LOUISVILLE, KY – Responding to customer complaints about its lack of user-friendliness, the infotainment system in Acura’s TLX sedan gets a rework to make it faster and easier to use.

“We’ve changed all of the graphics, the user interface and even just speed for the software behind the system,” Jonathon Rivers, Acura senior product planner, tells WardsAuto here at an ’18 TLX media event. “We got rid of some of the redundancy, the things that were causing frustration with customers before.”

On-screen buttons have been rearranged, reshaped and re-colored (from cobalt blue on black to more of a slate blue on black) and new on-screen shortcuts are available.

One of those new shortcuts allows users to quickly access the car’s heated and ventilated seats via controls that previously had been buried in a menu.

Seat heat and ventilation settings also now can be cycled through via the continuous touch of a single button, negating the need to look away from the road to hunt for dedicated low/medium/high buttons.

The previous TLX infotainment system was so outdated it lacked the nearly 6-year-old SiriusXM 2.0. With the addition of the updated satellite-radio software for the ’18 TLX, logos for the multitude of the satellite radio system’s stations appear on screen.

Navigation between SiriusXM’s hundreds of stations also has been made easier with a new retro-style tuner slider.

“We had a lot of complaints about it (being) really hard to get to the 200(-level) channels, 300(-level) channels,” Rivers says. “(With the tuning bar) you can just slide your finger across (to get to the upper channels).”

A keypad on the same screen as the slider offers more precise direct tuning, allowing users to punch in the number of a desired station.

Acura’s signature and controversial two center-stack screens, one upper and one lower, remain onboard the ’18 TLX. However, Rivers says with the addition of standard Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, maps from either service can be kept static on the upper screen while the lower screen’s audio and HVAC controls continue to function.

“On other vehicles, if you’re in your maps navigating, but you want to get to the OEM settings, you have to go here, shift out, do this back and forth. So it’s really nice having a 2-screen setup,” he says.

Other updates to the TLX’s HMI for ’18 include a capacitive vs. resistive touch screen on the lower center stack, meaning users don’t have to push as hard to make a selection, as well as re-labeled and rearranged hard buttons.

A smartphone hard button takes the place of an Audio button (pushing the volume knob still turns the audio system on or off) for fast access to CarPlay or Android Auto after plugging in a phone.

The Back button gets bigger and the Menu button is removed, with the function now paired with Enter on the large knob on the lower center stack.

“It’s just a little bit easier to use things now,” Rivers says. “For example, if you’re on the navigation screen, now you just push in on the main button and it gives you your menu settings.”

Processor speed is claimed to be 30% faster, which Rivers demonstrates by entering an address for a destination on the in-car navigation system.

The ’18 Acura TLX goes on sale in June in the U.S.

cschweinsberg@wardsauto.com