2020 Acura TLX vs Honda Accord Pros vs Cons. Should You Buy?
Despite the increased popularity of crossover SUVs, there’s still a big demand for midsize sedans in the U.S. For more than 20 years, the Honda Accord has remained one of the best-selling models in the segment. Drivers appreciate the latest generation’s excellent passenger and cargo space. Models equipped with the Accord’s upgraded engine are also quite fun to drive.
Folks seeking a bit more luxury will like the 2020 Acura TLX. While the TLX may not offer the performance of a European sports sedan, it still packs enough excitement for most driving enthusiasts. Let’s find out how the 2020 Acura TLX fares against the 2020 Honda Accord.
The 2020 Honda Accord has two turbo four-cylinder engines for buyers to pick from. A strong four-cylinder engine, which is built by Honda, comes standard. It cranks out an enjoyable 206 horsepower and 182 lb-ft of torque. While the TLX’s base engine may save fuel, some drivers will ultimately desire the car’s more formidable V6 engine. Output jumps to a muscular 290 horsepower and 267 lb-ft of torque. Power is sent to the ground through an eight-speed automatic transmission.
Accord buyers will have access to two different turbo four-cylinder engines. While the base 1.5-liter engine pushes out 192 hp and 192 lb-ft of torque, the larger 2.0-liter engine increases production to 252 hp and 273 lb-ft of torque. While the base engine uses either a six-speed manual gearbox or an automatic CVT, the larger engine allows buyers to choose between a six-speed manual and a 10-speed automatic transmission.
Upon test driving these cars, don’t expect to notice a huge difference in acceleration. When equipped with its standard engine, the TLX sprints to 60 mph in about 7.2 seconds. Expect the Accord to be just a hair slower. Opting for the TLX’s V6 engine results in a snappier 0-60 mph time of 5.7 seconds. Meanwhile, the Accord 2.0T can hit the mark in as quick as 5.5 seconds.
Unlike the Acura TLX, the Honda Accord offers a six-speed manual transmission. This is exciting news for drivers who still enjoy being able to manually sort through gears. However, many drivers will enjoy the responsive nature of the TLX’s dual-clutch automatic transmission.
One big advantage the TLX holds over the Accord is its optional AWD system. When wintry weather is on the horizon, the AWD-equipped TLX will prove to be the best car for the job. All versions of the Accord use a front-wheel-drive system.
When it comes to overall road handling, the TLX yet again takes the lead over the Accord. While the Accord is among today’s most athletic family cars, most drivers find the TLX to be even sharper. It comes standard with Agile Handling Assist. Acura’s Super Handling All-Wheel Drive system makes the TLX even more fun to drive on twisty roads. This sophisticated AWD system features torque-vectoring technology, which gives the TLX the agility of a true sports sedan.
The Accord clearly outshines the Acura TLX in the fuel economy department. It can return up to an EPA-rated 30 mpg town/38 mpg freeway. Opting for the Accord’s stronger engine lowers efficiency to 22 mpg town/32 mpg highway. TLX drivers can anticipate getting up to 23 mpg town/33 mpg freeway. Stepping up to the V6-powered TLX drops economy to 20 mpg town/31 mpg highway.
Car shoppers should also factor in the TLX’s need for premium fuel. All versions of the Accord are tuned to use regular unleaded gas, which is noticeably less expensive.
The Accord takes around 120 feet to come to a complete stop. Expect the TLX’s brakes to be even stronger. During emergency braking tests, it needed 118 feet to come to a halt.
Traditionally, the Honda Accord has been one of the segment’s most dependable cars. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case for the latest model. J.D. Power gives the Accord a 2.5 out of 5.0 rating in long-term dependability, which is actually below average for the class. By comparison, the TLX has an above-average dependability rating of 3.5.
In regard to warranty coverage, the Acura TLX is a step ahead of the Honda Accord. Not only does the TLX benefit from a 50,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty, but it also receives a 70,000-mile powertrain warranty. Meanwhile, Honda covers the Accord with a 36,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty and a 60,000-mile powertrain warranty.
In terms of ride quality, these sedans are a close match. Like the TLX, the Accord does a fine job of insulating rough vibrations. An upgraded adaptive suspension comes standard on the range-topping Accord Touring.
Although the Accord may not be billed as a luxury car, it remains extremely quiet on the inside. Excellent insulation helps minimize any noise. Expect the TLX’s cabin to be even quieter. Active Sound Control is found on the TLX, which further reduces outside noise.
Both of these cars are designed to accommodate a family of five. Front-seat legroom is virtually the same. However, the 2020 Honda Accord is clearly a more spacious sedan overall. When lounging in the Accord’s backseat, passengers will have an additional 6.1 inches of leg space. This could be a big deal for drivers who will be regularly traveling with adult-sized passengers.
You can expect the Accord to provide a comfy driving position. However, the TLX offers a more commanding driving position. Its available sport seats and standard sport steering wheel give you a greater sense of control. Neither car has a distinct advantage in outward visibility. Not only does the Accord provide a great view out of the front windshield, but it also only has a minimal number of rear blind spots. Reviewers also applaud the TLX for its exceptional outward visibility.
The Accord also provides more cargo space. Families can pack the sedan’s 16.7-cubic-foot trunk with a lot of stuff. By comparison, there’s 14.3 cubic feet of storage space in the TLX’s trunk.
Both cars offer upgraded amenities, like heated/ventilated front seats. However, available Milano leather upholstery gives the TLX’s cabin an especially elegant feel. A GPS-linked climate control system is also available for the TLX. It elevates passenger comfort by automatically adjusting the temperature based on the sun’s positioning.
Honda’s latest Display Audio infotainment system is easy to use. Car critics are divided on the user-friendliness of Acura’s infotainment system. While some people love the interface’s dual-screen design, others find it to be more of a distraction. Both cars offer a 10-speaker premium audio system. However, an 8.0-inch digital gauge cluster is exclusively available on the TLX. One feature you won’t find on the TLX is the Accord’s optional head-up display.
Like the 2020 Acura TLX, the 2020 Honda Accord was awarded a five-star overall safety score from the NHTSA. They both scored perfect ratings in every big crash test. However, only the Accord receives an IIHS Top Safety Pick certification.
When checking out the list of standard safety features, car shoppers won’t notice a big difference between the Accord and the TLX. Some of the common accident-avoidance technologies include forward collision braking, active lane control, speed-adaptive cruise control, and Honda’s Road Departure Mitigation system.
While both cars feature a standard backup camera, the Acura TLX makes parking easier with its optional 360-degree camera. Drivers will be able to see the sedan’s entire perimeter. This is an especially nice benefit for folks who need to navigate crowded places. Blind-spot warning and rain-sensing wipers are offered on both cars.
Which Has the Best Value?
With the 2020 Acura TLX being a more luxurious car, it naturally has a higher starting MSRP. Prices for the base TLX begin at $33,000. Meanwhile, Honda lists the base Accord LX with a starting MSRP of just over $24,000. There’s no overlooking the Accord’s affordability.
Although the Accord’s list of standard equipment will satisfy most people, the TLX has a more compelling list of standard amenities. Only the TLX provides standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone connectivity. To get heated front seats, Accord buyers must also move up to a higher trim level. A standard 10-way power driver’s seat further highlights the TLX’s luxuriousness. Music fans will like the TLX’s seven-speaker audio sound system, which sounds far better than the Accord’s four-speaker stereo.
Drivers seeking the most luxury will be comparing the 2020 Acura TLX with Advance Package to the 2020 Accord Touring. While the TLX with Advance Package demands $45,950, expect to shell out around $36,100 for the Accord Touring. While the Accord Touring is a better overall value, a few extra luxury features come equipped on the TLX with Advance Package.
Which is Better?
Both of these midsize sedans are worthy picks. While the Accord’s much lower MSRP will appeal to folks on a budget, the TLX is still thousands of dollars less expensive than the BMW 5 Series and Mercedes-Benz C-Class.
Before choosing between the 2020 Acura TLX and 2020 Honda Accord, car shoppers must first decide whether they prefer fuel savings over sportiness. Over the course of a year, Accord buyers will have to spend significantly less money on fuel. This is especially true for Accord models equipped with the base engine.
While the Honda Accord is among the most fun family sedans you’ll find, the Acura TLX is even more entertaining to drive. Aside from helping the TLX to better attack curves, Acura’s Super Handling All-Wheel Drive system also ensures improved traction on snowy roads. All-wheel drive isn’t offered on any Accord model. Keep in mind that only the Accord gives you access to a traditional manual transmission.
Drivers who are in need of a spacious family vehicle will be happier with the 2020 Honda Accord. Some passengers will not have enough legroom in the TLX’s backseat. Greater trunk space also makes the Accord a more practical grocery getter.
While the TLX may not offer a head-up display, it does feel like a plushier car on the inside. Its interior materials are noticeably nicer. Milano leather upholstery really gives the TLX a premium feel. To rival the TLX’s level of luxuriousness, Accord buyers must climb the trim ladder. Nonetheless, GPS-linked climate control and a 360-degree parking camera are exclusively offered on the TLX.
Many people enjoy the Accord’s attractive styling. However, the TLX looks more like a genuine sports sedan. Its optional A-Spec appearance definitely brings a racy look. It brings wider 19-inch wheels and more aggressive exterior treatments.
At the end of the day, the 2020 Honda Accord is a better family car. Its more spacious backseat and roomier trunk promote excellent everyday practicality. On the other hand, luxury car shoppers may favor the 2020 Acura TLX’s nicer cabin and more engaging driving dynamics. Both cars received class-leading crash scores.