In an era that rewards flash and pomp, the Acura TLX finds itself out of its element; it seems inevitable that this luxuriously competent but inherently demure sedan has few friends in the current automotive climate. It's too bad, as the TLX does many things well, not the least of which is the available V6 engine and the ever-present sense of value when compared to the class leaders from Germany. A good deal and a peppy engine, however, isn't always enough for success in the fickle luxury market. This truth has dogged this model for most of its existence, and will likely continue to do so for the 2020 Acura TLX.
USED 2020 Acura TLX FOR SALE NEAR ME
Acura of Laurel of Laurel, MD (36 mi)
Acura of Laurel of Laurel, MD (36 mi)
2020 Acura TLX Overview
What's New for 2020
The big news this year is the introduction of the TLX PMC Edition. Capped at just 360 copies, the PMC marries the Advance Package and A-Spec trim (which are normally mutually exclusive) with an NSX-only paint shade called Valencia Red Pearl. It'll carry a price tag of around $50,000 and be assembled by hand at the factory which builds the NSX supercar. The rest of the lineup sees four new colors added to the palette, making for a total of eight available exterior hues.
Choosing Your Acura TLX
Unlike the confusing merry-go-round of options, packages, trims, and body styles that are common to competitors, the Acura TLX keeps things simple. Four trim levels and two powertrains are about all you need to worry over when pondering how to equip your TLX.
Choose to stick with the base powerplant and you'll get a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine that puts out 206 horsepower and 182 pound-feet of torque. An eight-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission handles the work of shifting gears. This setup returns an EPA-estimated 23 miles per gallon city, 33 mpg highway, and 27 combined except in A-Spec form, which gets 23/32/26 mpg (city/highway/combined).
If that sounds too tepid, there's a 3.5-liter V6 also on tap. It comes standard on the Advance model and costs $3,200 to install elsewhere in the lineup. A total output of 290 hp and 267 lb-ft of torque is channeled to the tires via a nine-speed automatic transmission. Fuel economy checks in at 20/31/24 mpg with front-wheel drive, or 20/29/23 with all-wheel drive. The A-Spec variant only gets 20/30/23 mpg with FWD, but the same 20/29/23 with AWD.
Front-wheel drive is standard with both engines, but V6 cars can be upgraded to Acura's Super-Handling All-Wheel-Drive, or SH-AWD, for $2,000. Designed for more than just some extra grip in a winter blizzard, this system can send up to 70 percent of power to the rear wheels. Of the power that does go rearward, up to 100 percent of it can be sent to either the right or left wheel. The result is better performance in either dry or wet conditions.
The cars that don't get AWD do compensate by offering an all-wheel-steer system. It allows the rear wheels to slightly turn either with or opposite the front wheels. At high speeds it does the former, benefiting stability, while at low speeds it does the latter, turning opposite the angle of the fronts for increased agility.
Every TLX comes with AcuraWatch, the brand's suite of active-safety and driver-assistance features. Bundled under this marketing name are adaptive cruise control, lane keeping assist, lane departure warning, traffic jam assist, road departure mitigation, automatic emergency braking, and forward collision warning.
Technically, the Technology, Advance, and A-Spec upgrades are considered packages, but Acura treats them more like trim levels in how they are structured and advertised. As such, we discuss them further under their own headings:
There's no bad choice in the 2020 Acura TLX lineup, really – even the Advance costs less than most competitors with comparable options. Whatever trim suits you best, we recommend you get the V6 engine. The performance and refinement it offers is worth the price tag and the slightly-worse fuel economy.
2020 Acura TLX Review
Unlike other websites and magazines, our ratings are not based solely on a singular road test, but rather a more encompassing batch of criteria: quality, safety, comfort, performance, fuel economy, reliability history and value. When comparing vehicles using our Rating System, it's important to note that the rating earned by each vehicle correlates only to the models within its class. For example, a compact car cannot be compared to a SUV—They are different vehicles altogether.
You can interpret our ratings in the following way:
5-Star: Outstanding vehicle. Only the most exceptional vehicles achieve this rating.
4-Star: Very Good vehicle. Very good and close to being the best vehicle in its class.
3-Star: Good vehicle. Decent, but not quite the best. Often affordable, but lacking key features found in vehicles of the same class.
2-Star: Below average vehicle. Not recommended, and lacking attributes a car buyer would come to expect for the price.
1-Star: Poor vehicle. Simply does not deserve to be on the road.
- Outstanding fit & finish
- All trims come with auto emergency braking
- Great AWD system
- Supports Apple CarPlay & Android Auto
- 9-speed automatic feels slow
- Rear seat can feel cramped
- AWD limited to V6 styles
Space for five, but best for four. The 2020 Acura TLX competes with the BMW 3-Series and Mercedes-Benz C-Class, but it isn’t as roomy inside as these two German competitors. The TLX’s front seats are thick and well bolstered, delivering all-day comfort. The rear compartment offers space for three, but two is the ideal. Even so, the rear seating compartment feels cramped for tall passengers.
The materials used and its fit and finish match the top competitors. As for storage space, the TLX falls short with just 14.3 cubic feet available.
Technology on the leading edge. Acura furnishes the TLX with many of the tech features we want for no extra cost. You’ll find Apple CarPlay and Google Android Auto smartphone compatibility, Siri Eyes Free, Bluetooth, and a seven-speaker sound system.
Add in such standard features as heated front seats, a power driver’s seat with lumbar support, a power front passenger seat, and a large color display, and the TLX brings much value for its just under $34,000 starting price.
Beyond the base technologies, Acura’s Technology Package ($3,700) is worth considering as it bundles upgraded wheels, a leather-trimmed interior, navigation, a 10-speaker audio package, and advanced-driver assist technologies.
Performance to satisfy most buyers. The Acura TLX gives buyers a choice of four- and six-cylinder engines. Most shoppers should be satisfied with the engine choices, but there are differences of note.
The standard 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine delivers 205 horsepower and works with an eight-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. The 3.5-liter V6 delivers 290 hp and comes with a nine-speed automatic. The dual-clutch transmission is the better of the two as it changes gears quickly and crisply. However, the nine-speed seems comparatively lazy and slow.
Front-wheel drive is standard and only the V6 offers Acura’s available Super Handling All-Wheel Drive system. It supplies enhanced, high-performance cornering, which rivals some of the segment’s top models.
An impressive list of safety features. Acura supplies every TLX with collision-avoidance features. You’ll find lane keeping assist, adaptive cruise control, and automatic emergency braking on all models. Also available is blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, parking sensors, and a surround-view camera system.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) awarded the TLX with its top five-star overall safety rating. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) wasn’t as generous, awarding the ILX top scores in most categories, except for acceptable in the driver's side small overlap front crash test.
Final thoughts. The 2020 Acura TLX may not have the performance panache of its chief rivals, but it doesn’t take second place in style, refinement, and tech appointments, either. Its price point comes in lower than the competition, as even a well-equipped model can be had for about $40,000.
In all, the TLX sedan brings much value to the segment. For Acura fans wanting more room, the RDX SUV is a logical alternative.
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