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  1. #1
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    Motoramic First Drive: 2015 Acura TLX

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    I drove the new Acura TLX last week for something like six hours. Or at least I was in the car for six hours; my driving partner drove half. Despite that, I can?t tell you a whole lot. It was bland, like dentist?s office bland, a new dentist?s office, mind you, with comfy chairs and good air-conditioning, but sitting in it still felt like waiting for an appointment. Up and down I went, through semi-tight turns and across bridges, over the hills of West Virginia and also regular Virginia, an entire afternoon of automotive Muzak.

    Now, a lot of cars are like this. But it?s a problem that this Acura is one of them. Launched this month in North America, the TLX is the intended remedy for Acura?s mess of a sedan business, replacing two other cars, the TSX, and the TL. Their dual existence confused customers, and Acura itself, for years, squandering the position Acura once held as a savvy competitor to the German and American luxury brands.

    But no longer: The TLX is now Acura?s only car in the entry-level luxury segment, intended to compete directly with the BMW 3-Series, the Mercedes C-Class, the Audi A4, and the Lexus IS. Acura will need more than good luck to succeed. Those cars aren?t without flaws, but they?re all still outstanding. The Mercedes was, until recently, the weakest of the bunch, but I also drove the new C-Class last week, and it?s drastically improved, muscling its way to the front of the line.

    All of the TLX?s competitors have two things in common: They are pared-down inside, simple, almost race-y, and they?re really fun to drive. The TLX is, unfortunately neither. From the inside out, it seems to have been designed by spreadsheet. There?s not a piece of flair or bling to be found; it?s a full binder of safe, generic, conservative choices. No one is going to choose it for its attractiveness. Compared with the sporty look of the A4 or the 3-Series, or Mercedes? beautiful, sleek new design language, it really comes away wanting.

    The TLX?s performance feels as bland as the design. It?s not particularly fast, it?s not particularly sharp, and it?s not particularly fun. Fifteen years ago, this would have been one of the greatest cars on the planet, but that was a long time ago.



    Larger than the TSX, but shorter than the TL, the TLX offers two engine variants, a 2.4-liter four-cylinder that gets 206 hp, and a 3.6-liter six-cylinder that gets 290 hp. Also, there?s the pricey option of an all-wheel drive system, and Acura's unique four-wheel-steering tech. I drove all of them; the AWD has a little extra torque for mild hill climbs, but the other two systems are front-wheel drive only, a strange choice in a segment so based in performance and ?fun to drive?-ness. To paraphrase an old TV theme song, it took a whole lot of trying just to get up that hill.

    Putting the AWD aside, because it will represent a small percentage of sales, I had a hard time telling the difference between the four-cylinder and the six cylinder. Their performance seemed almost identical. Depending on the package, the TLX comes with an eight-speed automatic or a nine-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters. Again, the difference was negligible, but at least the shifting felt smooth and efficient, which actually speaks to the TLX?s strengths.

    This is a soft car, in many ways. The seats are exceedingly comfortable, and interior is pleasantly roomy. It also boasts the cliche "whisper-quiet" cabin, which, combined with the cushioning, makes for a soothing ride. Given Acura?s solid reputation on safety features, we have to assume that will continue here, and the same goes for Acura?s excellent track record of reliability. This car will likely last a decade or more with no major problems.

    That said, the TLX hasn?t kept up with the times in technology. It has two large screens, tacked atop each other, that don?t really work in sync. The Honda-brand GPS is less than perfect. Even the radio tuning is confusing. This car will lead to outbreaks of excessive screen-pressing syndrome. They should offer a ?distracted driving package.? At a discount.

    The TLX, then, is safe, comfortable, reliable, and quiet. The variants start at around $30,000 and go up into the $42,000 range, so it?s very competitively priced for the segment. The gas mileage, 24/35 mpg for the four cylinder, and 21/34 mpg for the V-6, is also towards the top. But it?s boring as hell and suffers from a nasty case of tech-lag. So in what universe does this car compete with the new C-Class, which has self-driving technology seemingly beamed down from another planet, the A4, which gets better every year, the rumbly IS, and the always excellent 3 Series? It doesn?t.

    In terms of features and performance, not to mention price, the TLX really belongs at the top of a different segment that includes the Toyota Avalon, the Nissan Maxima, and the Ford Taurus. In a blind taste test, it might not even be particularly distinguishable from its downmarket sibling, the Honda Accord. Against that competition, it stacks up great. But against the competition that Acura?s pitting it against, it?s going to be in real trouble, like Apollo Creed agreeing to fight Drago at the start of Rocky 4. Acura may have been the top of the sedan segment once, but unless Honda?s luxury arm starts acting realistic about what it can actually offer, its flagship sedan isn?t getting out of the ring alive.

    Text Source: https://autos.yahoo.com/blogs/motora...184506835.html
    Acura TLX News & Information Source

  2. #2
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    This is one of the most negative reviews I've read about the car. Why did Acura TLX News post it? There are other positive reviews online that they could have posted. The Edmunds review seems much more balanced.
    Last edited by Suziesilverado; 08-07-2014 at 01:58 PM.

  3. #3
    New Member Mike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Suziesilverado View Post
    This is one of the most negative reviews I've read about the car. Why did Acura post it? The Edmunds review seems more balanced.
    With every vehicle there are going to be naysayers. Personally I think the TLX is years ahead of the A4.

 

 

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