Acura has a redesigned TLX sedan that will hit showrooms in a month. The car will start at $37,500 and is being made at Honda’s plant in Marysville.
Honda’s luxury Acura line is rolling out a redesigned, sportier version of its TLX sedan that is meant to be more fun to drive while still being able to comfortably haul the family.
The 2021 TLX sport sedan, made at Honda’s Marysville Auto Plant, will arrive in dealerships in a month and carry a price tag that starts at $37,500. Most drivers likely will want features that will push the price up to about $40,000.
“It’s a complete redo from the ground up,” said Marc Ernst, the Acura TLX development project leader.
The prior version of the TLX was developed off the Honda Accord platform. The new TLX has its own platform designed for higher performance and improved styling, Ernst said.
“It feels light and agile and it’s super fun to drive,” he said.
The interior includes a knob in the middle of the instrument panel that allows drivers to shift modes based on road conditions and driving habits.
Acura will introduce the Type S high performance version of the TLX in the spring. That vehicle figures to sell in the low- to mid- $50,000s.
Workers at Honda’s engine plant at Anna will build both powertrains for the new TLX, including the 2.0-liter turbo for the standard TLX and the new 3.0-liter turbo the TLX Type S.
Both engines are paired with a 10-speed automatic transmission.
The new sedan comes at a time when sedan sales have lost out to SUVs and trucks.
“The sedan market is difficult and it is shrinking so the vehicle you make has to be special. … It has to give you something extra,” Ernst said.
“You have to connect to it. It just can’t be a transportation device. It has to be a thing that you love. You love to look at it. You love to be seen in it. You love to drive it.’’
Stephanie Brinley, principal analyst for IHS Markit, likes the first look of the TLX.
“This vehicle is exciting and aggressive in its exterior and interior design,” she said, while acknowledging the challenging market.
“Passenger cars are the weakest segment right now,” she said. (But) “they can still be important for luxury makers.”
Acura’s new TLX will face competition from Mercedes-Benz, Audi, BMW and Cadillac, among others.
Auto sales have been hurt by the pandemic this year and 2021 doesn’t look like it will be a strong year for sales either, Brinley said.
“Fewer people are buying, then the fight over the person gets more intense,” she said.
Acura sold 26,548 TLXs in 2019.
Acura continued working on the new TLX despite the pandemic, giving Honda a sense of satisfaction about the new vehicle, said Bill Easdale, general manager at the Marysville Auto Plant.
“That why we have so much pride in this car,” he said. “It’s not easy to develop a new model. Then you throw in the last five months of a pandemic on top of it.’’