By Joe Tralongo, Contributing Editor
KBB Expert Rating: 8.7
With its clean, stylish exterior and handsome, technology-rich interior, the 2017 Acura TLX sports sedan is the luxury car for people who value intelligent design as much as they do a good deal. Looking at the TLX’s standard-equipment list and varied drivetrain choices, including a potent V6 engine and Acura’s Super-Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD), the competition has reason to be worried. Competitors such as the Audi A4 and Infiniti Q50 cost more when optioned to match the TLX, while others, such as the BMW 3 Series, can’t match the TLX’s comfortably smooth ride. The TLX also excels in the areas of safety and value, exhibiting a nearly flawless execution of fit and finish and cutting-edge driver-assist systems.
If you measure a good investment not by how impressed your friends will be but rather by how satisfied you are with the purchase, the 2017 Acura TLX sedan was built with you in mind. For the money, it’s hard to beat the TLX’s combination of performance, technology and resale.
KBB Expert Ratings
Other than some new colors, the 2017 TLX luxury-performance sedan remains unchanged.
With three drivetrains from which to choose, Acura’s 2017 TLX can be everything from fuel-efficient luxury car to S-curve-carving performance sedan. The former accolade belongs to the base...
... model with the 206-horsepower 2.4-liter 4-cylinder engine and 8-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. More powerful than the turbocharged Audi A4 2.0T, the TLX 2.4L impresses with its sprightly acceleration and ingenious 4-wheel P-AWS steering (Precision All-Wheel Steer) that make it feel light and nimble in the corners. All TLX models include four drive modes: Econ, Normal, Sport and Sport+. Adrenaline junkies can move up to the TLX 3.5L, which comes with a 9-speed automatic and 290-horsepower 3.5-liter V6. But, the real performer here is the 3.5L SH-AWD, which brings Acura’s torque-vectoring all-wheel-drive system that delivers superb traction on wet or dry pavement. The V6 is better suited to this car, with plenty of low-end torque and a more robust feel.
DUAL-CLUTCH 8-SPEED AUTOMATIC
Acura’s technological prowess is on full display with the industry’s first 8-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission that includes a torque converter. Available only on the 4-cylinder TLX, this transmission delivers smooth, quick shifts while maximizing fuel economy and performance.
SUPER HANDLING All-WHEEL DRIVE
SH-AWD is more than just a sure-footed system to improve traction; it is a torque-vectoring setup that constantly routes torque to all four wheels. Not only is power routed to the front and rear wheels, but left and right as well, improving both steering input and stability.
Historically, Acura interiors are precisely tailored, closely detailed and intuitively user-friendly, and the 2017 TLX sedan maintains that appreciated tradition. In the center stack an 8-inch information screen is positioned where it’s easy to see; below that, a 7-inch touch screen is where it’s easy to operate. There are switches for the climate control, and a big knob allows scrolling through the sound system or navigation. The 4-cylinder models have a conventional shift lever while the V6 versions shift with buttons. Seats are comfy and supportive both front and rear, and soft-touch materials and well-done wood and aluminum accents finish the detailing.
Acura’s 2017 TLX performance-luxury sedan might not stand out in a crowd but it is an elegant and handsome piece of work. In front is the satin-finished proboscis that’s become the face of Acura, flanked by detailed LED headlights. Flowing lines along the sides wrap into a nice conjunction of taillights and decklid. Visual differentiations between the 4-cylinder and V6 models are the latter’s optional fog lights and a small badge on the rear of SH-AWD models. Not on the cutting edge of design, the TLX also won’t go out of style in the next 13 minutes, and we like it.
In addition to the first use of LED headlights as standard equipment across the board, the well-equipped Acura TLX for 2017 has a high level of standard features including keyless entry and start, heated power front seats, rearview camera, dual-zone automatic climate control, power moonroof, leather-wrapped steering wheel, high-gloss Zebra wood accents, tilt/telescope steering column, 355-watt 7-speaker sound system, 60/40-split folding rear seats, one-touch power windows, Bluetooth connectivity, electronic cruise control and automatic headlights.
There are two major option packages from which to choose. The Technology Package (about $4,000) includes navigation with real-time traffic, an upgraded 490-watt 10-speaker Acura/ELS Studio sound system with hard-disk drive, forward-collision warning, lane-keeping assist, lane-departure warning, blind-spot information, rear cross-traffic monitor, leather-trimmed interior, rain-sensing wipers and a frameless rearview mirror. The Advance Package (a little over $3,000), available only on V6 models, includes collision-mitigation braking with head-up warning, adaptive cruise control with low-speed following, road-departure mitigation and heated/ventilated front seats. These packages are not inexpensive but we feel they deliver a lot of value for the money.
Acura’s 2017 TLX is available with a choice of three distinct drivetrains: a 2.4-liter 4-cylinder front-wheel drive (FWD) with an 8-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission, and a 3.5-liter V6 with a 9-speed automatic and either FWD or all-wheel drive (AWD). The 4-cylinder model feels light on its feet and has ample power for a car in this class. The V6 is even more muscular without a huge fuel-economy penalty and benefits from advanced gas-saving technologies such as cylinder deactivation and idle stop/start. The 4-cylinder offers plenty of performance and the V6 returns commendable fuel economy, so it’s a close call but, everything considered, unless you really need all-wheel drive to deal with bad weather, for most people we’d recommend the 4-cylinder version.
206 horsepower @ 6,800 rpm
182 lb-ft of torque @ 4,500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 24/35 mpg
290 horsepower @ 6,200 rpm
267 lb-ft of torque @ 4,500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 21/34 mpg (FWD), 21/31 mpg (AWD)
Note: Due to changes in EPA testing to more effectively reflect real-world conditions, some 2017 models show slightly lower fuel-economy scores than their 2016 versions.
The 2017 Acura TLX has a Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of a little under $33,000 for the base 4-cylinder model; the front-drive V6 is just a few hundred dollars over $36,000 and fully loaded will be around $43,500; and the V6 SH-AWD is around $42,500 and will be over $45,500 with the Advance Package. In its class, TLX prices are comparable to the Lexus IS, which runs in the low-$40,000 range, and the Audi A4. To get a better idea of what people are paying for the 2017 Acura TLX in your area, check out the KBB.com Fair Purchase Price. As for resale, we expect the TLX to hold strong 5-year residual values, better than the Audi A4, BMW 3 Series and Infiniti Q50, but just shy of the Lexus ES 350.