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2018 Acura TLX

2018 Acura TLX

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$19,068 — $33,028 USED
150
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Sedan
5 Seats
23-27 MPG
(Combined)
Key specs of the base trim
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2018 Acura TLX Review

from the Cars.com expert editorial team

We checked out the 2018 Acura TLX this week at the 2017 New York International Auto Show. All TLX sedans are refreshed for 2018, which means they get brand new styling from the A-pillar forward - a new hood, a new grille and a new bumper.

By Kelsey Mays
The verdict:

Refreshed for 2018, the Acura TLX sedan remains a strong value choice in a large class.

 

Versus the competition:

Luxury sedan shoppers with a $40,000 budget have enough choices to fill a Cheesecake Factory menu, and though the TLX can’t go blow-for-blow against the best of them for performance or quality, it thumps most of them in value.

 

Now in the fourth model year of its current generation, the 2018 TLX gets a slew of visual updates and a reworked multimedia system. Drivetrains carry over, with a four-cylinder or V-6 engine available with front-wheel drive. All-wheel drive can also be had with the V-6, as can an A-Spec performance package — a $2,900 option that’s new for 2018. We drove a V-6 TLX AWD in regular and A-Spec form at a Kentucky media preview (Cars.com pays for its travel and lodging for such automaker-held events).

Quickish

The TLX’s engines — a 2.4-liter four-cylinder and 3.5-liter V-6 — boast direct injection but not the turbochargers that are ubiquitous among competing sports sedans. We’ve driven the four-cylinder in past TLXs, and despite its modest numbers (206 horsepower, 182 pounds-feet of torque), it features lively revving and surprisingly adequate midrange oomph when paired with Acura’s responsive eight-speed automatic transmission, which got the engine to higher revs in short order. Acura says it retuned this transmission for 2018 to improve refinement, but we’ve not driven it yet; the 2018 V-6 we drove had a nine-speed automatic.

The optional 3.5-liter V-6 makes heartier numbers (290 hp, 267 pounds-feet of torque), but neither drivetrain replicates the immediate thrust of the turbo four-cylinders in the BMW 330i or Audi A4. The V-6 makes up for it on the back end with a silky crescendo of power that builds as the tachometer swings clockwise; Acura offici...

Now in the fourth model year of its current generation, the 2018 TLX gets a slew of visual updates and a reworked multimedia system. Drivetrains carry over, with a four-cylinder or V-6 engine available with front-wheel drive. All-wheel drive can also be had with the V-6, as can an A-Spec performance package — a $2,900 option that’s new for 2018. We drove a V-6 TLX AWD in regular and A-Spec form at a Kentucky media preview (Cars.com pays for its travel and lodging for such automaker-held events).

Quickish

The TLX’s engines — a 2.4-liter four-cylinder and 3.5-liter V-6 — boast direct injection but not the turbochargers that are ubiquitous among competing sports sedans. We’ve driven the four-cylinder in past TLXs, and despite its modest numbers (206 horsepower, 182 pounds-feet of torque), it features lively revving and surprisingly adequate midrange oomph when paired with Acura’s responsive eight-speed automatic transmission, which got the engine to higher revs in short order. Acura says it retuned this transmission for 2018 to improve refinement, but we’ve not driven it yet; the 2018 V-6 we drove had a nine-speed automatic.

The optional 3.5-liter V-6 makes heartier numbers (290 hp, 267 pounds-feet of torque), but neither drivetrain replicates the immediate thrust of the turbo four-cylinders in the BMW 330i or Audi A4. The V-6 makes up for it on the back end with a silky crescendo of power that builds as the tachometer swings clockwise; Acura officials told us it’s enough to hit 60 mph in the high 5-second range. That’s on par with manufacturer-estimated times for the German rivals, and the TLX does it with swift accelerator response — an underrated benefit given the maddening pedal lag in too many luxury cars.

The V-6’s nine-speed transmission, also retuned for 2018, is a mercurial bedfellow. Sometimes the transmission shifts smoothly and other times it hunts for gears on downshifts or refuses them outright. A driver-selectable Sport mode improves decisiveness on gear choices but can’t seem to coax faster kickdown.

Shields Down

Value, Baby

The TLX starts around $34,000, which is relatively affordable for the class. It’s a complete luxury car at that price: Standard features include heated leatherette (vinyl) upholstery, power front seats, keyless access and push-button start, the upgraded multimedia system, a backup camera, and a host of safety and self-driving systems that used to be optional: full-speed adaptive cruise control, lane centering steering and forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking. Seldom does the mid-$30,000s get you that much in a luxury car.

Still, safety-minded shoppers may want to wait until the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety tests the 2018 TLX. Officials cited a revised headlight design to improve on the 2016-17 TLX’s disappointing IIHS headlight scores, but they didn’t say if Acura made any structural changes to improve on the car’s less-than-perfect front crash-test scores. As of this writing, new IIHS tests are still pending.

Climb the trim levels and you can get ventilated front seats, power-folding mirrors, 360-degree cameras, and heaters for the rear seats and steering wheel. Luxuries like a panoramic moonroof and power-adjustable steering column are unavailable. But the TLX tops out around $47,000, which is peanuts for this class. Many rivals top out well above $50,000, and a few climb into sticker-shock terrain in the $60s. And that’s before you add the type of optional higher-performance engines the TLX doesn’t offer.

If money is no object, other luxury sedans beat the 2018 Acura TLX in performance and quality. But the TLX has value in spades, and it holds its own in more than a few areas beyond that.

Consumer Reviews

What drivers are saying

4.6
73 reviews — Read All reviews
Exterior Styling
(4.7)
Performance
(4.7)
Interior Design
(4.6)
Comfort
(4.8)
Reliability
(4.8)
Value For The Money
(4.6)

Read reviews that mention:

(5.0)

My beautiful stylish and dependable car.

by Fabulous Chica from San Francisco,CA on May 23, 2020

TLX car performance is outstanding runs fast and smooth and I would say very reliable and dependable on that note I am surely planned to keep this for forever. Read full review

(5.0)

Very reliable and extremely comfortable

by Marc from Fort Worth, Tx on April 29, 2020

Acura is the high end Honda which are known for their reliability and durability. Acura's standard package is Honda's upgrades. Amazing vehicle and very stylish. Read full review

Safety

Recalls and crash tests

Recalls

The 2018 Acura TLX currently has 1 recall


Crash and Rollover Test Ratings

Warranty

New car and certified pre-owned programs by Acura

New Car Program Benefits

  • Bumper-to-Bumper

    48 months / 50,000 miles

  • Powertrain

    72 months / 70,000 miles

  • Roadside Assistance

    48 months / 50,000 miles

Certified Pre-Owned Program Benefits

  • Maximum Age/Mileage

    Six model years and less than 80,000 odometer miles

  • Basic Warranty Terms

    Precision Certified: 24 months or up to 100,000 miles

  • Powertrain

    7 years/100,000 miles

  • Dealer Certification Required

    182-point inspection

  • Roadside Assistance

    Yes

  • View All CPO Program Details

Latest 2018 TLX Stories

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Cars.com Car Seat Check

Certified child passenger safety technicians conduct hands-on tests of a car’s Latch system and check the vehicle’s ability to accommodate different types of car seats. The TLX received the following grades on a scale of A-F.*
* This score may not apply to all trims, especially for vehicles with multiple body styles that affect the space and design of the seating.

Warranty FAQs

What is a Bumper-to-Bumper warranty?

Often called a basic warranty or new-vehicle warranty, a bumper-to-bumper policy covers components like air conditioning, audio systems, vehicle sensors, fuel systems and major electrical components. Most policies exclude regular maintenance like fluid top offs and oil changes, but a few brands have separate free-maintenance provisions, and those that do offer them is slowly rising. Bumper-to-bumper warranties typically expire faster than powertrain warranties.

What is a Powertrain warranty?

Don't be misled a 10-year or 100,000-mile powertrain warranty doesn't promise a decade of free repairs for your car. It typically covers just the engine and transmission, along with any other moving parts that lead to the wheels, like the driveshaft and constant velocity joints. Some automakers also bundle seat belts and airbags into their powertrain warranties. With a few exceptions, powertrain warranties don't cover regular maintenance like engine tuneups and tire rotations.

What is included in Roadside Assistance?

Some automakers include roadside assistance with their bumper-to-bumper or powertrain warranties, while others have separate policies. These programs cover anything from flat-tire changes and locksmith services to jump-starts and towing. Few reimburse incidental costs like motel rooms (if you have to wait for repairs).

What other services could be included in a warranty?

Some automakers include free scheduled maintenance for items such as oil changes, air filters and tire rotations. Some include consumables including brake pads and windshield wipers; others do not. They are typically for the first couple of years of ownership of a new car.

What does CPO mean?

A certified pre-owned or CPO car has been inspected to meet minimum quality standards and typically includes some type of warranty. While dealers and third parties certify cars, the gold standard is an automaker-certified vehicle that provides a factory-backed warranty, often extending the original coverage. Vehicles must be in excellent condition and have low miles and wear to be certified, which is why off-lease vehicles feed many CPO programs.

See also the latest CPO incentives by automaker

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