By on January 3, 2015

2015 Acura TLX V6 SH-AWDJapanese Automobile History In America 101: The Accord-based Acura Vigor became the Acura TL. The third-generation of that car joined the first Euro Accord-based TSX in Acura showrooms. Both were eventually replaced by less attractive, less desirable sedans, cars which were so much less successful than their predecessors that a new sedan strategy was required for the Acura brand. The fourth-generation TL and second-generation TSX are now extinct.

Alone, the 2015 Acura TLX is stepping in to fill a two-car void.

Bumper to bumper, the 2015 TLX is four inches shorter than the departed TL with which it shares a wheelbase and almost five inches longer than the expired TSX. Official specs tell a different story, but the TLX feels like the roomiest of the bunch. The TLX’s trunk, though not ideally shaped, is more capacious than the cargo holds in the two defunct Acura sedans. The 2015 TLX is about one foot longer than the Civic-based Acura ILX and nearly a half-foot shorter than the roomier Acura RLX.

2015 Acura TLX V6 frontHaving written extensively about the TLX’s early success, I was naturally looking forward to spending time with the car. The 2015 Acura TLX supplied by Honda Canada arrived in our driveway just in time for Christmas. We crisscrossed our city numerous times, drove across much of Nova Scotia for an annual pilgrimage to the House Of The Great-Grandmother (and her homemade doughnuts), and attempted to arrive at some TLX-related conclusions.

The car we tested is the most expensive TLX you can buy, a Canadian-trim SH-AWD V6 Elite at $49,485. In the United States, TLX pricing ranges from $31,915 (four-cylinder, 8-speed dual-clutch auto) to $36,140 (base V6), $42,370 (V6 AWD), and $45,620 (fully baked). Acura also offers an array of body work and optional wheels to drive the price upward.

Initially, the CAD $49,485 price jarred. Yet with 290 horsepower from a 3.5L V6, a 9-speed automatic transmission, all-wheel-drive, navigation, ELS audio, myriad safety abbreviations and acronyms, perforated leather, remote start, cooled seats, and a very roomy cabin, it’s a lot of car for under $50K. The TLX’s interior craftsmanship doesn’t contradict the luxury price tag, matte black plastic shift paddles and marginally excessive wind noise aside.

2015 Acura TLX interiorMore importantly, equipping one of the European contenders – with their greater sporting credentials and smaller interiors – to match the TLX’s spec sheet would generate a startling MSRP.

Unlike some of those potential rivals, the TLX is a very comfortable, very nicely equipped, very capable car with an injection of sports sedan intentions, not the other way around. The spec chart says the TLX V6 AWD weighs 3785 pounds. It feels like 4000-plus. It’s sufficiently quick, but without the artificially aspirated torque of six-cylinder powertrains from BMW, Audi, and Mercedes-Benz, it doesn’t produce awe-inspiring off-the-line acceleration.

With Acura’s IDS set in Econ or Normal, the transmission’s reluctance to come out and play is all too noticeable. Sport brightens the picture; Sport+ is too aggressive for your morning commute. Never does the 9-speed feel as though Acura finished the programming. It periodically clunks into a higher gear, doesn’t favour paddle participation, and even with eight others to choose from it’s typically not keen on changing into a higher or lower gear. The transmission doesn’t ruin the experience, but it’s a step back from the ZF 8-speed found in many premium cars. Observed fuel economy of 25 mpg, however, was better than the 23.5 mpg we saw in the Audi S4 and the 22.6 mpg in Mercedes-Benz’s new C400.

2015 Acura TLX V6 SH-AWD sideRide and handling are nicely balanced for the real world. It’s not the thrill ride promised by Acura, but the TLX is all the better for it. Our TLX wore Michelin X-Ice winter tires, but a conventionally shod TLX SH-AWD V6 (225/50R18s) likewise won’t be sold with aggressive rubber. This limits the car’s ability to tackle a twisty road at nine or ten-tenths, as does the overall sensation of heft.

But if you’re late for your daughter’s soccer game, driving the Acura with a modest degree of haste but not so much urgency as to attract authoritative attention, the TLX shines. Ride quality remains king, body roll is limited, power is present, it’s never flustered, and the steering is nicely weighted. (Indeed, I suspect the front-wheel-drive 2.4L-powered TLX would be the superior car to drive quickly despite its 84-horsepower deficit, featuring all the comfort-mindedness of this V6 SH-AWD with greater agility.) Not once did the suspension manifest the crashiness intermittently exhibited by many entry-level luxury sedans. And on a highway cruise, a top-end TLX can dramatically reduce driver fatigue by semi-autonomously steering itself with Lane Keeping Assist.

2015 Acura TLX shifterWhile the TLX’s on-road behaviour is largely in keeping with our real world desires (and not actually in keeping with Acura’s marketing statements), the TLX’s complicated interior is a letdown. There are quick access buttons to help the driver find key menus, but Honda/Acura persists with the dual-screen format. Counterintuitively, the controls below the lower screen operate the upper screen. To make matters worse, the system is also consistently slow to react to inputs.

Parallel parking? There’s a slim rectangular button for park, a button pulled back for reverse, a larger rectangle for neutral, and then a circle to depress for drive. Did shifters need to be reinvented? If so, rotary knobs did it better.

2015 Acura TLX gauge clusterStill, the TLX is (thankfully) normal in most ways. This is a FWD-based sedan with a high-tech AWD system. There are no on/off turbos here, just a smooth Honda V6. Its exterior styling will cause TLXs to disappear in parking lots full of ostentatious luxury sedans. It’s very reasonably priced. Visibility? Better than average. Sportiness? Neither emphasized nor absent.

The Acura TLX, regardless of engine and trim, will appeal to premium car buyers who don’t need their car to declare to the world the enormity of their year-end promotion. LinkedIn does a better job of that anyway. For the TLX to appeal to me personally, I would need Acura to simplify the interior and finish refining the transmission. Then I could forget about manual-shift first-gen TSXs and handsomely proportioned third-gen TLs in order to enjoy this car for what it is: a tasteful, powerful, efficient, value-conscious, family sedan. And with optional self-steering, I could enjoy more of Grammie’s doughnuts, too.

Timothy Cain is the founder of GoodCarBadCar.net, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures. Along with Acura, he recommends you hold on to the steering wheel. You should also limit your intake of doughnuts.

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147 Comments on “Capsule Review: 2015 Acura TLX V6 SH-AWD...”


  • avatar
    Lie2me

    It’s bigger then a bread box, but smaller then a Greyhound bus, faster then a unicycle, but slower then the Space shuttle, more expensive then a Big Mac but cheaper then a three bedroom ranch.

    Ok, a Honda then

    • 0 avatar
      Zykotec

      Mediocracy perfected :) The same ‘problem’ that Honda as a brand struggles with in Europe. A car with no big flaws, but with not much to tempt buyers either.

      • 0 avatar
        Lie2me

        The perfect car for those who don’t particularly care about cars

        Oh, am I gonna get it for that

        • 0 avatar
          Zykotec

          I’d say it’s more for the people actually interested in the technical/engneering aspects of a car, rather than the ones only interested in pure numbers or ‘showing off’. It may sway some older Saab fans, or people who liked Audi before they started chasing BMW.

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            Well, I was thinking more about the people who buy a car because they need to go someplace, but not for the joy of getting there and who don’t want to deal with anything mechanically more complicated than an oil change

          • 0 avatar
            S2k Chris

            “Well, I was thinking more about the people who buy a car because they need to go someplace, but not for the joy of getting there and who don’t want to deal with anything mechanically more complicated than an oil change”

            Yeah, that sounds terrible. Why would anyone buy a car wanting to get somewhere and have it not break down?

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            “Yeah, that sounds terrible. Why would anyone buy a car wanting to get somewhere and have it not break down?”

            Exactly, and if that’s all you want out of a car then there are certain makes designed specifically for you. The Honda being one of those

          • 0 avatar
            Maymar

            I could see an Acura being a nice compromise if you like driving, but a) live somewhere with terrible frost heave-afflicted roads, or b) have a misery-inducing commute, and in either case, have something more interesting (two wheels or four) in the garage back home.

        • 0 avatar
          krhodes1

          No, that’s the definition of a Camry.

          This is the perfect sports sedan for people who don’t care about cars. And gadget freaks.

          And having spent 4 weeks with 3 different cars with the ZF 8spd in the past two months, I almost can’t imagine how much I would hate this car if the transmission is that much worse. That 8spd may be the among the very best automatics ever, and I still found it completely irritating.

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            If you prefer a manual my guess is that you would find most automatics irritating

          • 0 avatar
            krhodes1

            @Lie2me

            You would be correct. I don’t mind CVTs though. The two BMWs were MUCH better than the 2 Audis, but they were still way too easy to flummox, especially in traffic.

            The 4spd ZF in my Rover is perfect. It is in 4th gear and locked up at 32mph, and pretty much never has to downshift. Of course, it gets 14mpg.

          • 0 avatar
            stuki

            The ZF is at least fairly predictable. If a sequence of inputs causes it to misbehave once, the same sequence will do so if present again. Hence, while complicated, it os at least conceptually masterable. PDK, DSG and every auto MB has ever come out with, plain refuse to play that nice. Always second guessing you. Or at least me.

            The funny thing for us old fashioned curmudgeons, is that back in the old days, you were supposed to buy manual for it’s improved performance when driven hard, while old school autos that never even pretended to lock up their torque converters were actually quite smooth to drive slowly. At least when paired with 9 liter V8s with completely flat power (not torque) curves, and installed in cars that weighed 3 tons.

            Now the autos (even “regular” ones like the ZF), generally beats at least my manual shifting chops at 9+/10ths; but can’t, to a tranny (CVTs perhaps excepted), pull off the seemingly mundane task of parallel parking smoothly on a San Francisco hill. At least not without engaging in pedal play requiring way more skill than simply operating a 3 pedal setup.

        • 0 avatar
          iMatt

          “The perfect car for those who don’t particularly care about cars”

          LOL, is this coming from the ultimate defender of crossovers?

        • 0 avatar
          WheelMcCoy

          “The perfect car for those who don’t particularly care about cars
          Oh, am I gonna get it for that”

          Nah, you are right. It’s Acura’s winning formula. Also, Cain’s sales stats columns show that the TLX is indeed a success (by Acura standards).

          The TLX does nothing for me, but I do wish Acura well. I also wish Acura would produce a car that would make me drool.

          Ford Mustang, yes. Porsche Cayman, yes! Mazda Miata ND, yes!!

          2nd gen NSX… I dunno, maybe. TLX, nah. ILX, Noooo!

        • 0 avatar
          probert

          Most every Honda s a sleeper. A generally bland body with a fantastic engine and good suspension. I’m always surprised.

    • 0 avatar
      redav

      * than

    • 0 avatar

      With its nicer-for-the-price interior and extra luxo-tech for the price, it is probably a better choice for the non-enthusiast middle manager than would be a 3 Ser.

    • 0 avatar
      philadlj

      Everyone knows someone who is snarky about a Honda (TM).

  • avatar
    30-mile fetch

    Most reviews I’ve read of this car suggest it is more Honda Accord than it is a sports sedan, with mildly disappointing handling particularly with the V6. I’d have to drive one to form any solid opinion, but reviews aren’t inspiring me to do so.

    I wonder how the AWD Q50 compares.

    • 0 avatar
      energetik9

      That would be a good comparison TTAC. Sadly, I hear the same about the Q50. Good all around, but it has lost it’s edge from it’s predecessors.

    • 0 avatar
      baconator

      This sent me to the product configurator websites. The cheapest Accord with leather interior is $28,270, or $30,395 if you get the V-6. The cheapest TLX is $30,995, but that gets you the 206 horsepower 4-cylinder, front-wheel drive, and leatherette instead of leather.

      The TLX is differentiated by all-wheel drive and the semi-automated driving features, but to get those options you have to pay at least $41,450.

      I guess there’s demand for this, but it wouldn’t prompt me to fork out an $11k premium over a V-6 Accord, a car which is certainly nice enough and sporty enough for most people.

    • 0 avatar
      George B

      The Acura brand works better around $30k than around $50k.

  • avatar
    dwight

    Why do they keep slapping that piece of metal or plastic on the snout? Can’t they come up with something else? It looks like an after-thought. And i get a sense from this review that the TLX is a warmed over Accord not a premium luxury sedan. The whole Acura line doesn’t inspire me to shop in their showrooms. But what do I know, I drive a Micra. But I’d drive a Q over the TLX just on looks alone.

    • 0 avatar
      30-mile fetch

      They need to keep the plasti-chrome snout because other than the tragically ugly insectoid LED headlamps, this car has no distinctive exterior design traits at all.

      A rental Fusion S with hubcaps still turns my head quicker than this brand new Acura.

  • avatar
    VW16v

    Extremely conservative looking car. Yet, a $50k this puts the TLX into a different league of cars. An awd Accord would be more attractive.

  • avatar
    carguy

    Acura really is the Nickelback of auto makers: Everyone loves to hate on them but they continue to make money anyway.

  • avatar
    DeadWeight

    Deadweight’s Tip # 1 of 2015: Instead of this, purchase a $21,870 Honda Accord instead, and get essentially the same car with fewer annoying electronic gadgets. Save $15,000 to $24,000 in the process. If you’re into badges, the Acura one could say Wonder Bread as far as the rest of the world is concerned.

    Tip # 2: Cadillac should purchase these Acuras in bulk, rip out the gauge cluster, and install it somehow in the ATS & CTS as the standard one.

  • avatar
    PenguinBoy

    “…equipping one of the European contenders – with their greater sporting credentials and smaller interiors – to match the TLX’s spec sheet would generate a startling MSRP.”

    I don’t think this car is really an alternative to the 3 Series, A4 or C Class. With a transversly mounted 290 HP V6, ZF 9AT, AWD, and a nice interior that shows just a little evidence of cost cutting (“matte black plastic shift paddles and marginally excessive wind noise”), it sounds more like a loaded up Chrysler 200. The Acura badge still has a bit more snob appeal than a Chrysler badge, but not nearly as much as the German badges.

    I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that, and this sounds like a nice enough car, but it sounds like it should be the top trim level Accord, rather than positioned as a luxury sport sedan.

  • avatar
    maestromario

    Those electronic shifters are stupid. I hated the conventional looking one in a brand new Grand Cherokee I rented, always have to look what’s selected. I can only imagine how much I would hate the push buttons in that Acura. Of course at least if you press “R” you’re guaranteed to be in reverse, but you have to look for the right button.

    I’m old school, I prefer counting the number of clicks. However definitely not old enough to miss the Torqueflite push buttons of the late 50 early 60s Chryslers lol!

    • 0 avatar
      deanst

      These things will be the death of manuals. Once more designers get the nerve to put the buttons on the dash, the room between the 2 front seats will open up to more cup holders, wireless charging stations, and food warmers.

    • 0 avatar
      Zoom

      The TLX buttons are all differently shaped and angled. I would think one would learn to operate them by touch very quickly.

      I would still prefer to free up the space completely and move the buttons to the dash, but now a few folks are having problems with the MKC shift buttons being to close to the radio. Oops.

    • 0 avatar

      How about changing gears via touch screen? I need to patent this idea since it will be a next big thing when next generation of iPhone trained post-millenias arrive to the marked place.

  • avatar

    I took a girl I was dating to buy a 2009 Acura TL.
    The car was OK, but very generic. Nothing stood out about it.

    It wasn’t until I tested the TLX that I realized how much better the TL actually was.

    Replacing 2 cars with this lameness…

    Boredom perfected.

  • avatar
    gasser

    Wayyyyy too expensive for marginal improvement over Acccord. Acura is really an “SUV” line now, carried by MDX and the RDX. All of the points in the review sound good, but none of them makes me want an Acura over either much cheaper family sedans with a big engine, or diving in and buying a discounted BMW.
    Really, the design of all high cowl, high beltline, high trunk height sedans points me to CUVs or SUVS. The Acuras are all anonymous cars. At least the SUVs are interesting in design. The electronic features don’t really interest me, in that when I drive, I drive, not text or surf the web. I don’t see the TLX as the saviour of Acura.

  • avatar
    Detroit-X

    Three of the six pictures have pop-in ads that completely hide the vehicle, and ruin the rest. Dumb.

  • avatar
    Davekaybsc

    Nobody shopping for a 3 series or C-class buys this car. People shopping for Buick Regals, Volvo S60s, and Lincoln MKZs buy this car. Why are Acura’s ACTUAL competitors NEVER MENTIONED in reviews, and instead it’s always “look how much cheaper it is than a C400 4Matic!”

    A Toyota Yaris is also a hell of a lot cheaper than a Mercedes C400. Guess what, they don’t compete either. Acura may want you to frame the review that way, but that doesn’t make it true. You don’t get to tier 1 status just by wishing you had it. The RL(X), which has been a continuous failure for nearly two decades now, proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that the Acura brand cannot move iron past $50K. There’s only so far you can stretch an Accord before people just start laughing at you.

    • 0 avatar
      CJinSD

      I know three people that have ditched their unreliable BMWs for Acuras. I don’t know anyone that has ever mentioned buying a Buick Regal or Lincoln. Not everyone buys their cars to impress other people, although I realize that is a motivation that isn’t unique to day dreaming school boys that haven’t hit puberty yet.

      • 0 avatar
        heavy handle

        I wish your three friends good luck. Lots of electronics issues on recent Acuras, and none of it is simple to diagnose or fix.

        Not saying that a new Acura will be less (or more) reliable than a new BMW, but don’t expect either to be flawless. The days when you could predict future reliability based solely on country of manufacture are long gone.

        • 0 avatar
          Dave M.

          Sorry, but only in dreamland will a BMW or Audi ever have long-term reliability rates even close to Acura, Lexus or even Hyundai.

          A shame really, because sometimes people would like to mix beauty with sporting competence.

          • 0 avatar
            krhodes1

            In my climate, in my direct experience, while you might have fewer mechanical and/or electrical dilemmas with an old Honda/Acura vs. a BMW, you will spend just as much money fixing rust and rusty under car bits on the Acura or Honda. And rust never stays fixed. All cars cost money when they age. Maybe if you live in sunny SoCal there would be a dramatic difference, but not in a place with a six month annual brine bath.

      • 0 avatar
        energetik9

        There will always be people that switch back and forth and for a multitude of reasons, generalizing that it’s about impressing is missing the point of the bigger issues facing Acura. Most I know shop up to German cars.

    • 0 avatar
      energetik9

      Because it’s a holdover comparison from when the TL was a good sporty alternative.

      No one I know will cross shop a BMW, Audi and TLX. If people are looking for anything sporty, Acura is no longer in the mix. If they are switching, I’m guessing its because any sport dynamic probably wasn’t a criteria in the first place.

  • avatar
    Fred

    Seems like a nice enough car to me. Fully equiped Accords are listed around $36,500, adding AWD and computer controls along with a better dealer experience for an extra $14,000 doesn’t seem to far out of line what other manufacturer’s do.

  • avatar
    S2k Chris

    As an Acura owner and fan, and someone who has flogged a TLX SH-AWD briefly on city streets, here are my thoughts:

    -The one to buy is the V6 SH-AWD. It’s priced right about $40k. It comes with the tech pack, and most (but not all) the toys. The SH-AWD is awesome. The 4cyl might be the better handler, but then you are in “Accord is a better deal” territory, and the 4cyl is slow. At $40k for the SH-AWD V6, this thing is absolutely a fantastic deal versus the Germans. (I’d still pony up a few more grand for an Advance model, because ball chillers).

    -The flip s!de of the “Accord is a better deal” thing is that you are sacrificing A LOT of equipment, especially for the Accord Sport. If you are happy with the crappy 4-speaker stereo, no satellite radio, no sunroof, and halogen headlights, bully for you. But people who want to pay $32k for a 4cyl want that stuff, and adding it back to the Accord closes the gap cons!derably.

    -So much bleating about the 2 screens, it’s just the fashionable thing to whine about these days. In the real world, with a comprehensive set of steering wheel controls, the 2 screens are a non-issue 95% of the time.

    Anyways, good review, that mostly was able to avoid the current Acura cliches where either you should buy a German for $10-20k more for 3% more “soul” or you should buy an Accord for $10k less and give up all the things you wanted in a pseudo-luxury car in the first place.

    Oh fer crissakes fix the spam filter already.

    • 0 avatar
      VoGo

      Well said, S2K

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      You make a good case, so how does it compare to a Genesis or a Q50?

    • 0 avatar
      energetik9

      “that mostly was able to avoid the current Acura cliches where either you should buy a German for $10-20k more for 3% more “soul” or you should buy an Accord for $10k less”

      Except that here’s the thing. At $50k, you’re in the same range as a nicely equipped 328 BMW. Even the faster BMW 335 is really only a few thousand more than this, but the 335 is much faster than the TLX. I realize that the TLX referenced is a loaded model. But it’s not another $10-15k unless you checked every one of the multitude of options available on the BMW. The ultimate debate in my opinion is the 3% soul you claim. I’ve owned multiple Hondas and Acuras and I’ve owned multiple German cars. In my opinion, you are paying for another 20-30% soul and another 10% capability. Again, my opinion, but 3% is negligible and that just isn’t the case.

      • 0 avatar
        S2k Chris

        “Except that here’s the thing. At $50k, you’re in the same range as a nicely equipped 328 BMW.”

        Ignore this article’s Canadian pricing.

        In the US, the TLX SH-AWD comes in 2 flavors, Tech ($42,370) or Advance ($45,620, includes adaptive cruise, remote start, ball chillers, etc.) (All prices include destination)

        A modest 328i build, IMO, includes the following:

        $37,500 base
        $2500 Sport
        $550 metallic paint
        $3100 premium pack (sunroof, leather, etc)
        $3150 tech pack (nav, BT audio, etc)
        $500 heated seats
        $950 Destination
        $48,250 bottom line. Add $2k for AWD if desired.

        That’s $6-8k more (14%-19%) than the tech pack Acura, and you’re still missing plenty of stuff on the BMW (like HID lights, upgraded stereo, etc). That’s a big chunk of coin. AND, given my experience with each brand (I’m on my 3rd and 4th Acuras, and my FIL has had a few BMWs) I expect 150k miles of almost-completely trouble free life with the Acura. What do you think it will cost do to that in a 328i?

        • 0 avatar
          LectroByte

          The folks that I know personally who have tried to keep BMW’s once the warranty was up are all driving Acura’s and Lexus’s now, I think the BMW repair/maintenance experience soured them on German brands for life.

          • 0 avatar
            InterstateNomad

            I can say that this was the experience of my family as well. It was unfortunate since it was a beautiful car to drive and ride, felt sturdy too.

        • 0 avatar
          energetik9

          “I expect 150k miles of almost-completely trouble free life with the Acura. What do you think it will cost do to that in a 328i?”

          I don’t know to be honest. I have never in my life kept a car for 150k miles. The longest I ever owned a car was a BMW X5 that I had for 7 years (far past warranty) and I bought it used. Just for the record, the X5 was a tank. Never had any issues at all with it. Really any of my cars, to include the BMWs (four of them) and Porsche. I take care of them and they have been very good to me. I acknowledge that my experience is atypical, but in my own personal experience, they have been fantastic. My wife drives a BMW and sold her Acura to get it. She’s now owned the BMW longer than she did the Acura. Both her BMW and her Acura are/were trouble free. Her BMW is now outside of warranty and it’s been worry free. Not implying German cars are perfect and as you know, any car is subject to issues. There are people with issues with their Acura’s too.

          As far as the Canadian pricing. Got it, and I will acknowledge the price differential, but $6-8K really isn’t that much for this price range. Perhaps even less of a differential if you have any negotiating skills. I had far more luck negotiating invoice pricing on my BMW than we did on my wife’s Acura.

        • 0 avatar
          energetik9

          Trying again since the Spam filter got me….

          As far as the price, got it. I acknowledge the differential. Although $6-8 isn’t really that much in this price range. Even less if you can negotiate well. I had far better luck getting invoice pricing on my BMW that we did on my wife’s Acura.

          As far as this…”I expect 150k miles of almost-completely trouble free life with the Acura. What do you think it will cost do to that in a 328i?” I don’t know honestly. I have never kept a car that long. The longest I had a car was a BMW X5 that I owned for 7 years. I bought it used and what little warranty there was, didn’t last long. But that car was a tank. Never had problems with it. But of all the cars I’ve owned, BMW (4 of them) and Porsche now, they’ve been stellar. Maybe I’m atypical based on some of the drama i read here, but I take great care of my cars and my cars have been trouble free.

          My wife drives a BMW and sold an Acura to buy it. She’s owned the BMW longer than the Acura and both were/are trouble free. Her BMW is now outside of warranty and it’s been worry free. Our third car is a Honda and it has more issues than her BMW. We all know that EVERY car is capable of issues, but in my experience, those German cars have been stellar and a blast to own.

        • 0 avatar
          energetik9

          The silly spam filter. This is my third attemp…..

          Good catch on the pricing. Got it. However, $6-8k isn’t really that much. Even less if you can negotiate well. I had much better luck getting invoice pricing on my BMW than I did on my wife’s Acura.

          “I expect 150k miles of almost-completely free trouble free life with the Acura. What do you think that would cost me in the 328i”. I don’t know honestly. I’ve never owned a car that long. The longest I’ve ever owned a car was a BMW X5 that I bough used and kept for 7 years. It was an awesome trouble free car by the way. I’ve owned multiple Hondas and multiple BMWs. All of them have been trouble free beyond normal wear and tear. I take good care of my cars and maybe that experience is atypical, I don’t know. It’s just my personal experience. My wife sold her Acura to get her BMW and she has now owned the BMW longer than her Acura, and her BMW has been trouble free. Our third car is a Honda and it has more issues than either one of our German cars, although it has been mostly minor issues. We both know that any car can have issues, but I believe how you maintain a car plays a big role too.

        • 0 avatar
          tonycd

          One of the other things you’re missing on the BMW is a pair of cylinders, for which a blower attached to a coarse four-banger is a poor substitute — especially at the price.

          There’s no place in a major metropolitan area to use the tenth tenth of acceleration being built into today’s nicer sedans. Old-fashioned though it may be, I really like the idea of very good though not eyeball-shredding performance from a naturally aspirated engine that won’t be a sucker bet for anybody but a lease customer.

          Now if Acura would just admit that horrid beak was a misbegotten idea from the get-go. There must be some pridefully stubborn streak in the Japanese collective psyche that’s simply beyond my understanding.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I agree but AFAIK the V6 is no longer a standard engine as it was (and should be) in this model and price point.

          • 0 avatar
            energetik9

            “One of the things you’re missing on the BMW is a pair of cylinders”. Except of course that the BMW offers a 6 and a 4 cyl……same as the TL.

          • 0 avatar
            krhodes1

            As the current owner of a six-cylinder BMW, I would call the turbo to be a most excellent substitute for the extra two cylinders. More powerful, especially at the rpms people actually drive, and FAR more efficient, both on the EPA test and in the real world. I would infinitely prefer to have an N20 in my car than the N52 it has, even though it may not sound quite as Wagnerian when you really get on it. I had a 228i for a rental recently and that motor just absolutely kills the old six in the real world.

            As with so many, many things, Saab was ahead of their time.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            krhodes1, have you driven a N50-powered BMW? I find the NVH on that engine absolutely unacceptable at a price point like $50k.

            And this is coming from someone who likes the VW/Audi EA888.

            The N50 has excellent power delivery but sounds loud, coarse, and unrefined. It reminds me sonically of a Quad 4. Honestly, the K24 in that $24K Accord Sport is a considerably more refined engine.

          • 0 avatar
            energetik9

            I never missed any cylinders on my 335. That was a fantastic engine and a strong performer. 300lb-ft is a blast, especially when available at 1200 rpm.

            As far as missing cylinders, there is typically a weight savings too which is part of the reason for many manufacturers moving this way. The BMW 328 we keep talking about is 400lbs lighter than the 6 cyl TLX. Not claiming it’s all from two cylinders removed, but however you look at it, you will feel it. That is significant.

          • 0 avatar
            krhodes1

            @Dal20402

            I assume you mean N20, which is the 2.0L Turbo 4. There is no N50, though there is an M50 and N54 and N55. Yes, multiple times. Most recently I had a 228i (loved it) for a week 4-5 weeks ago, and a 528i (meh, kind of a boat) the week after that for most of a week. And the two weeks after that Audi A4s with their 4-cyl 2.0T (a little dull, BMW drives much better). I’ve also had F30 328i service loaners a couple times.

            I found the characteristics of both engines completely acceptable. Not much more vibration at idle than my N52 really. Does it sound less than delightful idling with the hood open? Sure – but I don’t drive that way – and the DI sixes sound pretty much the same. Inside the cabin there is nearly no sound at all. And that is with an automatic, I would assume that idling in neutral with a stick will be even smoother. The only “complaint” is that it is absolutely true that they don’t sound as good at WOT, very few things sound as good as an N52 with the BMW Performance Intake and Exhaust like I have on my current car. But for the increase in power and efficiency, I am all for it sounding not quite as nice. And mind you, without the fancy intake and exhaust, my car didn’t sound like anything until the last couple grand on the tach.

            And the increase in efficiency is amazing. I had both rented BMWs in downtown Atlanta, in ridiculous traffic, and got about 28mpg with the 228i, and 27 with the big-boat 528i. My 328i would have been lucky to get 22 in those conditions. And either car would leave my car for dead in a straight line. Massively more torque, available just off idle.

            I do think the sound in the 228i was the best, which I assume is due to the active sound management. I have no problem with artificially enhancing the sound, it is no different than Mazda very carefully tuning the intake and exhaust on a Miata. The 5’ver was mostly just dead quiet.

            But to be fair, I was a long-time multiple Saab Turbo driver, so I am predisposed to liking 4cyl turbos. I may well end up with a turbo 6 in my new BMW but that is due to BMWs option packaging, not because I prefer the six to the four. I can’t get a 228i exactly the way I want one, so I will probably “settle” for an M235i. First world problem, I realize.

        • 0 avatar
          CapVandal

          BMW doesn’t have HID standard?

          I would never buy another car without them.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            BMW has essentially nothing standard. That $38k 328i becomes $50k by the time you equip it modestly well for a near-luxury car.

          • 0 avatar
            tonycd

            28 and energetik, I’m saying Acura delivers its 6 at the price of BMW’s 4.

            Hell, BMW gives you a car the size of an S-class if you want it. But it’s $100,000.

          • 0 avatar
            energetik9

            “BMW doesn’t have HID standard?

            I would never buy another car without them.”

            Not entirely true. I believe many models have it standard. Unless you are purposely buying a stripped model, its pretty easy to get HID lights. In the 335i for example, it’s standard.

          • 0 avatar
            mcs

            >> BMW doesn’t have HID standard?
            >> I would never buy another car without them.

            LEDs are pretty good and along with laser will probably replace HID. Personally, I can’t tell the difference between LED and HID – although HID is supposedly a little better. Not a scientific comparison because my cars have different headlight designs and the HID car is much older, but it’s close enough that I don’t think the average person could tell the difference.

            You’d figure BMW would at least offer LED as a minimum instead of crappy halogen. Then again, LED is good enough that HID becomes a harder sell.

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            “LEDs are pretty good and along with laser will probably replace HID”

            Not in the US where lasers are highly illegal

          • 0 avatar
            heavy handle

            “BMW doesn’t have HID standard?”

            If “fully loaded” is important to you, then you shouldn’t be shopping German. That was true 50 years ago, it’s still true, and it may still be true in 50 years.

            You always get more gadgets on an American, Japanese or Korean car, unless you get an S Class. If anything, the German attitude is “You want toys? You go play with the toys at the Lincoln dealer. Stop bothering the adults.”

          • 0 avatar
            krhodes1

            I don’t want HIDs. Much like an Acura TLX over an Accord, I find the added expense both up front and long-term to be not worth the marginal improvement over GOOD halogens. I’m sure if you went from a car with crappy halogens to one with HIDs, they would seem amazing, but compared to Euro-spec halogens (or even the best converged US-spec)they are not enough better to be worth the cost to me.

            I am a little more interested in LEDs, in that in theory the long-term costs should be a lot lower.

          • 0 avatar
            S2k Chris

            What long term expense of HIDs? I’ve put 65k miles (and counting) on each of two TSXs with HIDs, and 70k (plus the 35k that were on there when I bought it) on my S2000, and never had a single HiD related issue.

          • 0 avatar
            krhodes1

            Get back to me at 10 years plus and 150K + when you start having to buy expensive bulbs and ballasts for them (and God-forbid the swiveling BMW HIDs fail). You obviously don’t keep your cars long-term, being a serial buyer of Uber-Accords.

            Historically I have BOUGHT most of my cars at the 150K mark or more.

          • 0 avatar
            S2k Chris

            My S2000 is 12-13 years old (2003) with 105k. There are plenty of them running around with 200k+ and HID failures are rare to nonexistent.
            And I’ve bought two TSXs, one in 2004 and one in 2011. The 2004 was traded for the S2000 in 2007, but I plan on having the 2011 for another 4 years, or 7 years (~140k miles) total, when my wife’s just-acquired car will be paid for and I’ll replace mine. Apologies if this usage, which works for me and my budget, doesn’t satisfy your requirements.

          • 0 avatar
            CJinSD

            You’ll have to forgive krhodes. He’s averse to ever owning a high quality car, so trying to convince him that you can buy a Honda instead of a BMW and thereby avoid electrical issues is like trying to convince a cave man that the earth revolves around the sun.

          • 0 avatar
            DeadWeight

            “My S2000 is 12-13 years old (2003) with 105k. There are plenty of them running around with 200k+ and HID failures are rare to nonexistent.”

            The HID lamps on the RX-8 are a must-have for me now, make halogen equipped vehicles annoying by comparison, and I’ve also rarely heard of HID headlamps being prone to problems on either the S2k or RX-8 (at least factory/OEM ones).

            And I shun most optional extras, preferring basic trim spec’d vehicles most commonly.

          • 0 avatar
            krhodes1

            @DenverMike

            If the Japanese could produce a car that was decent to drive that meets my requirements, I would cheerfully buy one. BMW has what currently suits me, therefor I buy their product. I don’t doubt that my BMW will cost slightly more to own than an Acura. I don’t care, it’s worth it. Life is too short to drive an Accord with delusions of grandeur.

            The funny thing to me is that you seem to have wide ranging opinions of all sorts of European cars, while not actually having ever owned one. I, on the other hand, have actually owned a couple dozen over the past 25 years, with generally extremely happy results. So please, bite me.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            @krhodes1 – Bite yourself. Do I have to own European cars to have an opinion on European cars? You got never ending opinions on stuff you’ll never own. I know enough not to own European car.

            Except being in the auto sales, repair and recovery trade, I’ll drive every brand of cars ever sold in the US, on an ongoing basis. I have for the last 30 years running.

            I’m not afraid of huge repair bills and shop queens, but Euro cars just don’t do it for me, as!de from a couple exotics, plus an LSx FTW conversion. I just don’t have a hard on for everyday Euro trash like you do. You’re a (Euro) badge whore is all.

          • 0 avatar
            krhodes1

            @DenverMike

            But here is the difference between you and me – I can state that I don’t like a car for reasons X, Y, and Z. But I don’t make it personal about the person I am discussing the car with. S2KChris loves his Acuras, good for him, I am glad he has found a car he likes well enough to buy multiple times. I may disagree with him about the relative worth of that car vis-à-vis an Accord, but I still respect him and the car. You have to stoop to accusing me of being a “euro badge whore”. And again, personal experience certainly trumps anecdote, and you are the king of anecdote around here. I don’t think European cars are the end all and be all of cars, but I prefer the way they drive, and I see the value proposition they offer for my needs. If you don’t, enjoy your pickup trucks or whatever you drive every day. I reserve the right to think you are an idiot, but I will try my best to not actually call you one. It’s damned hard some days.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            YeP. You’re not a badge whore and my pickup bed is always loaded. Round trip. Max GVWR.

            The difference between You and I, is I don’t have to prove anything to anyone. I’m a truck guy. You’re a city boy with German car fetish.

          • 0 avatar
            S2k Chris

            “S2KChris loves his Acuras, good for him, I am glad he has found a car he likes well enough to buy multiple times.”

            I don’t know that I would describe it as “love”, more like I found a great compromise on value, performance, features, price, and reliability, while keeping in mind I have a 4 wheeled motorcycle in the garage for fun. If I only had/could have one car, it would be something more fun than my TSX (MAYBE my TSX with a stick, maybe) but given that it plays the reliable commuter/all weather car (on snows) offsetting my S2000, it’s a fantastic choice. And the TLX fixes my main beefs, namely some missing equipment, more power, and disliking FWD.

          • 0 avatar
            krhodes1

            @S2kChris

            And for me, the 328i wagon meets the same criteria. And I have a rather nice Triumph Spitfire in the garage for those nice sunny days. And a Rover for the snow and towing the boat, and a Fiat Abarth for the Hell of it and autocrossing. :-)

            @Denver Mike

            I just have a fun car fetish. At the moment only 1/4 of my cars are German, and actually I have owned more Swedish cars than anything else. And a city boy? I’m from Maine for Dog’s sake (family has been here only 250 years or so), we don’t even HAVE a real city in this state.

    • 0 avatar
      WheelMcCoy

      “-The flip s!de of the “Accord is a better deal” thing is that you are sacrificing A LOT of equipment, especially for the Accord Sport.”

      I would consider Honda only because the Accord is available with a stick. But on the whole, I agree.

      Service is also a consideration. I’ve never been to a Lexus, BMW, Audi, or Mercedes service center, but I can say with high degree of confidence that Acura is a step or two above Honda, Toyota, and Mazda.

  • avatar
    seth1065

    I have looked at the A4 and the c400 as a maybe next car, and I will test drive a TLX as well, so I guess I am the one who will cross shop them, ( I am not a bummer fan so no 3 series for me thank you) I think the Acura may win because of the repair records and the cost vs the others. Everyone I know who has Acuras came from german cars and stays with Acura

  • avatar
    GS 455

    The Acura TLX still offers a DVD-Audio disc player as part of the premium audio package! Bet you can’t get that in a BMW.

  • avatar
    dwford

    I couldn’t concentrate on the article, I was too distracted by the assertion that the Acura Vigor was based on the Accord. Earlier Honda Vigors in Japan were based off the Accord, but the Acura Vigor was on separate chassis from the Accord. The TL was based off the Accord.

    • 0 avatar
      Timothy Cain

      You’re right. Vigors were Accord-based until they weren’t, were they not? Before then again becoming Accord-based when the Acura change from Vigor to TL occurred.

      • 0 avatar
        wmba

        The Vigor had a longitudinal 5 cylinder engine, with a transmission, er, somewhere. Based more on the Legend chassis than Accord.

        I was always amazed that the Vigor copied the stroke of the then 5 cylinder Audi – exactly. 86.4mm, as if Honda believed that Audi had found the ideal stroke. It was a paper tiger anyway, compared to Audi’s 20 valve engine. The Vigor was the fourth totally bland Honda I drove. At the time, our merry little band of enthusiasts thought that Honda buyers simply never tried anything else, trumpeting that brand’s virtues based on nothing but their enthusiasm.

        Kind of like the TLX – but this new vehicle has a great engine in search of almost everything else.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Is Honda incapable of making a quiet car?

    I believe a car can be engaging to drive and quiet but every Acura review I’ve ever read mentions road or wind noise the same way every Mercedes review mentions how the doors sound when they close.

    • 0 avatar
      ceipower

      you’re right . Seems most reviews for honda’s the last 10 years usually mention excessive in cabin noise when compared to other vehicles in the same class. You’d think after 10+ years of such comments , Honda would figure out a way to “fix” this. Ahh , but not todays Honda.

  • avatar

    Why would someone buy this over say Fusion Titanium which is a more stylish car with better road manners and save $8K? I considered TL couple of years ago but it was numb steering barge with ugly looks and complicated ugly dashboard as a nice bonus.

  • avatar
    bufguy

    My one and only Acura was a 94 Integra….The most reliable car I ever owned, but soooo boring. I traded in a VW Corrado. The Corrado had so much more soul. Kept the Integra for 3 years and traded it in for a BMW 318ti…another great car. Since then I’ve owned 2 more BMW’s and have not had one problem. All great cars

  • avatar
    Bad Driver

    As an owner of 05 TL I wanted to like TLX but I can’t. Like most Hondas it has weak breaks, it is noisy and beside great sound quality and outstanding AWD system it does not offer an appealing package. The look still is too generic and far from Alfaesque (is this even a word?) 05 TL.

  • avatar
    ceipower

    What was Hondas motivation in screwing up a once promising luxury division? Remember “Precision crafted Performance”? ….Legend , Integra, ? They abandoned the original marketing program, restyled the entire line up with “beaks” for a front styling cue , and dropped car names in favor of an alphabet soup model system that makes the cars invisible to the buying public. After over 10 years of nothing but failure , they are stead-fast in sticking to this formula. The company founder was always quick to correct mistakes , and listen to customer feedback. Today , that clearly is not the case. You have to feel sorry for those dealers who invested millions in dealerships that had a promising future only to see their only sellable products today are a couple of mediocre SUV’s.

    • 0 avatar

      Perfect. Could not have said it better. There are some cars where I take a mild interest in the kind of person who is driving it. I recall lots of middle aged ladies driving Jukes, tree huggers driving Crosstours, but for the life of me I cannot recall the face of one Acura driver.

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        TLs and RLs (new) I usually see being driven by well off individuals of Japanese ancestry. Used? Anybody who can afford it – I’ve seen a few TLs driven by kids who wanted to prove they could afford more than a used Accord.

  • avatar
    wmba

    Just so all you people don’t get too excited – this thing has a ventilated driver seat. Ventilated, not cooled. No ball chillers. Got the brochure right in front of me.

    No spare tire, either.

    It’s tightly budgeted with the emphasis on electronic doo-dads of questionable calibration but surprise, no Accord/Civic Lane Watch camera. That’s a Honda Exclusive, don’t you know. If your accompanying wife has key#2, the seats may go into a tango of spasmodic movement. Which key should I obey? No engine start till I’m sure says the TLX brain.

    I quite liked wafting around in the SH-AWD. It’s quiet, not much wind noise but noticeable because it’s the only noise IMO, and the ride is pretty fine – no hobby-horsing Accord head bobbling here with squabbling front/rear spring rates. Boink.

    The auto start stop worked a treat too. I was on my fifth red light before I even noticed. Yes, it’s quiet and smooth on restart, plus I am a sucker for that lovely Honda V6 engine: 14.3secs at 101 mph in the quarter is not slow. But it’s only peppy from a standing start when the gears go through in order. Roll on acceleration? Um. That’s the conundrum.

    Acura Marketing’s sporty handling exists only in the mind of sports. She’s a ponderous, slow-witted beast suitable for the highway. Tire squeal on the cheapo Goodyears all too easy to find on city streets when driven with a modicum of brio. Yes, the very same streets the author drives on, but the Michelin snow tires are probably better.

    Absolutely pathetic 9 speed transmission that cannot make up its mind what to do, then does the wrong thing anyway. Flailing away at the paddles does not help. Onset of full acceleration from 55mph takes 2 seconds while the transmission dithers. Just like the Chrysler 200 AWD V6 with the same transmission.

    Yup, it’s a cruiser. Kind of like what I assumed Buicks used to be, but driver involvement? Not really.

    No, it has a Tokyo by night dash for the impressionable, and great mileage for the weight and comfy-ness. Electronic aids with spotty calibration (but, but, but, that little old lady has already finished crossing the road when it lit up, Mr Salesman).

    In fact, a great car for folks who like to mindlessly meander down the road in no particular hurry to get anywhere. It’s a very nice bland automobile.

    After the non-event ILX, which a Mazda3 handily slaughters, I had hoped the TLX would be a bit more exciting, but ….. zzzzz.

  • avatar
    bunkie

    This is a comment not related to this review.

    I know that websites need revenue. But I find the popup ads in the the pictures to be incredibly annoying. It’s not that I don’t want to see them (actually, I don’t but I recognize that they are necessary), its that they *obscure* the visual content. The lead photo for this review is an extreme example. The photo composition shows the car in the bottom 20% of the image, exactly where the popup ad arrives, leaving a lovely view of a brick wall.

    I would suggest that it might be a good idea to format images so that losing the bottom 20% doesn’t compromise the image.

  • avatar
    waltercat

    A good informative review. I spent 16 years with my recently-sold TL – a very early ’99. It was unexciting when I bought it. I never thought I’d keep it so long, but it kept growing on me. It lasted me 229,000 unexciting (and almost completely trouble-free) miles. Its repairs and maintenance were cheap and straightforward. It was comfortable, roomy, good-riding, capable in the snow, and reasonably fuel-efficient. And I even liked the way it looked – boring but tasteful.

    When it came time to move on, I really wanted to like the Acuras. But I really dislike the exterior styling and – compared to my shopping in fall 1998 – Acura is no longer a bargain. Back then, it would have cost thousands of dollars more to match the features, performance, and quality of the TL; I even paid list price for the TL (I’m ashamed…) That is simply not true any more.

    So I bought a Lexus ES – as boring, comfy, well-built, practical, and efficient in its day as my old TL was back then. I’m planning to keep this one for the long run, too. One last thing – the boringness of either car annoys me not at all.

  • avatar
    John R

    Eh. Even if the G37 (I refuse to say “Q50”. “His mama call ‘im Clay, I’mma call ‘im Clay”) has lost a step it is still has quite a few steps on this latest rendition of the Super-Saiyan Accord.

    A judiciously optioned RWD G37S would be a better value at ~$46k.

    http://i.imgur.com/3RFfXbi.jpg

    Then you can use the money saved to buy winter tires.

  • avatar
    danio3834

    The Chrysler 200C is a much better deal at 10k less with more features and similar performance. Heck, they even have the same transmission. 49K is far too much to ask for this car.

  • avatar
    jmiller417

    I’m not a track guy, but I can see where Hondas (and Acuras) wouldn’t make great track cars. However, driven where most people drive cars, they feel sporty enough to be entertaining. Honda puts its money into features and durability instead of 10/10th performance on the track.

  • avatar
    smooney

    I wanted to like the TLX; I really tried to like it. In December 2015, I traded in my 2011 BMW 328i xDrive for a 2015 TLX. The TLX had unacceptable road noise and the transmission was a disaster. I traded this in February 2016 for a 2016 TLX. This car proved better, but still was not nearly what it should have been (clunky transmission, poor response, grandpa-like). Both of these cars depreciated faster than any other Honda product I have ever owned (and I have had many). I think that Acura would be doing themselves a favor by just retiring this one and going back to the TL. I would have been happy with a TL. As for me, the 2016 TLX was recently traded for 2016 BMW 340i xDrive. Understood they are different cars, but the TLX missed the stick. Drive a BMW or a Mercedes, and you will see the difference.


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