2018 Acura TLX A-Spec: Sporty but sensible

Posted by Wheels On Edge about 4 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


Tags:
2018 Acura TLX, A-Spec, SHAWD

Latest Articles

See All
  • Keeping Your Car Safe Out On The Street
    Keeping Your Car Safe Out On The Street

    April 17, 2018 - Your car is what gets you from A to B, and that makes it absolutely indispensable to your lifestyle. But because of this, it’s also a huge money drain whenever something goes wrong regarding it. And there’s more to worry about than you think when it

  • The Car Checks You Can't Afford To Forget
    The Car Checks You Can't Afford To Forget

    April 17, 2018 - As a car owner, you are completely responsible for all of the maintenance of your vehicle. How you go about doing this, is entirely up to you. You might just want to take your car to the nearest mechanic whenever you think that something is up with i

  • 2018 Volvo XC60 R-Design: Swedish style and sophistication
    2018 Volvo XC60 R-Design: Swedish style and sophis...

    April 17, 2018 - In a world dominated by luxury crossovers, Volvo has launched the second generation of their XC60. The mid-sized utility vehicle was Volvo’s hottest seller and now it’s back, promising to be sportier, more luxurious and better than its predecessor in

  •  Handy Tips To Help Anybody Improve Their Gas Mileage
    Handy Tips To Help Anybody Improve Their Gas Mile...

    April 14, 2018 - So, you want to improve your gas mileage? This can be a substantial drain on your finances if you’re not careful You might think you’re doing everything you can to save a buck or two, but when you read through this list you might actually realize tha

  • Ticket Price: Negotiating More Than Just A Car
    Ticket Price: Negotiating More Than Just A Car

    April 5, 2018 - Of course, though, getting your hands on these deals isn’t always the easiest process. To help you out with this, this post will be exploring some of the best extras to fight for, along with some tips to help you to achieve this goal.

  •  Money Saving Tips When Buying A New Car
    Money Saving Tips When Buying A New Car

    April 5, 2018 - We are talking about any car, be that something brand new from your local dealer or a second-hand model that can still be a viable purchase for those looking for something attractive to drive around in. Either option can be expensive, but here are a

  • Preparing Your Car For A Long Journey
    Preparing Your Car For A Long Journey

    April 5, 2018 - No matter what applies, not only do you need to make sure that you are prepared for the journey, but you need to ensure that your car is as well. With that in mind, read on to discover some useful tips that can ensure your car is ready for the long t

  • Things To Remember When Taking Out A New Insurance Policy
    Things To Remember When Taking Out A New Insurance...

    April 2, 2018 - Usually, people are blindsided by the deals that companies are offering and forget to check whether the policy is actually offering them everything they need when it comes to insurance. Here are some things to remember when taking out a new insurance

  • So You Think You Can Drive? The Traits Of A Responsible Driver
    So You Think You Can Drive? The Traits Of A Respon...

    April 2, 2018 - While it might feel like it’s just you and the road, it’s important to remember that you’re not the only one out there - others rely on you to drive responsibly.

  • 5 Signs Your Mechanic Is Scamming You
    5 Signs Your Mechanic Is Scamming You

    March 29, 2018 - If you're worried you could be getting scammed, below you’ll find 5 signs to look out for that should help you figure out what’s what:

Share This!

or