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2018 Acura TLX

2018 Acura TLX review

You’re driving down the road, almost to your destination, and you hit the red light. It’s not just any red light. It’s what feels like the longest red light in town. You’re trying to be patient. The left turn arrow goes green and traffic begins to turn. You know your turn to go is coming and you just want it to hurry up and get here.

This is the story of the Acura TLX. It received a refresh for 2018 giving it the new face of the Acura brand, a new grade, and new premium features. It’s good but not as good as it could be.

2018 Acura TLX exterior

At the front of the 2018 TLX is the Acura diamond pentagon grille, first seen on the Acura Precision Concept two years ago. Its hood and front fenders are more dynamic than in previous years giving a more athletic appearance. The company’s 5-lamp Jewel Eye LED headlights and new alloy wheel designs complete the exterior refresh.

V6 models feature a rear diffuser with exposed dual-exhaust outlets while additional appearance packages add a chrome side sill garnish, leather seats with high-contrast stitching and piping, a power-operated driver’s seat thigh extension, trapezoidal LED fog lights, a Surround View camera system, built-in wireless charging pad, white LED ambient interior light piping, a heated steering wheel and rear outboard seats, power-folding side mirrors, and a new body-colored decklid spoiler.

The new A-Spec performance models get unique styling befitting its sportier drive including a matte-black diamond pentagon grille with dark chrome surround, a  lower front fascia with broad center air opening flanked by round LED fog lights, a dark appearance for the Jewel Eye LED headlights, 19-inch alloy wheels finished in Shark Gray paint, a gloss-black decklid spoiler, “smoked” LED taillights, matte-black side window surround, and an exclusive fascia featuring a lower diffuser accented by 4-inch round dual exhaust finishers. There is unique A-Spec badging

All the revisions make a significant difference in car’s appearance. All other Acura sedans suddenly look very dated.

2018 Acura TLX performance

I test drove the TLX’s new grade, the TLX V6 A-Spec, for this review. Equipped with a 3.5-liter, i-VTEC V6, the car achieves 290-horsepower. The engine is mated to a smooth-shifting 9-speed automatic transmission.

Billed as the sportiest variant, the V6 A-Spec is capable of quick acceleration, handles well through the corners, and smoothly executes all that you may demand from the steering wheel on a regular basis. It’s not as ready to pounce as German sedans but if you don’t demand high-level performance out of your sedan, you’ll never notice that any horsepower or torque is missing.

The car’s retuned electric power steering system and damper settings make the sedan a much more engaging drive than the previous year’s model. I found it connected to the road but unwilling to let you feel every bump that some performance focused cars allow you to, thanks in part to its standard Michelin Primacy grand touring tires. My back, which has survived a jostle or two during its life, was okay with this.

2018 Acura TLX interior

The biggest disappointment in the 2018 TLX refresh is Acura’s insistence on keeping the dual infotainment screen set-up. However, the company has updated the operating system with a 30 percent faster response time. A 7-inch capacitive touchscreen (previously resistive type) is new. Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are now compatible with the car’s operating system.

Its cabin is made of materials befitting the car’s Honda heritage. Practical and semi-luxurious materials fill the area. The TLX isn’t trying to be full-on luxury, just mid-luxury, and it works. If the car was priced $10-15,000 more, I would expect better.

Seating is comfortable without any change from the 2017 model. You could easily climb in the car for a road trip and end up at your destination without any aches and pains that didn’t exist prior to getting in the car.

2018 Acura TLX cargo

The TLX’s trunk fits an average amount of cargo for its class. The space is comparable to what is offering in the Audi A6 and more than what is in the Mercedes-Benz E-Class. Good small storage space is hallmark of Honda and the TLX is no exception to the rule.

2018 Acura TLX safety

The biggest news with the 2018 TLX is that Acura’s advanced safety technology, AcuraWatch, comes standard on all grades. Included is collision mitigation braking, adaptive cruise control, and lane keeping assistance.

2018 Acura TLX pricing

The new 2018 TLX 2.4L starts with a MSRP of $33,000 while the V6 equipped models start at $36,200. The TLX V6 A-Spec is offered for the first time starting at $42,800.

2018 Acura TLX

Fuel Economy


Like a car sitting at a red light, I’m anxiously awaiting the next move. If the next-gen TLX is executed as well as these updates, we’re in for a real treat of a sedan in the mid-luxury segment.

2018 Acura TLX final thoughts

The updates and changes to the TLX are well-executed. Like a car sitting at a red light, I’m anxiously awaiting the next move. If the next-gen TLX is executed as well as these updates, we’re in for a real treat of a sedan in the mid-luxury segment.

Vehicle provided by manufacturer for the purpose of this review. Our opinion is our own.

About Eileen Falkenberg-Hull

Eileen is the writer of the nationally syndicated column Automotive Minute in The Business Journals, which explores the automotive industry focusing on news, reviews, and interviews. She loves finding out about the business strategy, design, and drivability of vehicles. Eileen is a contributor to U.S. News & World Report Best Cars.

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