By on November 13, 2014

2015 Acura TLX silverIn September we asked if the TLX could restore Acura’s car business. In October, we realized that by Acura standards, the TLX could quickly end up as a hit. And now in November, with October 2014 U.S. sales results in hand, the Acura TLX is a hit.

We could apply all manner of qualifying statements: it’s early; other cars are transitioning to a new model year as Acura ramps up the TLX; year-over-year comparisons only highlight the dire straits which were afflicting the TLX’s predecessors; the TLX is relatively inexpensive and thus obviously a more justifiable proposition for buyers moving up to “luxury” cars.

Or, the TLX is exactly what potential Acura customers had been desirous of for years. Not too big, not too small. A choice between an efficient four-cylinder or a similarly efficient but far more powerful V6. Front or all-wheel-drive. Transmissions which, at least in terms of ratios, leapfrog the competition. Somewhat subdued but not unattractive styling. And an advertised base price below $31,000.

The result? Only four premium brand cars – 3-Series/4-Series, C-Class, ES, 5-Series – and only six premium brand vehicles – RX and MDX included – outsold the TLX in October 2014.

4890 TLXs were sold in October, a 95% year-over-year increase compared with the combined total of the TL and TSX in October 2013, a 26% increase compared with the TLX’s own total from September of this year. During a month in which brand-wide Acura sales rose 8%, the TLX accounted for 31.7% of all Acura sales. These were tremendously useful figures for Acura last month, as the ILX, RLX, TL, TSX, MDX, RDX, and ZDX all posted year-over-year decreases.

Non-TLX sales were down 26%.

What of the TLX’s competitors? The vast 3-Series/4-Series range is virtually a brand unto itself, with more permutations than Law & Order, CSI, and NCIS put together. As a result, the 3-Series/4-Series lineup (up 16% to 13,621) sells in brand-like numbers, with more October sales than Cadillac, Infiniti, or Lincoln; more than Volvo, Posche, Land Rover, and Jaguar combined. Mercedes-Benz sold 7412 copies of its new C-Class in October – no one would deny the C-Class is a long-time success.


Lexus’s ES, meanwhile, was down 1% to 5932 units. (The IS was up 6% to 3771 October sales.) Nissan sold 4188 Maximas; Buick sold 4071 LaCrosses; Infiniti reported 2964 Q50 sales. Audi and Cadillac both reported fewer than 2700 total A4 and ATS sales, respectively. Mercedes-Benz CLA sales were down to 2596, a 47% drop compared with its peak month of October 2013.

It will take more than a year, at least, to see if the TLX has the long-lasting appeal of venerable German nameplates or even Lexus’s more comfort-oriented ES. If we can judge cars based on three months of results – admittedly, it’s early – the TLX is an undeniably potent force for American Honda. Moreover, on the subject of premature heralding, any suggestion that these strong results are symptomatic of pent-up demand for a long-awaited car only serves to point out that Acura may possess a larger, more fervent fan base than we would have believed; that the TLX has been deemed by many to be a car worth waiting for.

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160 Comments on “Now Is The Acura TLX A Hit?...”


  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    I think this will be a case of:

    Yes, there are Acura fans out there who knew the TL and TSX were ending, and waited to purchase their new Acura mid-size. But ALL of these people will purchase the TSX they desire over the next year or so, and then sales will fall off a cliff for the rest of the time, and be down there with the ATS.

    Side note: That grey on there is a very washed out and depressing color which cheapens the look of the car considerably. Avoid.

  • avatar
    Occam

    The C-pillar treatment on this car seems to have become a bit of a trope in car design. The side windows tapering down, with the Hoffmeister kink bringing the beltline up to meet at a tapering point. This leaves the overall pillar with the shape of a lower-case Lambda: λ

    Just off the top of my head, Lexus IS, Hyundai Elantra, Accord Coupe, ’15 Mustang, Camaro, Avenger, LX-platform Charger (gen1), and so on.

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    Outsold the TSX/TL pretty much 2 to 1 in October. Impressive.

    I still miss the 04-07 TSX/TL and I’m pretty sure those moved more units. But this is a start I guess. The ILX is due for a revamp as well that should make it more competitive against the likes of the A3/CLA.

    • 0 avatar
      Marko

      2004-2008 (I have an ’08 TL). That said, either I still haven’t seen a TLX on the road, or it looks a LOT like a ’12-’14 TL.

      • 0 avatar
        sportyaccordy

        I have seen a few. They don’t look good. In pictures the creases give it shape. In real life it looks like an amorphous blob with no kind of surface tension.

        Strangely, I saw a facelifted 09-14 TL yesterday and stopped to take it in. It really wasn’t THAT ugly, but it was strange. 5 years later I am still not sure what to make of the design, which is why I think it bombed.

        • 0 avatar
          dal20402

          The ’09-’14 TL looks a lot less radical now than it did in 2009. Mutant cyborg styling has gotten a lot more common in the intervening years. The TL still not pretty, but now it comes across to me as inoffensive, which it didn’t back then.

          I think the TLX is about as vanilla as entry-luxury sedans get. It looks a lot more interesting with better detailing (like the “concept” had, and like the blue Galpin SEMA car has.)

          • 0 avatar
            energetik9

            Vanilla is a good word. In a segment where styling is more and more apparent, the TLX seems to want to stay invisble in the crowd.

          • 0 avatar
            sportyaccordy

            I think its main problem is that it’s confusing. I still don’t know whether I like or hate it’s looks. I don’t have a good feel for its proportions. Sometimes it looks huge, sometimes it looks small. It’s true that weird looking cars have become commonplace, but something like a Juke is not as disorienting, which is the TL’s issue.

        • 0 avatar
          TMA1

          I’ve seen a few TLs of the 09-14 generation with beaks painted to match the rest of the car. It make a huge difference, and the car looks a lot better that way.

          • 0 avatar
            DeadWeight

            The 2005 to 2008 RL TROUNCES any current Acura in terms of build quality, fit/finish and solidity, and looks better, as well.

            If you see a well maintained RL off that era in a parking lot or on a used dealer lot, pull on the door handles, closely inspect the panel alignment and paint surface, and look at the interior materials in the places few people bother to look/notice.

            Acura has so lost any remaining shred of its badge/brand equity by uglifying & cheapening their sedans.

      • 0 avatar
        This Is Dawg

        I’ve seen 3 or 4 now, all in black or silver, and each time I thought “Oh nice, the TL finally fixed its wedgie!” They certainly don’t seem like an all new car, but I think they’ve vastly improved the TL’s previous awkwardness.

        In a strange complete-opposite impression to sportyaccordy, I thought the concept was terrible, but on the road they stike me as much more calm and composed looking. Almost like a mini-RL.

    • 0 avatar
      vtnoah

      The reason behind this is there is literally NO inventory left of the TL / TSX. They were discontinued and dealers ran out of Stock at the beginning of the summer. They literally had nothing to offer for the segment for 4 months. Unless you’re saying that it outsold those vehicles versus last years numbers, in which case I stand corrected.

    • 0 avatar
      bd2

      Not bad for a start, but the TLX has a WAYS to go before it can match sales of the much maligned 3G “beaked” TL and the TSX at their height.

      In May 2004, Acura sold over 7k of the TL and another 3,500 of the TSX – for a total of 10.7k in sales, so the TLX will have to more than DOUBLE the current sales pace to match.

      As maligned the 3G TL was for its sheetmetal, it looks better than the TLX from the side.

  • avatar
    bryanska

    One more factor: marketing works. The marketing support has been huge. I work for a CPG company that uses marketing to make anything a hit for a year. With enough marketing support, you can create volume in Y1. If that’s what you’re after.

    • 0 avatar
      energetik9

      Except that most cars are marketed pretty heavily around launch. In true fashion, Acura will likely let this car die on the vine once the initial lauch promotion period is done. Marketing by itself only partially works. Placement, price, promotion remember?

      • 0 avatar
        bryanska

        I’ve seen marketing push junk product top success in the short term. Remember the Ps that can be bought: price and promotion. This was Acuras largest campaign ever. Like I said, you can buy initial trial. It remains to be seen whether repeat (or success in the second year) will happen for the TLX. But Acura did a lot to buy initial success independent of the product.

    • 0 avatar

      The only marketing I ever saw was Alex Dykes’ review (if it’s even the same car).

      update: Had to read B&B to determine that it’s not the same car. He reviewed ILX, a smaller car. Therefore I remember no marketing messages.

  • avatar
    Land Ark

    2008 Acura TL
    Length: 15′ 9.3″
    Width: 6′ .02″
    Height: 4′ 8.7″
    Weight: 3,623 lbs

    2015 Acura TLX
    Length: 15′ 10.3″
    Width: 6′ 1″
    Height: 4′ 9″
    Weight: 3,596 lbs

    With similar dimensions and looks from one of the best looking and best overall cars Acura has offered, it’s no wonder this thing is a hit.

    • 0 avatar
      sproc

      In addition to being good looking, what I find impressive in person is that it somehow looks smaller than it is. While the numbers don’t lie, visually, I’d swear it’s the scale of the 1st gen TSX. A belt line that’s not armored car-like makes a huge difference.

    • 0 avatar
      bd2

      Except, the 3G TL’s best month of sale was 7,310 in March 2004 and it was also at a higher price-point.

      While the 3G TL was much maligned for its aesthetics, its side profile/greenhouse is better than the TLX.

    • 0 avatar
      bd2

      Except, the TLX has a ways to go before it matches the 3G TL’s best sales month which was 7,310 in March of 2004 and despite the TL being much maligned for its sheetmetal, it has a better roofline/profile and greenhouse than the TLX.

  • avatar
    Astigmatism

    I don’t know why you consider “the TLX is relatively inexpensive and thus obviously a more justifiable proposition for buyers moving up to “luxury” cars” as a “qualification” to the sales numbers when it’s a key part of the car’s appeal. Buff books and TTAC commenters have spent six months whining that the TLX isn’t as good a car as a C-Class or 3-series, ignoring that it’s $5k-$7k cheaper than they are (and that’s prior to the new upmarket C-Class) when comparably equipped. The TLX makes the same value proposition as my 08 TL: a much nicer car than the mainstream midsizers for a justifiable price delta that’s substantially less than the German junior-luxury offerings. Why everyone here seemed to think there was no market for people who want to spend $30k-$40k for a reliable, well-equipped, competent-handling and comfortable car is beyond me.

    • 0 avatar
      crm114

      People also seem oblivious to the fact that the total cost of ownership is so much less on an Acura than the German brands.

      • 0 avatar
        krhodes1

        I’m not oblivious to that fact, I just don’t care. McDonalds is cheaper than the Capital Grille, too.

        • 0 avatar
          Astigmatism

          You can hold your nose as high in the air as you want. Some folks appreciate a well-built car that doesn’t cost a ton to fix. Not counting gas and snow tires, I’ve spent less than $1000 on my car since I bought it, and other than one electrical gremlin that I fixed by myself with a screwdriver, the car has been completely, totally, dead reliable. And I like the way it drives and rides a lot more than anything else I could have bought for the price at the time.

        • 0 avatar
          dal20402

          Capital Grille: bad example, although perhaps apropos to the modern BMW driving experience. Outlandish prices for thick, heavy, somewhat flavorful, altogether mediocre food.

          I agree with Astigmatism that it’s amazing how little tolerance there is among the commentariat for any price point between “big car for the cheapest possible price” (i.e. Accord Sport) and “RWD status symbol” (i.e. 3-series that reaches $50k or more if you equip it well). The TLX makes lots of sense as a car that’s better-equipped and better-finished than the mainstream sedans yet cheaper than the luxury competition. You see the same contempt directed at Buicks and Lincolns which hover around the same pricing territory.

          • 0 avatar
            krhodes1

            Whatever, point is it is better than McDonalds.

            Problem is, cars like the Acura and Lincolns are not enough nicer than the mainstream cars they are based on, and not enough cheaper than the truly premium cars.

            I would never buy this Acura over an Accord, just like I would never buy the Lincoln version of a Fusion Titanium. What would be the point, other than wasting money? I’d rather spend a good bit less for something just about as good, or a little more for something that doesn’t share its bones with a car that costs half as much and offers a very different experience. And that is ultimately why Acura, Lincoln, Volvo, etc. can’t fight the Germans.

            And as I have said many times, if you don’t get why a 3-series is worth $15K more than a CamCord, enjoy your CamCord and spend the $15K on something that makes you happy.

          • 0 avatar
            Astigmatism

            You’re right, you’ve said it many times. But ultimately, the TLX is only “a little more” than the Accord but “a good bit less” than the Germans – closer in price to the former than the latter, comparably equipped. Again, the question isn’t whether a 3-series is worth $15k more than an Accord: it’s whether the TLX is worth $2k more than the Accord, and in turn whether the 3-series is worth $10k more than the TLX.

            Not that many years ago family sedans were $15k-$20k, the entry-level Germans were $30k-$40k, the midlevel Germans were $45k-$60k, etc. Now, the family sedans are $25k while the entry-level Germans are $40k for a stripper or $55k nicely equipped. That’s a giant gap in the market that the TLX fills quite nicely. But if that’s not your segment of the market, enjoy your Fiat.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            “What would be the point [of buying a TLX rather than an Accord], other than wasting money?”

            The cars aren’t the same. This is the whole phenomenon I’m complaining about — dividing the world into just two categories of cars. The reasons to spend the extra $3k-$10k (depending on equipment) to buy a TLX rather than an Accord are substantial, even though the TLX isn’t a BMW. Here are some of them:

            – The TLX is much quieter. Interior noise is closer to Lexus than to Honda.
            – Materials inside the TLX are better. They aren’t new C-Class or A6 quality but they’re the equal of BMW or an A3.
            – Gizmos not available in any Accord: seat memory, 8-way passenger seat, ELS audio, real-time traffic information, GPS climate control, multiple trunk storage compartments, various safety minders, and more.
            – You can get an AWD system (and it’s a pretty good one).
            – Better transmissions (especially on the four-cylinder model where you are comparing one of the best DCTs out there against a CVT).

            You don’t have to want a loaded-up FWD-based sedan, but there is a value proposition in it.

          • 0 avatar
            S2k Chris

            I would never buy this Acura over an Accord, just like I would never buy the Lincoln version of a Fusion Titanium. What would be the point, other than wasting money? I’d rather spend a good bit less for something just about as good, or a little more for something that doesn’t share its bones with a car that costs half as much and offers a very different experience. And that is ultimately why Acura, Lincoln, Volvo, etc. can’t fight the Germans.”

            There are a whole laundry list of things that are standard/optional on the TLX and not available on the Accord (or only available on the Accord Touring which is damn near the same price). Plus a longer warranty, a better dealer experience (including the valuable complimentary loaner car), etc.

            YOU may not think a $35k TLX makes sense over a $25-30k Accord for your purposes, but there are plenty of people in the world who want something a little bit nicer with a nicer badge, for not a lot more money, and pretending to be oblivious to this says far more about you than it does about Acura and Honda.

            It always amuses me how many car people turn their noses up at a “fancy Accord” but fail to realize that a “fancy Accord” is EXACTLY what lots of people want.

          • 0 avatar
            krhodes1

            @Astigmatism

            Excuse me? Enjoy my FIAT? I do enjoy my FIAT, thank you very much, it’s a great toy. And I enjoy my daily driver, which is an ’11 328i wagon, 6spd stick, rwd. Bought new, European Delivery. You might have seen it featured on a Venom Vellum post by Sajeev, if you have been around here long enough. I’ll be buying an additional BMW next summer, most likely. Also European Delivery.

            So as one who actually buys cars in this price range, and practices what he preaches, regularly, I like to think my opinion counts a tad more than those who dwell in their parents basement.

            A stripper BMW sedan starts at $33K, which is $1K more than the Acura. A Honda Accord Sport starts at $24K, which is $8K less. Which is closer to which again exactly?

          • 0 avatar
            S2k Chris

            “A stripper BMW sedan starts at $33K, which is $2K more than the Acura. A Honda Accord Sport starts at $24K, which is $7K less. Which is closer to which again exactly?”

            Holy christ, congrats, you bought a BMW wagon. Let us all bow down before thee.

            Why would one compare a stripper BMW to a stripper Honda to a fairly loaded TLX? COMPARABLY EQUIPPED, the difference between the Accord and the TLX is only a few grand, and the the BMW and the TLX is quite substantial.

            But hey, keep jacking it to your dorky wagon.

          • 0 avatar
            ajla

            Comparing Acura to McDonald’s is an extremely reasonable way to make your point with no degree of hyperbole.

          • 0 avatar
            krhodes1

            @S2KChris

            And yet the relative sales numbers seem to support my argument. Acura sold barely 5000 of these cars in October, making it a hit by their standards. Yet Honda sold ~10X as many Accords, and BMW sold 2.5X as many cars in this class. And of course, Acuras sales in the US are something like 70% of their total sales, while BMWs sales in the US are 15% of their sales.

            It’s not a bad car, but it is a fairly pointless one. But variety is not a bad thing, so I have no interest in them not succeeding. I just call it as I see it.

          • 0 avatar
            Astigmatism

            @krhodes1

            So, enjoy your Fiat then?

            You’re making my point for me: your opinion is that you like BMWs. (And Fiats.) Whoop-dee-doo, that’s why they make them, and if you enjoy them you should keep buying them. There are plenty of people who don’t want your BMW (or your Fiat), and for those people there are other cars, like the TLX. You have an impressive inability to comprehend that there are people out there with different priorities than you – like, saving $10k over a comparably-equipped BMW when that money could go toward other things, or not having to worry about your car, ever. You don’t like the TLX, don’t buy it, but you’re just as wrong in your presumptions about the auto market as you are in your presumptions about me. And as S2k Chris and ajla point out, you’re not exactly making the most convincing argument.

          • 0 avatar
            krhodes1

            @Astigmatism

            But not very many prefer Acuras to BMWs, evidently. Or especially Honda Accords. I am merely pointing out some of the reasons why that is. The numbers don’t lie. This car has doubled the sales of the previous version. And it still barely sells.

            If Acura had offered their wagon with a 2.0T and a stickshift, I might well have bought one instead of my BMW. I’m not nearly the fanbois people think I am.

          • 0 avatar
            Astigmatism

            As of right now it “barely sells” in greater numbers than the CTS, ATS, A4, IS, or Q50. And while I too would have loved a 2.0T with a stick, I’m not sure that Acura is too motivated by those two lost sales.

        • 0 avatar
          fvfvsix

          @krhodes re: Capital Grille…

          Yeah, McD’s is cheaper…but so is Roy’s – and nobody would argue that the experience suffers for it. To me, that’s kinda the point with Acura.

        • 0 avatar

          McDonalds is a better value. Probably healthier, too (as long as you leave the bun).

  • avatar
    bryanska

    Just needs a heated steering wheel option now… like the Canadian car.

    Has anyone ever imported a vehicle from Canada?

  • avatar
    seth1065

    It might be that some folks do not trust germans reliability vs this Acura , I know everyone says I want a 3 series but everyone I know who has had an Acura likes them and buys another one or releases another one. This car looks better than the TL it replaces and that has to help. Not sure how much of a step up it is from a loaded Accord but for some people being seen in this vs a Accord is worth it, Accords are every where in metro NY.

  • avatar
    ChiefPontiaxe

    Looks like somebody with a TLX has been to Reston Town Center

  • avatar
    raresleeper

    Goddog.

    I still can’t shake that nose.

  • avatar
    Andy

    “Acura may possess a larger, more fervent fan base than we would have believed; that the TLX has been deemed by many to be a car worth waiting for.”

    I believe this is right on. A LOT of people still love Honda/Acura.

    I also agree with an earlier comment that it is not all that striking in person. Classy, for sure, but not as striking as some of the over-designed competitors.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Funny what an attractively styled Accord can do sales-wise.

  • avatar
    Stumpaster

    Great to hear! I really think it’s the departure from 5-speed transmissions and the 4WD that made the difference. Because everything else in these cars is pretty much the same as before.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      Since the previous automatic was a 6-speed (as of 2012) and AWD has been available since 2009, I’m more inclined to think it’s the less polarizing styling and cheaper entry price.

    • 0 avatar
      slance66

      That’s the ticket. The last gen TL was big and ugly. The TSX was better looking, but was a little small. Both just missed the sweet spot. Honda/Acura’s stubbornness in sticking with a 5sp Auto long after everyone else at least had 6sp if not 8 or 9 hurt them. AWD is critical in this segment. TSX didn’t have it, TL did, but it was expensive.

      If this car was around when I bought my 328xi, I likely would have chosen it.

  • avatar
    FormerFF

    Dimensionally, the 3 series BMW is closer to the ILX than the TLX. Pricewise, a comparably equipped 320i is something like $5000 more.

    People are sure willing to spend a lot for that roundel.

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      That’s not so much the case anymore.

      The current F30 3-Series is a big car; much larger than the E46 and E90 (which themselves are about the size of an ILX/Civic). I mistake the F30 3ers for the 5er every time I see it.

      • 0 avatar
        FormerFF

        Acura ILX length: 179.1 width 70.6
        BMW 320i length: 182.5 width 71.3
        Acura TLX: length 190.3 width 73.0

        • 0 avatar
          sportyaccordy

          Those are some conveniently picked dimensions. F30 matches or beats the ILX/TLX in all interior dimensions, from headroom to legroom to trunk volume. Its shorter length is a plus, not a minus- its 8 inches in length lost compared to a TLX means it will be that much easier to parallel park in the urban areas where these cars will be popular.

          F30 is about the size of an E39 5 series, aside from length… shorter while having a much bigger trunk. It’s a really good value, actually.

          http://www.kbb.com/compare-cars/specs/2014-bmw-3-series-393547-vs-2001-bmw-m5-3818-vs-2015-acura-tlx-400444-vs-2015-acura-ilx-400031/

        • 0 avatar
          sportyaccordy

          F30 matches or beats both cars in interior dimensions, which is all that really matters. TLX’s length is not a plus either, that 8 inches is huge when parallel parking in crowded cities where cars like these are popular.

          F30 is basically an E39 5 series for much less money. Not overpriced at all.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            F30 and TLX listed interior dimensions are within an inch of each other in every dimension except front headroom (where the F30 has an advantage). F30 has the extra few tenths in some, TLX in the others.

            Having actually sat in both cars, though, I don’t think the methods of measurement are the same (a frequent problem). They feel about the same in front but the TLX feels significantly more spacious in back, as would be expected given its FWD layout and longer length.

        • 0 avatar
          bd2

          The TLX is basically a FWD midsize sedan at compact lux sedan prices.

  • avatar
    energetik9

    Acura REALLY needs this car to win. It’s just not an attractive car and it’s lacking in some performance categories. Prone to understeer, poor trasnmission (I know what the author says, but reviews I have read say it kills any fun in this car and doesn’t deliver power without multiple downshifts), front wheel drive (although it does have an AWD option). The author mentioned “relatively affordable”, but the top of the line version of this car is $46k. I’m sure it’s a nice, comfortable driving car, and great, it sold well the first month or two, but not sure it’s a win.

    To quote a previous TTAC RLX review, “RLX on the other hand, is more like a Japanese take on American luxury”.

    • 0 avatar
      Occam

      “trasnmission (I know what the author says, but reviews I have read say it kills any fun in this car and doesn’t deliver power without multiple downshifts),”

      That’s part of the fun when you’re shifting your own gears. A car that has no available manual isn’t intended to be fun to drive. You can still pretend, with the round selector knob and leather shift-boot while you slide through P-R-N-D like your geriatric great aunt.

      • 0 avatar
        sportyaccordy

        Indeed, all those chumps in Le Mans and F1 hate not being able to operate a clutch pedal and are no different than a geriatric grandma driving wise.

        Keep selling yourself the dream of superiority by transmission choice. You are doing a great job making the rest of us look like sanctimonious out of touch teenage idiots.

        – 6 time 3rd pedal buyer and motorcyclist.

        • 0 avatar
          krhodes1

          Le Mans and F1 drivers are not out driving for the fun of it. If I am intending to have fun, I want a manual transmission.

          Many of you do a great job of looking like sanctimonious out of touch teenage idiots all on your own. :-)

          • 0 avatar

            “Le Mans and F1 drivers are not out driving for the fun of it.”

            Really? I wouldn’t think driving a race car was like working a 9-to-5 office job. Besides, you have no idea how actual race car drivers feel about sequential and flappy-paddle gearboxes.

            The stick and clutch pedal are going the way of the manual column shift, and you only see the old fogies complaining bitterly about the lack of some “three on the tree” action.

    • 0 avatar
      George B

      energetik9, there are 3 different engine/transmission combinations. The 4 cylinder with 8 speed dual clutch FWD version has good reviews. The FWD and AWD 6 cylinder with ZF 9 speed automatic have some of the same slow downshift issues as Chrysler cars with the same transmission. Base model is a really nice Accord in the low 30s. Higher trim levels become harder to justify.

  • avatar
    hiptech

    One month does not a trend make…

    Acura and Honda really need to get their Mojo back. Honda seems to be improving with the Accord but should do something with their other models.

    Acura REALLY needs to sweep this current design language primarily eliminating the “beak/gladiator grill” theme. It didn’t like right when it first arrived years ago and looks no better today. The car’s exterior design while acceptable reminds me of GM when it brought out new shapes. It looked different from their predecessors but not enough to really look new. I think that is the fundamental problem.

    Hyunda/Kia brought us cars that looked better than they drove and Honda/Acura bring us cars that perform better than they look…

    I’m also dubious the majority of TSX owners will embrace this version since it’s size is larger, dynamics different and (possibly to a lesser extent) no longer available with a manual transmission.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      I’m a former 1st-gen TSX owner who is more attracted to this car than to any other Acura since. It’s got a low entry price like the first TSX, is relatively compact outside, and is getting good reviews for handling.

      On balance I’m encouraged by the last couple of years, although Honda still has a way to go. The new MDX is excellent, the new Accord is excellent, the new CR-V is very good (for what it is), the new Fit is excellent, and the Civic refresh showed a humility which they were lacking for awhile. I want to see them get the next Civic right, fix the ILX, and get the next Pilot/Odyssey right — if they do all of those things, they’ll be in fine shape.

    • 0 avatar

      I liked the Beak on the second gen MDX, it broke out of the general pack and was nice…on a big, phat truck.

      When they put it on the TL, it was out of place.
      When they toned it down on the later iterations of the MDX, it was a mistake.

      On the other cars, the beak overwhelms the front of the car. It should have stayed on the MDX and RDX only, with a different design language on the cars.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    The previous TL 6MT had, in addition to the manual, better brakes and (until 2013) an available summer tire package. I hope a package like that shows up again in 2016. I like the TLX, and would consider buying a V6 SH-AWD model, but having to immediately upgrade the terrible tires and having to live with undersized brakes is a bit of a buzzkill.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Here’s a good example of a brand that built an excellent reputation and squandered it. The early Integras and Legends were all terrific cars, but by the mid 2000s, Acura succumbed to Sport Utility Stupidity Syndrome and the sedans languished. Same thing happened at Lexus, Mercedes and BMW, but their car lines weren’t all based on Accords, so they suffered less.

    I think people have wanted to like Acura sedans for a long time now, but haven’t had a really good one to latch onto since the 2004-08 TL.

    One suggestion: if Acura really wants to compete in this segment, it needs to drop the Honda “you will like this interior color and trim level or else” garbage, and allow some customization or greater trim/color selections. People may put up with that when they’re buying an Accord or Civic, but these are supposedly luxury cars, and the higher MSRP and profit margins should justify this to the beancounters.

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      Acura flubbed it because Honda is arrogant. They succumbed to the delusion that, since everything they did seemed to be the right thing to do, it was because because they were doing it. They couldn’t be wrong.

      So they got cocky, killed the RSX, berthed the 2007 RDX, 2009 TL & TSX and, in a monument to hubris, the ZDX. And they convinced themselves that they were right to do it, and that consumers didn’t appreciate their brilliance.

      And it’s not like this was a one-time thing: they kept this up for more than half a decade.

      Seriously, think about the ZDX. Think about the kind of arrogant you have to be think that taking an MDX, removing everything good about it and amplifying everything bad, is a recipe for winning. In automobilia, only Volkswagen and General Motors are that prideful.

      • 0 avatar
        hiptech

        This would make for an excellent case study…

        Regarding your example of the ZDX, how many ppl did it take to approve that thing and how many felt compelled to agree despite knowing better?

        Corporate culture is an insidious environment, it squashes innovation, marginalizes creativity and if you stay long enough will rot your soul…

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          @hiptech:
          “Corporate culture is an insidious environment, it squashes innovation, marginalizes creativity and if you stay long enough will rot your soul…”

          Agreed, but of all the adjectives you can use to describe the ZDX (all variations on “ugly”), innovative and creative aren’t really on the list. This was a clearly an outside-the-box product that they were trying to use to create a new market segment. Unfortunately, it bombed, but I don’t fault them for trying.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        I don’t see the ZDX as being a moment of hubris at all. They tried something different, and it didn’t sell. So what? Just about every luxury manufacturer has had notable “what were they thinking” bombs – Lexus had the HS250 (along with the hybrid versions of the GS and LS, and the CT isn’t very successful either), Cadillac has the ELR, Mercedes had the R-class, and BMW and Infiniti have had several models flop.

        Personally, I give Acura credit for trying something a little different with the ZDX.

        • 0 avatar
          sportyaccordy

          So you give them credit for trying something different and completely failing, but dump on them for building and developing their only steady sellers (MDX & RDX)?

          You do realize Acura is a business and not some philosophical automotive exercise, right?

          I agree that Acura needs to find some direction, and I think they have to a degree. Their only problem now is styling- NOT the lack of RWD or having the gall to sell profitable popular SUVs.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            @sportyaccordy:
            “So you give them credit for trying something different and completely failing, but dump on them for building and developing their only steady sellers (MDX & RDX)?”

            No, I dump on them for letting their sedans languish in mediocrity while their SUVs sold. It wasn’t just the last TL – the RL was never that great to begin with, and they kept the same basic design for almost 10 years, and the same can be said of the TSX.

            You can’t get away with that if you want to play in the luxury market. You have to have a full line that includes sedans that people actually want to buy. I think Acura has finally learned that lesson.

          • 0 avatar
            sportyaccordy

            @FreedMike

            “No, I dump on them for letting their sedans languish in mediocrity while their SUVs sold. It wasn’t just the last TL – the RL was never that great to begin with, and they kept the same basic design for almost 10 years, and the same can be said of the TSX.”

            Ummm the same could be said of most cars in the segment. There’s not a lot different between a 2002 330i and a 2011 328i, or A4s over that same period. TSX did fall off a little bit, but aside from the looks and comparatively low rent interior the TL was a fine car for the money

            “You can’t get away with that if you want to play in the luxury market. You have to have a full line that includes sedans that people actually want to buy. I think Acura has finally learned that lesson.”

            Agreed, but I don’t think people didn’t want to buy the last TL/TSX because they were bad cars, or because they weren’t fast or high tech enough. They didn’t want to buy them because they were ugly. The TLX is not much more advanced from either aside from the transmission; however, its looks seem to be a lot more agreeable with its intended market. Acura can’t sell on name and the luxury market doesn’t care about RWD or at the limit dynamics, so a new platform is not necessary either. They just need to make cars with adequate performance that look better in and out than the Germans. That is the only reason why the 04-08 TSX/TLs did well

        • 0 avatar
          psarhjinian

          “Personally, I give Acura credit for trying something a little different with the ZDX”

          No, BMW tried something different with with the X6 and it worked, more or less. The same with the Lexus HS: they hadn’t figured out the market, but it wasn’t actually bad.

          Even the Murano CrossCabriolet wasn’t bad, just targeted at a market that didn’t exist.

          The ZDX is a bad, bad car. It’s poorly packaged: almost ludicrously so (seriously: you have to have a 36″ inseam to step over the doorsill, but be five-foot nothing with size 4 feet to fit in the rear). It drives like a truck, but is about a versatile as a sports car. Usually you’d expect a crossover to drive like a car but be truck-useful, but the ZDX does the exact opposite.

          I think people forget this because the Crosstour came out at the same time and assume the ZDX was an all-dressed Crosstour. it isn’t; the Crosstour was based on the Accord sedan and drove like it; the ZDX was based on the MDX/Oddy/Pilot platform, but with poorer suspension tuning. You can tell if you, eg, try to get into the back seat of either.

          There’s experimenting with niches, and then there’s hubris.

        • 0 avatar

          No, the ZDX was the result of Acura getting inside intel about the X6, and thinking it would be the next best thing, “with tooling paid for already”. Then the Great Recession hit, and stupid money disappeared. The top one percent bought the X6

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        The RSX – Integra doesn’t suit a luxury brand. It makes more sense to sell Civic Si’s to those buyers.

        As is the case with the other Japanese luxury brands, Acura failed to keep up with the Germans’ rise to dominance. During the 80s to 90s, the winners of the luxury game were still uncertain, but the Germans grabbed the lead and the Japanese just missed it. They didn’t adapt very well; for whatever reason, they understand the Americans far better than they do the Europeans.

        • 0 avatar
          TMA1

          I thought Acura was ahead of the game with the RSX. Small, sporty, premium coupe for the young folks who will return and buy something bigger next time.

          And now the Germans are doing the same with the 2-series and the coupe-shaped CLA.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            The Integra signaled to the other customers that Acura wasn’t a real luxury badge. That not only loses sales, but it also loses the best customers who are willing to pay high prices and support high margins.

            The Germans came up with a winning formula: create a core three-car tier, then create halo variants for at least some of them.

            The lowest tier car of the three will sell in the highest volumes, but the highest tier car will pull up the transaction price. The highest tier buyer feels that he leads a club that is exclusive enough to justify the high price, which creates a ladder of aspiration for those slotted below him.

            Acura failed to do that. The Integra was too low on the food chain while the RL lacked credibility at the top, creating a lack of identity for what was in between. With no dignity for the top and no aspiration for the rest, the luxury status was lost.

            It’s probably too late to fix that now. Acura should probably focus on crossovers, and just keep the TLX because it doesn’t cost much to convert an Accord into that trim level.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            @Pch101

            Very well put, but why didn’t the same negative perception occur with Lexus when they introduced the IS in 1998?

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            The IS is supposed to compete against the 3-series.

            The Integra/RSX competed against the Civic, Celica and the like. Not in the same tier.

          • 0 avatar
            sportyaccordy

            If I hear “compete head on with the Germans” one more time I’m gonna SCREAM. Not even the GERMANS want to compete head on with the Germans- the BMW 3 has become a soft budget 5 series, the C class has become a baby S-Class, and all of the Germans are going niche crazy as well as venturing out completely to the left, like with BMW’s i line.

            All Acura needs on the sedan/coupe front, as history has demonstrated TWICE, are well-styled, well tuned, higher performance rebadged Civics and Accords. The window and time for Acura to get in on the whole “compete with the Germans” thing closed about 10 years ago. At the limit driving dynamics and bench racing stats are at the bottom of the list of priorities for the luxury BUYER’S MARKET, and in any case aside from the base ILX Acura’s cars’ performance ranges from adequate to competitive which is all that is required in today’s market.

            I hope in the new year we can put all the old internet auto exec memes and red herrings to rest and actually begin to discuss the ins and outs of the auto industry.

        • 0 avatar
          energetik9

          The RSX doesn’t suit a luxury brand – correct Pch101. But, the car sold and it kep Acura pointed straight at a younger demographic. But instead, they dropped the prelude just prior and then dropped the integra/NSX and now they’ve spent years and probably billions trying to re-engage that younger demographic.

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          Agreed, the a two door compact like the RSX doesn’t work anymore, but what about a $30-35,000 compact sedan based on a FWD platform but with cool styling, lots of personalization options, and some performance cred? They have a perfect platform – the Civic – and we know Honda can build amazingly good small performance cars.

          This car is already built…by Mercedes, and it’s selling very well. I’d argue the product works far better for Acura. They’d be remiss not to get in on this.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            Rebadging a Civic is exactly the wrong approach for Acura to take if it wishes to be a luxury brand.

            I think that there are basically a few options:

            -Selling a few extra Hondas at a premium. This is basically the status quo, and would entail keeping the current lineup, but possibly cutting the RLX.

            -Compete head-on with the Germans. That would require three core cars that are very different from any existing Honda. As noted, this is a winning formula for the Germans, but probably too late for Acura in 2014; this is something that they should have done 20 years ago. (Today, this would be expensive and risky, and is unlikely to succeed.)

            -Focus on crossovers. This would entail centering the lineup and branding around three core crossovers. The RLX would be cut from the US; the TLX could stay as a sort of add-on, but wouldn’t be the focal point of the brand.

            Of those, I would choose the latter. The momentum is there and the long-term future of sedans is grim, anyway.

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      “if Acura really wants to compete in this segment, it needs to drop the Honda ‘you will like this interior color and trim level or else’ garbage”

      Honda/Acura’s avoidance of nickel-and-diming is one thing that it does right. Every car is well-equipped.

      I would say that if the plan is to compete against the Germans, then avoiding the manual transmission is a mistake. Not because there would be many customers for them — the take rate would probably be less than 10% — but because buyers of near-luxury MT sedans are more likely to be enthusiasts who can be groomed into brand evangelists who provide the company with free promotion.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        @PCH:
        Yes, Acuras are well equipped, but that’s a given in the luxury segment. I shopped them in 2010, and looked at a TL – you had three interior color choices, all shades of gray. And that’s a major turnoff in this segment (which the saleslady actually agreed 100% with – she said that was the biggest objection buyers had to the car). Most, if not all, of the competition (particularly BMW and Mercedes, and Cadillac to a lesser extent) allow lots of different color and trim combinations inside. Luxury car buyers expect this.

        Agreed it costs more to do this, but let’s face it – they’re saving tons of money by basing these cars on existing Honda platforms and engines that sell in massive numbers, so they should have a few spare yen to invest in this. It’s a fairly simple thing, but it’s a selling point to buyers in this segment. It’d be a lot cheaper than, say, engineering a rear drive platform to go up against BMW and Mercedes with.

        To Acura’s credit, it looks like they are getting away from this on the TLX – the ILX appears to still have the same old two color choices. I think they have a ways to go.

      • 0 avatar
        krhodes1

        Some of us who buy cars in this class don’t want all the crap that “fully equipped” entails today. And we want choice in interior and exterior colors. One of the reasons to spend real money on a car is to have some personalization. Otherwise, you might as well just buy an Accord.

        I really don’t see why a person would buy this car over an Accord. It looks pretty much the same, I can’t imagine it drives particularly different, and it is not any nicer inside. Here you don’t even get a better dealership experience, it’s the same dealership.

    • 0 avatar
      mjz

      Agreed Mike Freed. A friend recently leased a Civic LX. They make THREE different interior colors, beige, grey and black for the Civic. For almost all the exterior color choices, they have exactly ONE preselected interior color, a couple offer two. She ended up with a Crimson Pearl exterior and HAD to get the beige interior because that was all they offered with that exterior. Now I like the beige interior, but for me, a black interior is a must. So if I wanted the Crimson Pearl with the black interior, I’m SOL. Why not offer all or most of the exterior colors with all three (or at least a minimum of TWO) interior selections? It won’t cost anymore to manufacture as they already produce them. The only thing I can figure out is it’s easier for the dealers, how won’t have to try to find a particular color combo if they don’t have it in stock. Let the customer be damned.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        The added variety does cost more because it requires more excess inventory to be produced. Holding inventory costs money because it ties up capital.

        • 0 avatar
          TMA1

          And sometimes it loses you a sale completely, because MJZ might want Crimson Pearl and a black interior.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            The sales lost aren’t worth keeping. Those buyers are few in number and they won’t pay the premium needed to justify the added expense.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            The number of compact car buyers who won’t buy a car because of the color combination is small, correct.

            Luxury car buyers are a very different breed. They’re very image conscious and they want it all. So, when they see a $45,000 TLX that has three or four different exterior and interior colors, and a $46,000 BMW 335 with 12 exterior colors, 11 leather or vinyl colors, and a choice of aluminum or wood trim, that makes a difference. Same for the new Mercedes C-class and, to a lesser extent, the Cadillac ATS.

            I think the lack of personalization has been a pretty big factor in holding Acura back. Mechanically, they’re excellent cars, but their image is stodgy. Offering more personalization options would probably bring them quite a few more sales…not enough to turn things around in the short run, but rebuilding a loyal buyer base takes time.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            Acura failed to create a proper tiered lineup of cars, which eroded its credibility.

            That isn’t surprising, as Acuras are barely differentiated from Honda, which reduces the willingness to pay. It isn’t really a luxury brand; it’s more of a mid-tier, similar to Mercury, SAAB and Buick. (And no, that is not a desirable club to join.)

            As for trim levels, the average customer will lease what is on the lot. I see no evidence that a variety of colors is exciting to these people.

          • 0 avatar
            Opus

            You guys apparently don’t remember when Honda brought the original Accord to the US. Three (!) exterior color choices, and your interior choice was nil — you took the color that came with the exterior. That scheme continued for about 10 years.

          • 0 avatar
            krhodes1

            Funny, you lose a buyer here and a buyer there and pretty soon you are way at the back of the pack and wondering why your sales suck.

          • 0 avatar
            bd2

            @pch101

            And yet, the bulk of Lexus sales is made out of the ES and RX with the NX likely to join the 2.

          • 0 avatar
            S2k Chris

            “They’re very image conscious and they want it all. So, when they see a $45,000 TLX that has three or four different exterior and interior colors, and a $46,000 BMW 335 with 12 exterior colors, 11 leather or vinyl colors, and a choice of aluminum or wood trim, that makes a difference.”

            Then why do all the 335i “buyers” (read: leasees) all get their 335i in the same silver with black interior and silver trim?

            I get your point, but these ain’t Rolls-Royces. Acura (and BMW) does some statistical analysis, realizes that 97% of buyers want the same 3-4 boring colors with a black interior, and that’s what they primarily build.

        • 0 avatar
          krhodes1

          @Pch101

          Hogwash, unless Honda runs their production like it is 1975. The parts for a given BMW are scheduled for production when the car is scheduled for production – they don’t inventory a thing. It’s all “just in time”. Surely Honda does the same?

          It’s just another example of Honda arrogance. You will take it our way or not at all.

        • 0 avatar
          mjz

          I’m not following your logic. If they are going to produce 400,000 Civics per year, then that’s what they are going to produce, whether they offer three interior colors or just one. Just because they are going.to offer more color combos, they don’t have to produce MORE to create excess inventory. The dealerships order the cars, so why not let them and the customers decide what color interior they want? At the very minimum, each exterior color should offer a light and dark interior color choice.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            “Just because they are going.to offer more color combos, they don’t have to produce MORE to create excess inventory.”

            Of course they do. Every odd combination provides an opportunity to turn off the customer. Lot poison will require incentives, which lose money, plus the capital is sitting on the lot instead of being plowed back into the system.

            Go research “inventory turn.” Faster turn is better.

        • 0 avatar
          mjz

          I’m just not buying that argument. If a dealership carries 20 Civics in stock, they aren’t going to start carrying 40 because they now offer two interior colors instead of one. The dealership will select the combo for the inventory that they think will be most appealing to their customers. Where is the added expense? Per example, the Civic already offers THREE interior colors, so there is no extra cost from a manufacturing standpoint. Using your logic they should just offer a single trim level for each model.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            If you are going to argue that variety is meaningful to sales, then it makes no sense to take the position that you’re taking.

            If a customer really wants the pink whaleskin interior as you claim, then they would hold out until they get it and enough inventory needs to be produced for the customer to get their hands on it. Meanwhile, there are other customers who wish to avoid that car, and they will.

            Matching up that customer to that inventory item is a challenge, since you can’t predict where that customer will be. So excess is needed in order to bring them together. That excess costs money.

            As Danio notes, there are also QC issues here. The more variety that you have, the more opportunity that there is to screw up. That makes it necessary to charge a premium to make up for it, which means higher prices.

          • 0 avatar
            danio3834

            The simple explanation is that more options add manufacturing complexity and cost. In order to offset the costs of the added complexity Honda has to sell a certain amount of cars with those options to break even. In this case, they’re betting that there won’t be enough takers of red with black interior on that model for it to be worth their while, especially on a low cost car.

            I know, it seems counter-intuitive as black is a fairly common interior color choice in just about any color car, but that’s the bet Honda chose. Their customer data likely shows reason for it. The very few who will walk from the car solely because of the interior apparently aren’t much bother to them.

      • 0 avatar
        raresleeper

        Oh yeah.

        I seen many a perfect black paint job ruined by beige interior.

        Black over black? Choice.

        • 0 avatar
          mjz

          Danio/Pch. I am not asking Honda to introduce a pink whaleskin interior that no one will want. Honda Civic currently offers 3 interior color choices; a dull beige, a dull grey and black. All are dull as dishwater and will not result in a hideous combo that is poison on the dealer lot There is no added complexity or expense. They already offer them. Of the 7 exterior colors, 4 of them are limited to 1 interior choice. Silver, Grey and Black offer BOTH grey or black interiors. It does not cost Honda anymore to put either the grey or black interior in the car. As an example, the white exterior.is only offered with the beige interior. Adding the choice of a black interior that is already offered on other colors will not cost a dime more or make the manufaturing process any more complex..

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            “It does not cost Honda anymore to put either the grey or black interiror in the car.”

            It costs more to build the added inventory needed in order to match it to the specific buyer who wants it.

            Again, type “inventory turn” into Google. Faster turn is more profitable, slower turn adds to costs.

          • 0 avatar
            danio3834

            “Adding the choice of a black interior that is already offered on other colors will not cost a dime more or make the manufaturing process any more complex..”

            Yes it does. The greater the variety of combinations, the increased complexity of managing and producing those combinations, even if the individual features might be available on some other trim. This is the reason for the proliferation of “option packages” with other features in the car that can’t be added or removed singularly.

          • 0 avatar
            bryanska

            The assembly is JIT, but the upstream purchasing activities are not. They must be 100% perfectly in sync with demand otherwise there will be inefficiency and cost. The chain from seat fabric vendor to customer is too long for predicted demand to exactly match the supply manufactured. You can’t fire up a line for every order; the line runs in shifts. Therefore sometimes you produce exactly what was ordered, and sometimes you produce in anticipation of demand. Otherwise the factory would be idling until orders came in; suppose no dealers ordered for 2 days, then 20 dealers ordered at once. Delivery time would be unpredictable as demand hit 200% of capacity.

            So why can’t you order some combos? Because the factory must produce according to past and predicted demand, it’s more efficient to offer the combos that they’ve determined will be ordered (through focus groups, surveys, etc). This eliminates space used to store inventory of infrequently ordered combos.

            Yes, it’s a trade off; nothing physically prevents an odd combo from being assembled. Given a little autonomy and extra space, an employee could more closely read a build sheet and install an odd interior 5% of the time. But essentially, it increases variability on the line and complicates the supply chain.

          • 0 avatar
            krhodes1

            And yet BMW builds every car this way. In pretty much the rest of the world besides the US, you can have any combination of options you want individually. Only in a few markets are they bundled into large option packages. They still go down the line the same way. Every car is built to order.

  • avatar
    BMWnut

    It sounds like it is just a more upmarket Accord. But if it sells, it must be a good idea.

    Does anybody know just how much componentry, if any, the TLX shares with the Accord?

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      The general idea (and platform) are the same, but pretty much every specific part is different. It’s not like an Accord with a few extra gizmos, it’s more like what an Accord would be had it been planned from the start to be more upmarket.

      The engines are closely related to the Accord engines but are tuned to rev higher and to take advantage of premium fuel. You get 17-22 extra hp from the four and 12 extra hp from the V6.

      The suspension is the same basic setup but is a bit stiffer to improve handling and deal with the extra weight (about 100-200 lbs. versus a similar Accord).

      The transmissions are totally different. The Accord has a choice of CVT or 6-speed manual with the four and a 6-speed Honda auto with the V6. The TLX has an 8-speed dual-clutch with the four and a 9-speed ZF auto with the V6. You can also get a good AWD system with the V6 TLX, while the Accord is FWD only.

      The interior has the same basic layout and ergonomic scheme but has entirely different materials, details, and lighting, along with the expected extra gizmo content. The electronics/infotainment are generally similar but have some extra features in the Acura version.

      There is a LOT more noise insulation on the TSX than the Accord. Quiet is the most dramatic difference between the two.

      Unfortunately, the tires and brakes are still cheapies similar to those on the Accord V6.

      • 0 avatar
        BMWnut

        Thanks for a very comprehensive answer :-)

      • 0 avatar
        Boxofrain

        In terms of the Accord Earthdreams 2.4 engine vs the 2.4 4 cylinder in the TLX, is it a true 17-22 horsepower gain, or just on paper? I’ve read in more than one spot that the Earthdreams engine in the Accord has been dynoed at the factory rating at the rear wheels, suggesting it has a little over 200 actual horsepower, not the rated 184. Some impressive 0-60 times for the Accord Sport with the 6 speed manual also suggest it may be making more power than suggested by the official ratings. Anyone have any insight into this?

        Also note the Accord comes with a very nice 6 speed manual transmission, which the TLX does not. Honda has proven it can make one of the nicest manuals available, so not including it on the TLX looks like a mistake.

        • 0 avatar
          dal20402

          It would be an impressive trick for an Accord to transmit 184 hp to the rear wheels. :)

          It may be true that the Accord engine is underrated, although the real story behind the quick times from four-cylinder Accords is that the DI engine has a much fatter torque curve than previous Honda efforts. But the TLX four-cylinder is no slouch either. It’s putting up about the same times as those Accord Sports despite weighing a couple hundred pounds more.

      • 0 avatar
        krhodes1

        @Dal20402

        So in other words, it’s a fancy Accord, just as it looks.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      Same platform, same motors but power and compression is upped slightly in K24W7 (TLX) and J35Y6 (TLX), different transmission options (including all wheel steer on TLX I4 and V6) than Accord as its still running 5 (I4) and 6 speed autos (V6), TLX offers AWD which is not available on Accord to my knowledge, both use MacPherson strut suspension, and of course some obvious sheet metal changes. I imagine most of the essential systems are the same (computer, cooling/rad, brakes, suspension, exhaust/headers) with the TLX offering a slightly upped spec where needed (i.e. bigger brake calipers or rotors). While certainly attractive TLX is the car the Accord should be, they are so close to being each other they both do not need to exist.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acura_TLX
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Honda_J_engine#J35
      en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Honda_K_engine#K24
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Honda_Accord

  • avatar
    Boxofrain

    I believe one of the factors for the early sales numbers is loyal Acura buyers knowing this car was on the way and holding out vs buying whatever TSX or TL models remained on the lots. The TSX sales numbers were pretty poor in it’s last year or two and I doubt the TL was setting the world on fire, so good numbers on the TLX are no doubt making up for much of that. Acura wasn’t offering the loyal customer many choices prior to the TLX coming out. The ILX is a bust and I don’t see many TL or TSX customers downgrading to one. Not everyone wants one of the Acura SUVs and the MDX isn’t cheap. Once the initial loyal customer base get out of thier older models and pick up the TLX, sales numbers could drop off.

    Also, the TLX replaces two models, so sales figures have to account for two models, not the usual one. Acura now has three cars to attract buyers. Two of them are sales busts, so they better hope the TLX does well or the SUV craze continues.

  • avatar
    STRATOS

    Loosing that Acura signature big beak on front end would also help sales

  • avatar
    RHD

    As far as 4-door sedans go, everyone is selling one (or more), they look incredibily similar, and along with SUVs and pickups, make up the majority of what’s on the road.
    The beak looks like it would come in handy if you ever needed to open a very, very large bottle of beer.
    The ZDX (they sold 4 of ’em!) is so obscure I had to Google it to see what it was. What were they thinking??!! It’s bad enough to name your cars with meaningless acronyms. (Anyone want a screamin’ deal on a new 2013 Acura with cramped rear headroom?)

  • avatar
    30-mile fetch

    I’ve seen a few around finally and can say what I suspected to be true from press photos:

    It has no road presence at all. None. Perhaps less than the Accord. The only reason I noticed it at all is the insectoid LED headlights.

    Otherwise, the car is of interest to me in V6 trim. I don’t think I could bring myself to buy a naturally aspirated 4 cylinder w/ automatic from a semi-premium nameplate. I’d just get a V6 Accord instead.

  • avatar
    James2

    the ILX, RLX, TL, TSX, MDX, RDX, and ZDX…

    Is this an Eye chart in a doctor’s office or what?

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    While we’re on the TL/TLX subject, I’m very surprised at the TL’s three model year depreciation. I see base MY12 TL FWD doing 18,8-20,9 on the first six results (all PA or SO CAL) with mileages between 14K and 19K (so, extra clean condition). The “tech package” trim knocks it up a bit but not much, looks like 2-3K in low mileage cases. Meanwhile Lex ES350 trades between 25,6 and 27,5 in extra clean condition (I would post the results as usual but the spam bot WILL eat the comment as I have already found out).

    Weren’t these Acuras like 40K rides? What gives?

  • avatar
    wmba

    And as they sell, owners are discovering that the TLX comes up a trifle short in quite a few areas. I considered this vehicle for purchase, so spent a fair amount of time on acurazine.com. Amazing how many people bought one sight vurtually unseen, and then began to wonder. TL owners seem particularly unimpressed.

    No wonder to me. The V6 in both guises is a laid-back cruiser for stolid upright citizens – What, me hurry? The I4 has an out of character frenzy to its powertrain. Perhaps that’s the sporty part. The car exhibits little joy in cornering, perhaps due to the underwhelming squeally tires so thoughtfully provided as standard. Then there’s the quirks of both transmissions, strange rocking motions when placed in Park- and- footbrake released etc. It is very quiet.

    A bit half-baked. Released before really ready? They kept delaying the release all summer. We shall see if Acura can sort it all out.

  • avatar
    Bee

    This is in essence the modern-day Vigor. A car that was based off the then-current Accord and positioned against the 3 Series. Only issue was the Vigor tanked… I hope Acura hits a home run with this one.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      The Vigor wasn’t based on the Accord. It was a scaled-down Legend, complete with that car’s longitudinal layout and interior architecture. It tanked because it looked dated and ugly compared to the Legend but was still relatively expensive.

      • 0 avatar
        sportyaccordy

        It was a mix. It was an Accord from the firewall back, and a Legend from there forward. Real missed opportunity- the front-back engine and transmission arrangement lent themselves to RWD. That could have been a gamechanger for Acura- a BMW 3 fighter in 1992 from Honda at its peak? It would have been the G35 times a million.

      • 0 avatar
        Bee

        It’s an Accord derivative. Vigor chassis code was CB5, developed from the CB7 Accord. The Legend was the KA7 and KA8 and had similar drivetrains but nothing swaps between the two cars. It is commonly misbelieved that the corner lights on Legend coupes and Vigors are interchangeable. They were expensive and cramped but evolved into the (wider) first generation TL.

  • avatar
    bd2

    While the 3G TL was much maligned for its aesthetics, its side profile/greenhouse is better than the TLX.

  • avatar
    Bee

    Would it be too much for a company to produce aftermarket grill replacements for the beaks, to satisfy the people who don’t like them? I imagine there is enough demand for a kit maker to whip a few molds. Mesh, slatted, I’m sure it would improve the looks of several Acura models.

    • 0 avatar
      Fred

      You can get the European Honda grille. Easier to paint or plasticoat it.

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      There were such kits for the 2009+ TL and TSX. Acura also offered a dealer-installed body-coloured grille.

      I can understand what Acura was trying to do (a stylized caliper) but it was a bit ahead of it’s time. Now, of course, almost every car has an overwrought grille, often with a massive badge—all the better to communication “You are about to be run over BY A FORD!!”

  • avatar
    DearS

    The car could attract many an upper trim Accord buyer and some BMW/Benz drivers also. I love that it has a great torquey 4 cylinder. Car like the Accord, Fusion, and Camry are so well made now that its tough market
    this car to a really big fan base imo. The BMW 3 and Benz-C have great chassis as well, with great interior room and great engines, although I don’t expect Accord reliability like with the TLX. I think this car will continue to increase its sales figures, or hopefully keep them steady.


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