All-new for 2021, the TLX showcases Acura's latest in design and performance. It continues a lineage of Acura sedans stretching back decades, following the Vigor from the early 1990s, a few generations of the TL starting in 1995, and the first-gen TLX that made its debut in 2014.
For 2021, the new TLX features an edgy exterior design, dramatic proportions, a tech-forward cabin, and a choice between turbocharged engines. One of those, an all-new V-6, is exclusive to the TLX Type S, which revives Acura's performance subbrand after more than a decade out of the U.S. market. The 2021 TLX will go on sale in the fall of 2020, and the TLX Type S will be available from early 2021.
The Acura TLX is all-new for 2021, featuring:
The last-gen TLX fell short of being a true sport sedan, but the all-new 2021 model aims to change that.
Longer, lower, and wider, the 2021 TLX is an eye-catching four-door. Previewed closely by the 2019 Acura Type S concept car, the TLX's dramatic proportions wear creased and angular sheetmetal. Inside, Acura went for a cockpit-inspired design that eschews traditional luxury cues. The automaker's infotainment system's touchpad interface has frustrated us on the RDX, but hopefully updates will improve the user experience.
But what about sportiness? Acura attempts to address that with the TLX's turbocharged engine options. The standard 2.0-liter turbo-four with VTEC (derived from the Honda Civic Type R) packs significant power and torque gains over the previous 2.0-liter naturally aspirated base engine. And Acura enthusiasts can rejoice: The Type S performance subbrand returns in TLX form with a 3.0-liter turbocharged V-6 sending output through a new generation of SH-AWD.
Regardless of engine, the TLX's new chassis is stiffer and features a control-arm front suspension for sharper handling. Adaptive electric steering, adjustable suspension, and electro-servo brake-by-wire tech pioneered on the NSX are also on the upgrades list. These elements combined could make the new TLX a genuine sport sedan, and we can't wait to drive it.
Regardless of engine, all 2021 TLX models use a 10-speed automatic transmission. The standard engine is a 2.0-liter turbo-four with VTEC, producing 272 hp and 280 lb-ft of torque. FWD is standard, and Acura's SH-AWD system is available. MotorTrend estimates the 2021 TLX 0-60-mph time at about 6.5 seconds for 2.0T models. Fuel economy figures haven't yet been revealed, but we can tell you the RDX with the same powertrain hits 22/28 mpg city/highway with FWD and 21/27 with AWD; expect a bump up in fuel economy from that for the TLX.
The engine in the 2021 TLX Type S is a 3.0-liter turbocharged V-6, connected to standard SH-AWD, making it the first-ever AWD Type S model. Although Acura has not yet announced this engine's output, MotorTrend estimates that it will produce about 350 hp and 350 lb-ft of torque. The TLX Type S 0-60 time could be as quick as 4.5 seconds. Fuel economy for the V-6 will likely be about 20/29 mpg, the estimate for a 2020 TLX V-6 with AWD.
All TLX models are equipped with a suite of driver assist and active safety features called AcuraWatch. The bundle of tech features includes adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist, forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking, traffic sign recognition, and a driver attention monitor. Among its other airbags, the 2021 TLX is the first Acura to feature a three-chamber front passenger airbag, which can provide better protection in certain impacts.
The 2021 TLX's trunk offers 13.5 cubic feet of cargo capacity, with standard split-folding second-row seats to let larger items fit inside. Although Acura has not yet announced headroom and legroom measurements, total passenger volume is 93.4 cubic feet, a marginal increase over the 2020 model's 93.3 cubic feet.
Every 2021 TLX model features a 10.2-inch infotainment display, controlled by a touchpad on the center console. For 2021, it's been updated (compared to its initial application in the 2019 and 2020 RDX) for improved ease of use and handwriting recognition. Wi-Fi hot spot capability, app-based vehicle control and monitoring, and over-the-air software updates are among the TLX's technology features. Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and several USB ports are also likely to be included; a wireless device charger is optional. All TLX trim levels have a 7.0-inch gauge cluster information display, and a 10.5-inch head-up display is available. Like in other Acuras, the TLX will have an optional ELS Studio 3D premium audio system, which adds several ceiling-mounted speakers and a specially designed subwoofer.
Exterior: 18-inch alloy wheels, LED headlights and taillights, chrome window trim, dual exhaust outlets
Interior: Leather-wrapped steering wheel, power-adjustable front seats, 10.2-inch infotainment display, 7.0-inch gauge cluster display
Convenience: Adaptive cruise control, lane keeping assist, over-the-air software updates
Performance: 2.0-liter turbo-four engine, FWD or SH-AWD
Exterior: 19-inch alloy wheels, dark-tinted headlights and taillights, black window trim, rear spoiler, A-Spec badging
Interior: Perforated leather-wrapped flat-bottom steering wheel, metallic paddle shifters, metal sport pedals, two-tone leather seating upholstery with Ultrasuede accents
Convenience: Shared with TLX
Performance: Shared with TLX
Exterior: 20-inch alloy wheels, enlarged front air intakes, quad exhaust outlets, rear diffuser, Type S badging
Interior: Type S steering wheel and headrest embossments, door sills
Convenience: Shared with TLX
Performance: 3.0-liter turbocharged V-6, Brembo brakes, sport transmission tuning, AWD