- - Sunday, February 8, 2015

Every time I have an Acura delivered to me to drive, I get all giddy like a school girl because I know the Acura brand never disappoints. While it might not be the sexiest car out of the gate, competition like the BMW 3 Series, Audi A4, Lexus IS and Volvo S60 offer no better “behind the wheel” experience than the new 2015 Acura TLX.

The 2015 Acura TLX is all new this year and it replaces two of the past Acura options that were both well-liked in the sedan category. With the TLX however, Acura has stepped up its ability to compete head to head with the opposition in its class.

A midsize level luxury sedan, the 2015 Acura TLX has three trim levels to choose from including the base, Technology and Advance. The two latter are option packages and the standard base equipment including 17-inch alloy wheels, all-wheel steering, LED headlights and brake lights, a sunroof, heated front seats and side mirrors, keyless ignition and entry, dual-zone automatic climate control, eight-way power driver seat with the passenger getting four-way power, 60/40-split-folding rear seatbacks, tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel and an auto-dimming rearview mirror. The techno features on the base model include Bluetooth phone and audio connect as well as what is called Siri Eyes Free functionality, two display screens and seven speakers with all the appropriate sound system needs included and an audio input jack and iPod/USB audio interface.

If you opt for the Technology package, the additions include leather upholstery as well as a fair number of safety additions, like driver memory settings, lane departure warning, blind-spot monitoring system, forward collision warning, a navigation system and the above-average Acura/ELS 10-speaker sound system.

The Advance package with the V6 engine includes 18-inch wheels, front and rear parking sensors, remote ignition, LED fog lights, auto-dimming side mirrors, ventilated front seats and, lane-keeping assist with automatic braking.

Under the hood, the 2015 Acura TLX shines with either a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine or a 3.5-liter V6 engine. With the 2.4-liter engine, you get 206 horsepower and 182 pound-feet of torque in a front-wheel drive configuration and an eight-speed manual transmission that is automated to the tune of a dual-clutch, reminiscent of the Porsche PDK hardware.

With the 3.5-liter V6 engine, you get 290 horsepower and 267 pound feet of torque in a nine-speed automatic with a choice of front or all-wheel drive.

While several of the option packages offer some high-end safety features, the standard safety goodies include antilock disc brakes, stability and traction control, a rear view camera, front seat side, side curtain and driver knee airbags along with active front head restraints. The additions, depending on the package, then widens with options like front and rear parking sensors, a blind-spot and lane-departure warning, lane-keeping assist, forward collision warning and the automatic braking in the likelihood of a front collision.

The 2015 Acura TLX has improved the interior image on this all new introduction and, take note, the front seats are very comfortable with lots of padding and good back support for a more than easy. Even in the backseat, passengers will easily get spoiled with soft seats and plenty of leg room. However the tallest of passengers might want to opt to sit in front since the headroom is still not as generous as the other backseat attributes. In the trunk, you get 13.2 cubic feet to work with when hauling.

A noise-free cabin is impressive along with the clean lines and easy to use knobs and dials in which the gauges sit in a display screen that is stacked and allows for the driver to have needed information in one glance.

Sitting behind the wheel is where I really enjoy the Acura and either engine choice is impressive with the fuel economy also a big plus. On the four-cylinder the various modes determine performance, but the performance really shines when shifted into Sport mode. Either the four-cylinder or the V6 engine easily hug the road and steering, as well as handling, are a big draw on this TLX overall, even if it’s part of the luxury sedan class.

A subtle cross between classy and hardcore, this roomy sedan has plenty of extra perks inside and is a fun ride all around as you commute in style or take to the road for a sporty vacation or just a night out on the town.

Should You Need to Know: The 2015 Acura TLX is taking its name from the two retired sedans the TSX and TL with overall dimensions on this one being longer than the TLX and shorter than the TL and offering a nice combination of somewhere in between.

Miles Per Gallon: The 2015 Acura TLX I drove came in with 24 miles per gallon in the city and 35 miles per gallon on the highway.

Cost: I drove the 2015 Acura TLX 2.4L Tech with a price tag of $35,920.

For more auto tips and information, follow Rita @RitaCook13.

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