The Acura TLX Advance hits the luxury notes, misses the sporting ones


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SUVs may be on the rise these days, but some automakers still have room in their hearts, or more accurately, their product portfolios, for a four-door sedan. Among them is Acura, Honda’s North American high-end arm that recently featured its second-generation TLX. But don’t assume this is a case of badge engineering. The second-generation TLX is unique to Acura – you won’t find it wearing the Honda logo in Japan or Europe.

Acura is mostly known as a luxury brand, where it competes with customers with Lexus and Infiniti, but the company’s roots are actually more sporty than luxury. Acura wants to reconnect with that legacy as a way to differentiate itself from these competitors, and to that end, it says the new $ 40,000 TLX 2021 is the most performance-focused sedan it has ever built. It starts out with a monocoque structure that’s 50 percent stronger overall, With higher stiffness in the parts where the suspension is attached. There are bottom struts, stiffer mounts for the front dampers, and a very stiff center tunnel. But at the same time, there is extensive use of aluminum, even in some of these extremely tough areas, to reduce the weight of the old-fashioned.

In addition to its sporting intentions, Acura has opted for the double wishbone arrangement for the front suspension, which it says has 85 percent more lateral stiffness than the MacPherson struts on the first-generation TLX. This means that the tire contact patches do not contract much under bends.

Currently, only one engine is available for the TLX, a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder that delivers 272 hp and 280 lb-ft. This makes the engine slightly less powerful than the old-style 3.5-liter V6, but the four-turbo is not only more torque overall; It also has a much wider torque plateau, from 1,600-4500 rpm. Likewise, there is only one transmission option – a 10-speed automatic transmission – although the TLX is available in either front-wheel drive or four-wheel drive (SH-AWD in Acuraspeak, the version we tested).

We have tested versions of this SH-AWD system in other Acuras, such as Crossover RDX And the NSX Hybrid Super. In this application, up to 70 percent of the engine’s torque can go to the rear axle, and 100 percent of the torque. that Torque can be sent to the left or right wheel, if circumstances so require.

In addition to the $ 2,000 you would need to find if you wanted all-wheel-drive (AWD), you can also expect to lose a small amount of fuel efficiency – 25 mpg (9.4 liters / 100 km) combined with front-wheel drive, 24 miles. Mpg (9.8 L / 100 km) combined with AWD.

As always, everyone will have their own point of view on whether or not they like the way the car is designed. The TLX has grown slightly from its predecessor and is now closer to the size of its competitor, the Lexus ES. The wheelbase has expanded by 3.7 in (94 mm), and the overall length increased by 2.9 in (74 mm). But the most noticeable change is the increased length of the axis from the front dashboard, which has grown by 7.8 inches (198 mm).

This gives the car a somewhat different ratio when viewed side-by-side. It’s also wider overall (by 2.2 inches / 56 mm) and has a wider track than the last TLX – the front wheels are 1.2 inches (30 mm) further away, with a rear 1.6 inches (40 mm) wider. The curb weight is also a bit higher, although lightweight materials are used where possible – the FWD TLX offers the scales at 3,702 lbs (1,679 kg), and the SH-AWD variant comes at 3,920 lbs (1,778 kg).

Although it is a much larger car, the TLX is very easy to put on the road thanks to the prominent wrinkles that run the length of the hood. As I mentioned beforePlacing intricate creases in the body panels is one way automakers flex each other, and with that, the TLX Acura flexes tightly (as opposed to the hull itself).

inside

Liked the TLX interior. The front seats are very comfortable with good space in the back as well. Acura sticks to the traditional analog tablets for the main display, but there’s also a 10.5-inch full-color display as an option. The infotainment system includes a 10.2-inch screen on the dashboard, which you can control via the touchpad on the center console.

If you’ve never used an Acura touchpad before, it might be a little strange at first, as there is a 1: 1 relationship between the touchpad and the screen. But with a little familiarity – a day or two – it becomes very normal. A big plus is that you can build muscle memory, which means being able to operate the infotainment system without taking your eyes out of the way. The original Acura system is quite good and has a user friendly interface, and there is Apple CarPlay and Android Auto for those who prefer using their phones.

Since it’s 2021, you can and should expect a full suite of advanced driver assistance systems in a luxury midsize car, and the TLX doesn’t disappoint. Additions for this generation A new type of front passenger airbag (we discovered it recently), Traffic Sign Recognition, Traffic Congestion Assist System, Driver Monitoring System, Pedestrian Sensing and Automatic Emergency Braking. I’ve never tested AEB activation, but the TLX forward collision warning is very sensitive and even a little static. Some might find this extremely annoying, but with safety systems like FCW, I’m going to sleep more than necessary.

As for the driving experience, despite it being a sharper car than the last TLX model, I still found in the pre-styling that the car wobbled slightly during direction changes, with a significant delay between input and reaction. This is partially improved by the increased steering weight, but I doubt enthusiastic drivers would want to opt for the A-Spec.

Image list by Acura


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