. Check out comments from some of the reviews that drive our rankings and analysis.

  • "The TLX has always represented a fine value in the premium-midsize class, something that has earned it a Consumer Guide Best Buy rating ever since it came out. The 2018 model is the best yet, and the new A-Spec brings back fond memories of when 'Acura' and 'sporty' were virtually synonymous." -- Consumer Guide
  • "Value remains the best reason to buy a TLX, but with the 2018 model going on sale in June, it's far from the only one. The A-Spec variant is more fun to drive and showy than other TLXs have ever been before, yet each model would make a good commuter. Fuel efficiency and brand status aren't the car's strong suits, but the 2018 TLX is more worthy of consideration than it's been before. And with standard active safety tech, you'll experience features that might have been out of reach on nonloaded first-tier luxury brand alternatives." -- Motor Trend
  • "Refreshed for 2018, the Acura TLX sedan remains a strong value choice in a large class. … Luxury sedan shoppers with a $40,000 budget have enough choices to fill a Cheesecake Factory menu, and though the TLX can't go blow-for-blow against the best of them for performance or quality, it thumps most of them in value." -- Cars.com
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