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While perusing the Acura stable of sedans one will discover there are now two noticeable omissions this year: the TL and TSX models.

The folks at Acura decided to ditch both models and reintroduce them – kind of – with one new model, the 2015 Acura TLX. Acura, the luxury division of Honda, hopes to elevate its brand that many consider just short of luxury and more of a premium offering.

While Acura certainly produces some fine offerings up and down its lineup, the stigma remains that it doesn’t have the same cache as European brands like BMW, Audi and Mercedes-Benz.  And personally, I like the Lexus brand better than Acura.

2015 Acura TLX

  • Performance: 2.5-liter, four-cylinder, 206 horsepower; 3.5-liter, V6, 290 horsepower
  • Mileage estimate: 24-35 mpg; 21-31 mpg
  • Estimated price: $31,445 to $44,800
  • Warranty: 4 years/50,000 miles; drivetrain: 6 years/70,000 miles; roadside assistance: 5 years/50,000; corrosion: 5 years/unlimited

While there were no major complaints regarding the TLX, the Acura TL stopped being a strong seller following a controversial redesign in 2009. Hence, the new vision and its two-for-one plan. Acura feels the TLX will be a more appealing and provides improved luxury and performance.

From a size comparison, the TLX is longer than the TSX, yet shorter than the TL. Its target is car shoppers seeking an entry-level luxury sedan. The TLX has a lot of enviable qualities, including technology, quietness, handling, performance, classy look, and is nicely priced.
 
There is a huge gap in price with the TLX. The base model with the peppy four-cylinder engine starts at around $31,445, while the more upscale V6 jumps up to nearly $45,000 when equipped with SH-AWD (super handling all-wheel drive). Note that the all-wheel drive is an option in the V6 only.

There’s considerable praise for the 2.4-liter, four-cylinder, that produces 206 horsepower and 182 pound-feet of torque and features an eight-speed automated manual transmission. Offered in front-wheel drive only, it’s fun to drive although not overly quick, going 0-60 mph in 7.4 seconds. The knock on Acura is its rivals offer popular turbocharged four-cylinders that are more compelling to drive.

The more powerful TLX is the 3.5-liter, V6, which elicits 290 horsepower and 267 pound-feet of torque. It has a nine-speed automatic transmission and goes 0-60 mph in 6.4 seconds. The muscular V6 has an advanced gas-saving technology that includes the idle stop-start gas-saving feature that takes a little getting used to at full stops.

All TLX models have four driving modes: Econ, Normal, Sport and Sport-plus. The variety makes a difference for sure. If you’re looking for extra performance, the Sport-plus is the way to go. For gas-conscious drivers, the pick would be the Econ mode.

The sporty TLX is lighter than the previous TL models and that weight difference is noticeable in the way it handles. Although the steering doesn’t match some rivals, the TLX does offer a good feel around turns and a level of nimbleness. It is a quiet ride as well.

A dual screen media system is part of what distinguishes the TLX interior. It makes for an interesting dash with the divided levels, an 8-inch information screen and a 7-inch screen below it that controls most of the features. As one can imagine, mastering this unusual setup doesn’t come easily.

The TLX offers plenty of leg and head room, and overall comfort. The back seat even includes an upscale seatback angle. Interior features include soft-touch materials, wood and aluminum accents, and sizable storage areas. The trunk space is 13.2 cubic feet, which is average for this class.

What’s cool about the TLX is this really is two different sedans, depending on one’s performance choice. No matter which one you chose, the TLX will likely be well received for its luxury, comfort, handling, sticker price and solid gas mileage.