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USED GUIDE: 2015+ TLX, Acura’s entry-luxury sedan is reliable, safe


The Acura TLX came standard with high resale values, a strong reputation for reliability and safety, and it has one of the lowest ownership costs in the segment.
The Acura TLX came standard with high resale values, a strong reputation for reliability and safety, and it has one of the lowest ownership costs in the segment. - Justin Pritchard

The Acura TLX entered the scene for the 2015 model year as an all-new model for the brand that intended to bring the presence of Honda’s luxury brand into the highly competitive entry-luxury scene.

A luxury sports sedan, the TLX was available in numerous trim grades and with several powertrain options to match up to a wide range of needs, tastes and price-points.

As it tends to go with Acura models, this machine comes standard with high resale values, a strong reputation for reliability and safety, and among the lowest ownership costs in the segment.

Look for four- or six-cylinder power, available all-wheel drive (V6 models only), and available four-wheel steering for more responsive handling in front-drive models.

If you’re after a well-equipped and upscale luxury sedan that won’t break the bank to purchase, fuel or maintain, the TLX might be worth a closer look. Below? Some tips and pointers to help ensure you find a solid used copy of this appealing machine.

Software updates

Work with your nearest Acura dealership to ensure all available software updates have been applied to the model you’re considering — or take this step immediately after purchasing — for maximum peace of mind. Software updates may be available to correct or optimize the operation of numerous vehicle systems, including the transmission. Ensuring your TLX is running the latest software updates can make it nicer to drive, and prevent headaches down the line. Contact your dealer service department for assistance.

Engine fare

Proper maintenance and servicing are key to the long life of any engine, and become even more important when that engine uses direct injection (DI) technology, which is an advanced form of fuel injection. Both of TLX’s engines run DI technology. As an owner, consider on-time maintenance (fluid changes, filter changes, spark-plug changes, oil changes, and the like) to be absolutely vital. Consistent use of a high-quality fuel is also advised at every fill. Absolutely religious maintenance can effectively fend off possible problems relating to long-term valve-gunk buildup, which is not uncommon in direct-injected engines.

Try all features

Chances are good that you’re gravitating toward a TLX, in part, for its array of high-end feature content. Use your test drive time to ensure all of these features are in proper working order. Arrive for your test drive with enough time to spend perhaps 20 minutes working through any and every function on board that runs on electricity — confirming that everything from the motorized seats to the sunroof to the climate control to the central command system works as expected (and outlined in the owner’s manual). Now’s the time to make sure the push-button ignition, all power windows, and all steering-wheel mounted controls are in perfect working order, too. Try everything out, then try everything out again. If any of TLX’s high-end features is malfunctioning or non-operational, you’re best to know about it before you sign the cheque.

Double check the backup camera

Some owners have reported failure of the TLX’s backup camera system — possibly caused by a bad seal on the exterior camera lens that allows moisture to build up inside, causing problems. On your test drive, engage “reverse” several times. Ensure the backup camera image is clear, and that it appears instantly, every time. If you suspect any issues, the camera module may need to be inspected and replaced. Call this into your pricing negotiations.

Electric parking brake

Like many modern cars, the TLX uses an electric parking brake, which engages at the flick of a switch. Turn this parking brake on and off several times during your test drive (while parked, obviously), and confirm that it engages and disengages without any warning lights or messages in the instrument cluster. Though rare, some owners of 2015-16 models have reported problems with non-functional parking brakes, or parking brakes than engage unintentionally while reversing at low speeds. If detected, problems like this can be easily remedied by your local dealer, typically under warranty.

It’s still a machine

Like all cars, the TLX is a machine built of parts and components that require regular care and servicing to experience a long and trouble-free life. Though Acura has a well-earned reputation for reliability, note that poor maintenance and care on the part of previous owners can wreak havoc with reliability, and even void remaining warranty coverage.

Checking service records to confirm that all maintenance and servicing is up to date is strongly advised before purchase.

The information presented above is gathered from online owner discussion groups and collaboration with a network of automotive repair professionals. The above information is not a comprehensive list of all possible issues with the vehicle in question and is instead intended to draw shopper attention to possible trouble spots they may wish to investigate before they buy. In most cases, problems listed above are reported with relative rarity in comparison to total sales volume. Shoppers are advised to have a dealer- performed pre-purchase inspection on the vehicle they’re considering for maximum peace of mind.

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