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By Katrina Ramser
San Francisco Bureau
The Auto Channel


Crafted from the previous compact TSX and the mid-size sedans, the Acura TLX offers the perfect size of luxury and performance for drivers looking to join the ranks of premium vehicle ownership. With the option of all-wheel drive and loads of modern technology, you’ve got quite a contender with the TLX – and at a more reasonable cost than fancier nameplates. I

drove a 2015 Acura TLX with the 290-horsepower 3.5-liter V6 engine and optional nine-speed automatic transmission. Available in equipment groups and by two engines, my fully loaded TLX test drive came with the following: heated front seats; ten-way power driver’s seat; push-button start; dual-zone climate control; XM radio; touchscreen display; moonroof; the Technology Package (leather upholstery, navigation, rearview camera, AcuraLink Communications System, sport seats, surround-sound audio system, HD radio, safety technology); and the Advanced Package (Collision Mitigation Braking System, ventilated front seats, parking sensors, LED fog lights); Super Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD); paddle shifters; and idle stop features. Total price as described came to $44,800.

As their all-new performance luxury sedan, Acura is launching a big marketing plan and laying it on thick with the accolades: it was recently announced the vehicle earned an overall score of 5-Stars with The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and that is has been recognized in the U.S. News & World Report as the winner for their Upscale Midsize Car category.


Stylish But Comfortable Results: In comparison to interiors of the TL and TSX, the model possesses a higher level of stylish design and comfort found through the soft-touch leather upholstery and lateral seat support. Additional highlights include a more sophisticated center stack with easy-to-operate commands. Acura’s voice-recognizing navigation system comes off a bit intimidating, and while it delivers traffic updates and configures destination changes in just a few turns and clicks from a magical master dial, there are easier systems to master. Trunk space is average for this class at 31.2 cubic feet.

Reliability & Safety Factor: The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has rated the 2015 Acura TLX with “Good” results in all crash test areas. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) gives in an overall 5-Star rating. Standard safety features include vehicle stability assist, ACE body structure, anti-lock brakes, electronic brake distribution, vehicle stability assist, active head restraints and an advanced airbag system. The Tech Package adds Forward Collision Warning, Lane Keep Assist, Blind Spot Information, and Rear Cross Traffic Monitor. The Advanced Package adds Collision Mitigation Braking System.

Cost Issues: A base Acura TLX with a smaller 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine starts at $31,445; at this price standards include a seven-speaker audio system with Internet Radio (XM, Pandora), leather-trimmed seats, ten-way power seating for driver, Bluetooth connectivity, Siri Eyes Free communication, LED headlights. But those top safety and entertainment features are packaged into sizable option groups that can send the price of the TLX to $44,800.

Activity & Performance Ability: The TLX’s performance is invigorating, sporty and quite elegant. An upgraded nine-speed automatic transmission improves gear efficiency while allowing for some extra fun thanks to steering-wheel mounted paddle shifters. The safety technology is not an extravagance – the Rear Cross Traffic Monitor and Blind Spot Information keeps your eyes more centered on the road, giving the driver updates on the whereabouts of surrounds cars with subtle bleeps and chimes in just about every driving situation imaginable. And the Collision Mitigation Braking System actually employs the brakes before a foot can, avoiding accidents when the human driver isn’t playing attention.

The Green Concern: Fuel economy is rated at 21-city and 31-highway for a combined fuel economy of 25 miles-per-gallon.

The 2015 Acura TLX will appeal to the entry-level luxury buyer looking for a lot of choices, from the fuel-saving four-cylinder engine or more spirited V6, to the optional packages that add a significant amount of comfort, tech and class to this mid-size sedan.

2015 Katrina Ramser