2017 Acura TLX: Luxury Sedan Remains Premium While Facelift Looms Ahead

By Mike Blake - Carlisle Events
Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Model Year 2017 is barely into its halfway point, and some carmakers have already begun springing the 2018s on us. So when you read this review of the 2017 Acura TLX, you may already be watching commercials of the 2018 TLX.

While the 2018 TLX is refreshed with a more aggressive and sporty look inspired by the Acura Precision Concept’s signature diamond pentagon grille, paired with changes to the sedan's stance, proportion, wheels and sheet metal, and there are some high-tech additions, the 2017 TLX is noteworthy in its own right, having earned the Consumers Guide “Best Buy” nod in the Premium Midsize Cars segment.

The TLX journey began 30 years ago as the TL, when cars were given alpha-numeric names that meant something other than just being cool numbers and resonant letters. Launched by Acura in 1996, TL was short for “Touring Luxury.” The midsize luxury sedan became TLX in 2014 – replacing both the TL and TSX.

Still in its first generation, with its facelift beginning for the 2018 model, the 2017 TLX last presented a refreshening in 2015, and only a new palette of colors changes this year -- San Marino Red, Lunar Silver Metallic, and Modern Steel Metallic.

Longer and wider than most of its competition in the small-midsize-luxury segment, the exterior “beak” look is underwhelming, and that figures to become striking in 2018. A blend of sports-sedan athleticism and premium refinement, the exterior design embodies taut body surfaces, dynamically sculpted fender arches, and purposeful character lines in small sports-sedan proportions.

Assembled at Honda’s Marysville, Ohio Auto Plant, TLX is 190.3 inches long, 53.0 inches high and 57.0 inches wide, on a 109.3-inch wheelbase, offering a ground clearance of 5.8 inches.

Inside, the quiet cabin is well-thought-out and offers an abundance of available luxury features and technologies including heated and ventilated front seats, HomeLink®, Bluetooth® HandsFreeLink®, Smart Entry/Push Button Start keyless access system, Acura Navigation System with 3-D view, and AcuraLink Real-Time Traffic™ with Traffic Rerouting. A 7-inch On Demand Multi-Use Display™ touch screen, located in the center console, controls these and other features, and, with its contextual menus, displays relevant items while minimizing instrument panel clutter. The TLX also features AcuraLink®, Acura's cloud-based connected car system.

Comfortable, but not spacious, TLX provides 37.2 inches of front headroom with 36.7 inches in row two. Legroom is a relaxing 42.6 inches in row one, but a tight 34.5 inches in the rear seats; and shoulder room goes 57.5 and 55.4.

TLX powers up with either of two engine choices designed to merge muscle with acceptable fuel economy. The TLX 2.4-liter inline-4-cylinder engine delivers 206 hp and 182 lbs.-ft. of torque for an EPA rating of 24/city, 34/highway and 28/combined mpg on Premium Unleaded 91 Octane; and the direct Injection 3.4-liter V-6 provides 290hp and 267 lbs.-ft. of torque for a 21/31/25 estimate on Premium Unleaded 91 Octane. My week of mixed-use driving with the 3.4-liter V-6 averaged 21.6mpg.

The V-6 proved to be refined and predictable, while imparting a gratifying engine purr. Passing at speed and conquering hills and inclines are accomplished effortlessly, though steering was vague at times, and road feel was often loose.

On the track, my TLX with the 3.5 engine mastered a zero-to-60mph sprint in 6.4 seconds (it seemed quicker behind the wheel) while finishing off a 14.8-second quarter-mile.

The 2017 Acura TLX sedan advances Acura's reputation for delivering cutting-edge safety performance with its AcuraWatch™ suite of technologies. The TLX deploys a cooperative monocular camera and millimeter wave radar system that expands both the fidelity and scope of the vehicle's road-sensing capabilities. This fusion of camera and radar technology underpins the TLX's available Collision Mitigation Braking System™, which can provide enhanced car-to-car and car-to-pedestrian collision mitigation, while also enhancing the capabilities of the Adaptive Cruise Control. Crash tests helped TLX earn a perfect five-star overall safety rating from the NHTSA. It also earned a Good rating in the moderate overlap front, side, and roof strength tests and for its head restraints and seats from the IIHS.

The 2017 Acura TLX starts at $32,000 in Front-Wheel-Drive with the 2.4-liter inline-4 engine. The 3.5-liter V-6 gains you 84hp for $3400 -- included with the V-6 engine upgrade are the dynamic Sequential SportShift paddles, an electronic gear selector, 8-way power front passenger seat with lumbar adjustment and the sporty 18-inch aluminum-alloy wheels. All-Wheel-Drive adds $2200. The Technology Package adds $4050 for rain-sensing windshield wipers, perforated Milano premium leather-trimmed interior, Acura Navigation System with 3-D view, AcuraLink Real-Time Traffic™ with exclusive street and freeway conditions Traffic Rerouting™, Color Multi-Information Display with turn-by-turn guidance, AcuraLink® The Next Generation, ELS Studio® Premium Audio System with 10 speakers, Song By Voice®, HD Radio®, GPS-linked climate control, and such safety additions as Forward Collision Warning System, Lane Keeping Assist System, Blind Spot Information System and Rear Cross Traffic Monitor. Back-up Sensors add $528, a Decklid Spoiler adds $397 and Body Side Molding adds $259.

With a destination charge of $950, the 2017 TLX as-tested stickered at $43,834, but with the 2018s already being talked up, there may be room to deal.

> Visit www.CarlisleEvents.com for more on the automotive hobby.

Mike Blake, former editor of KIT CAR magazine, joined Carlisle Events as senior automotive journalist in 2004. He's been a "car guy" since the 1960s and has been writing professionally for about 30 years.

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