2018 Acura TLX: New Grille, Stance, Infotainment and Safety Upgrades

By Mike Blake Carlisle Events
Wednesday, August 29, 2018

The 2018 Acura TLX performance luxury mid-size sedan has been refreshed with a sporty and angular architecture that plays off the manufacturer’s aggressive new design direction, and its AcuraWatch™ technology is now standard equipment on all grades, as TLX moves to the forefront of its niche in the application of advanced safety and driver-assistive technologies. . Considered a compact executive/entry-level luxury sedan at birth, TLX was launched in 2014 for model year 2015, replacing the TL (initialese for “Touring Luxury”) and TSX in the Acura line-up. Revised for this year, the 2018 TLX gains Acura Precision Concept’s signature diamond-mesh pentagon grille, a wider stance, revised front fascia, fenders and wheels, and new infotainment with a simplified interface. New features for 2018 include: Bluetooth® HandsFreeLink®; standard AcuraWatch Suite®; multi-view rear camera; collision mitigation braking system; adaptive cruise control with low-speed follow; lane-keeping assist system; road departure mitigation system; Bling spot information; rear cross traffic monitor; and updated 7-inch dual-screen center stack infotainment with Apple CarPlay/Android Auto and SiriusXM 2.0. You also get automatic high beams as a new feature that can detect oncoming traffic and switch to low beams until the oncoming vehicle has passed.

Longer and wider than most of its competition in the segment, last year’s exterior “beak” look is now striking and bold. The TLX’s overall demeanor is one of sportiness, athleticism and refinement, with powerful lines, in a mid-size package.

Assembled at Honda’s Marysville, Ohio Auto Plant, TLX measures 191.7 inches long, 57.0 inches high and 73.0 inches wide, on a 109.3-inch wheelbase, offering a ground clearance of 5.8 inches. Curbweight ranges from 3505 to 3838 lbs.

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®, 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.

The TLX cabin is more cozy than cavernous, providing 37.2 inches of front headroom with 36.7 inches in row two. Legroom is comfortable in front at 42.6 inches, but tight in the rear seats at 34.5 inches; while shoulder room goes 57.5 and 55.4.

TLX is powered by the same two engine choices that have been in place for years. Both engines are designed to merge muscle with acceptable fuel economy. The TLX 2.4-liter inline-4-cylinder engine grants 206 hp and 182 lbs.-ft. of torque for an EPA rating of 23mpg/city, 33mpg/highway and 27mpg/combined mpg on Premium Unleaded 91 Octane; and the direct Injection 3.4-liter V-6 delivers 290hp and 267 lbs.-ft. of torque for a 21/30/24 estimate on Premium Unleaded 91 Octane. My week of mixed-use driving, and some admitted pedal-mashing, with the 3.4-liter V-6 averaged 21.9mpg.

The V-6 set-up was responsive and confident, resulting in smooth passing at speed, effortless uphill vanquishing and seamless shift points. Steering was a bit light, with some loose cornering at speed and some vague road feel from the MacPherson Strut Front Suspension and multi-link rear.

On the track, my 3.5liter TLX finished off a zero-to-60mph sprint in 6.3 seconds during a 14.7-second quarter-mile.

The 2018 Acura TLX sedan advances Acura's reputation for delivering cutting-edge safety performance with its AcuraWatch suite of technologies. The TLX system expands the scope of the vehicle's road-sensing capabilities, and its fusion of camera and radar technology, along with the next-gen braking system provides enhanced car-to-car and car-to-pedestrian collision mitigation, while 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 2018 Acura TLX starts at $33,000 in Front-Wheel-Drive with the 2.4-liter inline-4 engine. The 3.5-liter V-6 gains you 84hp and 85 lb-ft of torque for $3200 -- 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. Super Handling All-Wheel-Drive™ adds $2000. The Technology Package adds $3700 for rain-sensing windshield wipers, 19-inch Split 5-Spoke Pewter and Machine-finish Wheels, 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. Parking Sensors add $634, a Decklid Spoiler adds $397, front and rear splash guards add $108 apiece, Body Side Molding adds $259, Remote Engine Start System III adds $399 and a heated steering wheel adds $500.

With a destination charge of $995, my 2018 TLX as-tested stickered at $45,041.

> 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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