The Acura TLX 2021 is on its way, and we, the warm-blooded enthusiasts, can only salivate on its smooth proportions, the available SH-AWD torque vector transmission and the explosive type S variant. But the Japanese luxury automaker wants the world to know that safety and real-world safety were also important goals for the new sports sedan.
One of the most innovative features – overshadowed by the upcoming Type S and its 3.0-liter turbocharged V6 – is a new three-chamber passenger airbag that deploys in most head-on collisions. Seen from above, the airbag takes an unusual V-shape, the two side chambers leaning and projecting further from the dashboard than the single central chamber. When the airbag is inflated, a flat “sail panel” deploys between the exterior chambers, which helps to slow the passenger’s head and chest more gradually until it touches the central chamber. According to Acura, the sail panel and side chambers function like a catcher’s glove to start absorbing momentum earlier, cradling the passenger’s head, neck and upper body to reduce injury.
TLX also comes standard with the AcuraWatch suite of active safety features, newly expanded in this application to include improved automated emergency braking and a pre-collision warning that works in a wider variety of situations. Driver attention monitoring is also new to AcuraWatch, which analyzes the frequency and severity of steering inputs to determine if distraction or fatigue are involved. In addition, a traffic jam function for the regulator Adaptive Speed Control and Lane Keep Assist alleviate stressful traffic jams by keeping the TLX centered in its lane and at a defined distance from the vehicle in front of you.
The Acura TLX 2021 was designed using the body structure (ACE) of the parent company Honda, designed to ensure that collisions between larger or smaller vehicles give better results. The ACE structure of the TLX has a central high-strength steel tunnel connected to the front and rear collision structures, helping to keep the passenger cabin intact and dispersing the collision forces elsewhere.
To test their work, Acura safety engineers subjected the new sedan to safety tests beyond common practice, including a new oblique-shift collision where a deformable sled hits the TLX on its front corner to an angle, rather than front or perpendicular. Acura says all of these efforts should translate into five-star safety ratings from government officials and a Top Safety Pick + wink from the Insurance Institute For Highway Safety.