2015 Acura TLX V6 SH-AWD on the road in Oregon wine country
From the mountains to the Pacific and back through Western Oregon wine country, TLX performance surprised at every juncture. On first look, either you’ll love Acura’s understated blend of hard edge body line meets organic curve, or you’ll walk away from TLX wondering why Acura insists on retaining a decades old grill design cue.
No worries, the car is stunning, thought provoking yet understated. A BMW 5 series sized sport sedan in Acura clothing? Sort of. But that’s where similarities end and Acura engineering and technology blows the doors off of the competition.
When you test drive TLX leave all preconceived notions aside, it’s like no other car you’ve( ever) driven; it’s that good.
Interior, exterior size relation confounding
Based on the European Honda Accord platform, Acura TLX is not a large sedan, it’s slightly longer, wider and a bit shorter than a fully equipped Honda Accord. Yet, interior dimensions, trunk space and road manners shift the senses and memory banks to the days of mid sized German and Japanese near- handcrafted quality sport sedans.
Because I’d experienced TLX in West Virginia 2 months earlier, my rear was very familiar with what I now consider to be the most comfortable 10 way power adjusted cooled and heated seat found in any car priced under $ 50,000; perhaps the best in the industry.
Acura engineering has designed a driver and front passenger seat that holds the occupant in place without the use of confining high-bolstered seating. By reducing the hip bolster, Acura accomodates a wide range of body shapes and driver height. With a quick adjustment of the driver’s seat a 5’ 3” driver is as comfortable as a 6’5” tight end.
We find most manual controls, instrumentation and touchscreen to be perfectly placed with a few minor yet distracting exceptions. We’ll cover the finer points of Acura TLX controls and electronics in a separate article.
looking around the TLX cabin you’ll discover a tri-colored interior with a tasteful use of hard and soft surfaces, metals and wood-grained laminates. General consensus is that Acura’s departure into a designer interior works (for most.) Nancy King, an interior color specialist residing in Eugene, Oregon found the interior to be a bit too busy.
Looking to the cocoa brown seats, gray headliner and dark gray door and column wraps, Ms. King found the mix to hint at an earlier “retro” look. I doubt that that was what Acura had in mind, although today’s young affluent do hold a fondness for mid-century modern and retro. It may be a guy thing, we love the look, driving feel and interior color mix of 2015 TLX.
Kickin’ it on the back seat
Automotive journalist rarely find the opportunity to explore the comfort and sometimes confines of the rear seat. TLX features a beter than average rear bench with very adequate padding, legroom and headroom for this 6’5” reporter. However, although TLX is designated as a 5 passenger car, the center of the rear bench is elevated to the point of uselessness. While you could seat a petite in the center, the best use for this portion of the seat is the fold down armrest with cupholders.
I call “shotgun”
As with most if not all medium size sport sedans, Acura’s rear seating compartment is second in comfort to the front passenger seat. For those riders 6 ft or taller, visibility is restricted. It’s a head tilting compromise offset by a comfortable seat and a great stereo, center console heating and air, decent legroom and jet cabin style reading lights.
Unfortunately there’s an unidentifiable low decibel mystery noise present in the rear cabin.
Out of fairness to Acura we must disclose that the trunk was empty and our car held but two passengers. We’re guessing that Acura has skimped a bit at sound deadening in the rear wheel wells and trunk confines of TLX. We suggest that they kick it up a notch in 2016 or offer a quick-fix solution.
Driving from the foothills of Eugene, Oregon to the beaches of Florence, north to Yachats was effortless in TLX. Looking to the digital read out, we discover a real-world average mpg or 25.6. Full disclosure compels us to state that we did approach 100 mph more than once in the S turns with paddle shifters fully engaged. Good times!
We’ll cover the handling and performance aspects of TLX in part 3 of this series.