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The Acura TLX has long remained a popular luxury sports sedan. While drivers appreciate the TLX’s value, it lagged behind in the performance department. However, big changes were made to the all-new 2021 model. Not only does the latest generation offer more driving fun, but it also receives a much-improved interior with nicer materials. A seriously sleek exterior design also helps the new TLX to evenly compete against its European rivals.
What’s new for 2021?
Acura introduces an all-new TLX for 2021. It brings upgraded features, new powertrain options, and bolder exterior styling.
Top 10 Reasons to Buy a 2021 Acura TLX – The Pros
1. Far More Muscle Under the Hood
The TLX’s previous base four-cylinder engine kicked out a reasonable 206 horsepower. While this was enough muscle for the average person, it didn’t really inspire true driving enthusiasts. To boost performance, Acura equips the new model with a standard turbo four-cylinder engine. It’s rated to push out a more compelling 272 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque. Acceleration feels more effortless. A new 10-speed automatic transmission also helps the TLX to create a more exciting driving experience.
2. High-Performance Type-S Model Returns
The legendary Type-S model returns for 2021. It receives a new turbo V6 engine, which pumps up an estimated 355 horsepower. This is easily the quickest version of the TLX to ever hit the streets. While it uses the same 10-speed transmission as the other trims, Acura specially tunes it to handle the extra power. Brembo performance brakes seek to ensure even more confident stopping. A set of 20-inch summer performance tires are on the list of options.
3. Handles Much Better
Some drivers were not satisfied with the old TLX’s handling capabilities. It really didn’t feel like a competitive sports sedan. Fortunately, automotive reviewers are raving about the 2021 model’s much-improved driving dynamics. When taking corners at a high speed, drives will appreciate how stable the car feels. Available Super Handling All-Wheel Drive transforms the 2021 Acura TLX into a more credible sports sedan. This revised AWD system can send up to 70 percent of engine torque to the rear wheels, thus aiding the car’s ability to hug curves.
4. Still A Top Value
You can still rank the 2021 Acura TLX among the top values in its class. Few sports cars give you as much performance and luxury for the money. Although prices have increased this year, the TLX still undercuts most competitors by thousands of dollars. Both the BMW 3-Series And the Mercedes-Benz C-Class demand more money. Even at its base level, the TLX provides a lot of standard equipment. This includes a modern infotainment system, heated front seats, and a moonroof.
5. Styling That Catches the Eye
You won’t have to worry about the 2021 Acura TLX getting lost in a crowded parking deck. This car demands more attention than ever more. The sedan’s seductive body makes a powerful statement. While Acura continues to equip the TLX with a Diamond Pentagon grill, it now looks bolder. Slim-style LED headlights and attractive 18-inch alloy wheels come standard. Drivers seeking a more aggressive-looking machine will prefer the A-Spec model. Acura dresses it up with a sport appearance package and exclusive 19-inch wheels.
6. Nicer Infotainment System
Last year’s often criticized infotainment system has been discontinued. Some users were not fond of its dual-screen design. The new system should better appeal to technology lovers. Updated software helps the interface to process information quickly. A 10.2-inch HD screen with advanced smartphone pairing comes standard. Test drivers will appreciate the positing of the display. It sits above the dash, which helps eliminates the driver's need to glance down when viewing navigation maps.
7. Very Compelling ELS Studio Sound System
Most people agree that the TLX’s standard stereo is fairly good. However, avid music fans shouldn’t hesitate to upgrade to the ELS Studio 3D surround-sound system. A total of 17 speakers encompass the cabin. Overhead speakers enable you to enjoy a realistic sound. When listening to rock and rap music, listeners will really be able to feel the bass. Even classical music sounds phenomenal with the ELS Studio 3D system.
8. Safety Takes First Priority
Although the new 2021 Acura TLX now puts a greater emphasis on performance, safety still remains a first priority. Acura equips the sedan with new triple-chamber airbag technology. It’s designed to help further lower the risk of head injuries. AcuraWatch accident-avoidance technologies are also found at every trim level, including pre-collision braking and active cruise control. Drivers who desire better visibility can replace the standard backup camera with a surround-view camera. Blind-spot monitoring is another safety tech worth adding.
9. Excellent Front-Seat Comfort
Drivers who plan to spend a lot of time on the road will enjoy being behind the wheel of the new TLX. Its form-fitting front seats are extremely comfortable. Even after taking a five-hour drive, passengers will still enjoy great support. Adjustable thigh extension and side bolsters are come in the sedan’s Advance package. Heated and ventilated cushions are available as well.
10. Traffic Jam Assist
Acura’s Traffic Jam Assist feature makes traveling on congested streets more comfortable. By monitoring traffic lines, it’s able to keep the sedan centered in its lane. Steering torque is applied when needed, thus making the driver’s job a bit easier.
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Reasons Not to Buy a 2021 Acura TLX – The Cons
1. Still Not Among the Roomiest Cars In the Class
The 2021 Acura TLX is larger than its predecessor. It provides half an inch more legroom in the rear. While this extra space helps improve overall comfort, many of the sedan’s competitors give rear occupants more space to stretch their legs. When sitting behind a tall driver, some passengers will feel a bit cramped.
2. Fuel Economy Is Slightly Lower
When equipped with a standard four-cylinder engine, the previous TLX delivered up to 33 mpg during highway commutes. Unfortunately, fuel economy is slightly lower for the 2021 model. Drivers can anticipate getting up to 31 mpg when cruising at freeway speeds. Most people will be willing to give up a little gas mileage in order to enjoy stronger performance. Nevertheless, annual fuel costs will increase.
3. More Expensive MSRP
It’s hard not to consider the 2021 Acura TLX as a bargain. This performance sedan strongly competes against its European rivals for a less expensive cost. However, it’s important to note the 2021 model’s higher starting MSRP. Prices now start at an estimated $37,500. By comparison, last year’s model had an MSRP of $33,000. Drivers who desire a less expensive alternative should consider the less powerful Acura ILX.
4. Unknown Reliability
Although Acura has a history of developing dependable automobiles, the reliability of the all-new TLX is unknown. This is typically the case for most cars that receive a complete redesign. Because of the TLX’s newly available turbocharged engines, it could require more frequent servicing in the long run.
5. No Manual Gearbox
The sedan’s 10-speed transmission is quick and precise. However, certain driving enthusiasts will still wish for a traditional manual transmission. For some people, there’s nothing like the feeling of manually changing gears. Featuring an optional six-speed manual transmission, the Honda Accord Sport 2.0T is a good substitute for the TLX.
How It Stacks Up Against the Competition
2021 Acura TLX vs 2021 Cadillac CT5
The 2021 Cadillac CT5 is another new entry into the midsize sports sedan class. It stacks up well against the 2021 Acura TLX. Many test drivers applaud the CT5 for its agile handling and responsive performance. Cadillac’s hands-free Super Cruise Control system also makes the CT5 an appealing pick. However, Acura’s Super Handling All-Wheel Drive does a better job of putting down the power.
2021 Acura TLX vs 2021 BMW 3-Series
For years, the BMW 3-Series was viewed as the segment’s benchmark. However, its competition has finally caught up. While the Acura TLX may not be quite as refined as the BMW 3-Series, expect it to offer just as much performance. Acura also lists the TLX with a lower MSRP. One area where the 3-Series holds a noticeable advantage is rear-seat legroom.
2021 Mercedes-Benz C-Class
Many automotive journalists consider the 2021 C-Class to be the most luxurious model in the segment. It also offers excellent fuel economy. However, prices for the new C-Class are steeper. Owners will also find the C-Class to have a higher cost of maintenance.
Always considered to be a splendid value, the 2021 Acura TLX now packs the type of performance that true driving enthusiasts desire. Many car shoppers will also be wooed by the sedan’s seductive exterior design. A more impressive infotainment system further helps the latest TLX to stand out.
While the new TLX scores well in comfort and performance, tall families may need more rear legroom. Fuel economy has also taken a slight hit. Despite a few shortcomings, the latest model is possibly the best ever.
• Why buy a 2020 Acura TLX? w/ pros vs cons