Acura’s struggles to keep pace with luxury competitors are well-documented. While most were going rear-drive and installing ever more powerful V8 engines, Acura stuck to its Honda strategy of front-drive platforms and V6 powertrains. Acura looked stuck in the mud.
Now that every other automaker is retreating to V6s in search of better fuel economy, Acura looks much brainier. The TL should find more love.
What didn’t find much love was the big silver shield on the front of recent Acuras. It looked more appropriate on SUVs than refined luxury sedans. So designers better integrated the design into the grille, redesigned the front bumper, updated the headlights, and shortened the front overhang for a more sophisticated appearance.
Now, we can appreciate the fastback roofline, batwing taillamps, and expert body surfacing over the front wheels and on the rear deck. I liked the car before, but I think many others will now.
The TL’s starship interior had its own share of controversy. If you’re looking for warm wood and stitched dash coverings, look elsewhere. However, the car’s dual cockpit dash design, metal-look finishes, and large analog gauges convey the car’s sporting nature.
The center control layout is an array of similar looking buttons, but once you’re familiar with them, it is easy to command the voice-activated navigation, automatic climate control, and 440-watt Premium Audio System.
Unless you do something incredibly stupid, you cannot get this car to misbehave.
USB inputs for iPods and Bluetooth bring the car up to modern standards. God knows why anybody does it, but owners can store up to 15GB of music (3,500 songs) on board. Safety is enhanced with an available blind spot warning system. Best of all are the brown leather seats with heat and ventilation.
If fuel efficiency is your goal, go for the front-drive TL and its 3.5-liter V6 to enjoy fuel economy ratings of 20/29-MPG city/hwy.
I would choose the “Super Handling” SH-AWD edition with its 305 hp 3.7-liter V6 attached to a torque-shifting system that over-spins wheels on corners for a rear-drive affect. A paddle-shift 6-speed automatic transmission adds control.
Unless you do something incredibly stupid, you cannot get this car to misbehave. Fuel economy for the larger engine is a still-respectable 18/26-MPG city/hwy.
5-passenger AWD sedan
Powertrain: 305 hp 3.7-L V6, 6-spd auto trans
Suspension f/r: Ind./Ind
Wheels: 19”/19” alloy f/r
Brakes: Disc fr/rr with ABS
Must-have feature: Style, handling
Manufacturing: Marysville, OH
Fuel economy (city/hwy.): 18/26-MPG
As-tested price: $45,970
I had this sleigh for the holidays, which meant a quick trip up two-lane roads to my parents’ place and the long way home via 100 miles of Interstate. The big, thick steering wheel and sport seats are all-day comfortable while the chassis is firm, but compliant enough on the open road. Step into the throttle and you can dust off a line of cars in whiff.
The AWD system lives up to its billing on corners. I get the feeling that the TL could blow through snowdrifts as well as it storms on-ramps.The TL’s problem remains: how does Acura convince buyers of $45,000 luxury sedans to choose its car over the BMW 3-Series, Mercedes C-Class, Infiniti G37, Cadillac CTS, or even the Hyundai Genesis?
It’s all about personal preference, but the TL’s refined styling, sporting interior, efficiency, and impressive handling seem like great places to start.
The Epoch Times publishes in 35 countries and in 19 languages. Subscribe to our e-newsletter.