The 2021 Acura TLX became so much better. Launched late last year as the 2021 model, Acura says that the TLX could consist of up to 21 percent of total sales. This is a bold statement of how serious Acura remains about the sedans. Like with almost all other brands, in the Acura lineup, SUVs are gaining dominance. In 2019, the compact crossover RDX was the best-selling model followed by the MDX although the latter is due for replacement.
The new TLX is longer, lower, and wider than its predecessor. The sporty A-Spec trim that includes 19-inch wheels and a little trunk spoiler gives the car a bolder appearance which is a good thing. Acura expects that the TLX will make up 21 percent of its total sales.
As I was on my way to pick up my tester, a weird question occupied my mind: Why did the Japanese enter the luxury car game so lately: Honda introduced Acura as late as in 1986. Toyota launched Lexus and Nissan introduced Infiniti shortly thereafter, in 1989.
The main motivation was the voluntary export restrictions the Japanese government imposed on exports to the USA. And the Japanese manufacturers adopted a new marketing strategy to sell more expensive and profitable cars while sticking to quantity quota as agreed between Japan and the USA. This was a good move for the Japanese auto industry with long term benefits as we see also today.
2021 Acura TLX: Engine and Powertrain
Like the RDX we tested earlier, the 2021 Acura TLX comes with only one engine option. The 2.0L, 4-cylinder delivering 272 horsepower and 280 lb.-ft. of torque. The engine is mated to a 10-speed transmission.
Acura will offer a more powerful V6 engine in 2021 possibly as a 2022 model.
2021 Acura TLX: Interior
As I sat behind the steering wheel, I remembered an article I wrote about 20 years ago: It was about the interior of Honda (the parent company which owns Acura) models and the low-lying dashboard. After so many years, it is still valid. The low profile of the elegantly sculpted dash enables surprisingly good visibility. The 10.2-inch display atop the dash is in perfect angle with the drivers’ view. The touchpad control with a leather wrist support looks elegant too. However, it is far from ideal and definitely requires getting-used-to. And even after you get used to it, it may still be sometimes distractive. BMW, almost two decades ago introduced the”i-Drive”, a large rotary knob on the centre console with hard buttons placed around this knob. Until this system became fully functional and easy-to-use, the Bavarians had to swallow a lot of harsh critics by then as this new control system did not always work properly. But now, it is a perfected, proven and safe solution that not only BMW but also some other manufacturers like Mazda use conveniently. Maybe also Acura would do the same later.
The seats are comfortable and the space in the rear is not far from generous.
2021 Acura TLX: Driving Impressions
The new, 2021 Acura TLX drives pleasantly well. The 10-speed transmission shifts the gears smoothly and you tend to forget you drive a sports sedan. And when you change to Sport, you enjoy the sporty side of this vehicle. When you change also to Manual, it turns into an enjoyable, track-like driving experience, but pay full attention to the traffic not to exceed speed limits. Especially in the USA, where many more people have access to a track, the TLX would be your weekend entertainment. The Super Handling all-Wheels Drive (SH-AWD) as Acura calls it, gives great and firm acceleration, especially on a partially slippery surface as we tested.
From a sports sedan in the luxury class, I would probably expect an adaptive suspension system. Acura offers this fine feature only with the range-topping Elite Platinum trim. However, considering the fact that Acura offers a significant price advantage over its German competitors this is more than justifiable.
2021 Acura TLX: Pricing and specifications
With an MSRP of C$49,790, the 2021 Acura TLX A-Spec is a very competitively priced alternative in its class. Especially against its German competitors, the TLX offers a price advantage of up to 10K with comparable equipment. Another serious competitor is Genesis, the relatively new player of the Hyundai Group and the stakes are high in this luxury sports sedan segment for each brand.
For details on the pricing and specifications of the TLX, please visit: https://www.acura.ca/tlx
2021 Acura TLX: Conclusion
If you are looking for a sports sedan in the luxury/premium segment, the all-new Acura TLX may be an excellent choice: It combines Honda’s vast manufacturing experience, the traditional quality and reliability of a Japanese vehicle with tons of standard, safety and comfort features at a competitive price.
For more detailed and up-to-date information please visit: http://www.acura.ca
Article by Varol McKars, Photos by Burak McKars