Friday, November 7, 2014

Acura TLX

2015 Acura TLX

The brand new Acura TLX is a brand new executive midsize sedan that not only replaces the TL but also the Euro Accord-based TSX. This is like killing two birds with one stone, if you know what I mean? Anyway, while this is a brand-new model, the TLX is the first Acura model to come with two very unique automatic gearboxes; one is an 8-Speed DCT (Dual-Clutch Transmission) with torque converter for the 2.4L 4-cylinder engine, and the other one is an excessive 9-speed automatic transmission for the V6 model. 9 gears! That's a lot more than what the legs of the octopus have. All right, let's find out if this new model is any good...

Hey wait a minute...aren't this one's Accord-based?

The TLX, just like the TL and the TSX it replaces, is mechanically similar to the Honda Accord but the TLX is not like the Honda Accord because while the Honda Accord available in Japan only comes with the hybrid powerplant, the American-made Acura TSX is available with two petrol engines mated with unique gearboxes. Wait a minute, do I need to repeat that statement above?

Yes, please.

Anyway, the 2.4L 4-cylinder model comes with Acura's first 8-speed double-clutch gearbox. If you're not sure how it works, here's a common example; when I placed it in 2nd gear, the second clutch pre-prepared the 3rd gear for me. When I shift it, it changes faster than flipping to page 2 of a book I'm reading. The double-clutch gearbox may not be a bad choice but let's hope Honda will not face some problems just like what happened to the Honda Fit Hybrid's double-clutch gearbox several times.

What about the V6 model?

Now here's something I'd like to say. The TLX with the 3.5L V6 model comes with the most excessive number in gearbox history and I'm referring to its 9-speed automatic gearbox. In this model, the gear lever is not here and what you'll see are buttons that take control of the gears. There also the Integrated Dynamics System which allows you to switch through three driving modes; Normal, Economy, and Sport. This new gearbox has so many gizmos to choose from depending on your driving style and that's good, probably.

What do you think about the design?

2015 Acura TLX

2015 Acura TLX interior

Design-wise, the TLX is not quite bad at all and it feels more like an improvement from the bland-looking TL and the not-so-bland looking TSX so it's the best of both worlds, except for the front view which, in my opinion, is far too much for Acura, employing the same look over and over again. On the interior, the TLX will still disappoint buyers because of its stale dashboard looks. Feels like Acura's taking some notes from BMW, adopting the same interior on different models. What a pitiful sight but it doesn't even matter. 

The software's now revamped for this model and it's capable with the next generation of AcuraLink telematics system. The new AcuraLink now comes with two-way communication, greater interaction, and a host of available services. You can even try using your smartphone to lock or unlock your car. How convenient is that? Feels like the future is now thanks to science after all.

What's it like to drive?

2015 Acura TLX

For a sport sedan of this magnitude, the TLX is not quite bad at all on the city streets and on the open roads, although I find the standard P-AWS a bit too problematic on the bends. Sure, this drivetrain feels lighter and more lively on the bends but it feels as soggy as a salad with some cheese-flavored dressing. However, there is one thing that the TLX able to redeem itself and that's the ace of the hole; the SH-AWD. SH-AWD or Super Handling All Wheel Drive lets its rear-axle torque vectoring sharpen the handling considerably. I'd like to enjoy driving the TLX with the V6 engine and the AWD drivetrain because it feels like there's an upperclassman approaching through his day job but sadly, that's just part-time job because while the SH-AWD is the ideal powertrain for the TLX judging by its unprecedented handling style, the use of comfort tires just spoils it and prone to understeer.

Should I buy it?

The TLX with the 2.4L model starts at $30,995 while the 3.5L V6 model starts at $35,220. Although the base TLX model with the 2.4L engine costs less than the base Cadillac ATS sedan with the 2.5L engine in it, it's not what you called "you get what you paid for" because the TLX needs more improvement if it wants to get its head in the game. If you want one, it's all up to you to decide.

Available colors: Crystal Black Pearl, Graphite Luster Metallic, Bellanova White Pearl, Basque Red Pearl II, Fathom Blue Pearl, Black Copper Pearl, and Slate Silver Metallic.

Photo: American Honda Motor Co., Inc.
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