2019 Acura TLX

Performance


$33,000 MSRP
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2019 Acura TLX Performance Review

Scorecard

Performance: 7.6

The 2019 Acura TLX gives you two engine options, but neither is overly impressive. The base engine is adequate for driving around town, and the available V6 delivers superior power and acceleration, but both engines lack the energetic feel of rivals. Gas mileage is good for the class, however. The TLX rides smoothly, and it provides a composed feeling on winding roads, though it isn't especially sporty.

  • Still, the A-Spec is otherwise well-equipped and from an enthusiast perspective at least is the most compelling member of the TLX stable. … Yes, it's a sharper version of the TLX, which makes it a better upgrade option for upwardly mobile, enthusiastic V-6 Accord owners, but doesn't necessarily make it any more likely to peel sales away from, say, the Germans." -- Automobile Magazine (2018)
  • "Although some of the TLX's rivals truly distinguish themselves on the road due to sharp handling or especially impressive acceleration, we can't say the same thing about the TLX." -- Autotrader (2017)

Acceleration and Power

The TLX comes standard with a 206-horsepower 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine and an eight-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. It delivers power smoothly, but it doesn’t provide much in the way of acceleration. Still, this engine should be fine for your morning commute.

For more power, you can upgrade to a 290-horsepower 3.5-liter V6 engine mated to a nine-speed automatic transmission. It's responsive and feels stronger than the base engine, but it still doesn't blow you away with its acceleration. The nine-speed transmission also doesn't always deliver timely shifts.

With its base engine, the TLX earns an EPA-estimated 23 mpg in the city and 33 mpg on the highway. Those are some of the best ratings in the class for a nonhybrid. Numbers drop to 20 mpg in the city and 31 mpg on the highway with the V6 engine.

  • Acceleration falls short of the punch provided by the competition's smaller turbocharged engines; its 0-60 mph time is 6.2 seconds. But there's smooth and immediate power delivery nearly all the way to the redline, and the engine makes great sounds." -- Edmunds
  • The optional 3.5-liter V-6 makes heartier numbers … but neither drivetrain replicates the immediate thrust of the turbo four-cylinders in the BMW 330i or Audi A4. The V-6 makes up for it on the back end with a silky crescendo of power that builds as the tachometer swings clockwise; Acura officials told us it's enough to hit 60 mph in the high 5-second range. That's on par with manufacturer-estimated times for the German rivals, and the TLX does it with swift accelerator response – an underrated benefit given the maddening pedal lag in too many luxury cars." -- Cars.com (2018)
  • Acura is quick to point out the V6 produces considerably more horsepower than … turbo four rivals, which are pricier when similarly equipped. Fair point, but their torque figures are comparable, and like any rev-loving Honda, much of that power doesn't show up to the party until the tach is spinning well past the five-grand mark. It doesn't feel quicker. It feels like it has the capable, ultra-smooth but not especially lust-worthy engine of a Honda Accord. That's perfect for refined luxury duty, but is it for something described as a 'performance car,' precision-crafted or otherwise?" -- Autoblog (2018)

Handling and Braking

Buyers who want a fun-to-drive vehicle would do well to look past the TLX. This midsize sedan offers little steering feedback and lacks the agility of sportier sedans, though it is composed around turns. The A-Spec model is the most athletic TLX trim, and it feels more agile than its compatriots. And while you may not carve corners in this Acura, at least the ride remains smooth over rough pavement. Front-wheel drive is standard, and Acura's Super-Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD) is available.

  • Minimal body roll and strong brakes keep with other sports sedans, but the TLX's steering exhibits unwelcome numbness when centered." -- Cars.com (2018)
  • "Now, power aside, the A-Spec is indeed a better car to drive than the regular TLX V6. There is a crisper feel to its steering in particular – especially on center – and you do feel a closer connection to a car that's otherwise a bit distant. The Super-Handling All-Wheel Drive lives up to its name by mitigating understeer around corners, and although the suspension has been firmed up a bit, the ride quality remained nothing but buttery smooth over a diverse selection of crummy Kentucky pavement. The A-Spec does feel a bit sportier, but regardless of trim, you should expect a car that isn't especially memorable to drive but certainly very nice." -- Autoblog (2018)
  • On the road, you really can tell a difference between a 2018 TLX A-Spec and a non-A-Spec V-6 car. It's subtle, but the TLX A-Spec's suspension is firmer (but still everyday-livable), and the steering feels tighter, with slightly greater effort." -- Motor Trend (2018)
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