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2009 Acura TL


By Katrina Ramser
San Francisco Bureau
The Auto Channel

Redesigned and looking sharper than ever since it's 1996 entry, the Acura TL is possibly one of the best sedans I've driven yet. Consumer Reports has noted in the past the TL model is one of the few cars that provides an ideal blend of comfort, price, convenience features and sportiness. You'll possess style, power and reliability in the Acura TL.

I drove a 2009 Acura TL Tech with the base 280-horsepower, 24-valve VTEC V6 engine. The four-door, 5-speed automatic had 4-wheel disc brakes, vehicle stability assist (VSA), and anti-locking brake system (ABS). Standard interior features included: voice-activated navigation system with backup camera; leather seating; 10-speaker surround-sound system; 10-way power seating drive and 8-way passenger; heated seats; Bluetooth; steering wheel controls; and a moonroof. Total vehicle price was $39,445.

I The voice-activated navigation technology has a 12.7-gigabit hard drive with some of the most comprehensive features and commands available. Mastered by one dial, you are able to scroll through commands on the screen by turning and pushing inward; sliding this knob to the sides or up and down showcase not just the myriad of choices from traffic updates, map sizes, route choices and music, but really how Acura's communication system is so layered and sensible, opening itself up easily for the user to work to the best of both human and technology ability.


Stylish But Comfortable Results: This car epitomizes overall style and comfort, from the 10-way power leather seating to the advanced yet user-friendly navigation technology. Despite the excess of command buttons and gadgets throughout the dash and center console, the car is easy to figure out and the design proximity is very functional and instinctive. Four are more comfortable than five in the second row seating.

Reliability & Safety Factor: Acura, built by Honda, has tested reliability and swarms of consumer confidence. Some critics call the TL nothing more than a dressed-up Honda Accord, but even that's not much of an insult on grounds of safety (and I can sense the different between the two – I did not feel like I was in an Accord).

Cost Issues: With a tag of $39,445, you are paying for – and most appropriately getting – a luxury sedan worth the cost. Like the Acura TSX, the TL is positioned alongside the Audi A4 2.0T, BMW 328i, Infiniti G37, Lexus IS 250, and Mercedes-Benz C300 – but I dare say Acura stand to do better in the brand-name game because its vehicle costs hit a lower ceiling.

Activity & Performance Ability: One of the smoothest engines I've driven, the TL possesses surging power and stops on a dime. I'm not a speed freak, yet I was dying to race this car. It was firm, solid and nimble. Only flying compares to the ride on this vehicle. The turning radius isn't as outstanding as others. It should be noted the TL comes with a 306-horsepower AWD, which will get you even better handling and traction.

The Green Concern: The TL gets 18-mpg city and 26-mpg highway, getting an average of 22-mpg overall due to the 24-valve V6 engine. The Acura TSX with its 4-cylinder obviously gets a bit better at 25-mpg average. The Lexus IS gets 24-mpg, the Audi A4 23-mpg, and the BMW 328i 23-mpg.

I cannot think of a single reason why anyone would dislike this upscale sedan. If you're in the market for luxury, get inside an Acura TL to realize it's just as fully loaded, noticeable and awesome as any of the other premium auto labels.

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2008 Katrina Ramser