Base Camp: 2021 Acura TLX

Every week, selects a new vehicle and takes a good look at its entry-level trim. If we find it worthy of your consideration, we'll let you know. If not, we'll recommend one - or the required options - that earns a passing grade.

By Matthew Guy

Nov 1, 2021 3 min. read

Article was updated 7 months ago

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Despite what we may witness with our own two eyes, there are a number of shoppers who prefer four-door sedans over crossovers and SUVs. Sure, a quick walk through the condo parking garage or suburban neighbourhood seems to confirm these high-riding wagons are the dominant strain of automobile, but there’s still a case to be made for the modern family sedan.

Which is why, of course, Acura still makes one. The TLX has recently been redesigned, adopting a style befitting the dearly departed TSX and an interior that finally aligns it with the rest of the Acura lineup. The entry-level trim is priced at $44,605 and is powered by a 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine making 272 horsepower and roughly a like amount of torque. This is backed by a 10-speed automatic and, in Canada, standard all-wheel drive. It’s worth noting this is the same powertrain in all TLX sedans save for the $60,000 Type S.

The base TLX shares much in the way of its exterior jewelry with the more expensive Tech trim, which is to say it is devoid of fog lamps and interesting paint choices. Why the House of Honda chooses to saddle many of its least expensive trims with colours from the greyscale is beyond our comprehension. The jewel-eye LED headlamps look great, however, and the heated side mirrors are handy. A power moonroof is also part of the deal.

Infotainment is handled by a 10.2-inch colour centre display that’s controlled by Acura’s unique spin on a touchpad interface. No fewer than ten speakers belt out your favourite tunes (or the news, if you’re into that type of thing) and has all the typical features such as satellite radio capability and smartphone integration. There’s also a split subwoofer for extra thump but this base trim does without a nav system and wireless device charging.

2021 Acura TLX

Comfort and convenience features are markedly similar to more expensive TLX trims, thanks to economies of scale which is Base Camp’s best friend. Adaptive cruise control is on board, along with dual-zone climate control and 12-way adjustable front heated leatherette seats. Oddly, a heated steering wheel is absent. Typical active safety kit like lane keeping and road departure mitigation tools are expected and present at this price.

What We'd Choose

While the sum of $5,300 isn’t exactly chump change, we’d take a hard look at the more expensive A-Spec package before driving away in a new TLX. It has more visual appeal thanks to better wheel selection and entertaining paint options, and a pert rear spoiler caps the rear end of this car very nicely. A-Spec also fills in some of the feature gaps – nav, ventilated front seats – along with packing a dandy 17-speaker ELS Studio 3D Premium audio system.

Nevertheless, it does retain the base car’s powertrain, which is no small consideration when one is adding nearly 12 per cent to the bottom line of a vehicle – more, actually, once taxes and interest are applied. If you’re cool with a dour paint choice, the entry-level TLX could be a consideration – which is good news to the remaining few of us who appreciate a nicely-styled four-door sedan.