2021 Acura TLX First Look By TestDriveNow Car Critic Steve Hammes. Acura’s just an SUV brand, right? Well, that’s not entirely accurate though the RDX and MDX do outsell Acura’s 4 cars combined by nearly 3-to-1. But Acura’s here to remind us that their cars are still worthy of the caliper badge and that begins with one of their many underrated models, the TLX. The current car is a solid choice and a decent seller but Acura wants to make a bolder impression with this all-new 2021 redesign. Arriving this fall, Acura says this TLX will be the quickest, best-handling and most well-appointed sedan they’ve ever made, a title currently held by the surprisingly good, lame duck RLX Sport Hybrid. With a considerably longer wheelbase, wider track and lower roofline the TLX presents itself as a more legit sports sedan. And moving beyond the recent A-Spec Sport appearance package is the heralded return of the Type S badge…a specification last seen on sporty Acuras over a decade ago. The Type S arrives later next spring. While a 272 horsepower 2.0-liter turbo-4 powers the standard TLX, the Type S utilizes a turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 with the engine’s output to be announced later. Both will use a 10-speed automatic. Whereas Acura’s torque vectoring all-wheel drive system is currently only available on the V6 model, the new TLX will offer it across the board replete with quicker reactions and more rear-wheel drive intervention. Brake by wire technology applied from the NSX supercar and an available adaptive damping suspension flesh out the new chassis which Acura claims is the most rigid they’ve ever offered with an infusion of lightweight materials. The TLX’s dual personal cockpit design creates a strongly delineated space for both front seat occupants while the wider body affords more hip and shoulder room for rear seat passengers. The infotainment system incorporated from the RDX uses a touchpad interface. A Japanese company but primarily an American brand, Acura is counting on the new TLX to diversify its SUV sales heavy product portfolio.
As the best-selling three-row luxury SUV of all time, the MDX in 2018 posted a seventh straight year of sales exceeding 50,000 units, something no other 3-row model in segment can match, and continued to outsell key competitors in 2019. The 2020 MDX offers a dynamic driving experience with both a standard and Sport Hybrid version, an available A-Spec sport appearance variant and an extensive list of standard premium features and high-tech appointments on all grades, including AcuraWatch™ safety and driver-assistive technologies.
The 2020 MDX includes base, Tech and Advance package options, with optional Super-Handling All-Wheel Drive™ (SH-AWD®) technology, which is one of the most capable and sophisticated torque-vectoring AWD systems in the marketplace. The popular MDX A-Spec, includes a comprehensive list of appearance upgrades, including unique exterior styling, high-contrast seat and door panel stitching and contrasting front seat side garnishes. Also featured on the 2020 MDX are front passenger seats with standard 4-way power lumbar adjustments, a “walk through” second-row seat configuration on Technology and Entertainment packages, and a trim-exclusive matching wood center console available on the MDX Advance Package.
The 2020 MDX is powered by a responsive 3.5-liter direct-injected i-VTEC® 24-valve V6 engine with 290 peak horsepower (SAE net) and 267 lb.-ft. peak torque (SAE net), mated to a quick-shifting and highly refined 9-speed automatic transmission.
The 2020 MDX with front-wheel drive has an EPA fuel economy rating of 20/27/23 mpg (city/highway/combined), A-Spec is rated at 19/25/21, and all other models with SH-AWD® have an EPA rating of 19/26/22 mpg (city/highway/combined).
The third-generation RDX (2019-20) is the first in a new generation of Acura models built on the resurgent luxury brand’s original and authentic Precision Crafted Performance brand values. In setting their targets for the design and performance, the U.S. design and engineering team drew inspiration from both the Acura Precision Concept and Acura Precision Cockpit as well as the pinnacle representation of Acura performance, the NSX supercar. The RDX is the first all-new design drawing from the Concept styling and the advanced Cockpit technology. The RDX team’s ultimate goal was straightforward: to make the best RDX ever, a vehicle that sets the foundation for an entire new generation of Acura vehicles in terms of styling, performance, premium quality and technology.
Featuring a new Platinum White exterior color for 2020, RDX carries forward the next generation of Acura design, performance and technology that debuted on the all-new 2019 model, including the popular A-Spec sport appearance package. RDX delivers an exceptional driving experience thanks in part to its 272-horsepower (SAE net) turbocharged i-VTEC® engine and available Acura Super-Handling All Wheel Drive™ (SH-AWD®), along with a class-leading array of standard premium features and technologies, including AcuraWatch™ safety and driver-assistive technology, an ultra-wide panoramic moonroof, next-generation Acura JewelEye™ LED headlights, and next-generation Acura sport seats. The 2020 RDX also includes the critically-acclaimed True Touchpad Interface™, Acura’s groundbreaking user interface tailored around the driver. Also offered on RDX is the available ELS Studio 3D™ premium audio, a 16-channel, 710-watt system, featuring four ultra-slim Highline™ ceiling-mounted speakers to create a truly immersive listening experience.
The third-generation RDX has received the highest possible safety ratings of TOP SAFETY PICK+ (depending on selected headlights) from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and a 5-star Overall Vehicle Score from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), and is expected to repeat this feat for the 2020 model year.
The 2020 Honda Civic Hatchback returns with updated exterior styling, new interior trim, and a revised Sport trim that adds Smart Start and Entry and an upgraded Display Audio system with Apple CarPlay® and Android Auto™ integration. In addition, the line-topping Sport Touring trim is now available with a 6-speed manual transmission for the first time. The 2020 Civic Hatchback with a Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starting at $21,650, joins the 2020 Civic Sedan and Civic Coupe which were refreshed last year.
The 2020 Acura NSX will debut a striking new Indy Yellow Pearl paint scheme during Monterey Car Week. The 2020 Acura NSX will first be displayed at Concours on the Avenue in Downtown Carmel alongside an NSX GT3 Evo race car, featuring a custom designed livery with yellow and blue accents over the exposed carbon fiber body. The 2020 NSX is now available for ordering, with first customer deliveries to begin in November. The 2020 NSX carries a starting Manufacturers Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of $157,500, not including delivery charges. For more information on ordering, visit Acura.com/NSX. https://testdrivenow.com/2020-acura-nsx/