American Honda Motor Company, Inc.

Honda might be one of the most popular brands for motorists seeking great fuel economy and reliability, but it’s also the first Japanese automaker to have tapped into the luxury car market.

When it debuted its Acura marque in the mid-1980s, the timing was right. Stately names like Oldsmobile and Buick were failing to connect with post-baby boomer motorists seeking sportier alternatives to their grandfather’s sedan—and Honda’s competitors were hard pressed not to try their hand in the premium car game.

Yet for the success of every Acura, Lexus, or Infiniti, there’s a criticism that these brands are overpriced Hondas, Toyotas, and Nissans. Now that the newest addition to the Acura lineup—the TLX—is here, how does it fare under all the scrutiny? Is it the high-end executive compact it promises to be, or just a shinier Civic?

AxleGeeks breaks down the TLX’s main stats and compares it against industry rivals. See how it stacks up to the competition:

2015 Acura TLX Price

Where cost is concerned, the new TLX has a price that’s more entry-level than its status might suggest. At $31,445 MSRP, the TLX is 21 percent cheaper the the average luxury sedan ($39,905). While some buyers might be swayed into choosing a cheaper option like the Volvo S60, the TLX is still more reasonable than overpriced offerings like the Audi S4.

2015 Acura TLX Fuel Economy

The TLX’s gas mileage surpasses the competition. It gets 12 percent better fuel economy than its class, with 24 miles per gallon in the city and 35 mpg on the highway for a combined 29 mpg.

This translates to a lot of savings. Assuming TLX owners drive the industry-standard 15,000 miles per year and an average gas price of $3.70, TLX drivers can expect to spend $1,913.79 on gas.

2015 Acura TLX Horsepower and Torque

Honda carries the power over to the TLX, with 206 HP from its 2.4-liter inline-4 engine. Even though this is 50 HP less than the usual suspects in the compact luxury class, it’s forgivable when taking the TLX’s sense of economy into consideration.

Dual clutches are all the rage these days, giving automatic transmissions the control of a stick shift without the hassle of rowing gears. The base TLX is outfitted with a Honda-built 8-speed gearbox that sends power to the front wheels—according to Road & Track, it also uses a special torque convertor for facilitating smooth shifts up and down the gears.

Speaking of torque, the lower end on the TLX delivers 182 feet-pounds of grunt, a respectable number taking the car’s limitations into account. That’s about one-third less than both other compact luxury cars and all luxury four-doors combined.

2015 Acura TLX Power-to-Weight Ratio

Real-world performance is relative for the TLX. With low power often comes heavy weight to hold it back. The TLX’s power-to-weight ratio of 16.9 lbs. per HP is 18 percent worse than the overall segment average of 14.4, making the TLX one of the slowest sedans in its segment.

2015 Acura TLX Curb Weight

Ironically, while the TLX’s weight slows the car down, it’s still one of the lighter cars among compact luxury sedans. At 3,483 lbs., it’s 3.1 percent lighter than its direct competitors, and 1.8 percent lighter than other similar models.

2015 Acura TLX First-Row Dimensions

The TLX is a bit of an anomaly in its class, sporting an inverse amount of headroom and legroom compared to the interior space common among competitors.

TLX drivers and front seat passengers receive 37.2 inches of headroom—just over three feet total—3.6 percent less than all other 2015 sedans. It’s in the legroom that occupants in the front row are better suited in the TLX; at 42.6 inches, it’s 1.3 percent more than what’s available on every four-door available today, compact, luxury or otherwise.

2015 Acura TLX Second Row Headroom/Legroom

A 36.7-inch height from seat to ceiling in the back row isn’t much less than the TLX’s first row, and not too far behind others in its class; on average, competing compact sedans offer just 0.1 of an inch more headroom.

The TLX’s back seat might feel a bit cramped for the long-legged. That’s to be expected in a compact vehicle, though for a car with the Acura pedigree, 34.5 inches might leave some passengers wishing for more stretch room. The TLX falls behind other compact cars and all sedans by 1.7 percent and 5.7 percent, respectively.

2015 Acura TLX Cargo Space

Since the TLX’s rear seats don’t fold down, every inch counts for storage. TLX owners will get 13.2 cubic feet of cargo room, 1.5 percent more than what’s found on others in the executive compact class. Even with just 0.2 of an inch more than Audi’s A4 and S4, the Volvo S60 or Mercedes C300, that counts for a lot in the Acura/Honda camp.

2015 Acura TLX Overview

It would be unfair to call the TLX a premium Honda, even if Acura is part of the same family tree and doesn’t offer any standout performance or luxury features of its contemporaries. The TLX is a great starter car for drivers looking to enter the executive car market, without sacrificing fuel efficiency or paying a fortune.

To decide whether the Acura TLX is worth its higher cost, compare its features to that of the BMW 3 Series sedan and standard Honda Civic.