January 17, 2021

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2021 Acura TLX

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What kind of car is the 2021 Acura TLX? What does it compare to?

The 2021 Acura TLX is a mid-size premium sport sedan that offers front-wheel drive and torque-vectoring all-wheel drive. It seats five in comfort and exists in a middle space between mainstream sedans and a luxury market dominated by European rivals. In size, competitors include the Audi A6, BMW 5-Series, and Mercedes-Benz E-Class, but it’s priced more like the Audi A4, BMW 3-Series, and Mercedes-Benz C-Class. The Cadillac CT5 and Lexus ES are the closest rivals for both price and size. 

Is the 2021 Acura TLX a good car?

Review continues below

This time around, the 2021 Acura TLX sculpts a daring shape around zesty turbocharged engines. A stiffer platform and a double-wishbone front suspension contribute to agile handling, and the interior adopts luxury-car materials. We give it a solid score of 7.0, which is likely to increase when crash-test results become public. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

What’s new for the 2021 Acura TLX?

For 2021, the TLX is no longer an upscale version of the Honda Accord, and instead uses its own dedicated platform. It gets a pair of new engines, and a daring new design that is a dead ringer for the Type S concept car that Acura revealed at Pebble Beach in 2019. That’s a good thing. 

Acura offers the TLX in base, Tech, A-Spec, and Advance trims that really amount to a concise set of options packages. A performance-oriented Type S model will arrive in the spring of 2021. 

By the numbers, the new 2021 TLX is nearly three inches longer from bumper to bumper than the outgoing version, with 3.7 inches added between the wheels. It’s also more than two inches wider and a half-inch lower than the previous model, on-trend with “longer, lower, wider” for every other sedan on the planet. 

The interior of the new TLX isn’t significantly larger, however. That’s due to the long space between the front axle and dash, which was lengthened by 7.8 inches for a sportier look. The cabin still has plenty of room up front and a comfortable rear seat with thigh support not found in most cars these days.

All but the Type S are powered by a new 2.0-liter turbo-4 that replaces both a 2.4-liter inline-4 and a 3.5-liter V-6. It makes 272 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque, giving it slightly less hp but slightly more torque than the outgoing V-6. When it arrives, the Type S will have a 355-hp 3.0-liter turbo-V-6. Both come exclusively with a 10-speed automatic transmission. 

The TLX sheds its Honda Accord platform for a new dedicated architecture that also trades MacPherson struts for double wishbones up front. Adjustable dampers are available for the first time. These upgrades team with better front/rear weight balance to create a car with sharp moves that drives smaller than its size.

The TLX comes standard with a variety of active safety and driver-assist features, including automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, active lane control, and adaptive cruise control.

How much does the 2021 Acura TLX cost?

The 2021 Acura TLX starts at $38,525 for the base model, and all-wheel drive adds $2,000. Standard features include 12-way power-adjustable heated front seats with driver memory, synthetic leather upholstery, a 10.2-inch center screen with a touchpad controller, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, a 10-speaker audio system, ambient interior lighting, LED headlights and taillights, and 18-inch alloy wheels. 

The 2021 Acura TLX goes on sale in the fall. 

Where is the Acura TLX made?

In Marysville, Ohio.

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