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2018 Acura TLX KBB Expert Review

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KBB Expert Rating 8.8 / 10
This Car - 2018 Acura TLX
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Consumer Rating 8.2 / 10

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KBB Expert Review

KBB Editors' Overview

By Allyson Harwood

For 2018, Acura has given its best-selling TLX sedan its first update, and it's a good one. The original TLX did a fine job of establishing itself as a technology-rich, comfortably smooth luxury sedan, but it didn’t stir the driver's soul like other cars in its class. That changes this year. Building on the strong foundation of the first TLX, Acura added gorgeous front-end styling and a compelling A-Spec model that gives the driving experience more bite. Throw in excellent safety features, a strong value proposition, and options like Acura's Super-Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD) and a potent V6 engine, and the TLX is the readiest it has ever been to compete with the BMW 3 Series, Audi A4 and Infiniti Q50.

You'll Like This Car If...

The new TLX is one of the smartest investments in the segment, thanks to its mix of performance, technology and resale value. It also finally has the good looks that show off all the pluses that this car has to offer.

You May Not Like This Car If...

The TLX doesn’t have the prestige of the 3 Series or C-Class, but it's an excellent car that most people will enjoy. The new A-Spec model is fun, but doesn’t add more power and isn't in the same atmosphere as the BMW M3, Audi S4 or Cadillac ATS-V.

What's New for 2018

The TLX's major refresh adds a performance-biased A-Spec model, which has sport-tuned suspension, unique styling cues, a different steering ratio and interior differences compared to the rest of the lineup. All models receive fresh, attractive new front-end styling. Acura also made the infotainment system easier to use.

Driving It Driving Impressions

While there are two engines to choose from, our drive time in the TLX focused on the V6-equipped A-Spec and the V6 Advance. The steering is linear and nicely weighted in both models, but in the A-Spec the response is quicker. There is no power difference between the two V6 models (290 horsepower), and the 9-speed automatic, retuned for 2018, shifts quickly and smoothly. In addition to a sport-tuned suspension, the A-Spec offers better-bolstered seats and unique 19-inch tires. The result is a sporty driver-centric car that's a blast on curvy roads. With the A-Spec you lose some ride quality on straight stretches of road; if that's a problem, you can look to the more serene V6 Advance. The V6 Advance is the more comfortable of the two on the open road and the seats feel a little flatter, but this trim level is still great fun to drive.

Favorite Features

While many cars are available with all-wheel drive, SH-AWD is different. In addition to providing all-weather traction, SH-AWD is a torque-vectoring setup that constantly routes torque to all four wheels -- splitting power front and rear, and to the individual rear wheels -- improving cornering and stability.

The A-Spec package brings a new, more driver-centric attitude to the TLX. At the core is an A-Spec-unique suspension with larger stabilizer bars and stiffer spring rates. It works with a quicker steering ratio and special 19-inch tires to make canyon roads downright entertaining.

For vehicle details and pricing notes… Read More
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