The Acura TLX is all-new for 2021, and early indications suggest it's an improvement over the outgoing model in nearly every way. It's also more expensive, at least in terms of entry-level trim, and not just by a few bucks either. Perhaps that's why Acura is already offering some modest incentives for its fresh sports sedan.

That said, a new report from Cars Direct shows it's still quite pricey even with the discount, and it only applies to lease customers. The crux of the deal includes $1,900 in lease cash, with an additional $1,000 bonus for returning Acura customers or shoppers defecting from other brands. Add them up, and it's a maximum discount of $2,900 but only if you want to lease a TLX. For those making a purchase, Acura will still pony up the $1,000 discount and pair it with 1.9-percent financing.

Gallery: 2021 Acura TLX: First Drive

Unfortunately, current TLX leasing isn't exactly stellar. The report states a base model TLX leases for $399 per month with $3,999 down and a mileage limit of 10,000 miles per year, for three years. When the down payment is added to the total payments, you get an effective monthly payment of $510. The maximum lease discount only lowers the monthly payment to $369 with just $100 less due at signing. That combines for an effective monthly payment of $477, and as the report points out, the total TLX lease payout is nearly the same as a 2020 MDX which has a considerably higher MSRP.

For 2021, the base model TLX gains a new engine that's nearly as powerful as the now-discontinued TLX V6. In essence, Acura has basically eliminated lower-performance variants from the TLX line, but the result is a $4,500 year-over-year price increase. Indeed, Cars Direct reports that 2020 TLX three-year lease deals are still available at $299 per month, with a $2,999 down payment.

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With all that said, our first impression of the TLX reveals a car worthy of a higher price. More power under the hood comes with more space inside, a cleaner cockpit that's more luxurious, and a platform that's both more refined and more exhilarating to drive. Whether or not buyers respond to the upgraded TLX and its upgraded price, only time will tell.

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