2018 Acura TLX: The Ultimate Accord, If That’s What You’re After

The 2018 Acura TLX lives in a gray area between the Accord sedan that it is derived from and the established compact luxury sedans from BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Audi, and Lexus. Because the TLX retains the Accord’s front-wheel drive platform and major mechanicals, it is easy to see it as an Accord with the super deluxe treatment. And while that is not such a bad thing, it doesn’t quite elevate the 2018 TLX to the same level as its luxury competitors.

This is an issue that has dogged the upscale Honda brand since its early days. Many have opined that all Honda needs to do to compete is to create a new rear-wheel drive platform for their luxury division. Based on the historical evidence, this is unlikely to happen. Honda appears satisfied with the Acura status quo. So let’s evaluate the 2018 Acura TLX on its own merits.

New TLX Styling For 2018 – The Beak Is Gone!

After many years of front-end styling featuring the widely derided “beak,” Acura has finally taken a new styling direction for its vehicles. Foreshadowed by the Acura Precision Concept that debuted at the 2016 North American International Auto Show, the 2018 TLX features the new Acura diamond pentagon grille. 

The grille’s shape and a watered-down version of the Concept’s Jewel Eye LED headlights are about all that made it over from the show car. As usual, Acura’s need to keep all changes within the envelope of the donor Accord’s general body shape has resulted in a yet another uninspiring, but slightly better looking Acura design. 

What’s New Under The Skin

The 2018 Acura TLX offers two different engine options, similar to the Accord. A 2.4L, 206-horsepower inline-4 mated to an 8-speed Dual Clutch Transmission is the base powertrain. This is a 17 horsepower increase over the Accord Sport models. You can upgrade to a 3.5L, 290-horsepower V6 with a 9-speed automatic transmission. The V6 offers a 12 horsepower bump over that of the Accord. The Acura automatic transmissions are more advanced than the Accord’s CVT (on the 4-cylinder) and six-speed (with the V6).

There are some other unique TLX features not found on the Accord. Models with the 2.4L engine come equipped with Acura Precision All-Wheel Steer, which enhances low-speed maneuverability and high-speed stability.

The 3.5-liter V6 models with are available in both two- and all-wheel drive versions. Front-drive models feature the same Acura Precision All-Wheel Steer as the 2.4L models. All-wheel-drive models feature Acura Super-Handling All Wheel Drive, a sophisticated torque-vectoring system that provides precise handling and all-wheel grip.

New Technology Features

The Acura brand has always been Honda’s technology showcase brand. The 2018 TLX continues that tradition with these standard features:

  • ODMD 2.0 user interface with touchscreen
  • Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility
  • Sirius XM 2.0
  • Full-color TFT driver's meter 
  • AcuraWatch™ suite of safety and driver-assistive technologies 

The available Technology Package adds Navigation and HD Radio with Digital Traffic. The Advance Package can be added to the Technology Package and provides these additional items:

  • Surround View Camera System
  • Flush-mounted front and rear parking sensors
  • Heated steering wheel, rear outboard seats, and windshield
  • Wireless charging pad

New A-Spec Model Adds A Sporty Look

The A-Spec option adds a sporty look to the 2018 TLX without any mechanical changes. Exclusive interior and exterior styling and trim, more bolstering plus ventilation for the front seats, and larger 19” wheels are the most visible elements. 

2018 Acura TLX – Proud To Be What It Is

If you have an appreciation for the way in which Honda builds its cars, then the Acura TLX is the pinnacle of the Honda Way. It is well engineered, drives well, is comfortable, has plenty of performance and handling, and is full of state-of-the-art technology. It truly is an Accord with everything on it.

However, the TLX is not aspirational in the way that that comparable vehicles from BMW, Mercedes, Audi and Lexus are. These brands encourage you to move up the ladder from small to medium to large-sized versions. But if you are happy with where you are, then maybe the 2018 Acura TLX is the right car for you.

About The Author

Stephen Fogel

Stephen follows the global automotive industry on a daily basis, including new model announcements, new technologies, sales trends, and the latest in "green" cars.