2018 Acura TLX A-Spec: Sporty but sensible

Posted by Wheels On Edge about 5 months ago
The midsize sedan segment in Canada is in an interesting place. Vehicles like the Honda Accord, Toyota Camry, and indeed, the Acura TLX (formerly TL and TSX) tend to take the back seat to crossovers and SUV’s. Back in their early days in North America, Acura cemented their reputation with vehicles like the Integra and the Legend, offering luxury, sportiness, fun and value for money. In the midst of a mid-cycle refresh, can the TLX regain the appeal its segment once had, while bringing back the magic of the early Acuras? We found out.

Much of the TLX A-Spec’s changes are visual. Next to a standard TLX, the A-Spec is far more aggressive, featuring 19” gunmetal wheels, dark chrome accents,  trunk spoiler, side skirts and a re-sculpted front and rear. Inside the seats and dashboard take on a sportier look, ditching wooden accents for a darker brushed metal look. The seats - said to be inspired by the NSX supercar - are available in either red leather or black leather with alcantara inserts. The seats are also more bolstered than the standard model, but still comfortable.
The A-Spec features some engineering tweaks as well, giving the car a sportier feel than a standard TLX without sacrificing its comfortable ride. The steering and transmission were tweaked to feel more engaging and responsive, while the stiffer suspension helps cut down on body roll in corners. Acura also did some work on the exhaust. It’ll sound louder from the driver’s seat, but not all of the sound is natural. Some of it is piped in through the speakers. 

Under the hood, our A-Spec was equipped with a 290-horsepower 3.5L V6 engine mated to a 9-speed automatic gearbox. Coupled with Acura’s Super Handling All Wheel Drive (SH-AWD) system, the TLX won’t carve corners or thrust you into the back of your seat like an NSX, but it’ll get you going smoothly and quickly. The SH-AWD system focuses more on smoothness and stability than all out performance. Actions like making a right turn or changing lanes feel precise and controlled - even in inclement weather or on poor road surfaces.
At highway speed, the A-Spec can cruise quietly at low RPM’s thanks to its 9 gears. The gearbox responds quickly when shifting in manual mode, but under normal driving, it can feel slow. This is especially apparent when switching from Reverse to Drive, or when mashing the gas pedal during overtaking. Acura ditched a traditional gear shifter in the TLX, utilizing a series of buttons instead. While this does save some vertical space, it will take some getting used to. Below the gear buttons, a ‘Dynamic’ switch lets drivers toggle between various driving modes that affect throttle response, transmission behaviour and the AWD system’s behaviour. 

On the technology side, Acura’s safety technology, dubbed ‘AcuraWatch’ is now standard on the TLX. This suite of driver aids include lane keeping assistance, collision mitigation braking and a birds-eye camera view. A dual-screen setup inside allows the TLX to display navigation and infotainment simultaneously. It also comes with Android Auto and Apple Carplay compatibility. Modern smartphones can also enjoy a wireless charging pad. But the interface and design of the on-screen display is not quite as refined as that on the cheaper Honda Accord. Plus, the Accord also features a optional Heads Up Display - an option absent from the TLX.
The TLX A-Spec starts at $44,407 in Canada. Our tester, with the optional V6 engine (among other features,) came in at a heftier $53,207. The TLX, at the end of the day, is a comfortable and practical family sedan. While the A-Spec isn’t quite as sporty as Acuras of past like the Integra, it still injects some much needed aggression into the brand’s lineup.

Written by Shane Kalicharan

2018 Acura TLX, A-Spec, SHAWD

Latest Articles

See All
  • 2018 Dodge Challenger GT AWD: The sensible muscle car
    2018 Dodge Challenger GT AWD: The sensible muscle ...

    May 18, 2018 - What’s the best way to get through a Canadian winter? Well, if Dodge has it’s way, the answer is American muscle…built in Canada. Muscle car owners wouldn’t usually drive their rear-drive toys when the snow and ice comes around, but the new Dodge Cha

  •  7 Ways Your Car Can Be Eco-Friendly
    7 Ways Your Car Can Be Eco-Friendly

    May 16, 2018 - They aren’t particularly friendly to the environment and so far, the majority of cars run on petrol or diesel – definitely not environmentally healthy. Car pollution is one of the biggest causes of global warming, so it’s a good thing that we are now

  • Location-Based Car Quirks To Learn To Avoid
    Location-Based Car Quirks To Learn To Avoid

    May 14, 2018 - As a big part of this, you will often find different ideas and routes being followed in different places. While it is somewhat of a generalisation, this approach to cars means that you will often find the issues with cars from the same region are the

  • The Things No One Tells You About Your Car
    The Things No One Tells You About Your Car

    May 14, 2018 - Of course, even if you read everything you can, though, it will still be easy to miss out on vital elements. To help you out with this, this post will be exploring some of the little know but incredibly important information about your car, giving yo

  • Common Mistakes Made After Being Involved In A Car Accident
    Common Mistakes Made After Being Involved In A Car...

    May 14, 2018 - If you are involved in a car accident, it is important to know the steps that you should take in order to guarantee that nobody else gets hurt and to make sure that you can launch a successful claim for compensation if the incident was not your faul

  • The Car For You: Best Buys For Every Type Of Driver
    The Car For You: Best Buys For Every Type Of Drive...

    May 7, 2018 - One of the key considerations to bear in mind is the type of driver you are. This will impact the range of vehicles that cater for your needs and help you find the best buy. If you need some advice or inspiration, this guide will come in handy.

  •  What To Do If You Are Involved In A Car Accident
    What To Do If You Are Involved In A Car Accident

    May 3, 2018 - It may be that you have the misfortune of being on the road at the same time as someone who is driving under the influence. Because of this, it is important to know what you need to do if you are ever involved in a car accident. Read on to discover m

  • Is Technology Really Making Our Roads Safer?
    Is Technology Really Making Our Roads Safer?

    May 3, 2018 - Are our roads really that much safer than they were a decade ago, or is it just a poor understanding of what really goes on in today’s roads? Let’s examine those points to find out if technology really has helped, or if we’ve all got the wrong idea.

  • 2018 Volkswagen Golf TSI: Still the People’s Car
    2018 Volkswagen Golf TSI: Still the People’s Car

    May 1, 2018 - No matter your motoring needs, chances are – there’s a Volkswagen Golf that fits your needs. Need lots of room? There’s the Golf SportWagen. Performance? There’s the Golf GTI. Even more performance with All Wheel Drive? There’s the Golf R. All around

  • Finding The Car That's Right For You
    Finding The Car That's Right For You

    May 1, 2018 - If you’re a first time buyer, you’re probably feeling quite excited right about now: it’s time to pick your first car, and there’s so many out there in your budget range that you could settle for! You can find something in your favorite color, or you

Share This!