2021 Acura TLX SH-AWD A-Spec

Reclaiming a performance image
By Durhl Caussey
Durhl Caussey
Durhl Caussey
June 6, 2021 Updated: June 6, 2021

Acura’s best-selling sedan has been given a full redesign for 2021. The TLX is available with either a “gutsy” Type-S turbo V6 engine, or the regular turbocharged four-cylinder.

The 272-horsepower 2.0L turbocharged VTEC 4-cylinder engine in the test TLX sends the power through a 10-speed automatic transmission to the Super Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD) System. Paddle shifters and electric power steering adds driving engagement, while engine immobilizer theft deterrent system guards this precious vehicle.

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The back view. (Courtesy of Acura)

The fuel economy for the turbo-four TLX with AWD is rated at 21 mpg in the city and 29 mpg on the highway, for a combined average of 24 mpg.

My favorite improvement was the sophisticated new platform that enhances the control and ride compared to its predecessors.

The interior has been jazzed up, making it more competitive in the segment.

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The sporty bucket seats in the A-Spec model. (Courtesy of Acura)

Doing a comparison of this Acura to its competitors in the luxury segment, I found its list price of $46,250 to be the most competitive.

Acura’s SH-AWD “shuffles” power among the wheels to improve agility and traction. This is an optional feature, but represented in the above mentioned price.

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Center console with HD display and gear selector buttons. (Courtesy of Acura)

TLX’s sporty characteristics can be found in the expressive designs. The driver is in full control through the easily read and understood analog gauges and conveniently displayed drive mode selector found in the middle of the dash board. Open-pore wood and real aluminum complement the quality seating materials.

The quality cabin interior is showcased by the 12-way power heated/ventilated leather seats, 10.2-inch HD center display, and True Touchpad Interface. Admittedly you can be handicapped if you don’t know how to use the touchpad.

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True Touchpad Interface. (Courtesy of Acura)

The Multi-View Rear Camera shares the center screen with the infotainment system. Wireless smartphone integration includes Bluetooth hands-free and streaming, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto. SiriusXM Satellite Radio provides a wide variety of entertainment materials.

Available large 10.5-inch full-color Head-Up Display (HUD) keeps the driver informed without taking eyes off the road, and it works well together with the standard 7.5-inch Multi-Information Display in the gauge cluster.

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Multi-Information Display. (Courtesy of Acura)

The power tilt/slide moonroof, Jewel Eye LED headlights, and heated power side mirrors round up the exterior package resting on 19-inch aluminum-alloy wheels.

Acura Navigation System with voice recognition is standard, and so is AcuraWatch Advanced Safety & Driver Assist. This safety tech package encompasses Collision Mitigation Braking System (CMBS) with Pedestrian Detection, Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) with Low-Speed Follow, Lane Keeping Assist System (LKAS), Road Departure Mitigation System, Traffic Jam Assist, Traffic Sign Recognition (TSR), Forward Collision Warning (FCW) System, and Lane Departure Warning (LDW) System.

The A-Apec model includes all the advanced safety goodies in the Technology trim, which includes Blind Spot Information, Rear Cross Traffic Monitor, and Front and Rear Parking Sensors. TLX has the comfort of a luxury sedan, but personality of a sporty model. Technology is cutting edge in quality and above average.

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A-Spec insignia. (Courtesy of Acura)

The quiet sporty leather interior matched the Lunar Silver Metallic exterior perfectly.

Acura has one of the longest powertrain warranties on the market.

4 years/50,000 miles Vehicle Limited Warranty
6 years/70,000 miles Powertrain Limited Warranty
5 years/unlimited miles Rust-through Limited Warranty
4 years/50,000 miles Acura Total Luxury Care with Roadside Assistance

Durhl Caussey writes a car column read around the world. He may be reached at this paper or durhlcaussey@gmail.com.

Durhl Caussey
Durhl Caussey