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We predict 2015 Acura TLX Motor Trend ‘Car of the Year’

No hype, based on economical performance, cutting edge drive-train, design and value, We predict that Acura TLX will be Motor Trend’s 2015 “Car of the Year”. Yes, it's that cutting edge.

The automotive world is an extremely competitive one. This year it’s estimated that 16 million new cars will be produced or imported and sold in North America. As the national economy recovers, so does the automotive industry. For most people, second to the purchase of a home, the car or personal truck is their most expensive purchase. Today’s consumer is educated, Acura is banking on that fact to drive sales.

TLX will change the way the world looks at “Made in America,” while taking Acura Division sales to a new level. We've road tested all variants of TLX and walked away impressed.


Back in the day(old school) a handful of "Made in America" giants dominated the automotive industry. Today, hundreds of makes and models compete for your purchase dollar. While this and the World Wide Web has changed the way that we shop for cars, while reducing dealership profit margins, several automotive makes and models have gone the way of the dinosaur; Acura will not be one of them.

Acura secures a place in North America Automotive History.

Although American Honda Motors and Acura collectively account for less than 10% of North America’s automotive and light truck retail market,(Volvo has less than 2%) they've successfully laid claim to a handful of auto industry milestones and consumer generated accolades.Honda Accord,Civic CR-V and Odyssey have captured their segment and rate top in class year after year.

Acura MDX and RDX take their respective place at the top of the 3 row premium and small SUV class with both Honda and Acura lines scoring at the pinnacle of consumer satisfaction, safety and residual resale value. Acura hit the shores of North America running in 1988 with the introduction of the runaway best selling Integra. Acura hopes to recapture America’s driving excitement with the all new 2015 TLX performance sedan.
Made in America.

Not so long ago the Acura brand was Honda Motor’s premium Japanese import. Designed and assembled in Japan, several iconic Acura models set the quality standard for import “world car” precision quality and reliable performance. The 2015 TLX is assembled in MarysVille Ohio with 90+% parts sourced from North American suppliers. It represents the pinnacle of made in America reliability and quality.

The market has spoken.

For 2014 “Made in America” has taken on new meaning. Acura MDX SUV is recognized as the best selling 3 row premium SUV “Ever” for North America. The smaller RDX has witnessed growth in sales 24 months running. Those are big shoes to fill considering the competition. Grandpa Chevrolet must be rolling over in his grave as this relatively young Japan based upstart pushes Tahoe to the side of the road.

The production numbers are staggering and the stakes, high. Acura V.P and General Manager of Operations Mike Accavitti and crew hope to capture the momentum of Acura brand excitement and set the premium performance sedan segment on its ear with the introduction of the 2015 TLX.

Although we drive many Honda, Acura variants and competing brands, we found 2015 TLX to be exceptional. Pleasing of design, ergonomically superior with best of class fuel economy and performance, Acura TLX will change the way that you and the automotive industry measure performance.

5.5 years in development and representing close to a billion dollars in upfront capital investment, American Honda Motors through the newly formed Acura Division is betting on TLX to turn its premium performance sedan segment to profitability.

Next week Acura will unleash the beast of advertising campaigns starring the 2015 Acura TLX.
No hype, this car will change the way that the world looks at “ Made in America.”

We’ve watched the promos, sat through presentations, webinars and test driven perhaps the finest example of an economy driven, tech-rich performance sedan released to North America in a decade.

On August 18, Acura will embark on the largest and most aggressive advertising campaign in Acura’s history. Through print ads, video snippets, television, social media and your smart phone device, Acura media will insight TLX excitement in the driving public with a breakthrough campaign. As cutting edge and as exciting as the car itself, Acura promotions will teach the rest of the Ad-men a thing or two.

Setting all”bull” aside, TLX is a blast to drive automotive value, a rare combination of economy meets performance with second to none ergonomics and visual panache. We predict 2015 TLX will be Motor Trend’s next “Car of the Year.”


Joseph Tribec (not verified)    August 12, 2014 - 10:23AM

This car will not the motortrend car of the year. It's no where near revolutionary enough. It's just another conventional luxury entry. The New Jaguar XE has the potential to be the next motortrend car of the year.

Steven Rosengren (not verified)    August 13, 2014 - 7:14AM

The ILX is actually made in Indiana, not Japan. It would be great if Acura received an award, I think they make great products.

tom rogers (not verified)    August 13, 2014 - 11:15AM

That's rather a bold assertion to make! Only time will tell. Also, the ILX is not imported from Japan.

Parks McCants    August 13, 2014 - 3:00PM

In reply to by tom rogers (not verified)

Good day Tom. Yes, the assertion is based on my personal asessment of the car as well as an eye opening 300 mile test drive. I'm impressed by the argonomics of the TLX as well as power train config, P-AWS, SH-AWD and top of class fuel economy. As you say, "time will tell." As to the ILX, I'm pretty damned sure the one I test drove last week in Eugene stated " assembled in Japan. However, I do drive many cars. I'll confirm. Thanks for chiming in. Test drive the TLX if you find the time. Worth the experience.

geek (not verified)    August 15, 2014 - 4:34PM

My wife and I spent some time driving the TLX yesterday. For the past several weeks we have been evaluating a number of cars in search of a replacement for our Mercedes. We are apparently the target demographic since we are considering:BMW (3), Mercedes C class, Audi 4, Infiniti 50 and Lexus. Certainly we are not trained auto critics and evaluators, just run of the mill consumers we are not caught up in the little things or as fickle.

We came away from the Acura dealer impressed with the TLX, it is whisper quiet, responsive, comfortable and responsive. The interior is well thought out and the fit and finish excellent. Unlike others we were not annoyed with the stacked 2 displays and suspect we will have a short learning curve if we decide to pull the trigger.

I have no idea if this will be judged car of the year but for us it ranked in the top 2.

geek (not verified)    September 9, 2014 - 4:55PM

In reply to by Parks McCants

Down selecting a car as you know is just the first step. The final step (for us) is the purchase transaction that includes the selling of our vehicle. It is a process where the deck is stacked against the consumer, with the seller having more information. The good news is if you have the time you can find an interested dealer even though Acura limits the stores that it has.

Nevertheless, I have judged the TLX to be an excellent car and it may very well be a contender for car of the year. You would think that given Acura's recent satisfaction rating that they would encourage their dealers to go the distance with customers.

beachlens (not verified)    September 14, 2014 - 12:02AM

I like your reviews. I was wondering how you would compare the TLX-V6 (Front wheel) versus Lexus IS 350 (rear wheel drive). Having a hard time deciding.

Parks McCants    September 15, 2014 - 8:54PM

In reply to by beachlens (not verified)

My thanks to Geek for replying. I've had the opportunity to drive the Lexus IS 350. I found the car's exterior styling to be bold. The car I drove was powered by a 3.7 liter V6 paired to an automatic transmission. My assessment of the car, was that it was reminiscent of a 4 door Corvette. It absolutely had a loud peddle.( Lots of torque) But, was harsh on the ride side and the interior lacked the expansive space and comfort of the TLX. The Lexus is more of a purpose oriented car. It doesn't possess the transformer quality of the TLX. As Geek stated; TLX smokes the competition on interior comfort, quiet and ride characteristics. Both cars have fantastic power.TLX has the superior transmission(9 speed) paddle shift and driving mode selection, all wheel steering and in the premium trim SH-AWD. I think it comes down to the type of driving you'll be engaged in. Hope this info helps a bit.

Geek (not verified)    September 15, 2014 - 9:24PM

In reply to by Parks McCants


An excellent comparison and I concur. I never would have thought of the Corvette analogy but the Lexis IS certainly appeals to those who value the sporty ride and drive. The majority of my time is commuting to work or leisure trips and comfort, ride and drive quality is more important than spirited driving.

geek (not verified)    September 14, 2014 - 10:38AM

If you don't mind I will add my 2 cents to your question of the IS 350 to the TLX. First, both our excellent cars and have their own personality characteristics, the IS to me more of a sports sedan than the TLX with the trade off the TLX is a bit smoother on the road. I am not going to address the exterior of the cars, that is a matter of style and you have to sort through that.

The TLX as you noted is front wheel drive and the IS RWD. IMO that only really matters in snow or slick pavement other than that the drive and ride experience for us mortal people is difficult to discern.
The IS has a more even front to real weight distribution with a FWD car biased toward the front, which for me was a positive since I have to deal with snow. The TLX with PWS claims it normalizes the issue of FWD cars vs RWD, I could not notice that in our multiple test drives, we just frankly thought
the TLX for us was the better car but that is a matter of personal preference.

Being an analytic "geek" I would recommend you do a side by side comparison with data, weight, height, all the measurable stuff and sort out what you value.

BTW my wife preferred the interior of the TLX over the IS she though it more refined.

Good luck

Ivan (not verified)    September 18, 2014 - 11:07AM

I can predict the future, but from what I've researched thus far, the SH-AWD "advance" offering comes with more standard features than a MB S550. I am talking specifically about collision avoidance. Please let me know if I am wrong or if I misunderstand something. At $45k, there is nothing that even comes close. I am impressed by what Acura has done with the TLX and I am looking forward to test driving the AWD. Thank you for the informative article.

Parks McCants    September 19, 2014 - 11:59AM

Good day Ivan. I believe your observation to be accurate. While it may be a stretch to compare TLX to an S class Mercedes, it does offer best in class in several categories including accident avoidance. For me it comes down to fit and finish, transmission, engine performance and road handling;all, exceptional. The icing on the cake is the car's visual attributes. It's great looking! Enjoy your test drive!

David (not verified)    September 22, 2014 - 1:24AM

I was looking to get a new premium sport sedan and I read a lot of good reviews about the new TLX, especially from Parks McCants. I went to my local Acura dealership and test drove the 4 cylinder version with tech package. I was SOOOOO impressed by the TLX that I picked up delivery of a brand new 4 cylinder TLX with tech package last Saturday. I have no personal relation with Acura and I've owned Lexus, Infiniti, BMW, and other Acuras in the past. So let me give everyone here an unbiased review of the TLX here: THIS CAR IS THE REAL DEAL!!!
Acura really did it right with this new car. The exterior design is sleek and eye catching, especially with the 5 LED lights on each side. The interior fit and finish is top notch and the build quality is superb. I wasn't thrilled with the dual screen setup initially, but after realizing that my smart phone is completely touchscreen, I realized that the lower screen keeps all the functions, eliminates all the many buttons while giving the interior a high tech appearance. The ELS sound system is fantastic!
The best part of the car is how it performs though. The transmission is seamless. The IDM gives you 4 settings to choose from: Eco, Normal, Sport and Sport+. Economy saves you the most gas. When you put the car into Sport+ mode......WATCH OUT! The 206 HP engine turns from Bruce Banner into the Hulk!! It suddenly revs up with a lot of power! My friend who has a TL type S (280 HP) test drove my car and couldn't believe it!! Fun to drive doesn't begin to describe the experience! The most amazing part of this whole system is that you don't have to be at a complete stop to change the setting. I could be going at 60 mph on the road on ECO, then shift the system to Sport+ and blow past everyone revving up to 80 mph or more! The system is bulletproof.
The precision all wheel steering is really good too. You don't realize you're driving a front wheel drive car because it handles so well. The 4 cylinder is also light and not heavy like the V6 version.
I could go on and on with how amazing this car is, but the final take on this whole package is the price. My I-4 with tech pkg stickered at about $35K. Plus tax and all it came to about $38K. $38K?? There simply is no way you can get all the many features the TLX offers with all the other major luxury brands (European or Japanese) at that price. Acura keeps it simple. You either get a base model or a loaded one with the tech for one price. Everyone else charges you for every little thing that gets added on and the price goes up quickly from there.
But don't take my word for it. Head over to your nearest Acura dealer and test drive one for yourself. You won't believe how fun the TLX is to drive. If the TLX doesn't win Motortrend's Car of The Year, I don't what will!!

Parks McCants    September 23, 2014 - 12:25AM

In reply to by David (not verified)

Welcome David. No, really... tell us, how do you like your 2015 TLX? Very well writen personal(right?) review of TLX i-4. And, as you said,"There simply is no way you can get all the many features the TLX offers with all the other major luxury brands (European or Japanese) at that price." Thanks. As they say," If you ever need a job..." Take care.

David (not verified)    September 23, 2014 - 12:57PM

Thanks Parks for your reply. My review of the TLX is 100% personal. I have no affiliation with Acura and I am not an automotive journalist. I was impressed by all your articles of the new TLX and it motivated me to go see one for myself. The TLX is everything you said it was! I originally had my mind set on a V-6 version, but after reading your "2015 Acura TLX i-4: Shades of Integra Type-R" article, I went for the I-4 version. I am extremely happy with my purchase. If Acura can apply the same winning formula they used on the TLX to the ILX and RLX, Acura will be well on their way to Tier 1 status!

RWW (not verified)    September 26, 2014 - 11:30AM

I am currently driving a 1995 Acura Legend. I take good care of my cars and this one still looks great inside and out. The disappoint is that they had head gasket problems with this car. It irritated me that they didn't just recall the car and take care of this as my understanding is that it was fixed in the '96. I swore that I would never buy another Acura until I started reading the reviews on the TLX. I went to the dealer yesterday and was very impressed, especially with the interior of the $35,000 version. Acura has a winner on their hand and it will end up being a winner for the entire brand as it drives sales of other models in their showrooms.

Now if I could finally get Acura Inc to show some pricing favor to a very old customer who thought he deserved better on his last Acura

Geek (not verified)    September 29, 2014 - 6:03PM

In reply to by RWW (not verified)

I recently purchased a TLX 4 Tech and it is an impressive vehicle. The car is silky smooth, quiet with plenty of power. Many of the reviews nit pick what clearly we thought were trivial matters and others appear to lust more power clearly having never driven the car. If you contact Acura, would not be surprised if they offer you some loyalty peace offering.

Robert Winters (not verified)    September 27, 2014 - 12:11PM

I noticed that both the 4 and 6 cylinder engines are designed to run on Premium fuel. I wonder how these engines would perform using regular unleaded gasoline. Hopefully just a small hit in power but otherwise fine on the engine.

David (not verified)    September 29, 2014 - 4:41PM

Hi RWW, I understand your thoughts on your 1995 Acura Legend. But here's my take on it. You're still driving your 1995 Legend and you said it still looks great inside and out. How many other brands of cars from 1995 are still in the shape yours is in? Acura's build quality and reliability are among the best in the business! I say, put the past behind you and take a chance with this new TLX! You won't be disappointed!! The 4 cylinder version is bullet proof. A fully loaded model with tech package comes to $38,000. I recommend the tech package because you get a lot of cool features such as premium leather, ELS sound system, blind spot warning, etc. The 4 cylinder is VERY fun to drive. Words can't describe it. In sport plus mode, I'm blowing past others cars with more HP because this engine is so high reving! The car is sleek on the outside too, with a premium mid size sedan feel.

In response to Robert Winters. Japanese engines are known for doing well on the cheapest fuel. Of course, every car maker will tell you to use premium fuel. Remember how you would go to a college class, and you realized you didn't really need to buy the textbook because everything was already in the handouts? But if you ask the professor if you need to buy the book, of course he'll say you need to buy the book! So every manufacturer will tell you premium fuel is required as a formality, but with Japanese cars, you will be fine with the cheapest fuel. You just won't squeeze the maximum amount of power from the engine. So if you're never going to race your car on the track like me, it doesn't mean anything. I've been using the cheapest gas since I got my TLX, and I'm still blowing past everyone on the highway!