Just like delivering a compliment is easy and second-nature, writing a good car's review is remarkably easy and refreshing. It feels great to give praise, and the words come flowing out.
Alternatively - delivering bad news tactfully in a car review requires much more graceful delivery. You must plan your points carefully so they are constructive and helpful.
The 2015 Acura TLX firmly falls into the easy compliment category. Say what you will -- and what I have written -- about the Acura nose in the last few years: this 2015 TLX absolutely blew me away with its amazing combination of cabin comfort/refinement, peppy drivetrain and quick-witted handling balance.
If you read no further into the Exterior, Interior, Drivetrain and Summary sections, know this key takeaway: the 2015 TLX is *much* more fun to drive than the Audi A3 or the Mercedes-Benz CLA250.
2015 Acura TLX - EXTERIOR
THe design of the TLX is remarkably refined and sophisticated for 2015. At first glance, there are familiar cues in the LED lighting and nose elements. Your eye is drawn to the chopped overhangs and pert tail to know this is a sporty mid-size or compact executive car.
But wait - the Acura LED lighting has never appeared on a car below the RLX? A bit of cognitive dissonance as you realize this is an all-new car. The side profile confirms the newness with a fresh upkick in the beltline around the rear fenders, and the glasshouse feels very sporty and low.
Out back, the six-LED theme continues in the taillamps. These squircle light elements mirror the nose and light up in a Jewel Eye type of red look under braking. For regular taillamps, a pipe of LED light element forms a thin solid line around the top edge of the lamps. It is distinctive and quite attractive.
The rear decklid is very short and sporty, and the whole car seems compact and purposeful.
The TLX is not a completely gorgeous design, but it is extremely premium and has a unique look all its own on roads clogged with interchangeable Audi's and BMW's.
2015 Acura TLX - INTERIOR
The cabin of the TLX is instantly comfortable and very posh. Much of the busy clutter of buttons from the previous-gen model has been ditched in favor of a cleaner and simpler layout comprised of the touchscreen and central control knob. It works well at making climate and navigation settings easy to operate from minute one, with everything falling close to hand.
The new nav touchscreen is very vertical to avoid glare and make it simple to operate.
The latest steering wheel feels chunky and firm in hand, with soft leather wrapping a thick rim and numerous new controls in the spokes of the wheel to operate most cabin entertainment functions.
Most directly, the TLX's cabin feels extremely comfortable right away. The seats and driving position are fantastic: low and sporty but very adjustable and easy. Everyone will be comfortable almost right away in this car.
The 2.4L engine of the TLX brings a traditional gear-level versus the dial-operated PRND of the V6 cars, but it is all a piece of cake to use.
Paddle shifters and Normal, Sport and Sport Plus controls for the TLX's behaviour make the car either relaxed and super-luxurious, all the way up to an extremely playful and fun-loving sports persona in Sport Plus.
2015 Acura TLX - ALL-NEW TECH HIGHLIGHTS:
-- Twin-clutch automatic transmission brings eight gears AND and torque converter! This is best-of-all-worlds stuff that allows relaxed cruise gearchanges that are barely noticeable, while also snapping off instant up and down-shifts when the throttle is pinned or the Sport settings are engaged.
The latest eight-speed auto also brings new speed to the TLX. An estimated 7.1-second sprint to 60-mph is a full 1.5-seconds quicker than the TSX.
-- P-AWS rear-steering system is a far cry from the old versions of this tech. Everything about the TLX in corners -- especially in Sport mode -- makes the car a delight to chuck around. Its eagerness to dive into tight corners, hang on around the bends, and power out smoothly and neutrally makes it unlike any AWD or front-drive car this author has ever driven. The TLX is happiest being thrown hard around corners of both racetracks and office parks -- all thanks to this instant and natural P-AWS system. Four-wheel-steering comes as standard.
2015 Acura TLX - SUMMARY
Did we mention that the car rides well and is extremely silent at all times? Or that its chassis feels unflappable over bumps and completely rigid like a Mercedes-Benz? No? Well - those are both facts.
Versus the A3, the TLX feels more mature and able to shuffle along a relaxed and luxurious commute with a silent cabin and big-car ride quality. Versus the CLA250, the TLX is a youthful and frisky plaything that is always goading you on to push harder, hit the throttle earlier, and push its limits.
For these accomplishments, the TLX 2.4L is the new sweet spot of the compact/mid-size premium car segment.
The new TLX is huge achievement for Acura - one that will excite current TSX and TL owners, and draw Audi and BMW guys in with its sure-footed dynamics.
The TLX is arriving now in dealers nationwide.
2015 Acura TLX