Acura TLX: Best Car To Buy 2021 Nominee

December 28, 2020

Sedans still sell in large numbers, and the redesigned 2021 Acura TLX gives shoppers plenty of reasons to look away from crossovers to something fun to drive. 

The mid-size premium sedan evolves from the Honda Accord's shadow with its own platform, a racier design, two potent turbocharged engines, and a more refined interior that dons luxury car status. Even fully loaded, the Acura TLX Advance costs less than our $50,000 threshold to qualify for The Car Connection's Best Car To Buy 2021 award. Acura is the only premium brand to make the cut of nominees this year, and the TLX represents the brand well. 

Even though it grows longer and wider and gets lower, those changes don't increase interior space, which is still roomy enough to fit five passengers even though their gear might not all fit in the 13.5 cubic-foot trunk. The longer, wider proportions reflect best on the outside, with a long nose and short tail, a long wheelbase, and a low stance that all give the TLX the profile of a German sport sedan.

2021 Acura TLX Advance SH-AWD

2021 Acura TLX Advance SH-AWD

2021 Acura TLX Advance SH-AWD

2021 Acura TLX Advance SH-AWD

2021 Acura TLX Advance SH-AWD

2021 Acura TLX Advance SH-AWD

2021 Acura TLX Advance SH-AWD

2021 Acura TLX Advance SH-AWD

The new TLX acts the part, too, though it's still front-wheel drive. An available all-wheel-drive system for $2,000 sends up to 70% of the torque to the rear axle, where it can then be diverted fully to either wheel to optimize grip. A stiffer structure and independent wishbone suspension front and rear improve the handling.

The TLX comes with a base 272-horsepower 2.0-liter turbo-4 that's as quick as the outgoing V-6. Due next year is a 355-hp 3.0-liter turbo V-6 that Acura says will reach 60 mph in about 4.5 seconds. Both engines use a 10-speed automatic transmission that helps return an EPA-rated 22 mpg city, 31 highway, 25 combined. 

2021 Acura TLX Advance SH-AWD

2021 Acura TLX Advance SH-AWD

2021 Acura TLX Advance SH-AWD

2021 Acura TLX Advance SH-AWD

2021 Acura TLX A-Spec SH-AWD

2021 Acura TLX A-Spec SH-AWD

Starting under $40,000, the well-equipped Acura TLX comes with advanced driver-assist systems such as automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection and adaptive cruise control, plus convenience features such as 12-way power heated front seats and a 10.2-inch center screen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility. The touchpad controller corresponds finger motions and haptic touch points with icons on the screen, but the split screen set up and secondary pad are imprecise and unnecessary. It's one of our few issues with the TLX, and with the Acura RDX for that matter.

We like the $42,525 Tech package trim that adds leather upholstery, 19-inch wheels, more standard safety gear, and other goodies. But the TLX looks good with any package or trim.

The sedan segment may be shrinking, but automakers have cut the weak links out of their lineups. What remains, like the 2021 Acura TLX, are strong contenders in a field that includes the 2021 Lexus ES, 2021 Cadillac CT5, and 2021 Volvo S60

Will the TLX's smart redesign be enough to overtake more mainstream sedans and the more popular SUVs and crossovers that round out our list?

Follow along as we crown The Car Connection's Best Car To Buy 2021 on Jan. 4, and reveal the best vehicles in 15 categories to help you choose the best cars, trucks, and SUVs. Vote for our annual Driver’s Choice awards and tell us what you think is best in every category. We'll also announce the winners from our sister sites, Motor Authority and Green Car Reports

2021
The Car Connection
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2021
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