Buyer's Guide

2021 Acura Tlx
Select a Different Model (8 Available): 2.0 AWD Sedan
Zero to 60 $ 7 seconds
Fuel Economy 21 / 29 mpg
Horsepower 272@6,500
Torque 280@1,600
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2021 Acura TLX MODEL OVERVIEW

Pros

  • Striking exterior design
  • Extensive driver assist tech
  • Return of sporty Type S model

Cons

  • Infotainment touchpad might frustrate some users
  • Can FWD handle the base engine's torque?
  • No high-mpg hybrid model

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.

What's New

The Acura TLX is all-new for 2021, featuring:

  • Fresh exterior styling
  • High-tech, modern interior
  • Turbocharged engines
  • Updated infotainment system
  • Eye-catching color options

What We Think

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.

Performance and Fuel Economy

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.

Safety

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.

Cargo Space and Interior Room

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.

Technology

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.

Trim Levels

2021 Acura TLX

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

2021 Acura TLX A-Spec

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

2021 Acura TLX Type S

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

Key Competitors

2021 ACURA TLX SPECIFICATIONS
OVERVIEW
FEATURES
WARRANTY/RECALL
SAFETY
Engine Name
Engine: 4-Cyl Turbo 2.0 Liter
Transmission Name
Transmission, Sequential SportShift 10 Speed Automatic Mode Select with Manual Mode
Trim
2.0 AWD Sedan
Class
Premium Passenger Car
Horsepower
272@6,500
Standard MPG
21/29
Body Style
Sedan
Drivetrain
AWD
Fuel Type
Unleaded Premium
Seating Capacity
5/5
Package Invoice Retail
Show Full Specs
Corrosion Warranty Miles
Unlimited
Maintenance Warranty Months
none
Corrosion Warranty Months
60
Powertrain Warranty Miles
70,000
Full Warranty Miles
50,000
Powertrain Warranty Months
72
Full Warranty Months
48
Roadside Assistance Miles
50,000
Maintenance Warranty Miles
N/R
Roadside Assistance Months
48
IIHS Best Pick
0
NHTSA Rating Front Driver
Not Rated
IIHS Front Moderate Overlap
N/R
NHTSA Rating Front Passenger
Not Rated
IIHS Front Small Overlap
N/R
NHTSA Rating Front Side
Not Rated
IIHS Overall Side Crash
N/R
NHTSA Rating Overall
Not Rated
IIHS Rear Crash
N/R
NHTSA Rating Rear Side
Not Rated
IIHS Roof Strength
N/R
NHTSA Rating Rollover
Not Rated