2015 Acura TLX review: Tech, refinement puts the new TLX within striking … – ExtremeTech
The 2015 Acura TLX is the most competent compact sports sedan to come out of Japan and the one most likely to be a threat to the reigning BMW 3 Series, our current Editors’ Choice for a compact sports sedan. The Acura TLX is cat quick, quiet, and chock full of driver assists to protect dumb pedestrians and its own momentarily inattentive drivers.
The TLX succeeds both the Acura TL midsize and TSX compact sedans. A combination of radar and cameras share information to provide improved adaptive cruise control, pedestrian detection and braking, forward collision warning and braking, lane keep assist that self-steers on highways, as well as the more commonplace blind spot detection and rear cross traffic alert. It has two new engine choices, two new transmissions, and a super-quiet cabin. Dinged in the past for having too many confusing center stack buttons, Acura cut them to 20 and it’s not enough; you’ll curse the missing tuning knob and the difficulty adjusting navigation volume.
How Acura changed to be more competitive
Acura decided it had one too many sedans in a four-vehicle lineup where the majority of sales came from two SUVs — our Editors’ Choice Acura MDX that is a top-ten seller among all luxury cars, and the smaller Acura RDX. It combined the middle two cars, the compact TSX and the midsize TL, into the 2015 TLX, that is 190 inches long, still big for a compact sedan. That leaves the Acura ILX, a compact based on the Honda Civic and due for a refresh to enliven sales, and the premium Acura RLX that is new.
With the TLX, Acura engineers delivered a sensational sports sedan. The base model is cat-quick with a 206-hp four-cylinder engine and Acura-designed eight-speed double clutch transmission and torque converter. Many drivers won’t need more and they’ll appreciate the 35 mpg highway rating (24 mpg city, 35 highway, 28 combined). The 290-hp 3.5-liter V6 is quicker still, using a nine-speed automatic, with either front-drive or all-wheel-drive and a torque vectoring system — Acura’s super handling all-wheel drive (SH-AWD), that uses individual wheel braking on deceleration and a lighter, simplified rear differential on acceleration to overdrive the outside rear wheel in wet or slippery conditions. It’s rated at 21 mpg city, 31 highway, 25 combined.
AcuraWatch: 9 ways to save your bacon
The Acura TLX provides as many as nine driver assists and bundles them under the term AcuraWatch. A rear camera with dynamic guidelines comes standard. The Tech Package, a $4,000 option (standard on the all-wheel drive 3.5L), includes forward collision warning with car and pedestrian detection, rear cross traffic monitor (cross traffic alert), lane departure warning and lane keep assist.
The advance package, another $3,000, adds stop-and-go adaptive cruise control with low-speed following (creeping along in traffic jams), collision mitigation braking with even more pedestrian detection, and road departure warning, which is a more aggressive, pull-me-back-from-the-abyss enhancement to lane departure warning. Front and rear parking sonar is also in the advance package though it’s not a part of AcuraWatch.
It’s an impressive collection, topped only by some accident-avoidance features in $100K cars such as the Mercedes-Benz S-Class that can swerve to avoid cars and pedestrians. The tech package is also where you get navigation, a color LCD info display in the center of the instrument panel, the superb ELS sound system engineered by Grammy-winning producer Elliott L. Scheiner (10 speakers, 490 watts), HD radio, and leather seats. The advance package has ventilated seats, remote engine start, and LED foglamps to go with the standard LED headlamps and tail lights. It also uses haptic feedback, a vibrating steering wheel, for driver alerts such as lane departure; the cheaper models use an annoying beep.
Next page: The Acura TLX, on the road
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