2021 Acura TLX Review: Expected Release Date, Prices, MPG, And Performance

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John Bedrow 

Automotive Journalist

July 13, 2020  at 1:22 PM

Introduced in 2014 for the 2015 model year and replacing the smaller TSX and the slightly larger TL, the TLX, the TLX had always faced steep competition in the compact executive car segment from other very capable cars from the Japanese and German automakers in the market.

Although the Acura TLX was intended to compete with other performance luxury sedans from Germany, it fell behind both in terms of refinement and excitement and didn’t bring anything unique to the table. Coming 2021, Acura has put in enough effort to change the tide with the new Acura TLX sedan.

The 2021 model is set to change all of its shortcomings with an upgrade to its 2nd generation. It is expected to receive a fully redesigned interior and exterior which is both longer and wider than its predecessor. Although the exterior is receiving a major overhaul, it is still unmistakably a TLX. There should also be a significant boost in terms of performance as well. The new interior design looks sporty and modern at the same time and the new infotainment system with a touchpad controller is a nice upgrade as well. Let us find out when and what to expect from the 2021 Acura TLX sedan.

What to expect in the engine department?

The ongoing 2020 TLX is powered by either a 2.4L Inline-4 producing 206 HP and 182 lb-ft. of torque, or a bigger more powerful 3.5L V6 producing 290 HP and 267 lb-ft. of torque. For the upcoming 2021 model, the TLX will also get its power from two power units. The standard one will be a Turbocharged 2.0L DOHC 4-cylinder engine producing 272 HP and 280 lb-ft. of torque, which is slightly less powerful than the outgoing V6 engine, but has more torque.

2021 Acura TLX gets an all-new 3.0L Turbocharged V6

Arriving in spring 2021, the Type S high-performance variant will get its power from an all-new 3.0L Turbocharged 24-valve DOHC V6. Although the power figures are yet to be released by the company, it will be significantly powerful and would make the car capable enough to compete with its German rivals.

Both the new turbocharged engine will be mated to Acura’s 10-speed automatic transmission with Sequential SportShift with paddle shifters. It offers a wider ratio range, more discrete gears, four-gear direct downshift, and a lower first gear compared to the previous 8-speed dual-clutch and 9-speed automatic transmissions. The Type S high-performance variant will get unique transmission tuning to provide an aggressive and responsive characteristic for more involved driving.

Models

2021 Acura TLX Sedan (expected)

2020 Audi A4

2020 BMW 3-Series

2020 Mercedes-Benz C-Class

Base MSRP

$35,000 

$37,400 

$40,750 

$41,400 

Engine

2.0L Turbocharged Inline-4 / 3.0L Turbocharged V6

2.0L Turbocharged Inline-4 40 TFSI 

2.0L Turbocharged Inline-4 

2.0L Turbocharged Inline-4 

Transmission

10-speed shiftable automatic

7-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission

8-speed shiftable automatic

9-speed automatic transmission

Horsepower

272 hp +

188 hp @ 4200 rpm

255 hp @ 5000 rpm

255 hp @ 5800 rpm

Torque

280 lb-ft. +

236 lb-ft @ 1450 rpm

295 lb-ft @ 1550 rpm

273 lb-ft @ 1800 rpm

The power output from the base engine of the 2021 Acura TLX is on par with the base engines of its rivals and the more powerful V6 could also be expected to be on par with the more powerful engines of its rivals. But the Audi does fall behind its competitors in terms of engine output from both of its available engine options.

How many miles to the gallon will the 2021 Acura TLX deliver?

While the exact fuel economy numbers are yet to be released by Acura, we can safely assume that they are going to be very similar, if not better than the outgoing version due to its Turbocharged engines, although the new engines will be significantly more powerful. The 2020 Acura TLX offers 23/33/27 MPG for city, highway, and combined driving respectively.

Model

2021 Acura TLX Sedan (expected)

2020 Audi A4

2020 BMW 3-Series

2020 Mercedes-Benz C-Class

MPG (city)

23*

24

26

24

MPG (highway)

33*

32

36

35

MPG (combined)

27*

27

30

28

Fuel tank capacity (gallons)

17.2*

15.3

15.6

17.4

Range (city/highway) (miles)

395.6 / 567.6*

367.2 / 489.6

405.6 / 561.6

417.6 / 609.0

*2020 Figures used for reference

The outgoing 2020 Acura TLX is already on par with the competition in terms of the fuel economy. Nonetheless, BMW’s 2.0L Turbocharged Inline-4 with Rear-wheel drive drivetrain does take the crown when it comes to fuel economy.

What to expect from the Honda 2021 Acura TLX interior?

With a more edgy and angular design, the interior of the 2021 TLX is getting a thorough makeover which makes it feel more sporty and modern at the same time. The dual 8” and 7” touchscreen infotainment display is replaced by a single 10.2” display above the dashboard at the center with a touchpad controller. The center console is nicely positioned and has an array of physical buttons inspired by the Acura's flagship NSX Supercar for controlling functionalities like climate control, etc. You also get buttons for selecting the drive modes viz. Normal, Comfort, Sport, and Individual. 

2021 Acura TLX comes equipped with 16-way power-adjustable seats

New for the 2021 TLX is the infotainment trackpad which is ergonomically placed where you can reach without any effort. With 16-way power-adjustable front seats that provide good lateral support with the impressive side bolstering and decently comfortable rear seats and with quality materials all around, the interior of the 2021 TLX is a nice place to be in, especially compared to the outgoing 2020 model.

Model

2021 Acura TLX Sedan (expected)

2020 Audi A4

2020 BMW 3-Series

2020 Mercedes-Benz C-Class

Passenger Capacity

5

5

5

5

Front (Head/Shoulder/Leg) (in.)

37.2 / 57.5 / 42.6*

37.3 / 55.9 / 41.3

38.7 / 56.0 / 42.0

37.1 / 55.3 / 41.7

Second (Head/Shoulder/Leg) (in.)

36.7 / 55.4 / 34.5*

37.4 / 54.5 / 35.7

37.6 / 54.6 / 35.2

37.1 / 55.0 / 35.2

*2020 Model used for reference

Since the interior dimensions of the 2021 TLX are yet to be announced by the company, we’ve used the 2020 model as a reference and the 2020 model is already in par with its competition. But since the 2021 model will be both longer and wider than the 2020 model, it should also translate to the interior dimensions as well. Although the exact interior dimensions are not disclosed, the overall interior volume of the 2021 TLX is 93.4 cu.ft. Moreover, the maximum cargo capacity of the 2021 TLX is 13.5 cu.ft.

Does it come loaded with tech inside?

The dual 8” and 7” touchscreen infotainment display on the 2020 Acura TLX sedan is being replaced by a single 10.2” display above the dashboard at the center. You also get buttons to select the drive modes viz. Normal, Comfort, Sport, and Individual. New for the 2021 TLX is the infotainment trackpad to control the UI. Although the track-pad controller is a nice upgrade, it might not be very intuitive and might be hard to control. 

2021 Acura TLX gets an all-new 10.2-inch Infotainment setup

The 2021 TLX also features a standard 7” full-color Multi-Information Display (MID) in the center gauge cluster and also a 10.2” full-color Head-Up Display is made available. For the audio system, it is equipped with the award-winning Acura ELS Studio premium audio system with a new Twin Telford subwoofer design.

Other tech features include the latest generation of AcuraLink with in-vehicle 4GLTE Wi-Fi, OTA software update capability, and a wide array of available cloud-based services- emergency roadside assistance, remote locking/unlocking, and engine start, stolen vehicle tracking, remote diagnostics, geofencing, speed tracking, and Acura concierge services. On top of that, some of the notable safety features include frontal collision mitigation, driver attention monitor, adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist.

Will there be any changes to the exterior of the 2021 Acura TLX?

The outgoing TLX is a decent sedan but it lacks the character and presence that its German rivals bring to the party but Acura has addressed all-that and more with the 2021 TLX which is getting a huge overhaul to the exterior design of the car, yet keeping the original flavor intact. With new headlights and taillights, the 2021 TLX is 2.9” longer, 2.2” wider and 0.6” shorter than the 2020 TLX. The front bumper is also given a completely new look, and the car looks sportier and aggressive overall than the ongoing model. 

 Acura TLX gets an all-new look for 2021

Its new look is heavily influenced by the Acura Precision Concept and is beautifully translated from the Type S Concept. The car has a low and wide stance, long dash-to-axle ratio, expansive hood, and pronounced rear haunches, which gives the car a mean and sporty look. The wide fender flairs and pushed out wheels, combined with the new sleeker and angular headlamps give the TLX a sharper, sportier, and a more hunkered down look that helps it stand out from the crowd.

Model

2021 Acura TLX Sedan (expected)

2020 Audi A4

2020 BMW 3-Series

2020 Mercedes-Benz C-Class

Curb Weight (lbs.)

NA

3627

3849

3825

Length (in.)

194.6

187.5

185.7

185

Width (in.)

75.2

72.7

71.9

71.3

Height (in.)

56.4

56.2

56.8

56.3

Ground Clearance (in.)

NA

NA

5.4

3.5

Wheelbase (in.)

113.0

111.0

112.2

111.8

Track Width (in.) F/R

62.8 / 63.1

NA

NA

NA

Acura has kept the signature diamond pentagon grille which is accompanied by the next-generation Acura lighting cues previewed in the Type-S Concept. The 2021 TLX has overall bigger dimensions, especially in terms of the length of the car. The TLX also has the largest wheelbase among the competition and the Merc C-Class ends up with the shortest overall length in this comparison.

Will the 2021 Acura TLX be worth my money and time?

Although struggling for quite some time and lagging behind its German rivals, the 2021 TLX is getting a huge overhaul from the ground up with this generation upgrade. With more powerful engines, a better and nicer interior, more features and technology, better outward appearance and stance than the outgoing model, the TLX and could finally be worth recommending among its German competitions. We can only find that out after experiencing the car in person. So we must wait until the car has been officially launched by the company, which is expected anytime in fall 2020. That being said, the 2021 TLX shows some promise and even though there are some capable German luxury sedans out there in the market, the 2021 Acura TLX should be worth waiting for.

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2021 Acura TLX FAQs

How much will the 2021 Acura TLX cost?

Acura hasn't officially revealed the price of the 2021 TLX but it is expected to cost somewhere around the mid $30,000 range.

What engine options does the 2021 Acura TLX get?

The 2021 TLX will be powered by two new engines. It will come equipped with a 2.0L turbo inline-4 as standard and a 3.0L turbocharged V6 will be available as an option.

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