2018 Acura TLX A-Spec

Words and Photos by: Jimmy Mak

The TLX is the perfect replacement for the TL and TSX. Smaller sleeker and just the right size for the market it’s got a lot to prove. On top of all this, for 2018 Acura has decided to make it just a bit edgier by introducing a brand new face.

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The A-spec model that we have here is the latest and greatest from the small sedan. Sleek lines and round foglights suggest a bit more sportiness was dropped in.

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Same with the back, there’s a pair of rounded exhaust tips found exclusively in the A-spec. Finally, we have the TLX that can follow on the 2008 TL type-S that we all loved.

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Inside the cabin, there’s a nice mixture of leather and soft plastics. For the money, I wish there was a bit more leather. The dash although looks nice with its sweeping curves it’s from molded plastic rather than plush soft leather found in its competitors.

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Something a bit more subtle is the use of red lighting around the cabin. From cup holders to door pulls the interior is bathed in red accents giving the interior a little more class.

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Front seats look great but feel lacking. Unlike some other sports sedans, the bolsters are small and not large enough to cradle the body when the vehicle’s in turns. The Alcantara inserts do help grip on however a bit more support would be welcomed. With the top-spec Elite trim, these seats are also heated as well as ventilated for the next level of luxury.

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A first for Acura is incorporating Apple CarPlay and Android Auto in its cars. However, since Acura is devoted to using a dual screen setup the controls can be a bit awkward. Carplay and Android Auto are designed to be used with a touchscreen, but in the TLX it’s the rotary navigational dial that is used. It can be a bit clumsy to use however Sir and Google Assistant is available with a button on the steering wheel to aid.

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The main touch screen has been updated from the system of the past. With new font and higher resolution, it does look more updated than before. Just like the others, the vehicle’s HVAC controls are all housed below the screen and on the lower edge as well.

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There’s no doubt Acura was trying to hit a mark in the compact sports luxury sedan market with the TLX. Behind the wheel, it certainly feels like it can belong. A healthy 3.5L V6 sits up front pushing 290hp and 267lb-ft of torque. Like most naturally aspirated engines there’s plenty of power on the top of the rev range but it does lack the low-end grunt found in turbo-charged systems. The 9-speed auto works well however it can be jerky at times. Power is delivered to all four wheels through Acura’s excellent SH-AWD system with torque vectoring. It’s clear by driving the TLX the AWD system works wonders, even in hard acceleration the vehicle does not exhibit understeer, but rather a bit of oversteer. The only downside to this permanent all-wheel-drive system with a big V6 is fuel consumption. Depending on traffic and driving style the TLX returns about 12L/100km in the City and about 9 on the highway.

Overall the TLX is an amazingly sporty vehicle however, it isn’t without its flaws. The engine though powerful its engine note is silenced by fake noise piped into the cabin via the speakers. It feels like Acura has missed the mark of the sports sedan but has hit the sporty segment. Maybe just a tad below its competitors but it’s still a very strong contender. Especially for those who are looking for all-weather traction.

Thank you to Honda Canada for providing the vehicle.