Worthy: The 2018 Acura TLX 3.5L AWD A-Spec

Front 3/4 view of 2018 Acura TLX 3.5L AWD A-Spec
The 2018 Acura TLX 3.5L AWD A-Spec.
One of the great mysteries of our time:  How can my fellow automotive journalists fall all over themselves in praise of the Honda Accord and be so lukewarm about the Acura TLX, which, at its heart, is a performance variant of the Accord?

Rear/side view of 2018 Acura TLX 3.5L AWD A-Spec
2018 Acura TLX 3.5L AWD A-Spec.
The TLX was the replacement for one of TireKicker's favorite cars in our nine-year history, the TSX. And, in our first encounter with the TLX two and a half years ago,  we made it clear that Acura had a winner.

For 2018, some welcome changes have taken place to an already great sport sedan.  New front and rear styling eliminate the vestigal chrome beak across the top of the TLX's grille and the new, larger grille brings it in line with Acura's new design language first seen in the MDX crossover. The TLX now supports Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, which allows us to work around Honda/Acura's improved but still behind the curve infotainment system.

The other big deal is the new A-Spec package.  It includes ventilated sport seats with Alcantara inserts and contrast stitching, A-Spec exclusive 19-inch alloy wheels, a black headliner, parking sensors, LED fog lights and a wireless phone charger. It adds $2,900 to the tab.  If you prefer, you can choose red leather instead of the black Alcantara for no additional charge.

Interior view of 2018 Acura TLX 3.5 L AWD
2018 Acura TLX 3.5L AWD A-Spec interior.
Our tester was also equipped with the tech package (navigation with voice recognition, multi-view rear camera with dynamic guidelines, AcuraLink communication system with real-time traffic with street and freeway conditions, the 10-speaker ELS Studio Premium audio system including HD Radio, blind spot information, rain-sensing wipers and a rear cross-traffic monitor), which is $3,700.

Equipped with the 3.5-liter VTEC V6 (290 horsepower, an EPA estimate of 20 city/29 highway), nine-speed automatic transmission, and SH-AWD (which brings standard features incluidng SiriusXM Satellite Radio, the aforementioned Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, a driver recognition memory system, a heated 12-way power driver's seat (heated power 8-way for the front passenger), pushbutton ignition, pushbutton shifter, dual zone climate control with filtration, auto-dimming rearview mirror, power moonroof, tire sealant and inflator kit, jewel eye LED headlights, keyless access system with SmartKey, collision mitigation braking, adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning, lane keeping assist and road departure mitigation, the total package rang in at $44,800 plus $950 destination and handling...so that's $45,750.

Not only is that a bargain for the level of equipment and performance...it is only $155 more than the as-tested price for the 2015 model we reviewed.  And $55 of that comes from a boost in the destination and handling charge.

So we have a thoroughly terrific sedan, updated and improved that costs only $100 more than it did three years ago.   Note to my fellow automotive journalists---this is a car worthy of respect and raves.

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