2021 Acura TLX

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in Sedans
2021 MODEL
$35,000 - $45,000
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7.0

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2021 Acura TLX Complete In-depth Review & Buying Guide

Updated on: August 10, 2020
Abhinandan Banerjee's image

Abhinandan Banerjee

Content Lead

For the past couple of years, the TLX has been among the top-selling sport sedans in the hyper-competitive segment. The all-new TLX comes to reclaim its performance identity with a new sophisticated platform that enhances the ride and handling. The 2021 TLX comes in two configurations, that are priced at about $35,000 and $45,000 respectively. The base model comes with an FWD drivetrain, whereas the S trim comes with an AWD system.

Competing with the BMW 3-series, Audi A4, and Mercedes Benz C-class, the Acura TLX never felt that alluring. Here’s our take on the 2021 Acura TLX that is soon going to be on sale in the market.

See detailed review »

Pros

Comfortable suspension setup

New turbocharged engine

All new list of gadgets on the inside

Cons

Cabin noise on the inside

Off setting handling

What's New?

The 2021 Acura TLX received a massive makeover and gets a more powerful engine and refreshed interiors.


Pictures & Videos

Exterior
Interior
Videos
2021 Acura TLX Detailed Review video
2021 Acura TLX Interior video
2021 Acura TLX Exterior video

Styles

2021 Acura TLX in Crystal Black Pearl color
Crystal Black Pearl

Vehicle images are guides only and may not reflect the model's exact specifications/features– exact specifications/features should be confirmed with the seller.

Ratings

Features

7.3

Engine And Performance

6.8

Fuel Economy

5.0

Interior

7.9

Exterior

5.0

Safety

8.8

Competition

7.5

7.0

OVERALL RATING

Trims and Configurations

MSRP


2021 Acura TLX Base

Base

power
206 hp @ 6800 rpm
fuel
Premium unleaded (recommended)
mpg
27 combined

$35,000


Style Prices MPG Engine Transmission Drivetrain Seats Colors
4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl 10A) Starting at $35,000 MSRP (23/27/33) 206 hp @ 6800 rpm, 2.4 L, Inline 4, premium unleaded (recommended)
8-Speed Dual-Clutch front wheel drive 5

2021 Acura TLX Type S

Type S

power
355 hp
fuel
TBD
mpg
TBD

$45,000


Style Prices MPG Engine Transmission Drivetrain Seats Colors
Type S 4dr Sedan AWD (3.0L 6cyl 10A) Starting at $45,000 MSRP TBD 355 hp, 2 L, Inline 6,
10-speed automatic transmission. all wheel drive TBD

Expert Review

7.0

Overall Rating


The 2021 Acura TLX has gone through a makeover and has transformed quite impressively and now gets more grunt under the hood as well. The new TLX will be offered with a choice of a more efficient 2.0L Turbocharged Inline 4 cylinder and a more performance oriented 3.0L Turbocharged V6. The interiors have also foregone a major makeover and the TLX gets even a larger list of toys to play on the inside. 

The 2021 Acura TLX is a direct rival to the likes of Mercedes Benz C Class, Audi A4 and BMW 3 Series. Read our in-depth review of the 2021 Acura TLX to get a clearer picture of how the TLX is strategically placed in the US market. 

2021 Acura TLX Front Third Quarter View
2021 Acura TLX Rear Third Quarter View

7.3/10
Features

 
 
 

6.8/10
Engine and Performance

 

5.0/10
Fuel Economy

 

7.9/10
Interior

 

5.0/10
Exterior

 

8.8/10
Safety

 

7.5/10
Competition

 
 

2021 Acura TLX Features

7.3/10

The 2021 Acura TLX is offered with a fairly simple line-up: Base and S. Acura equips all TLX models with the latest tech and features including front collision mitigation and stolen vehicle tracking. The 2021 Acura TLX starts at $35,000 for the Base trim with FWD and the S trim costs around $45,000 with AWD.

Model

Base

Type S

MSRP

$35,000

$45,000

Key Features

10.2’’ Head-up display

Adds to base trim features

 

18-inch alloy wheels

20-inch alloy wheels

 

2LTurbo Inline-4 Gas engine

3LTurbo DOHC V6 Gas engine

 

Front-Wheel Drive

All Wheel Drive

 

10-way power driver seat

12-way power driver seat

 

7-inch instrument cluster

Voice recognition

The Base trim, priced at $35,000 comes with plenty of features as standard with the highlights being the 10.2-inch HUD infotainment and the 7-inch Multi-Information Display in the center instrument cluster. It also gets a 10-way power-adjustable driver seat.

The Type S trim, priced at $45,000 gets an All-Wheel Drive system and a 290 horsepower V6 engine, unlike the Base trim. It comes with an ELS Premium audio system along with voice recognition and GPS Linked climate control. While it comes with a unique Type S badging, it also offers a 12-way power-adjustable driver's seat and a 4-door smart entry.

2021 Acura TLX Side View

For an additional cost, the TLX can also be opted with the A-Spec package. It includes features such as a leather-wrapped steering wheel, dual-tone leather upholstery with Ultrasuede accents, and metallic paddle shifters and sport pedals in the interior. Exterior features include A-Spec badging, 19-inch alloy wheels, black window trim, and dark-tinted head and tail lamps.

2021 Acura TLX Maintenance, Reliability and Warranty

Acura is known for the performance and luxury image brought by the popular marque Honda and the 2021 TLX is no exception. The Japanese brand is known for its top-class performance, reliability, and service among most other brands. Let’s look at the reliability, ownership costs, warranty, and costs per mile.

Reliability and Ownership Costs

The Acura TLX scores the highest in terms of quality and reliability among the rivals. Overall, the TLX was rated 79 out of 100 by J.D Power, which is quite an impressive number. In terms of quality and reliability, the TLX received a score of 83, which is exceptional for a vehicle in its class. For driving experience, it was rated 75, for resale 74, and for dealership experience 80, which are all considered great. The TLX has a robust body built from high-quality materials and features a high strength lightweight chassis with good aerodynamics. Even though Acura doesn’t offer complimentary scheduled maintenance, chances of your car needing a repair are quite less and even if it needed one, the cost is quite cheap. 

On average, the Acura TLX costs about $37,800. The true cost to own varies from $40,000 to around $50,000, which is calculated based on the five-year ownership costs and may vary in different regions.

Particulars

Year 1

Year 2

Year 3

Year 4

Year 5

Total

Tax Credit

$0

$0

$0

$0

$0

$0

Insurance

$1,060

$1,097

$1,135

$1,175

$1,216

$5,683

Maintenance

$264

$777

$596

$1,165

$1,866

$4,668

Repairs

$0

$0

$0

$391

$600

$991

Taxes and fees

$2,654

$389

$325

$273

$229

$3,870

Financing

$1,625

$1,306

$968

$605

$219

$4,723

Depreciation

$2,790

$2,712

$2,217

$2,484

$2,169

$12,372

Fuel

$1,840

$1,896

$1,952

$2,011

$2,071

$9,770

True cost to own

$10,233

$8,177

$7,193

$8,104

$8,370

$42,077

The true ownership cost for the Acura TLX, over a span of 5 years comes out to be about $42,077. Acura is renowned for making its vehicle reliable and easy to maintain. The maintenance cost of the TLX goes up to $4,668 and considering the fact that the TLX is a luxury sedan with good performance, the maintenance cost is very effective. 

The Acura TLX received a 4-star safety rating by NHTSA. That said, the TLX is safe to be considered a reliable travel companion since it hasn’t been recalled by the NHTSA. However, the 2019 model of the same vehicle has been recalled due to issues with the timing belt, where the nearest Honda dealerships replaced the timing belts of vehicles free of charge.

Warranty

Acura offers one of the best warranties for powertrain in the market and offers a limited warranty coverage similar to most of the competition. The only demerit is that it does not offer any complimentary maintenance.

Criteria

Period

Limited warranty

4 years or 50,000 miles; whichever comes first

Powertrain warranty

6 years or 70,000 miles; whichever comes first

Roadside assistance

4 years and unlimited miles

The lack of complimentary maintenance makes the Acura TLX lag behind rivals like Audi A4, BMW 3-series, and Mercedes Benz C-class. However, its highest powertrain warranty makes up for it.

Miles per dollar

The miles per dollar for a vehicle is an estimated number, that is a derivative of miles driven during a certain time period and the maintenance costs it took during that time. The average maintenance cost for an Acura TLX comes out to be about $4,668 over a span of 5 years. The miles per dollar for the Acura TLX therefore comes out to be about 16.06 miles per $1

2021 Acura TLX Buying Advice

We recommend the top ‘S’ trim because apart from offering a powerful turbocharged engine, it offers an AWD system. Although it lagged behind the German rivals for quite some time, the new TLX gets a massive upgrade with better engines, an upscale interior, better exterior styling, and more tech features. Therefore, with a price tag under $50,000, the 2021 Acura TLX can prove to be quite an intuitive choice for luxury sedan.

Is buying a used Acura TLX a good idea?

In case you want to go for a used Acura TLX, it can surely prove to be a good idea. Acura’s have a great image for being reliable and easy to maintain. On the other hand, the new TLX looks and feels way more stylish and refined. It also has many new added features, so the new model is worth the price and the wait.

According to the studies, a used 2017 Acura TLX provides the best value for a used vehicle.. The net used value is based on factors like price decline percentage, the percentage of the original price paid, percentage left of reliable years, and the number of years left. With a 2017 TLX, you have to pay only 54.51% of the original price.

2021 Acura TLX Engine and Performance

6.8/10

Power for the 2021 Acura TLX comes from a 2.0-liter DOHC turbocharged 4-cylinder engine producing 272 HP and 280 lb-ft. of torque in the Base trim and comes with a Front-Wheel-Drive configuration as standard. The ‘S’ trim gets a bigger and more performance oriented 3.0L 24-valve DOHC Turbo-V6 that generates 290 HP and 267 lb-ft torque and is offered with an All-Wheel-Drive configuration. Both FWD and AWD models are paired with a 10-speed automatic transmission with Sequential SportShift with paddle shifters on both trims.

2021 Acura TLX Engine

The new turbocharged engine packs significant power and better torque than the previous 2.4L Naturally Aspirated engine. The 10-speed automatic transmission is buttery smooth in itself and the Type S receives a unique tuning for the same gearbox that makes it even sportier. The V6 powered models feel fun to drive since it features an all-wheel-drive system, making it more engaging.

Models

Acura TLX

Audi A4

BMW 3-Series

Mercedes-Benz C Class

Base MSRP

$35,000

$37,400

$40,750

$41,400

Engine

2.0L Turbocharged Inline-4 / 3.0L Turbocharged V6

2.0L Turbocharged Inline-4 40 TFSI

2.0L Turbocharged Inline-4

2.0L Turbocharged Inline-4

Transmission

10-speed shiftable automatic

7-speed dual-clutch automatic

8-speed shiftable automatic

9-speed automatic

Horsepower

272 /290 hp

248 hp @ 4200 rpm

255 hp @ 5000 rpm

255 hp @ 5800 rpm

Torque

280 /267 lb-ft

273 lb-ft @ 1450 rpm

295 lb-ft @ 1550 rpm

273 lb-ft @ 1800 rpm

The 2021 Acura TLX offers a decent horsepower and is the most affordable one among the rivals. However, the rivals offer better power and torque figures. The Type S offers the highest power of 290 hp compared to rivals that offer a comparatively less 188 hp and 255 hp. When it comes to torque, the BMW 3-series leads the bandwagon with an incredible 295 lb-ft torque. The Acura's 10-speed shiftable automatic transmission is the best among the competition.

2021 Acura TLX Acceleration And Braking Performance

Although the official numbers have not been revealed for a straight line acceleration of the 2021 Acura TLX, however, the previous 2.4-liter NA engine allows the TLX to sprint from 0-60 mph in just 6.1 seconds. However, it used to be the lowest among the competition. The 2021 model will offer better acceleration numbers thanks to its turbocharged engine.

2021 Acura TLX Accelerate 0-60 MPH Just in 6.1 Sec.

The 2021 Acura TLX sports 12.6-inch brake rotors up front and 12.2-inch brake rotors in the rear. The car feels sure-footed concerning its braking performance, where the brake pedal is precise and fairly responsive. The car comes with automatic emergency braking to avoid unprecedented collisions.

Model

Acura TLX 

Audi A4

BMW 3-Series

Mercedes-Benz C Class

0-60 MPH

6.1 sec*

5.1 sec

5.6 sec

5.7 sec

Quarter Mile

14.5 sec*

13.8 sec

13.6 sec

12.6 sec

Top Speed

164 MPH*

155 MPH

149 MPH

155 MPH

60-0 MPH

118 ft*

119 ft

114 ft

124 ft

*based on 2020 model

However, when it comes to braking distance, the Acura TLX does quite well with a 60-0 MPH distance of 118 feet. The rest of the German rivals, the Audi A4, Mercedes Benz C Class and BMW 3 Series offer the acceleration numbers under 6 seconds. With a new turbocharged engine, the TLX 0-60 MPH acceleration is expected to improve massively.

2021 Acura TLX Fuel Economy

5.0/10

The 2021 Acura TLX will have an approximate fuel efficiency of 23 mpg in the city and it does an amazing 33 mpg in the highway conditions. This gives the TLX a combined average efficiency of 27 mpg.

2021 Acura TLX Instrument Cluster

The TLX also gets a big appetite of 17.2 gallons, which is second largest in the segment, just coming in after the Mercedes Benz C Class.

Model

Acura TLX

Audi A4

BMW 3-Series

Mercedes-Benz C Class

MPG (city)

23*

24

26

24

MPG (highway)

33*

32

36

35

MPG (combined)

27*

27

30

28

Fuel tank capacity 

17.2 gallons*

15.3 gallons

15.6 gallons

17.4 gallons

Range (city/highway/combined) 

395.6 / 567 /464 miles*

367.2 / 489.6/ 413 miles

405.6 / 561.6/ 468 miles

417.6 / 609.0/ 487 miles

*based on the 2020 model

Looking at the rivals, Acura offers the lowest MPG numbers, however, it has a better driving range on offer. The BMW 3 Series offers the highest city/highway/combined fuel economy of 26/36/30 MPG, whereas the Mercedes C-class offers the highest city/highway range of 405/561 miles.

2021 Acura TLX Interior

7.9/10

The 2021 Acura TLX sedan is the most well-furnished luxury sedan from the brand, with a modern, hi-tech, and utilitarian cabin. The TLX seats up to five adults with generous head and legroom both in the front and rear, to even accommodate taller passengers comfortably. The TLX offers easy access to get in and out of the cabin and offers a good seating position thanks to the 16-way power-adjustable seats. 

2021 Acura TLX Front Seat

The seats are fairly supportive and are upholstered with high-quality materials. However, NVH levels are poor with rattling in the rear armrest and road and wind noise intruding the cabin at high speeds. For 2021, it gets a thorough makeover and features soft-touch materials, open-pore wood, and full-grain Milano leather giving the sedan a premium feel as well as sporty vibes.

Model

Acura TLX

Audi A4

BMW 3-Series

Mercedes-Benz C Class

Passenger Capacity

5

5

5

5

Front row (Head/Shoulder/Leg)

37.2 / 57.5 / 42.6 inches*

37.3 / 55.9 / 41.3 inches

38.7 / 56.0 / 42.0 inches

37.1 / 55.3 / 41.7 inches

Second row (Head/Shoulder/Leg)

36.7 / 55.4 / 34.5 inches*

37.4 / 54.5 / 35.7 inches

37.6 / 54.6 / 35.2 inches

37.1 / 55.0 / 35.2 inches

Cargo Capacity

13.5 cubic feet

12 cubic feet

13 cubic feet

12.6 cubic feet

The exact dimensions aren’t yet announced by the company as the 2021 model will be longer and wider than the previous model. However, the overall interior volume of 2020 TLX is 93.4 cubic feet and the cargo capacity is 13.5 cubic feet. BMW offers the most room in the interior among the rivals.

How’s the 2021 Acura TLX’s infotainment system?

The 2021 Acura TLX comes with a 10.2’’ display above the dash replacing the previous dual 8’’ and 7’’ touchscreen infotainment display. The infotainment is now controlled by a trackpad, which is nice but it might be cumbersome to use. There are buttons to select from the four drive modes: Normal, Comfort, Sport, and Individual.

2021 Acura TLX Infotainment System

The TLX gets the latest generation of AcuraLink with in-car Wi-Fi and a range of available cloud-based services like emergency roadside assistance, remote ignition, remote lock and unlock, vehicle tracking, and so on.

2021 Acura TLX Exterior

5.0/10

While Japanese cars are known mostly for their performance and fall on the lower side when it comes to style, the Acura doesn't follow the stereotype. It is a fairly stylish car with subtle designs. The 2021 Acura TLX gets a brand new look that is inspired by the Acura Precision Concept and Type S Concept

2021 Acura TLX Third Quarter View

The TLX now has a sharper and sportier look with the wide fender flares and the outward placement of the wheels. The car looks long, wide, and low giving the car an aggressive look. The LED strips in the head and tail lamps look stunning. The 2021 TLX is 2.9 inches longer and 2.2 inches wider than the previous model with the new head and tail lamps. 

Model

Acura TLX

Audi A4

BMW 3-Series

Mercedes-Benz C Class

Curb Weight 

NA

3627 lbs

3849 lbs

3825 lbs

Length 

194.6”

187.5”

185.7”

185”

Width

75.2”

72.7”

71.9”

71.3”

Height 

56.4”

56.2”

56.8”

56.3”

Ground Clearance 

NA

NA

5.4”

3.5”

Wheelbase 

113.0”

111.0”

112.2”

111.8”

The Acura TLX is the longest and widest car in the competition, while it also sports the longest wheelbase. The changed dimensions give the TLX a more practical edge over its competitors. The TLX now gets a new bolder look and although it might not look as poised as its competitors, the new TLX still looks decent and luxurious. 

2021 Acura TLX Safety

8.8/10

The 2021 Acura TLX is quite a safe sedan with all the safety tech it comes with. The AcuraWatch is a standard package that offers a host of driver-assist features including adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitoring, and lane-keeping assist. New features like traffic-sign recognition and driver-awareness monitor are also offered in the sedan.

2021 Acura TLX Competition

7.5/10

2021 Acura TLX Vs Audi A4

The 2021 Audi A4 comes with a clean interior and offers a comfortable ride. It blends luxury with spicy performance and capability, unlike the Acura that is high only on performance.

2021 Audi A4

However, its small trunk and cumbersome touchscreen are the major demerits against the Acura TLX. Furthermore, some people might find the conservative exterior of the Audi A4 to be boring. That said, the Acura TLX looks quite good.

2021 Acura TLX Vs BMW 3-Series

The 2020 BMW 3-Series ranks among the top of the compact sport sedans with its impressive technology. Its dual-personality body is longer, wider, and stronger. However, it features an 8-speed automatic transmission only, unlike the Acura TLX that offers a smooth 10-speed shiftable automatic.

2021 BMW 3-Series

The BMW 3-series has added dimensions, now, but it doesn’t affect the interior space much. Though the front row space is vast, the 3-series is inferior to the TLX, when it comes to rear interior space.

2021 Acura TLX Vs Mercedes Benz C-class

The Mercedes Benz C-class looks gorgeous everywhere and has a strong lineup of powertrain options. The C-class allows you to have your way of body style. The Acura might come across as a dull sedan compared to the C-class with respect to its stunning looks and various customization options.

2021 Mercedes Benz C-class

However, the C-class comes at a heftier price tag than the TLX. The unavailability of a manual transmission is another drawback since the Acura TLX offers a superior shiftable automatic transmission.

2021 Acura TLX Final Verdict

The 2021 Acura TLX satisfies drivers’ desires for utility and practicality without cutting corners for performance. The TLX tries hard to impress and shows what it can do in the crowded sport sedan segment. With a snazzier interior, it competes better against rivals like the BMW 3 Series and Audi A4. Moreover, the best-selling sedan of Acura is now more powerful and comes with an enhanced chassis. Although the infotainment is tricky to use and the interior isn’t much bigger, it features a sharper design and a sporty interior. That said, the Acura TLX now plants its flag among the competition with a racy design and higher power which makes it definitely worth the wait.