Acura NSX front 3/4 view

What’s Hot and What’s Not in the 2020 Acura Lineup

What to Buy and What to Stay Away From When it Comes to Acura in 2020

Published October 23, 2018

Honda’s luxury division has some catching up to do compared to its Toyota counterpart, Lexus, whereas it’s around the same level as Infiniti. After some important design-related changes during MY 2019, every single model within their portfolio is ready and set to shine in 2020. The centerpiece of the next-generation of Acura models will be the new Pentagon grille which replaces the oddball beak unit from the late 2000s. From the MDX, on which it first appeared, to the ILX, which will be the last of Acura cars to don it, the new Pentagon front should help the company finally take that necessary step forward. After all, they’ve never lacked in quality but a significant number of potential buyers went to their competitors. They simply didn’t want to buy a luxury car that they’d have to park nose-front in their driveways, in order not to scare off the innocent passersby.

The Japanese brand has sold 154,602 vehicles in the U.S. during 2017 which is less than what they managed to do during their record year 2015 when they marketed 177,165 cars. The first three quarters of 2018 are showcasing almost identical figures to those above stated as the brand managed to sell 114,483 models. For comparison, they marketed 114,126 units a year before. Although it’s evident they’ve failed to take that vital step forward during 2018, the situation on the market dictates that Acura will finally be able to do so in 2019 and 2020. Here’s what to expect from the 2020 Acura models, and what to pay attention to when it comes to them.

What’s Hot in the New 2020 Acura Lineup

03. 2020 TLX Type-S

After years of absence from the market, the Japanese have finally decided to bring back the vaunted Type-S badge. The performance badge will make its first appearance on the next-gen TLX sedan before migrating to other Acura cars. The second-generation 2020 TLX itself will build on the recent late-first-gen model’s improvements which include the new grille among others.  Further visual enhancements will consist of some standard bits usually present in performance cars which include a more aggressive front, beefier side skirts, and a similarly executed rear end. The conventional TLX with a V6 engine and all-wheel drive costs between $38,000 and $46,000 depending on chosen technology and convenience packages. Expect the Type-S TLX to cost even more than that, but not by much.

There’s still very little info on the next-gen Acura TLX’s powertrain lineup, especially when it comes to the forthcoming Type-S models. The Japanese have announced an all-new Acura-exclusive turbocharged V6 mill already in development, but there hasn’t been any word on it since the 2018 Detroit auto show. It’s expected they’ll utilize the NSX technology minus the hybrid bits. Of course, the NSX’s 3.5L V6 also makes 573 horsepower which is a bit over the top for a luxury mid-size sedan of the TLX’s stature. Future 2020 Acura TLX Type-S owners should be more than content if their performance luxury sedan manages to develop 400 horsepower. We also know that the next-gen TLX Type-S will sport Acura’s all-new Super Handling All-Wheel Drive which should help with the extra power. Also, the Japanese will almost certainly fit the Type-S with upgraded suspension, beefier brakes, and recalibrated steering.

2020 Acura prototype sedan might well be the next-gen TLX S-Type

02. 2020 RDX

The third-generation RDX made its debut for MY 2019 and finally wrapped the compact luxury crossover into a much more appealing package. The third-generation Acura RDX isn’t just more appealing to the eye, but more contemporary and refined in every way. Despite being a couple of steps in front of its predecessor, the new RDX didn’t come without a few problems of its own. A not-so-soft ride will likely remain its main shortcoming throughout this generation’s run, but at least the Japanese can fix the touchpad issues as the new 10.2-inch screen and the RDX’s infotainment system can give their owners a major headache. This should be addressed as soon as 2020 when the corresponding year models which should retain their predecessors’ prices ranging from $37,500 and $47,500. In other words, Acura’s compact crossover offering will continue to undercut its German rivals by quite a margin.

The new RDX doesn’t offer a choice in powertrains, but neither do most of its rivals. A 2.0L turbocharged 4-cylinder mill develops 272 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque which is more than plenty for a vehicle of its size and weight which, by the way, sits just shy of 4,000 pounds. Although it sports a smooth contemporary 10-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters, the RDX still feels sluggish when shifting. Hopefully, the Japanese will fix that as well in time for MY 2020. All things considered, the 2020 RDX should find itself well within the compact luxury crossover’s boundaries in pretty much every segment. Thanks to its new, handsome design, however, Acura’s latest addition to the crossover game should see some improvements on the sales front.

Acura RDX front 3/4 view

01. 2020 NSX

It’s now been a while since this legendary Japanese sports car has returned to the fold, and it’s showing no signs of stopping. However, it hasn’t shown any signs of stepping up either. Although numerous rumors about the 2020 Acura NSX Type-R, or Type-S in Acura-exclusive speak, have been circulating for quite some time now, nothing official has still been announced by the Japanese company. These things can happen rather quickly, though, especially since the NSX has been available for a while already. So, it wouldn’t surprise us if the rumors turn up to be true. Until we get something more tangible from Acura, however, we’ll have to assume the 2020 NSX will simply continue where its predecessor has left off. Luckily for all sports car enthusiasts, the NSX is already near-perfect the way it is.

The rumored Type-S NSX could well be good enough for 641 horsepower if the rumors behind it are accurate. It should be able to draw all that power from the same powertrain the regular NSX has been sporting since its inauguration back in 2016. Speaking of which, a combo of three electric motors and a 3.5L twin-turbo V6 engine are good enough for 573 horsepower and 476 lb-ft of torque at the moment. A dual-clutch 9-speed automatic gearbox and mandatory all-wheel drive are also a part of the mentioned setup. Blistering acceleration and a corresponding top speed are definitely some of the NSX’s strongest points, but being a sports car for a multitude of different scenarios is arguably the biggest. If the Japanese manage to upgrade the interior build quality – which should be a no-brainer for a car that starts from almost $160,000 – they’ll get themselves one of the best borderline supercars ever devised.

Acura NSX front 3/4 view

What’s Not in the New 2020 Acura Lineup

03. 2020 MDX

The largest Acura crossover is now seriously beginning to show its age despite receiving a diamond Pentagon grille update for MY 2017. The 2020 Acura MDX most likely won’t receive next-gen treatment since nothing official has been confirmed at this moment. The earliest we can expect the next-gen model is mid-2020 as 2021-year model which leaves the 2020 MDX with very limited possibilities. The Japanese should simply recycle the 2019-year model while possibly offering a new interior color option or two and reducing its price tag a bit. Depending on the chosen setup, the current-generation MDX costs between $45,000 for the Standard trim with front-wheel drive and $60,000 for the all-wheel-drive hybrid models with Advance Package.

The same goes for the 2020 MDX’s powertrains which could use some additional punch in the future. For now, though, the conventional 3.5L V6 and hybrid 3.0L V6 are good enough for either 290 hp and 267 lb-ft of torque, or 257 hp and 218 lb-ft respectively. The hybrid models get help from three electric motors and a lithium-ion battery pack which raises the total output to 289 ponies and a corresponding amount of torque. They also return up to 17 mpg combined, whereas the conventional models deliver either 22 or 23 mpg combined depending on the chosen setup. Although commendable, these figures will soon be insufficient, hence the Acura MDX for MY 2020 wouldn’t be our first choice when it comes to both three-row luxury crossovers or Acura vehicles alone.

Acura MDX front 3/4 view

02. 2020 ILX

The ILX sedan is one of the most outdated cars in its segment having received its last substantial makeover back in Spring of 2012. Despite a couple of facelifts in the meantime – the latter of which finally sent the outdated beak grille into retirement – the ILX hasn’t exactly aged gracefully. The fact that the 2020 Acura ILX will most likely carry over unchanged doesn’t do the small luxury sedan any favors either. At least the last facelift for MY 2019 brought a $2,200 price cut as well, hence the current ILX costs between $27,000 and $32,500. However, the ILX is showcasing true luxury arrangements only from the $30,500 Premium trim with Technology Package onward. More affordable models might have gotten slightly larger 7-inch touchscreen displays, but you can forget about any advanced safety gear in them.

No major changes to the ILX’s underpinnings mean there will be no changes in the powertrain department either. Although it weighs just over 3,100 pounds, the 2020 ILX could do with more than 201 ponies and 180 pound-feet of torque. Its 2.4L naturally-aspirated 4-cylinder engine coupled with an 8-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox simply can’t provide more at this point. The next-gen models will have to address that issue but they won’t arrive in time for MY 2020, hence the Acura ILX for 2020 appears in a less popular section of our list here.

Acura ILX front 3/4 view

01. 2020 RLX

At the other end of the Acura sedans spectrum sits the large RLX which stems back to MY 2014. In other words, another facelifted luxury sedan whose time is quickly running out, although not as quickly as with the compact ILX. Although comfy and powerful, the RLX is by no means a driver’s car. Large luxury cars rarely are. It does have a few other strong points, though, mainly its high-value package. The newest RLX Sport Hybrid SH-AWD sedans cost $62,000 which is certainly no mean feat, but considering what you get for the price, they still undercut their competition by a vast amount. The Acura RLX is packed with every single feature that might cross your mind in what’s a rare no-nonsense fully-equipped package, and we’ve got to give credit where credit’s due.

The Acura RLX Sport Hybrid SH-AWD is currently the only way to obtain the large Acura sedan. It combines a 3.5L V6 engine with a trio of electric motors (one up front and two at the back), for a combined output of 377 ponies and 341 pound-feet of rotational force. The system is paired with a contemporary 10-speed automatic transmission which, of course, routes the RLX’s power to all four corners. Despite a few shortcomings, the RLX is still arguably the best Acura’s sedan. It’s still not something we’d be willing to jump on at this particular moment, but who would say no to a fully updated next-gen large Acura luxury sedan?

Acura RLX front 3/4 view

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Nikola Potrebić
About Nikola Potrebić

Despite driving a piece of junk, Nikola still manages to survive the harrowing experience called "A road trip in a Yugo," day in, day out. On the other hand, precious few things move him as muscle cars do. Especially those from the bygone golden era, which makes him wonder why wasn't he born a few decades earlier? Well, at least he's been given the opportunity to enjoy the likes of the Pontiak Aztek, Chrysler PT Cruiser, Fiat Multipla, and other lovely millennials, right? Come to think of it, I'll stick with my Yugo. Thank you very much.

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