2016 Acura TLX SH-AWD
3.5L V6 engine
9-speed automatic transmission
Seating Capacity: 5
Road Test Terrain: 60% city, 40% highway
The 2016 Acura TLX road test was a smooth, quiet ride thanks to its 9-speed automatic transmission, Super Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD) system, actively controlled engine mounts, and other noise dampening features (including triple door seals). The TLX is noticeably larger and more comfortable than Acura’s entry-level ILX. If you’re thinking of mid-size luxury sedan, read on.
The TLX is unmistakably an Acura with its signature V-shaped grille and Jewel Eye LED headlights. The body has a wide stance though it’s slightly smaller than the TL (its predecessor), and the side is sculpted to give the vehicle some depth.
Overall, the exterior design is simple and kept to a minimum.
The TLX SH-AWD comes with an electronic gear shift. Personally, I’m not a fan of electronic gear shifts in general however the Acura design is one of the better ones out there. Rather than having flat buttons for all gears, you need to push the reverse button towards the rear of the vehicle, the drive button is circular, and the entire gear shift is curved. This way, it’s relatively easy to shift gears without having to take your eyes off the road to look at which button you’re pressing, for example when going from drive to reverse while parking. Placing it next to the cupholders is a risk though, as fluids may be spilled. Most other manufacturers have their electronic gear shift on the centre stack or in the steering column.
The centre stack doesn’t have much distraction with buttons laid out clearly for climate control, radio, etc. There is a second screen that sits higher on the dashboard so that you don’t have to look too far for the navigation.
Acura did their best in terms of minimizing the number of controls in the steering wheel. However, there’s a lot going on there with buttons and wheel knobs to control volume, phone, cruise control, instrument cluster information, etc.
Under The Hood / Basic Maintenance
There isn’t much space in the engine bay and the TLX has one of the largest engine covers that I’ve seen! The battery is located up top and a ground point is within easy access in case you need to jump start the vehicle. If you want to do basic maintenance, items such as the filters and wiper blades are easily replaceable.
Child Car Seat
Depending on the size of your child car seat, the 2016 Acura TLX is spacious enough so that you may not need to move the front passenger seat too far forward to accommodate the child car seat’s recline angle during a rear-facing install. The rear seat bench has a bucket shape so you may need pool noodles in order to get the correct recline angle.
The UAS anchors are clearly marked and just behind the leather overlap. The outboard headrests are relatively flat so they may not need to be removed when installing a forward-facing child car seat in order for it to sit flush with the car’s seatback.
Storage / Trunk
The TLX trunk space is ample and buckets are integrated on either side of the trunk floor to accommodate smaller items. The rear wheels and shocks do cut into the trunk space though so it’s not a large rectangle shape. However, it’s a big improvement over the Acura TL. The TL’s trunk lid was styled in a V-shape which made getting larger items into the vehicle more challenging.
Overall, we enjoyed our time with the TLX and it was a good fit for our family. Not too big, not too small. At the time of writing, the 2017 Acura TLX starts at $35,690 CAD.
About the author: Emily is a wife and mother of two, the owner of AutoNiche (a family-friendly auto repair shop in Markham, ON), a licensed auto service technician, certified child car seat technician, and automotive writer with Driving.ca.