2015 Acura TLX Packs Tech into Affordable Package

The 2015 Acura TLX is a little bit like a less ambitious Robin Hood. It wants to take technology from the elite and give it to the slightly less elite.

With a price tag starting around $30,995, the TLX possesses the lowest MSRP in its class, and it’s going up against rides like the Lexus IS, the Infiniti G and Mercedes-Benz CLA.

Gearheads will argue that the average buyer is more likely to gravitate toward a car like the CLA or IS if he or she is en route to spending the pile of money anyway. They might very well be right, and Acura no doubt knows that. So, they’ve put together one of the best equipped entry level luxury cars on the market for its price.

During a recent drive event in Virginia – a safe distance from car hating Washington, DC – Acura invited auto journalists to check out the new TLX. It would seem to be an important car for the Honda-partnered automaker as it reaches out to snag younger would-be luxury car drivers intended to enter the market for the first time.

The car’s designers cited the concept of a “Red Carpet Athlete” to guide their design vision for the project. I’m not certain if the exterior carries that idea home as it strikes the eye as speak enough, but it keeps it reasonably conservative beyond that. It’s not a bad looking car, but you’ll find more muscular or cars that “look like their moving while standing still” elsewhere.

Related: 2014 Lexus GX Big on Comfort, High Tech

However, the interior is where that “red carpet” concept arrives in full. Acura packed an impressive list of driver aids and convenience features into the car, including: Multiple driving modes through its Integrated Dynamic System, ELS Studio Premium Audio, Noise Dampening Acoustic Foam, Voice Recognition, Rear Camera, Keyless Access, iPhone Integration and rain sensing wipers. The car even offers smart tires that issue a tone to let you know when they’re full during air refills.

Under the hood, drivers can select between a 2.4 L four cylinder and 3.5 L six cylinder engines. The 3.5 version has the ability to switch to three cylinders from six whenever possible to save gas while cruising. The highest trim levels add four wheel steering to enhance handling.

The ride experience is smooth and amply powered. Everything about the car seems adequate whether on the highway or along the streets. There are echoes of the spongy, numb steering that haunt some of its Honda cousins, but a quick switch over to the Sport driver setting tightens everything up nicely.

The car moves as well as its established competition, but its interior features and technology should give the TLX an advantage in the marketplace.