The Acura TL is a medium-sized, entry-level luxury sports cars sedan, currently Acura’s best-selling car. Although TL typically does not provide the excitement or the prestige of competing European sports sedan, it counters with exceptional value and above average durability and reliability.
After three generations, the current model is the sportiest and most desirable yet, with chiseled exterior styling, firm suspension tuning, a powerful V6 and an impressive level of standard equipment. The Acura TL underwent a midlife freshening for 2007, with minor exterior and interior styling tweaks and an upgraded optional navigation system. The TL Type-S also returned to LINEUP this year with a 286-hp V6, various performance upgrades and styling enhancements.
Like most sports sedan, the TL is very usable on a daily basis and can perform well in almost any role. According to our editors, the current TL is “a well built, high performance, feature-laden entry-level luxury sports sedan, which should please most consumers shopping in this market.”
Current Acura TL
The current Acura TL receives a midlife freshening, but the big news is that the TL Type-S returns to the LINEUP after a three-year break. Equipped with a 286-hp 3.5-liter V6, Type-S also includes a sport-tuned suspension, brakes Brembo high performance and unique design elements that include quad tailpipe. A six-speed manual or five-speed automatic with auto-manual shift paddles are no-cost options. The upgraded touchscreen and voice-activated navigation system with real-time traffic reporting is standard equipment on the Type-S, which is the rest of the TL’s long feature list.
The regular TL receives minor styling tweaks and interior changes, including a sporty new three-spoke steering wheel. The updated navigation system is the only option, while the five-speed automatic is the only available transmission. The 258-hp 3.2-liter V6 is unchanged.
Both versions of the TL come with an attractive, well-built interior design with a more sporting intent in mind. Aluminum inlays, bright blue electroluminescent gauges and aggressively strengthened seats should appeal to enthusiasts, but may postpone the’re looking for a more traditional luxury look. Ergonomics are excellent, with redundant stereo controls on the radio face plate, steering wheel, and optional touchscreen and voice commands. High-tech standard features includes Bluetooth phone connectivity options, programmable driver memory function and an excellent surround sound stereo with six-CD/DVD audio changer and satellite radio.
On the road tests we have always been impressed with the Acura TL’s performance and handling abilities, but ultimately find that its front-wheel-drive setup can not compete with rear-drive models like the Infiniti G35, Lexus IS 350 or BMW 335i. Type-S ups the ante a bit, increase power without noticeable during teas. But until the Acura offers its Super Handling All-Wheel Drive system on the TL or even switching to rear-wheel drive (unlikely), the TL will remain a few steps behind its top competitors. For a majority of customers, even though the TL will provide a good mix of fun and convenience at a reasonable price.
Earlier Acura TL models
The current generation TL was introduced as a 2004 model. Consumers are interested in a used or certified pre-owned TL would be well advised to look for that model year or newer. There is not much difference between them in terms of features or hardware. Please note that Acura revised V6’s horsepower ratings from 270 to 258 by 2006. But this review was a regulatory issue, and the engine is not in fact change.
The second generation Acura TL was built from 1999-2003. Although it was not as exciting as the current model, our editors gave their elders very positive reviews during its course. Improvements were made throughout this period, and the car had a number of SL first, including Honda’s VTEC variable valve timing and a GPS navigation option. The powerful Type-S version, which debuted in 2002, should strongly consider buyers interested in increased efficiency. Regardless of specific trim level, just about any use second-generation model will work well.
The original Acura TL debuted in 1995 as a replacement for the popular Acura Vigor. Two versions were offered: a 2.5 TL with a 2.5-liter inline-5 engine and a 3.2 TL with a 3.2-liter V6. Both models were available during the first generation’s run, which lasted virtually unchanged through 1998. As there is now a small price difference between the two, we suggest that consumers are interested in a first-generation TL used to go to the more powerful 3.2.