2021 Acura TLX

MSRP $35,000

Ranked #8 in Compact Sedan

2021 Acura TLX Price, Review, Ratings and Pictures

Updated on: July 5, 2021

Nathan Dyer's image
Nathan Dyer 

Senior Editor


The Acura TLX was born after the Honda owned Acura decided to merge the TL and TSX products together to offer a sporty yet comfortable premium compact sedan. After almost seven years, the 2021 model year sees a generation update for the TLX with an aim to regain the traction in the market based on the performance-oriented image Acura once had in the market in this segment against the Germans which include the Audi A4, BMW 3 Series, and Mercedes-Benz C-Class sedans.

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Pros

Comprehensive list of standard features

Excellent value for money 

Spacious and comfortable cabin

Cons

Cramped rear seat

Not so agile driving dynamics

Low fuel efficiency

What's New?

Completely redesigned for 2021 model year

Improved cabin materials

Larger dimensions


Features

vehicle bio

base price

$35000

bodystyle

4dr Sedan

passenger capacity

5

top speed

164 mph

drivetrain

front wheel drive

engine type

displacement

144 cu.in.

horsepower

272 hp @ 6500 rpm

torque

280 lb.-ft.. @ 1600 rpm

transmission

8 speed Dual Clutch

chassis

brake rotors (f/r)

13/13 in.

dimensions

wheelbase

113 in.

length

194.6 in.

width

75.2 in.

height

56.4 in.

curb weight

3709 lbs.

ground clearance

5.3 in.

capacity

passenger volume

93.4 cu ft.

cargo volume

14.3 cu ft.

performance

zero to 60 mph

5.9 sec.

standing 1/4-mile

14.5 sec.

braking (70-0 mph)

185 ft.

warranty

basic warranty

4 yr./ 50000 mi.

drivetrain warranty

6 yr./ 70000 mi.

powertrain warranty

6 yr./ 70000 mi.

corrosion warranty

5 yr./ unlimited mi.

roadside assistance

Yes


Pictures & Videos


Trims

Base$35,000 onwards

Colors and Styles

2021 Acura TLX in Performance Red Pearl color
Performance Red 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

Pricing and Features

7.3

Engine and Performance

7.9

Fuel Economy

7.0

Interior

8.0

Exterior

8.0

Safety

8.8

Competition

6.0

7.7

OVERALL RATING

Expert Review, Pricing Analysis and Buying Guide

7.7

Overall Rating


The design of the all-new TLX stays quite true to its concept counterpart and continues to be powered by a Honda Civic Type-R sourced 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine but is based on a new platform. It also brings back the ferocious Type S variant with a new turbocharged V6 engine. Unlike its rivals which mostly offer RWD drivetrains, the TLX employs FWD to save costs and hence is offered at a lower starting price of $38,525 as compared to its German rivals.

2021 Acura TLX Sedan front view
2021 Acura TLX Sedan rear view

7.9/10
Engine and Performance

7.0/10
Fuel Economy

8.0/10
Interior

8.0/10
Exterior

8.8/10
Safety

6.0/10
Competition


2021 Acura TLX Features

Acura offers the TLX sedan as a standalone trim with the option to choose between three different packages as add-ons. Front-wheel drive is standard and the Super Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD) is available at a marginally higher price. The base trim is offered with a majority of features and creature comforts that one might need, while the higher trims add more convenience and premium appeal to the car.

Trims

Base

Technology Package

A-Spec Package

Advance Package

MSRP (FWD)

$38,525

$42,525

$45,275

$47,325

MSRP (SH-AWD)

$40,525

$44,525

$47,275

$49,325

Key Features

Dusk Sensing LED Headlamps

Blind Spot Warning

Front Fog/Driving Lights

Front, Side, And Rear View Camera

 

Lane Departure Warning

Front And Rear Parking Sensors

Ventilated Front Seats

Heated Steering Wheel

 

10-speaker audio system

13-speaker audio system

17-speaker audio system

12 -Way Power Front Seats

 

Real-Time Traffic and Satellite Radio

Premium Leather Upholstery

Premium Leather/Sueded Microfiber Upholstery

Premium Leather Upholstery

 

Adaptive Cruise Control

19-inch Painted Alloy Wheels

 

Heated Rear Seat

 

8-Way Power Heated Sport Front Seats

     
 

Leatherette Upholstery

     

Which trim should you buy?

The base trim in itself is pretty loaded and should suffice most needs, but the Technology packs cover up the loopholes very well by adding more convenience features and a premium leather upholstery while also keeping the prices in check.

2021 Acura TLX Engine and Performance

7.9/10

The Acura TLX is powered by a 2-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine in the same state of tune as the Honda Civic Type-R and hence generates 272 hp and 280 lb-ft of torque. The engine is mated to a 10-speed automatic transmission which powers the front wheel as standard with the Super Handling all-wheel-drive being optional which powers the wheels with maximum traction to improve traction and thereby performance. 

2021 Acura TLX Sedan in acceleration mode

The power delivery is very linear with smooth gear shifts that offer a relaxed driving experience in the city conditions. Push the car a little, the engine becomes more vocal and the new 10-speed transmission struggles to hold on to the gears. The sport driving mode does improve the experience but the car isn’t as quick as the Germans. The new transmission is a big update over the older 9-speed transmission but the paddle gear-shifters aren’t available as standard and could do well with minor tweaks in the future models.

Model

Acura TLX Base

Audi A4 Premium 40 TFSI Quattro

BMW 3-Series 330i

Mercedes-Benz C-Class C300

MSRP

$38,525

$40,145

$42,245

$42,650

Engine

2.0L, Turbocharged Inline-4

2.0L, Turbocharged Hybrid Inline-4

2.0L, Turbocharged Inline-4

2.0L, Turbocharged Inline-4

Drivetrain

FWD

AWD

RWD

RWD

Transmission

10-speed automatic

7-speed automatic

8-speed automatic

9-speed automatic

Power

272 hp @ 6,500 rpm

201 hp @ 4,200 rpm

255 hp @ 5,000 rpm

255 hp @ 5,800 rpm

Torque

280 lb-ft @ 1,600 rpm

236 lb-ft @ 1,450 rpm

295 lb-ft @ 1,550 rpm

273 lb-ft @ 1,800 rpm

0-60 mph (sec)

5.9

7.1

5.4

5.7

Quarter Mile (sec)

14.5

15.8

14.0

14.3

Top Speed (mph)

131

126

130

132

Being the most affordable sedan in this lineup, the Acura is also the only front-wheel-drive car that performs decently but leaves a bit more to desire. The Mercedes C-Class has a lower engine output and yet is quicker off the mark while the BMW 3-series has the fastest 0-60 mph and quarter-mile timings. The Audi A4’s mild-hybrid powertrain has the lowest engine output which also translates to the slowest acceleration performance.

How does the 2021 Acura TLX Sedan handle?

The Acura TLX had never been the best in this regard but had a few things that most of us appreciated. With the 2021 update, Acura has maintained those traits while ironing out old complaints about a much better driving experience. Although an FWD sedan, when opting for the SH-AWD, the powertrain can send upto 70% of the power to the rear wheels and the new platform offers tremendous balance and grip.

In the comfort driving mode, the car feels plush and pliant with the adaptive suspension on offer while the sport mode stiffens the ride and steering system but still stays comfortable for most parts. The chassis and drivetrain invoke confidence to push the cars into corners only to be let down by the tires that seem to screech and struggle for grip when pushed hard. Opting for summer tires should do the trick. 

2021 Acura TLX Braking Performance

The Acura TLX tips the weighing scale on the other side of 3,700 lbs which makes it quite heavier than other cars of the same segment. To deal with the additional mass, Acura employs large 13-inch disc brake rotors on all four corners which does a decent job of halting the car in 113 feet when panic braking from 60 mph. The Electric-servo brake system from the NSX doesn’t offer much feedback but has enough bite to stop the car effectively. 

Model

Acura TLX

Audi A4 40 TFSI Quattro

BMW 3-Series 330i

Mercedes-Benz C-Class C300

Brake Rotors: Front (in)

13.0

12.4

12.3

13.0

Brake Rotors: Rear (in)

13.0

11.8

11.8

11.8

Curb Weight (lbs)

3,709

3,682

3,582

3,472

60-0 mph (ft)

113

105

103

124

Despite being the lightest in this comparison, the Mercedes C-Class has the worst braking distance as it takes over 20 feet more than the class-leading BMW 3-series which employs the smallest set of brakes amongst the cars present here. The Audi A4 also weighs on the higher side, very close to the TLX, and yet performs exceptionally well in this regard, needing just a couple of feet of stopping distance more than the BMW.

2021 Acura TLX Fuel Economy

7.0/10

Despite being a subsidiary of a brand that has captured a large market share majorly due to its frugality, the Acura TLX fails to match that even in its second generation. The EPA-rated 25 mpg combined does not translate in real-world and the 15.9-gallon fuel tank manages to offer well under 400 miles on a single tank of gas. Opting for the AWD drivetrain reduces the MPG figures to 21/29/24 mpg for city/highway/combined and a much lower driving range. 

Model

Acura TLX

Audi A4 40 TFSI Quattro

BMW 3-Series 330i

Mercedes-Benz C-Class C300

MPG (City)

22

24

26

23

MPG (Highway)

31

31

36

35

MPG (Combined)

25

27

30

27

Fuel Tank Capacity (gal)

15.9

15.3

15.6

17.4

Range (City / Highway / Combined) (miles)

350 / 493 / 398

367 / 474 / 413

406 / 562 / 468

400 / 609 / 470

The lighter and smaller BMW 3-series benefits a lot in this regard as it is the most frugal premium compact sedan in this segment. With a gas tank similarly sized as that of the TLX, it offers a solid driving range as well. Both the Audi A4 and the Mercedes-Benz C300 offer similar fuel economy figures, but the larger gas tank employed by Mercedes ensures class-leading driving range figures.

2021 Acura TLX Interior

8.0/10

With the new redesign, Acura offers a modern and sophisticated cabin with a sporty design language. The center console houses the button-based gear selector, drive modes selector, and the touchpad control for the infotainment system. The soft-touch dashboard and door panels with contrast stitching add the premium and sporty feel, and so does the analog-digital gauge cluster. 

2021 Acura TLX Sedan cockpit area

The standard sport seats are very comfortable and body-hugging with enough adjustability to offer the perfect seating position for all owners. The front seats are plenty spacious but the rear seat isn’t the greatest with cramped headroom and legroom. The trunk space is on par with the segment and the leatherette upholstery with the base trim feels pretty good while there is also Milano premium leather on offer on higher trims. 

Model

Acura TLX

Audi A4 40 TFSI Quattro

BMW 3-Series 330i

Mercedes-Benz C-Class C300

Seating Capacity

5

5

5

5

Front Row (Head / Shoulder / Leg) (in)

37.2 / 58.2 / 42.4

37.3 / 55.9 / 41.3

38.7 / 56.0 / 42.0

37.1 / 55.3 / 41.7

Rear Row (Head / Shoulder / Leg) (in)

36.3 / 55.0 / 34.9

37.4 / 54.5 / 35.7

37.6 / 54.6 / 35.2

37.1 / 55.0 / 35.2

Trunk Capacity (cu-ft)

13.5

12.0

17.0

12.6

There is no doubt that despite being compact in dimensions, the BMW 3-series feels the most spacious and also has the largest trunk on offer. The Mercedes C-Class and the Audi A4 on the other hand are very similar to one another offering identical cabin and luggage space, although the Audi A4 feels the most spacious at the back. The Acura TLX has a larger trunk than these two but compromises quite a bit in the backseat department. 

  • 16-way power front seats with power lumbar support, thigh extension, and side bolsters
  • Heated & Ventilated Front Sport Seats
  • 60-40 Folding Bench Heated Fold Forward Rear Seat
  • Prem Perforated Milano Leather-Trimmed Interior w/contrast stitching and piping
  • Tilt/Telescoping Heated Leather Steering Wheel
  • Voice Activated Multi Zone Auto-Climate Control Air Conditioning w/GPS Link
  • Memory Settings for Driver Seat, Door Mirrors, and HVAC
  • 10.5-inch Head-Up Display (HUD)
  • 7.0-inch color Multi-Information Display (MID)

What’s there to keep you entertained?

Acura has done away with the dual-screen system and now employs the True Touchpad infotainment system which we have previously seen in the Acura RDX crossover. This system can be controlled by the touchpad placed on the center console and uses what Acura likes to call "Absolute Position" mapping that does not have a pointer but detects where the user places his fingers on the touchpad, making it more intuitive to use.

2021 Acura TLX Sedan infotainment screen

In terms of technology, Acura offers plenty of them, most of which are standard across the lineup. Smartphone integration, connected car technology, and satellite radio are all standard while navigation and real-time traffic are offered on the Technology package. The ELS surround sound system is fantastic to listen to but also requires to have high-quality audio files as satellite radio and other regular files end up sounding pretty average. 

  • 10.2-inch HD True Touchpad infotainment system interface
  • 17-speaker ELS Studio 3D Premium Audio System
  • Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and Siri Eyes Free integration
  • HD Radio and SiriusXM satellite radio
  • AcuraLink connected services and AcuraLink Tracker System with mobile hotspot capability
  • Bluetooth HandsFreeLink wireless telephone interface and streaming audio
  • Acura Navigation System w/3D View
  • AcuraLink Real-Time Traffic w/street and freeway conditions and Traffic Rerouting

2021 Acura TLX Exterior

8.0/10

Although exterior designs might be subjective for this particular car, similar to the vertical grilles of the new BMW range of cars, we feel the TLX looks menacing and striking from all angles. The large Diamond Pentagon grille looks pretty good flanked by the Jewel Eye LED headlights on either side. The Audi-like LED daytime running lights to look neat similar to the LED fog lights which are neatly tucked lower down the bumper. 

2021 Acura TLX Sedan 

The new redesign has made the 2021 TLX longer, wider, and lower, thereby considerably improving the stance of the car visually. The base trim gets 18-inch wheels while the 19-inch ones are offered on higher trims. The gray finish LED taillights, dual exhaust tips, and a gloss black decklid spoiler completes the sleek yet sporty rear look of this Acura.

Model

Acura TLX

Audi A4 40 TFSI Quattro

BMW 3-Series 330i

Mercedes-Benz C-Class C300

Curb Weight (lbs)

3,709

3,682

3,582

3,472

Length (in)

194.6

187.5

185.7

184.5

Width (in)

75.2

72.7

71.9

71.3

Height (in)

56.4

56.2

56.8

56.8

Ground Clearance (in)

5.8

5.2

5.4

4.8

Wheelbase (in)

113.0

111.0

112.2

111.8

The 2021 Acura TLX is the longest and widest sedan in this comparison but fails to translate that into cabin space. On the contrary, the BMW 3-series and Mercedes C-Class are much more compact and lighter and yet feel spacious. In spite of a lowered stance, the TLX still offers the best ground clearance while the C300 rides much lower to the ground as compared to all other cars present here. 

  • Programmable Projector Beam LED Daytime Running Auto High-Beam Headlamps
  • LED Brakelights
  • Black Grille w/Chrome Surround
  • Chrome Side Windows Trim and Black Front Windshield Trim
  • Speed Sensitive Rain Detecting Wipers w/Heated Wiper Park
  • Power Heated Auto Dimming Side Mirrors w/Convex Spotter, Tilt Down, Power Folding, and Turn Signal Indicator
  • Express Open/Close Sliding And Tilting Sunroof w/Sunshade
  • 19-inch Pewter Gray Metallic Aluminum-alloy machine-finished Wheels

2021 Acura TLX Safety

8.8/10

Acura has never compromised anything in terms of safety and the perfect 5-star overall rating from the NHTSA is a testament to that. It not only scores a perfect rating in almost every aspect of the test, but it also manages to bag the “Top Safety Pick+” accolade for performing exceptionally well in the crash tests for the 2021 model year. There are abundant safety functions and driver aids on offer, most of which are standard, and a highlight of the most prominent safety features is mentioned below. 

  • Collision Mitigation Braking System
  • Blind Spot Information System
  • Rear Cross Traffic Monitor
  • Lane Keeping Assist with Lane Departure Warning
  • Front And Rear Parking Sensors
  • Surround View Back-Up Camera
  • AcuraLink Emergency SOS
  • Tire Specific Low Tire Pressure Warning

2021 Acura TLX Competition

6.0/10

2021 Acura TLX Sedan vs Audi A4

The Audi A4 employs a hybrid powertrain with a lower engine output that offers a superior fuel efficiency as compared to the TLX. That being said, it lacks punch in terms of performance and the 2021 TLX is considerably quicker off the line. The Quattro AWD ensures quick braking performance and the spacious rear seat is complemented by cutting-edge technology on offer from Audi. Therefore, if outright performance is not what you want from your next compact luxury sedan, the Audi A4 feels worth the small additional sum of money.

Audi A4

2021 Acura TLX Sedan vs BMW 3-Series

Although the Acura TLX is more affordable and offers higher power output than the BMW, it is about half-second slower in the straight-line acceleration scenarios. BMW also offers much better driving dynamics which is complemented by a far more superior fuel efficiency. The cabin too is far more spacious with a trunk that matches with the larger midsize sedans. The ride comfort is stiff and similar for both cars and so is the technology and safety on offer. Thus, despite the $4,000 premium, we feel the BMW 3-series is a more rounded package and the better choice of the two. 

BMW 3-Series

2021 Acura TLX Sedan vs Mercedes-Benz C-Class

The Mercedes C-Class is the most expensive sedan of this comparison but both the TLX and the C-Class offer similar acceleration performance with minuscule differences. The C-Class has a pathetic braking performance but is more frugal than the TLX. The cabin and trunk sizes are pretty similar as well, and so is the technology on offer. Therefore, it is best to save some money and opt for the Acura TLX.

Mercedes-Benz C-Class

 

2021 Acura TLX Final Verdict

The 2021 Acura TLX has evolved a lot with the new update with its striking looks and potent engine under its hood. The performance is far better than the older 2.4-liter unit and is on par with the segment. The cabin feels premium and has all the latest and greatest technology and safety features baked right into the base trim. The ride and handling have improved as well with the fuel economy being the only sore point. If you can live with that and don’t mind the cramped back seat, the affordable 2021 Acura TLX is every bit on par with its German rivals. 

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