The Type-S gets a 355-horsepower turbocharged 3.5-litre V-6 as well as sporty body trim, 20-inch wheels and Brembo-brand brakes. PHOTO: ACURA

The Type-S gets a 355-horsepower turbocharged 3.5-litre V-6 as well as sporty body trim, 20-inch wheels and Brembo-brand brakes. PHOTO: ACURA

FIRST LOOK: 2021 Acura TLX

It’s bigger and turbocharged … and under $50,000 to start

Expectations are understandably high for the new second-generation Acura TLX sedan.

It represents the brand’s latest attempt at injecting significant style and performance to entice buyers who otherwise shop the lots of BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Lexus.

Honda’s upscale division has excelled in creating the highly regarded RDX and MDX utility vehicles, but has lagged in the sedan category. The high-end RLX never caught on with buyers and won’t be returning for 2021, while the TL and TSX were replaced with TLX for 2015. The compact ILX, which was launched for 2012, languishes on a previous-generation Honda Civic platform.

Like we said, all eyes are on the new TLX. The new sport sedan resembles the outgoing model, yes, but a closer look reveals a more aggressive front end. What makes a huge difference is the car’s enlarged dimensions, including a nearly eight-centimetre gain in length, a width increase of just over five centimetres and a not-insignificant 9.4-centimetre stretch in distance between the front and rear wheels. Combined with a slightly lower roofline and upticks in passenger and trunk space, the result is a character-changing design that should grab the attention of Acura super fans and casual observers alike.

The TLX is built off a new platform that Acura claims is considerably more rigid, particularly where lighter-weight suspension components are attached. The braking system is based on what’s used in the megabuck NSX sports car, and active dampers (shocks) constantly adjust according to road and driving conditions. To improve front-to-rear weight balance, the TLX’s battery has been relocated to the trunk from the engine compartment.

The interior has also undergone significant revision. There are better quality coverings for seats and door panels, a smartly redesigned dashboard and new sport-style heated front seats.

A touchpad-operated 25cm info screen is standard as is a sporty flat-bottom steering wheel and buttons to shift the transmission.

The TLX’s powertrain lineup is also new, beginning with the turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine (the same one is used in the RDX) that makes 272 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque. That’s a gain of 66 horsepower and 98 pound-feet over the previous base non-turbo 2.4-litre four-cylinder.

Opt for the Type S (a name previously attached to the long-retired TL sedan) and you get a turbo 3.0-litre V-6 with 355 horsepower and 354 pound-feet of torque. It replaces the previous non-turbo 3.5-litre V-6 that produced 290 horses and 267 pound-feet.

The engines are connected to new 10-speed automatic transmissions — with steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters — that replace the nine-speed automatics.

Regardless of engine, drivers get Econ, Normal and Sport settings (Sport+ is added to the Type S) that change the transmission, throttle, steering and suspension operations.

Official fuel-consumption numbers haven’t been released, but an estimate based on the RDX’s powertrain would be 9.8 l/100 km in combined city/highway driving.

The latest version of Acura’s Super Handling All-wheel-Drive isstandard with both the turbo 2.0 and the Type S. It can send up to 70 per cent of the engine torque to the rear wheels and direct 100 per cent of that amount to either the left or right tire during turning to increase precision (known as torque vectoring or yaw control).

The TLX is noticeably larger than the previous model with more than nine more centimetres between the front and rear wheels. Say hello to more rear legroom. PHOTO: ACURA

The TLX is noticeably larger than the previous model with more than nine more centimetres between the front and rear wheels. Say hello to more rear legroom. PHOTO: ACURA

TLX pricing starts at $46,500, including destination charges. Included in the price is a variety of dynamic-safety technologies (such as emergency braking, lane-keeping assist and road-departure mitigation).

The optional Technology, A-Spec and Platinum Elite packages increase the content, but the Type S is the only model that comes with sport-appearance body trim, high-performance summer tires mounted to 20-inch wheels, leather- and suede-trimmed seats and Brembo-brand brakes.

With the redesigned/new TLX, Acura seems focused on creating an image-enhancing model that will alter buyer impressions of how a premium sport sedan should look and perform. At least their impressions of an Acura sedan, that is.

Regardless, the new TLX is a huge step in the right direction.

Although the red seats grab your attention first, try feasting your eyes on the artful centre stack that houses the arrangement of buttons that shift the standard 10-speed automatic transmission. PHOTO: ACURA

Although the red seats grab your attention first, try feasting your eyes on the artful centre stack that houses the arrangement of buttons that shift the standard 10-speed automatic transmission. PHOTO: ACURA

What you should know: 2021 Acura TLX

Type: All-wheel-drive midsize sedan

Engines (h.p.): 2.0-litre I-4, turbocharged (272); 3.0-litre V-6, turbocharged (355)

Transmission: 10-speed automatic

Market position: Acura attempts to up the ante with a new TLX that it hopes offers the right stuff in terms of performance and style to entice new buyers.

Points: Roomier cabin has increased passenger comfort. • Design elements remain true to the previous model but for a bigger car that is actually more attractive. • Both base and optional engines deliver greater thrust, which never hurts when catering to upscale buyers. • SH-AWD system is one of the best on the market. • Reasonably priced, regardless of trim level.

Active safety: Blind-spot warning with backup alert (opt.); active cruise control (std.); emergency/pedestrian braking (std.); lane-departure intervention (std.)

driver-awareness monitoring (std.)

L/100 km (city/hwy): 11.0/8.6 (2.0, est.)

Base price: (incl. destination) $46,500

BY COMPARISON

Audi A4

  • Base price: $48,500
  • Well-regarded sedan offers standard AWD. S4 model comes with a 349-h.p. V-6.

Cadillac CT5

  • Base price: $41,900
  • One of only three sedans in GM’s lineup. CT5-V model puts out 355 h.p. AWD opt.

Infiniti Q50

  • Base price: $46,000
  • Attractive AWD premium sedan uses a 300-h.p. V-6. A 400-h.p. V-6 is opt.

-written by Malcom Gunn, Managing Partner at Wheelbase Media

If you’re interested in new or used vehicles, be sure to visit TodaysDrive.com to find your dream car today! Like us on Facebook and follow us on Instagram

AutomotivecarsSUVs

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Fraser Health issued an overdose alert on Jan. 21, 2021 after an increase in overdoses over the past week in Chilliwack associated with a “greeny-blue/turquoise down substance.” (Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Fraser Health issues drug overdose alert in Chilliwack

Alert comes after increase in overdoses associated with ‘greeny-blue/turquoise down substance’

ds
Mission potbellied-pig sanctuary mourns death of beloved old hog named Roscoe

14-year-old, 800-pound pig was ‘quite a character,’ said owner Janice Gillett

Vancouver/Fraser Valley CoSA holds a webinar on Jan. 26 titled Staying Safe Online.
‘Staying Safe Online’ is subject of Fraser Valley webinar

Session on Tuesday, Jan. 26 is hosted by non-profit Circles of Support and Accountability

Competitors make their way through the course at the 2019 Canadian Cross Country Championships, which was hosted by Abbotsford in 2019. (File photo)
Abbotsford to host 2023 Canadian Cross Country Championships

Clearbrook Park last hosted the event in 2019, Ottawa hosting 2021 and 2022 races

A door is boarded up following a fire at Pho Xuan restaurant on Yale Road on Friday, Jan. 22, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
UPDATE: Early morning fire at vacant Chilliwack restaurant was deliberately set

Fire erupted north of the Yale Road overpass at Pho Xuan, which was permanently closed

Toronto Public Health nurse Lalaine Agarin sets up for mass vaccination clinic in Toronto, Jan. 17, 2021. B.C. is set to to begin its large-scale immunization program for the general public starting in April. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
B.C.’s COVID-19 mass vaccinations expected to start in April

Clinics to immunize four million people by September

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam speaks during a daily briefing in Ottawa. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld)
31 cases of COVID-19 variants detected in Canada: Health officials

Dr. Theresa Tam made announces 13 more variant COVID-19 cases in Canada

Daily COVID-19 cases reported to each B.C. health region, to Jan. 20, 2021. Island Health in blue, Northern Health green, Interior Health orange, Vancouver Coastal in red and Fraser Health in purple. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate stays stable with 508 cases Friday

Vaccine delivered to more than 110,000 high-risk people

The District of Saanich’s communications team decided to take part in a viral trend on Thursday and photoshopped U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders into a staff meeting photo. (District of Saanich/Twitter)
Bernie Sanders makes guest appearance municipal staff meeting in B.C.

Vancouver Island firefighters jump on viral trend of photoshopped U.S. senator

School District 57 headquarters in Prince George. (Mark Nielsen, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter)
Prince George school district settles with sexual abuse victim

Terms were part of an out-of-court settlement reached with Michael Bruneau, nearly four years after he filed a lawsuit

Surrey provincial court. (File photo: Tom Zytaruk)
New COVID-19 protocols set for provincial courthouses

The new rules were issued on Jan. 21, and took effect immediately

Police in Vancouver looking for male suspect who allegedly spat and attacked a store manager for not wearing a mask, at 7-Eleven near Alma Street and West 10th Avenue just before noon on Dec. 17, 2020. (Vancouver police handout)
VIDEO: Man spits on 7-Eleven manager over mask rule, sparking Vancouver police probe

‘Unfortunately, the store manager sustained a cut to his head during the assault’

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

The Vancouver-based SAR team successfully rescued two lost snowshoers off of the west side of Tim Jones Peak in the early morning of Monday, Jan. 19. (North Shore Rescue photo)
B.C.’s busiest SAR team raises alarm after 2021 begins with fatality, multiple rescues

‘People beyond ski resort areas of Seymour, Grouse, and Cypress go without cell reception,’ SAR warns

Most Read