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The TLX V6’s optional pre-crash front seatbelts will tighten automatically in the event the vehicle detects an impending crash, improving protection against injury significantly. The Sonata doesn’t offer pre-crash pretensioners.
The TLX offers all-wheel drive to maximize traction under poor conditions, especially in ice and snow. The Sonata doesn’t offer all-wheel drive.
Both the TLX and the Sonata have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front wheel drive, height adjustable front shoulder belts, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, lane departure warning systems, rearview cameras, available blind spot warning systems, around view monitors and rear cross-path warning.
For its top level performance in the IIHS moderate overlap frontal impact, side impact, rear impact, roof-crush crash tests, an “Acceptable” rating in the newer small overlap frontal crash test, and its standard front crash prevention system, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the TLX its highest rating: “Top Pick Plus” for 2015, a rating granted to only 174 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The Sonata has not been tested, yet.
The TLX’s standard 2.4 DOHC 4 cyl. produces 26 more horsepower (206 vs. 180) than the Sonata SEL Plus/Limited’s standard 1.6 turbo 4 cyl. The TLX’s 2.4 DOHC 4 cyl. produces 15 more horsepower (206 vs. 191) and 1 lbs.-ft. more torque (182 vs. 181) than the Sonata’s standard 2.5 DOHC 4 cyl. The TLX’s optional 3.5 SOHC V6 produces 99 more horsepower (290 vs. 191) and 86 lbs.-ft. more torque (267 vs. 181) than the Sonata’s standard 2.5 DOHC 4 cyl.
An engine control system that can shut down half of the engine’s cylinders helps improve the TLX V6’s fuel efficiency. The Sonata doesn’t offer a system that can shut down part of the engine.
In heavy traffic or at stoplights the TLX SH-AWD’s engine automatically turns off when the vehicle is stopped, saving fuel and reducing pollution. The engine is automatically restarted when the driver gets ready to move again. (Start/Stop isn’t accounted in present EPA fuel mileage tests.) The Sonata doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.
The TLX has a standard cap-less fueling system. The fuel filler is automatically opened when the fuel nozzle is inserted and automatically closed when it’s removed. This eliminates the need to unscrew and replace the cap and it reduces fuel evaporation, which causes pollution. The Sonata doesn’t offer a cap-less fueling system.
A nine-speed automatic is standard on the Acura TLX V6, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only an eight-speed automatic is available for the Sonata.
The TLX offers a standard sequential manual gearbox (SMG). With no clutch pedal to worry about and a fully automatic mode, an SMG is much more efficient than a conventional automatic but just as easy to drive. The Sonata doesn’t offer an SMG or a conventional manual transmission.
For better stopping power the TLX’s standard brake rotors are larger than those on the Sonata:
For better traction, the TLX has larger standard tires than the Sonata (225/55R17 vs. 205/65R16). The TLX A-Spec’s tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Sonata (245/40R19 vs. 235/45R18).
The TLX’s standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 55 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Sonata SE’s standard 65 series tires. The TLX A-Spec’s tires have a lower 40 series profile than the Sonata SEL Plus/Limited’s 45 series tires.
For better ride, handling and brake cooling the TLX has standard 17-inch wheels. Smaller 16-inch wheels are standard on the Sonata SE. The TLX A-Spec’s 19-inch wheels are larger than the 18-inch wheels on the Sonata SEL Plus/Limited.
The TLX has a standard easy tire fill system. When inflating the tires, the vehicle’s integrated tire pressure sensors keep track of the pressure as the tires fill and tell the driver when the tires are inflated to the proper pressure. The Sonata doesn’t offer vehicle monitored tire inflation.
The TLX uses computer-generated active noise cancellation to help remove annoying noise and vibration from the passenger compartment, especially at low frequencies. The Sonata doesn’t offer active noise cancellation.
The TLX has .7 inches more front hip room and .5 inches more rear hip room than the Sonata.
To allow full utilization of available cargo room, the TLX’s trunk lid uses concealed beam hinges that don’t intrude into the trunk. The Sonata’s useful trunk space is reduced by its intrusive beam hinge.
J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Acura service is better than Hyundai. J.D. Power ranks Acura 6th in service department satisfaction (above the industry average). With a 48% lower rating, Hyundai is ranked 22nd.
The TLX’s front and rear power windows all open or close fully with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside the car. The Sonata’s standard passenger windows don’t open or close automatically. With the Sonata SEL/SEL Plus/Limited’s power windows, only the front windows open or close automatically.
The TLX’s standard speed-sensitive wipers speed up when the vehicle does, so that the driver doesn’t have to continually adjust the speed of the wipers. The Sonata’s manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted. The TLX’s optional wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically according to the amount of rainfall on the windshield.
The TLX’s standard outside mirrors include heating elements to clear off the mirrors for better visibility. Hyundai only offers heated mirrors on the Sonata SEL/SEL Plus/Limited.
The TLX V6 offers optional automatic dimming rear and side view mirrors which automatically darken quickly when headlights shine on them, keeping following vehicles from blinding or distracting the driver. The Sonata offers an automatic rear view mirror, but its side mirrors don’t dim.
The TLX has standard heated front seats. Heated front seats are only available on the Sonata SEL/SEL Plus/Limited. The TLX Advance also has standard heated rear seats to keep those passengers extremely comfortable in the winter. Heated rear seats aren’t available in the Sonata.
On extremely cold winter days, the TLX Advance’s standard heated steering wheel provides comfort, allowing the driver to steer safely and comfortably before the car heater warms up. The Sonata doesn’t offer a heated steering wheel.
The TLX has a standard dual zone air conditioning allows the driver and front passenger to choose two completely different temperatures so people with different temperature preferences won’t have to compromise. This makes both the driver and front passenger as comfortable as possible. Dual zone air conditioning is only available on the Sonata SEL/SEL Plus/Limited.
The Car Book by Jack Gillis recommends the Acura TLX, based on economy, maintenance, safety and complaint levels.
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