• Car Review

2020 Acura TLX Review

By Autolist Editorial | June 2, 2020

Quick Facts:


  • Quiet interior with high-quality materials.
  • Lowest starting price in its class.
  • V6 engine is powerful and boasts good fuel economy.
  • Several safety features come standard.


  • Two-screen infotainment setup is confusing.
  • Base four-cylinder engine is underpowered.
  • The rear seat is cramped.
  • Not as athletic as its rivals.

Would we buy one? We'd consider one if the price were right.

Vehicle Type: A five-passenger, midsize luxury sedan.

Price Range: From $34,025, including a $1,025 destination charge, to $37,225, before options.

Powertrain: The 2020 Acura TLX comes with two engine options.

A standard 2.4-liter, inline 4-cylinder engine produces 206 horsepower and mates to an eight-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission.

An optional 3.5-liter V6 engine with an output of 290 horsepower and a nine-speed automatic transmission costs an additional $3,200.

Front-wheel drive is standard across both powertrains; however, all-wheel-drive is an option for another $2,000.

Competitors: Honda Accord, Mercedes-Benz C-Class, BMW 3 Series, Audi A4, Jaguar XE, Lexus IS, Alfa Romeo Giulia.

More Photos

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Overall Score: 7.1/10

Safety Features: 7/10


The 2020 Acura TLX received an overall safety rating of five-out-of-five stars from the NHTSA. It scored five stars in each of its crash tests.

The IIHS rated the Acura TLX with a "Good" rating throughout most of its crash tests and rated it "Acceptable" in the small-overlap front crash test and "Superior" for its standard automatic emergency braking system.

Every 2020 TLX comes with AcuraWatch, which features a long list of standard collision-avoidance technology, and its below-market pricing helps it overtake some of its rivals.

Standard driver assistance features include automatic emergency braking, active lane control, forward collision warning, lane departure warning, a rearview camera, and adaptive cruise control.

If you want additional safety features, then the TLX Technology Package costs $3,700 and includes blind-spot monitoring, rear-cross traffic alert, and rain-sensing windshield wipers.

Front and rear parking sensors, as well as a surround-view camera, are optional active safety features you can purchase across all TLX models.

Value: 8/10


Undoubtedly, the 2020 Acura TLX is a bargain at a starting MSRP of $34,025, including a $1,025 destination charge. Its simplified trim and packages make purchasing this luxury sedan simple. Adding on all-wheel-drive costs $2,000, and upgrading to the V6 engine adds on $3,200.

The Technology Package costs $3,700, the A-Spec Package costs $39,400, and finally, the Advance Package will cost you $45,950 and includes the V6 engine and all-wheel-drive.

The warranty coverage is better than average since TLX offers one of the best powertrain warranties in its class. Its limited warranty cover is in line with its rivals.

Not a lot changed for the 2020 model year, except for the addition of the limited-edition sporty TLX A-Spec trim that is optional on both powertrains and built on the same manufacturing line as the NSX sports car.

Standard features include synthetic leather upholstery, heated front seats, a four-way power-adjustable passenger seat, dual-zone climate control, a moonroof, proximity keyless entry, and an infotainment system that accommodates both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

Tech Features: 7/10


Standard infotainment system amenities include Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Bluetooth, and a seven-speaker premium audio system.

Many reviews highlight the dual-screen design, with an 8.0-inch top screen and 7.0-inch bottom touchscreen, as confusing and distracting. The software is somewhat frustrating. Although the system is quick to respond to inputs, the screens feel relatively small compared to rivals in its class with a single, larger screen.

While many are excited about the inclusion of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, the graphics are still outdated.

The optional ELS system provides an exciting and truly premium audio system upgrade that you will enjoy if you are a sound enthusiast.

The Technology Package would be our best pick with its navigation system and blind-spot monitoring at an affordable price. If you can afford the Advance Package, you will get a heated steering wheel, remote start, and a surround-view camera.

Practicality: 7/10


The 2020 TLX can seat up to five passengers. The front seats provide ample side bolstering and are fairly spacious with the standard power adjustments that help both the driver and passenger find a comfortable position.

The back seats are unfortunately not as spacious and are somewhat narrow with tight legroom for adults. Taller adults may also not appreciate the limited headroom. The BMW 3-Series is a popular rival of the TLX and offers roomier back seats as well as larger cargo space. The Lexus ES is also a favorable rival when it comes down to comparing passenger room and cargo space.

The TLX provides 14.3 cubic feet of cargo space with trunk space that is slightly below average for a luxury sedan. A 60/40 split-folding rear seat is standard across all trim levels, and there is a large space beneath the trunk floor, which offers ample room for grocery bags.

Styling & Design: 6/10


The best angle of the 2020 TLX is from the rear of the sedan. Acura has dressed the TLX with a diffuser-style rear bumper, dual-exhaust tips, and sharp LED taillights. In the front of the sedan, you will find Acura's signature grille as well as intricate LED headlights.

2020 introduced a new A-Spec exclusive color: Apex Blue Pearl, which looks sharp against the model's dark wheels. Another edition for the 2020 model year is the TLX PMC Edition. This special model is a hand-built version of the V6, all-wheel-drive A-Spec model and features a unique performance red pearl paint.

Another popular option is the Majestic Black Pearl exterior paint color, which is an additional $400.

Exterior styling is accentuated with the sporty TLX A-Spec Appearance Package that adds black trim, tinted taillight covers, blacked-out grille, gray 19-inch alloy wheels, and a rear decklid spoiler. This package also bumps up the interior design with A-Spec sport seats with contrast stitching, red accent lighting, heated and ventilated front seats, metallic trim, and a red instrument panel.

The cabin may appear busy, but it is functional, and the high-quality materials add style and comfort.

Driving Experience: 8/10


Both engines are powerful and provide a smooth ride, and while they are naturally aspirated, they are not as powerful as the engines of some of the TLX rivals, including the Mercedes-Benz C-Class and BMW 3-Series.

The favorable option for an enjoyable driving experience is the V6 engine with all-wheel-drive. There is strong acceleration right off the line with immediate throttle response and impressive handling. Super-Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD) is an option for V6 engine TLX models.

One downside to the V6 engine is that the nine-speed transmission does not always find the correct gear and is sometimes slow to shift between gears when you travel at higher speeds.

The A-Spec Package does not drastically improve the TLX's handling or improve its horsepower, but the larger 19-inch wheels and wider tires do hold the road better.

The Acura absorbs bumpy roads with ease; unfortunately, it is less athletic than many of its rivals in its class.

Unfortunately, the inline 4-cylinder engine feels lazy and does not change gears as sharply as the transmissions used by Infiniti, Audi, and BMW.

Fuel Efficiency: 7/10


The 2020 TLX gets some of the best fuel economy ratings in the luxury sedan class and competes well against many of its rivals.

The base inline-4 cylinder engine returns an EPA rating of 23 mpg in the city, 33 mpg on the highway, and 27 mpg combined. Adding the A-Spec trim slightly lowers the highway EPA rating from 33 mpg to 32 mpg as a result of its larger wheels.

The V6 engine is a great option that still offers a competitive fuel economy for its class with an EPA rating of 20/31/24 mpg. The TLX A-Spec SH-AWD gets an EPA rating of 20/29/23 mpg.

When comparing the Mercedes-Benz C300 (28 mpg combined) and the BMW 330i (30 mpg, FWD), the TLX has lower EPA ratings.

More Photos

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