Did Anyone Say the Sedan Is Obsolete? The 2021 Acura TLX Says Otherwise.

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The sedan is not the most practical body configuration, neither does it have real sporty characteristics. We’ve seen enough typical sedans during the last half a century and today's pragmatic criteria tells us that the best family cars have hatchback or van-like bodies. Despite this, here comes the Acura TLX – a “made by the book” sedan, full of advanced solutions, the result of a very consistent investment. Why did they do it?
Acura is a premium brand and the sedan, generally speaking, is about travelling in style. All the premium car manufacturers pf the world are still producing sedans. Maybe the sedan shape is something old, yet it is a solid value. Even if its dimensions are relatively large, a sedan never looks as massive and undynamic as a tall car (MPV or SUV). The nicest ones breathe the temptation to be driven, even if this is not necessarily about speeding.

2021 Acura TLX
Photo: Acura
Sedans have beautiful, classy proportions and, inside, people don’t share their space with the luggage. You feel well treated when you are on board of a sedan. Actually, I never spent time to think this way before I saw the 2021 Acura TLX. Seems they did it right.

Sedans have a future and that’s how it looks, according to Acura

Do you also find the design of the Acura TLX as being particularly inspiring? There is a reason for this: its design was elaborated starting from the image of the second generation of the futuristic NSX sportscars (2016). In 2019, Acura presented the Type S Concept – everybody was positively impressed and, at the same time, the opinion about it was rather like “they won't have the guts to put that in production.”

Not only did they do it, but they also designed a completely new technical platform exclusively dedicated to the Acura TLX. So, don’t misunderstand it as a different body design based on the RDX platform, even if this SUV and the TLX share some tech. Here we reach to the 2.0-liter DOHC direct injected and turbocharged engine, the 4th-generation Super Handling-All Wheel Drive, ELS Studio 3D Premium Audio, 16-way sports seats, 10.5-inch Head-Up Display and the latest iteration of Acura's innovative True Touch Pad Interface.


Does the 2021 Acura TLX seem to be a bit too big for a 2.0-liter engine? After checking some figures, it looks like nothing’s wrong here. The 2.0-liter turbo, with a peak output of 272 hp and 280 lb-ft of torque, delivers a significantly better torque characteristic when compared to any of the bigger naturally aspirated engines of the previous generation: 3.5-liter V6 (+13 lb-ft at peak, +48 at low revs) and 2.4-liter 4-cylinder (+98 lb-ft at peak, +123 at low revs).

2021 Acura TLX
Photo: Acura
Having more than four cylinders under the hood, this is a matter of refinement that could not be ignored in the case of the new Acura TLX. Also, in terms of performance, the TLX Type S is up to some high expectations (0 to 60 mph in 4.5 s). We are talking about an all-new DOHC turbocharged 3.0 liters V6 able to develop 355 hp, while the maximum torque value reaches 354 lb-ft. Easy to see, it provides 65 hp more than the outgoing TLX's V6.

How far can Acura’s ambitions go? Remember that the Cadillac CT4 introduced as a first for its segment a 10-speed automatic transmission not a long time ago? Well, the 2021 Acura TLX levels this. Their 10-speed automatic offers a wide ratio range, up to 4-gear direct downshifts and a particularly low ratio first gear for exceptional launch performance, matched for optimal performance with the high torque output of new turbo engines.

Clearly, regardless of the engine choice, your Acura TLX won’t be a lazy sedan. In fact, the TLX Type S 3.0 V6 is hunting on the grounds of the BMW 340i and Audi S4. And its transversely mounted engine might make it less understeering than the Audi (we still have to check that).


Futuristic – would be an acceptable word, but sci-fi – definitely, not. The interior of the 2021 Acura TLX is up to date in design and equipment, without pretending to belong to the space era, as the exterior design of the automobile suggests. In fact, because the designers insisted to give it a premium touch, some established styling cues were preferred instead of any alien-kind of traits.

2021 Acura TLX
Photo: Acura
There are analog dials, wood elements and quite numerous analog buttons for the heating/ventilation system and on the multifunctional steering wheel. The transmission, also, is operated via buttons. In terms of functional efficiency and ergonomically speaking, this is still the best approach, even if it is somehow out of fashion. On the other hand, the dials of the Type S look just great, as they are designed in an academic sporty manner.

Everybody on board will appreciate the generous amount of space and the large windows, allowing natural light to get through without restriction. Concerning the trim levels, there are four distinct grades: TLX, TLX with Technology Package, TLX A-Spec, and TLX with Advance Package.

What to pay for

Before going into details, something really important when talking about powerful automobiles: the all-wheel-drive is valued by Acura at $2,000 in the case of the TLX. If you want the stability and traction to continue to be as premium as the rest of the car when the surface under the wheels will become less adherent than dry tarmac, just pay for this 4th-generation of Super Handling All-Wheel Drive.

The so-called Technology Package is worthy of the supposed financial effort because it features the ELS Audio Premium System, the navigation with 3D view and AcuraLink Real-Time Traffic Conditions (traffic rerouting included), ambient LED cabin lighting and sport seats with perforated Milano Premium Leather. Plus, some advanced driving assistance electronic devices. They ask about $4,000 for it.

The Advance Package fits perfectly with the futuristic design of the car, including (among others) some sophisticated pieces of technology: a 10.5 in Head Up Display, Head Up Warning, surround-view camera system and adaptive suspension. Well, it doesn’t come cheap. They ask about $8,800 for it.

The A-Spec Package contains some of the already mentioned features and adds a pronounced sporty accent to both the exterior and the interior design, including the option of a red theme for the upholstery. It costs $6,750.

The 10-speed automatic transmission is standard for all TLX versions. That is a good thing, because the Acura TLX is rather pricey. The base prices go from $37,500 (TLX 2.0L Turbo 10-AT FWD) to $48,300 (TLX 2.0L Turbo 10-AT SH-AWD with Advance Package). The basic price for the Type S nears the $50,000 threshold. Better look for a decent, yet capable configuration, for instance an Acura TLX 2.0L Turbo 10-AT SH-AWD with Technology Package, priced at $43,500.
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