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2020 Acura TLX Performance Review


Performance: 6.5

The 2020 Acura TLX has unimpressive overall performance for its class, with subpar powertrain options and so-so handling. However, it is very fuel-efficient. Higher trims help to alleviate the base model's dull performance.

  • Propelling the 2020 TLX is either a base 2.4-liter 4-cylinder engine making 206 horsepower or a 3.5-liter V6 generating 290 horsepower. Neither output figure is that remarkable, but should be adequate for most purposes." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "With the V6 under its hood, the … Acura TLX always has enough power for any situation, and the steering feel is appropriately responsive. The FWD TLX's driving experience, however, doesn't stand out from the pack in terms of sportiness. … the V6-powered TLX … combined with the A-Spec and SH-AWD setup produces a very different driving experience, one we think will probably satisfy all but the most diehard driving enthusiasts." -- Autotrader (2019)
  • "Well-balanced between sport and comfort, the A-Spec's suspension calibration is what we expect from Acura. It isolates harsh bumps while transmitting enough road noise and texture to let the driver know what's going on with the tires." -- Edmunds (2019)

Acceleration and Power

The Acura TLX comes standard with a 206-horsepower 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine and an eight-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. A 290-horsepower 3.5-liter V6 engine is optional, mated to a nine-speed automatic transmission. The standard engine delivers underwhelming power and acceleration. While the V6 is a little more engaging, it's hampered by inconsistent responses from the transmission.

The TLX returns excellent fuel economy for its class. It gets up to 23 mpg in the city and 33 mpg on the highway with the base engine and up to 20 mpg in the city and 31 mpg on the highway with the optional V6.

  • The entry-level 2.4-liter 4-cylinder engine links to an 8-speed dual-clutch automated transmission that works fine. The 3.5-liter V6 connects to a 9-speed regular automatic that needs to be in Sport mode to respond as quickly as it should." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "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. … The nine-speed transmission is smooth at light loads and quick-shifting during full-throttle acceleration. But it's slow to respond in situations with constant and numerous throttle changes." -- Edmunds (2019)
  • "While the V6 provides a strong jump off the line in a full-throttle start, slow transmission kickdowns hamper its ability to provide quick response when jumping on the throttle at speed. If you just give the gas pedal a part-throttle push, it's not bad, but nailing it to the floor seems to confuse the transmission a bit – something we've noticed with this 9-speed automatic in the past." -- Consumer Guide (2018)

Handling and Braking

The TLX offers a comfortable, composed ride, but it lacks outright athleticism. While the A-Spec model has tighter handling, it's still less engaging to drive than many rivals. Front-wheel drive is standard, and all-wheel drive is available.

  • "Front-drive versions enjoy rear-wheel steering that enhances agility and makes parking easier. … All-wheel-drive versions are exclusively V6-powered. … By sending power to wheels with the most grip, the ability to maintain tight, fast cornering lines is amplified. A-Spec models ride slightly firmer, pleasantly so, but don’t have any more power." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • 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. With the exception of the A-Spec trim, the TLX's ride and handling are more about comfort and competence than competition." -- Autotrader (2019)
  • "The A-Spec's steering effort is just about right. You can feel the heft progressively increase as you turn in for a corner, and the feel increases accordingly. In a turn, feedback is excellent, giving you confidence." -- Edmunds (2019)
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2020 Acura TLX

MSRP: $33,000 - $45,950

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