Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Is the Acura TLX a Self-driving Car?

What's a car review doing in a blog on aging and caregiving? Good question. However, when you consider the independence we get from the ability to drive, the potential loss of that freedom can be terrifying to older adults.

And yet, according to AAA, "seniors are outliving their ability to drive safely by an average of 7 to 10 years." Anyone who has had to face taking the keys away from a parent or spouse knows how awful that experience can be for all concerned. And someday it may be our turn.

In growing recognition of the need for seniors to maintain their mobility independence, all sorts of alternatives to driving are becoming available. This is good news. One option that comes to mind is the growing network of ITN programs around the Country. There are others too.

Another promising alternative being tested and developed is the Google self-drivingcar.  It's not the only one and I, for one, hope to see the day when I can buy one. Which brings me to the title question:

Is the Acura TLX a Self-driving Car?

As a new owner of this wonderful luxury car, I can say "not quite." But there are several TLX models and the Six Cylinder version with the Advance Package may be the closest thing to a self-driver on the market today.

The Advance Package contains (among other things): Road Departure Mitigation System, Adaptive Cruise Control, Collision Mitigation Braking System, Forward Collision Warning System, Lane Departure Warning and Lane Keeping Assist, Blind Spot Info System, Rear Back Up Camera with Cross Traffic Alert, and an Automatic Brake Hold Feature.

Wow! Many other cars have some of these features and, perhaps, one other has most of them. However, it was the Advance equipped Acura TLX that was singled out by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety as actually avoiding an accident in their 25 mph Safety Test for High-speed Autobrake. The IIHS gave the car a 2015 Top Safety Pick + rating and categorized it as Superior for Front Crash Prevention.

Many of the thirty-something to fifty-something auto reviewers have ignored this feat. Their criticisms have focused on comparing torque and acceleration to the German luxury breed. And some don't like the styling. But we seniors with our aches and pains couldn't care less about 0-60 acceleration times, paddle shifters, manual transmissions, and power spurts away from a stoplight.

No, what we care about is comfort, safety and driver assist technology, things the TLX has in abundance. My right leg cramps up when I have to keep my foot on the brake pedal for long periods to prevent the car from creeping forward. Like in heavy traffic. The TLX Automatic Brake Hold Feature eliminates this problem.

My hand begins to ache when forced to grasp the steering wheel for hours on a long trip, but when the TLX Lane Keeping Assist steers the car it allows for a very loose grip (and for brief periods of no grip). And when this feature is combined with the Adaptive Cruise Control system, I can go for many miles without ever touching the accelerator pedal, only occasionally steering myself, and relaxing while the TLX self-steers, self-brakes and self-accelerates whenever a vehicle pulls in front of me. In effect, at such times, the car is indeed actually driving itself.

Finally, to me, styling is very subjective. I like the look of the TLX. On the road, I'm hard pressed to tell the difference between look-alike cars such as the Ford Fusion, Lexus ES 350, Hyundai Genesis, and many others. You might not like the TLX's understated and unique design as much as I do, but I don't think you'd confuse its appearance with any of its competitors.

As for luxury, I traded a Mercedes E320 for this Acura. I loved the Mercedes and I love the TLX, which I find to be the equal of the Benz in most things and superior in many ways, including ride quality, handling, noise mitigation, fuel consumption, and much, much, more.

All of this might not convince the baby boomers, millennials, and Generation X-ers but, for those of us with the physical issues associated with aging bodies, the Acura TLX is as sweet as they come.

 Robert Tell, Author

 

NOTE: 2017 UPDATE 

Please see my post entitled "More About Self Driving Cars." The Acura TLX is no longer unique. Many manufacturers now offer similar technology.




2 comments:

Jason Bryant said...

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2016 Acura ILX
2016 Acura MDX
2016 Acura NSX
2016 Acura RDX
2016 Acura RLX
2016 Acura TLX
2015 Acura ILX

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Salvage Acura Cars said...

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