Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Technology, Luxury Blend Nicely in the Acura TL

The latest version of the Acura TL offers a selection of a pair of engines and an all-wheel-drive system that boosts performance on all kinds of roads.
This premium mid-size sedan also has a more dramatic exterior design, which for years was not found on Acura products.
Now the TL has a strong presence when it comes to looks, performance and technology.

The TL's design is similar to that of the Honda Accord. 

The base model has a 3.5-liter, 280-horsepower V-6 engine with front-wheel-drive and a starting price of around $35,000.

But optional is the all-wheel-drive model, which we tested. It's starting price is around $39,000 and it has a 3.7-liter V-6 that makes a hearty 305 horsepower.

The 3.5 liter's fuel economy numbers are 18 mpg city and 26 highway.

Both engines are mated to a five-speed automatic transmission with a manual-shift feature that includes shift paddles on the steering column, which brings you a more spirited driving experience should you choose to use it. 

The all-wheel-drive system comes only with the larger engine, which gets 17 mpg city/25 highway.

The front-drive TL has an optional Technology Package that features a navigation system with voice recognition, AcuraLink real-time traffic and weather-radar mapping, an ELS 440-watt premium audio system with 10 speakers, a keyless access system with pushbutton ignition, a backup camera system that displays on the dash-mounted navigation screen, and premium Milano leather upholstery. The sound system includes DVD audio playback, a 12.7-gigabyte hard drive, and XM satellite radio. The backup camera is built into the rear deck-lid spoiler.

Our tester, with the all-wheel drive and Technology Package, was around $43,000.

The TL comes standard with a power moon roof, dual-zone adaptive climate control, 10-way adjustable power driver’s seat, and an eight-way adjustable power front passenger seat.

The base audio system has eight speakers, 276 watts, a six-disc CD changer, AM/FM radio, XM, Bluetooth audio, a USB port and an auxiliary jack for an iPod or other device.

The Super Handling-All Wheel Drive models come with 18-inch alloy wheels (unless the summer-tire package is added), along with quad exhaust tips and a special SH-AWD badge

The TL seats five fairly comfortably. 

Trunk space is 13.1 cubic feet, which is about adequate for a car this size. 

There are plenty of safety features on the TL, including Honda’s Advanced Compatibility Engineering front body structure, designed to match the bumpers of other vehicles on the road; electronic stability control with traction control; four-wheel antilock disc brakes with electronic brake-force distribution and brake assist; a tire-pressure monitoring system; active front head restraints; front seat-mounted side air bags; roof-mounted side-curtain air bags for both rows; child-seat anchors and tethers; front fog lights; break-away rearview mirror; emergency trunk interior release; and high-intensity-discharge automatic headlights.

With so many great features available, the Acura TL truly delivers technology and luxury, and it's not too hard on the eyes, either. 

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