|Lease Term (months)||36|
|Miles per year|
Despite its undeniably distinct face and sporty enhancements, the 2020 Acura TLX is mostly a mild-mannered sedan. Its comfy ride and composed driving demeanor are offset by sportier entry-luxury rivals. However, the TLX offers a host of desirable standard features and intriguing options, such as rear-wheel steering and an all-wheel-drive system that actually improves handling. Its cabin fails to excite they eyes but contains cozy seating and quality materials. Although the TLX has lost its once truly sporty traits, it remains a competent and underappreciated sedan.
The TLX receives very few change for 2020, with paint new paint colors joining the palette. These include Canyon Bronze metallic, Majestic Black Pearl, Performance Red Pearl, and Apex Blue Pearl, which is exclusive to the A-Spec versions The biggest news is an ultra-limited-edition model called the TLX PMC Edition. Acura says it will only make 360 examples of this special TLX, which costs $50,945. While these sedans are hand-built in the same factory as the Acura NSX supercar, they have the same powertrain and mostly the same features as the TLX A-Spec. However, the PMC Edition is sprayed with Valencia Red Pearl paint—otherwise exclusive to the NSX—and receives several other unique exterior treatments.
The 2020 TLX offers two different engines, front- or all-wheel drive, and three distinct packages. Those who want all-wheel drive as we do must also select the 290-hp V-6, which amounts to a $5200 investment. Still, that combination delivers snappier acceleration and all-weather capability. Since the flashy A-Spec package requires the Technology package that together cost $6600, we’d simply skip the set to maintain the Acura’s value proposition.
Likes: Stirring V-6 growl, all-wheel drive improves handling, accurate steering and supple ride.
Dislikes: Transmission is slow to downshift, missing the intangibles that define a true sports sedan.
The standard 206-hp four-cylinder pairs with an eight-speed automatic transmission. This powertrain is offered only with front-wheel drive but includes a rear-wheel-steering system that can turn the rear wheels slightly for improved cornering. The V-6 develops 290 horsepower routed through a nine-speed automatic. The V-6 is available with Acura’s Super Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD) system that can shuttle power to each wheel separately as needed, which improves traction and handling. So equipped, our all-wheel-drive test car promptly responded to all manner of throttle inputs, and an audible growl answered our heavy right foot. Too bad the automatic hesitated to downshift when we called for a quick pass at highway speeds.
Although Acura markets the TLX as a sports sedan, the car feels too comfortable and refined to be called such—and that’s okay. The solid brakes and responsive steering boost driving fun—but only to a point. While the four-cylinder model now can be had with the sporty A-Spec package, only the V-6 version receives the quicker A-Spec steering setup and stiffer suspension. The TLX can be fun to drive quickly, but it still trails competitors such as the Alfa Romeo Giulia and the Audi A4 that have sharper handling and more responsive powertrains.
The TLX is available with a fuel-efficient four-cylinder or a more powerful, less frugal V-6. The former has among the best EPA ratings of the rivals we tested, earning up to 23 mpg city and 33 mpg highway. However, the V-6 has worse estimates at up to 20 mpg city and 31 mpg highway. We tested both engines on our 200-mile highway fuel-economy route where the four-cylinder 2019 TLX earned 37 mpg and the V-6 earned 31.
Likes: A-Spec package spruces up the interior, responsive touchscreens, impressive luggage capacity.
Dislikes: Least back-seat space among similar rivals, two display screens make infotainment confusing to use.
Understated quality is better than low-grade ostentation. This point is proved inside the TLX’s cabin, with its quality materials and comfortable seats. The sedan has competitive interior space, although its back seat is the tightest among similar rivals. While it’s not the most luxurious interior in the class, remember that the TLX is also one of the least expensive cars in the segment.
Acura’s infotainment setup, with separate upper and lower display screens, is a double-edged sword. Although two displays show more information and can handle more operations at one time than a single screen, the system can be distracting and confusing to use. We appreciate the inclusion of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, but outdated infotainment graphics and a single USB port are unbecoming.
Generous luggage space and plentiful interior storage establish the TLX as one of the better travel companions in this class. Its average-size trunk is shaped so efficiently that it held as many carry-on suitcases as more voluminous rivals, and there’s a massive rubberized bin hidden under the cargo floor.
The 2020 TLX earned an excellent five-star crash-test rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. However, the 2020 TLX once again was not named a Top Safety Pick by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. The lineup still includes a host of standard driver-assistance technology, but blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert are bundled only with the Technology package. Key safety features include:
The TLX has one of the best powertrain warranties in the class. Its limited warranty is similar to most rivals, but neither it nor the Mercedes-Benz C-class offer complimentary scheduled maintenance..
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