Drive Time: 2018 Acura TLX follows ‘smooth lane’
July 15, 2017
Emerging slowly this summer are the 2018-model automobiles. Three weeks ago it was the Volkswagen Atlas, today it's the 2018 Acura TLX.
Acura is the luxury division for Honda, both based in Japan. Parent company Honda introduced the Acura brand to the U.S. in 1986; the earliest models were the Legend sedan and the Integra sport coupe and sedan.
Just out for 2018 is the TLX 3.5-liter all-wheel-drive A-Spec midsize four-door.
Operation of its 290-horsepower V-6 engine and 9-speed automatic transmission is from a push-button shifter on the center console. The TLX is not fast, but very smooth and economical; that can be said for most all Acura and Honda cars and SUVs.
Acura has stayed with its modest and dependable internal-combustion power sources, venturing rather slowly into the world of electric and hybrid automobiles. All of a sudden, that appears to be contrary to Volvo, a prime competitor of Acura.
Volvo, in a surprise announcement last week, said it is betting on electric cars and that every new Volvo it launches, beginning in 2019, will have an electric motor, either a gas/electric hybrid or fully electric.
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My interpretation of this is that all-new models beginning in '19 will be hybrids or electrics, but not including continued production of existing internal-combustion-powered vehicles, such as the S60 and XC60 and XC90. This was supported by a paragraph near the end of a column in Automotive News of Detroit this week: "Green (Henrik Green, head of research and development for Volvo) admitted that it could be still selling cars without electric motors up to 2025, when model cycles of cars launched before 2019 might finally end." The idea that Volvo would stop selling its long-standing, successful internal-combustion models in 2019 seems far-fetched.
The new Acura has given up its "beak-look" grille in favor of one that is more like a five-sided pentagonal/diamond shape.
We drove the TLX to Sterling last Saturday for a visit with Don Carey regarding a 1967 AMC Rambler Ambassador he is to help sell for the estate of a deceased uncle. The Ambassador is a two-door hardtop, not remembered in the same clarity as, say, a '67 Camaro, Mustang or Roadrunner coupe. It was, though, one of AMC's finest models of that year.
The 200-mile highway drive boosted overall fuel mileage for the Acura TLX to 27.2; its EPA estimate of 20/29 is decent for a midsize AWD.
The TLX is 191.5 inches long on a wheelbase of 109.3 inches, with curb weight of 3,838 pounds. The sedan sits low and wide, with a turn circle of 39.2 feet. Don't try it in an alleyway.
With all-wheel drive and several high-tech packages, sticker price on the Acura reached $45,750. The A-Spec package includes comfortable sport seats of alcantra and leather, cooled and heated, with contrast stitching; 19-inch alloy wheels with Michelin 245/40R19 tires, parking sensors and wireless phone charger.
Other equipment highlights include multiview rear camera, navigation, El S Studio audio, power moonroof, lane-keeping assist, active cruise, paddle shifters and dual-zone automatic climate control.
Built in Marysville, Ohio, the TLX is Acura's best-selling car line, though it falls short of sales totals by MDX and RDX crossovers.
— Bud Wells, a native of Wray, is a former Page 1 editor of the Denver Post and has reviewed automobiles for the past 40 years. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.