The 2019 Acura TLX is a luxury family sedan that goes in a completely different direction from most of its ilk. While the TLX is often compared with the compact offerings of other luxury marques like the BMW 3-Series, Audi A4, and Mercedes C-Class, it really should be seen as a more upscale alternative to the Honda Accord in the same vein as Buick and Chevrolet. The TLX is a bit of a luxury sedan jack-of-all-trades, competent in most things but without anything that really sets it apart from the rest of the market.

Best Value

The 2019 Acura TLX is best had with the four-cylinder engine and the Technology Package. The V6 engine is certainly more powerful than the four-cylinder, but it's seriously let down by the nine-speed automatic transmission – which cannot shift quickly enough to apply the power when you want it. Instead, stick with the 206-horsepower four-cylinder, which offers enough power for passing along with an eight-speed dual-clutch automatic that's a much crisper and sportier transmission.

The $3,700 Technology Package is a great choice for the TLX as it adds a ton of noticeable features to the vehicle. Not only does the package equip the TLX with some very cool technology like navigation with real-time traffic, rain-sensing wipers, GPS-linked climate control, an upgraded audio system, and a few driver assistance features, but it also provides some luxury must-haves like leather-trimmed seats. The base level TLX comes very well equipped with driver assistance features so leaving the optioning at just this package keeps the price in a competitive territory, while still giving you quite a bit to fiddle with on your commutes.

  • Model: 2019 Acura TLX
  • Engine: 2.4-liter inline-four
  • Output: 206 hp / 182 lb-ft
  • Transmission: Eight-speed dual-clutch automatic
  • Drivetrain: Front-wheel drive
  • Fuel Economy: 23 City / 33 Hwy
  • Options: Technology Package ($3,700, rain-sensing wipers, navigation with real-time traffic, Milano leather-trimmed interior, voice recognition, premium audio, GPS-linked climate control, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert).
  • Base Price: $33,995 (including a $995 destination charge)
  • Best Value Price: $37,695

Performance

Acura TLX

The TLX is somewhat marketed as a sport sedan like many of its rivals, but, in reality, it doesn't quite have the chops. The standard naturally aspirated inline-four produces an adequate 206 horsepower and 182 pound-feet of torque, but it isn't enough to get us excited. The 290-hp 3.5-liter V6 is certainly eyebrow-raising with good acceleration, but it's seriously handicapped by the lackadaisical nine-speed automatic that's incapable of quick shifts befitting of a sport sedan. The eight-speed dual-clutch transmission that comes with the four-cylinder is the better gearbox, but it isn't available with the V6. Neither engine choice is particularly efficient either, so there isn't much trade off for the lack of performance.

All-wheel drive is available on V6 models, and it's well executed, offering better handling and grip across all conditions. Additionally, the A-Spec Package is available on both four-cylinder and six-cylinder models. It's mostly an appearance package, like Lexus F-Sport models, but it does give the TLX a tighter steering and suspension set up along with a more aggressive exhaust note.

Style

While the TLX is no longer the eyesore many saw it to be with the controversial beak-like grille it sported before its 2017 facelift, it isn't exactly an interesting looking car either. It isn't boldly styled like competitors from Lexus and INFINITI, but it doesn't quite pull off the handsome, button-downed look that the Germans have perfected with Audi and BMW. Instead, like many Acura models today, the TLX looks more like it should be wearing a Honda badge. This isn't acceptable for a brand that's meant to compete with blue-chip luxury car companies.

Inside, the TLX is nice and refined, but it doesn't quite feel like Acura has put in as much effort as other brands have. Sure, there are leather seats and contrast stitching is available with higher trims, but the car just doesn't feel that special overall. The TLX is very comfortable though, and the seats have been updated to address previous criticisms. The real selling point of the TLX is in the technology offered; all TLXs come with the AcuraWatch suite of driver assistance features like adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking, and lane keeping assist, which is a nice touch that helps set it apart from rivals.

The Best and Worst Things

The TLX offers some really cool technology at a relatively attainable price. GPS-linked climate control is a really neat idea, as it tracks the sun's position in the sky and your position on Earth to provide the appropriate amount of cooling or heating to maintain your preferred temperature. Furthermore, the inclusion of standard driver assistance features is a nice touch that's appreciated by many.

Overall though, the TLX doesn't feel special in any way. Its exterior styling is completely anonymous, and the interior feels more like they're trying to compete with Volkswagen instead of Audi. The car wants to be sporty, but the effect doesn't really come to fruition. Honestly, it may be a better idea to buy a fully-loaded Honda Accord.

Right For? Wrong For?

Acura TLX

The TLX really excels as a predictable and sensible upgrade for current drivers of a 10-year-old Honda Accord. It's sporty enough to feel fun for people who don't care about sportiness, the engine choices are old-school but reliable, and it'll feel comfortable to longtime Honda buyers while still feeling futuristic with all of the available technology.

On the other hand, the TLX isn't the right car for anyone looking for the typical luxury sport sedan experience. At the very least, luxury sport sedans need to offer superior driving dynamics with an interior that feels like you've spent your money well, and the 2018 TLX doesn't quite live up to that. Instead, look at the Audi A4, BMW 3-Series, Mercedes Benz C-Class, or INFINITI Q50.

The Bottom Line

The 2018 Acura TLX is a sensible car without many faults, but there isn't anything that makes it interesting enough to get excited about. The styling is forgettable inside and out, and its performance chops pale in comparison to almost every other luxury sedan. The TLX does come with some interesting technology, but most drivers would be better served either in a different luxury sedan or a completely-loaded Honda Accord.