Acura TL, TLX, TSX: What's the Difference?

Published on August 26, 2022 in Comparative Tests by The Car Guide

Honda drivers often turn to Acura when they're ready for a bit more luxury. This brand offers solid sedans that have great equipment, are fun to drive, and step up the refinement and technology levels a few notches.

There were important changes during the last decade, during which Acura went through some sort of identity crisis, many will say. For those who are considering buying a pre-owned Acura car, the question is: what’s the difference between the TL, TLX and TSX?

Acura TL

Photo: Acura

The Acura TL is the oldest of the three and the one that lived the longest, its model years spanning from 1996 to 2014. Its last generation, introduced for 2009, had gained some weight and a new sportier design with sharp lines. The TL is 4.96 metres long and 1.88 metres wide, and its trunk has a 371-litre volume.  

Under the hood, there's a choice of two V6s: a 3.5-litre and a 3.7-litre that deliver respectively 280 and 300-305 horsepower. In 2012, the five-speed automatic transmission was replaced by a manual and an automatic with six gears each. Some versions have the SH-AWD four-wheel drive.

Acura TSX

Photo: Acura

Sold as a Honda Accord in Japan, the Acura TSX was offered in Canada from 2004 to 2014, and splits into two generations. The most recent started in 2009 … like the last TL. Its interior design is very similar, which adds to the confusion. We consider the openings in the front bumper and its distinct beltline as the most noticeable differences. The TSX is also smaller: 4.73 metres long and 1.84 metres wide with a 357-litre trunk.  

In addition, its powertrain is less powerful … and thirsty! It’s a 2.4-litre four-cylinder producing 201 horsepower. It comes equipped with a six-speed manual or a five-speed automatic transmission. For 2010, Acura added an optional V6, but the one with only 280 horsepower. All-wheel drive was not available on this model.   

Acura TLX

Photo: Acura

Seeing how useless it was to offer two such similar sedans, the company merged them to create the new Acura TLX. Since model year 2015, this car is the only sub-compact offering in the Acura catalogue. Size-wise, it’s 4.83 metres long and 1.85 metres wide, but the trunk has grown to 405 litres.

The TLX equipped with a 2.4-litre four-cylinder produces 206 horsepower sent to an eight-speed dual-clutch transmission. As for the 3.5 litre V6, it generates 290 horsepower thanks to a new nine-speed automatic transmission. The SH-AWD four-wheel drive was optional with the V6.

Photo: Acura

Important fact: the TLX received a major aesthetic update for 2018 (pictured above), leaving its two siblings behind to feature a much more attractive look that’s closer to that of the current generation, which was launched for 2021.

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