There’s no overstating how important the 2009 TL is to Acura. The affluence cast from Honda has had a boxy time over the accomplished few years, with blah sales of its SUVs, the MDX and RDX. Its flagship RL auto afresh went beneath the knife afterwards a run of afflictive sales. The brand’s best contempo success was the redesign of the entry-level 2009 TSX sedan.
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Alike with sales bottomward 22 percent so far this year, the TL is still the company’s acknowledged model. The 2009 TL takes a lot of its architecture cues from Acura’s SUVs and its TSX, but what will accomplish it a champ is what has consistently been a backbone for Acura: bulk teamed with performance.
Get accomplished the looks (or dribble over them, depending on your point of view), and what you acquisition is a TL that’s bigger in every way. The 2009 TLs go on auction in September.
The bigger change for 2009, besides the new design, is the accession of an all-wheel-drive trim akin that makes 305 horsepower. One of the best accepted inquiries we get at Cars.com revolves about all-wheel drive. Buyers appetite it, alike if they don’t charge it, and they’re accommodating to pay for it. Acura says the SH-AWD — which stands for Super-Handling All-Wheel Drive — trim akin was created to allure alive enthusiasts who boutique BMW and Infiniti, both of which use rear- and all-wheel-drive setups in their cars. Enthusiasts looked bottomward on the antecedent front-wheel-drive TL alike admitting it awash in abundant numbers, acceptation some bodies acutely didn’t apperception or notice.
I’m not abiding if Acura will accomplish what it wants to with both versions of the new TL, but any fan of the old car — or any shoppers adorable for a little affluence in their abutting auto — won’t go amiss with the abject model. The uplevel TL SH-AWD, though, is an absorbing beast; it may be too abundant for those who aloof appetite all-wheel drive and too little for those adorable for an ultimate achievement machine.
Before I get into how arresting a car the new TL is, there’s aloof no artifice its looks. The byword “love or hate” is acclimated a lot in today’s automotive apple because admiral accept a car needs to angle out in a army to allure buyers. Alike if 70 percent of bodies abhorrence the look, designers would rather draw the eyes of that added 30 percent. The new TL will absolutely draw stares. On my analysis drive through Connecticut, afore the TL was appear to the public, added drivers absolutely stared my way. Sure, some of them seemed to apperceive they were accepting a bastard peek, but I anticipate best were gawking at the car’s arresting beak.
The Acura “shield” grille is well-integrated, and the attenuate headlights resemble both the previous-generation TL and the blow of the redesigned Acura lineup. Along the ancillary is a aberrant “snarling” appendage aloft the advanced fender. It isn’t again over the rear fender, authoritative the advanced angle out alike more. I alarm this the “Elvis Lip Curl,” and it’s alike added arresting on models with aphotic exoteric colors.
Aback you go about to the back, things absolutely get interesting. The rear bonanza and trunklid jut apparent as you move from the ancillary of the car to the middle. Yes, it’s pointing backward. Best aback ends try to be collapsed across, not convex. It’s a aberrant attending that reminds me of a spaceship from “Buck Rogers,” not a exhausted affluence sedan. Still, I consistently capital to fly Buck Rogers’ spaceship.
Piloting the new TL is a appealing bland acquaintance aback you’re in the abject model. Acura is activity with two TL trim levels: There’s the base, front-wheel-drive archetypal with its 280-horsepower, 3.5-liter V-6. That’s 22 hp added than the approachable abject TL produced. The added trim is alleged the TL SH-AWD. As the name implies, it appearance Acura’s all-wheel-drive arrangement that the automaker humbly dubs “Super-Handling.” Besides the altered drivelines, there are added aloft differences amid the two.
Namely, the SH-AWD archetypal gets a 305-hp, 3.7-liter V-6. The abeyance is acquainted for added advancing driving, and the bankrupt agenda is meant to accomplish added noise. Alike the seats get beyond ancillary bolsters to authority you in abode during all the thrashing you’ll no agnosticism put the car through.
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I can artlessly say that both trims are accomplished machines, and you’ll accept to anxiously accede how you adore your drive afore allotment one. Afterwards testing both, I would say that ride abundance is the best cogent aberration amid the two, not the all-wheel drive. The abject TL is one of the smoothest, quietest-riding sedans of its admeasurement that I’ve tested. It’s about Lexus-silent, but it delivers absolute council and affluence of alive fun, all while cushioning the disciplinarian from bad roads.
The TL SH-AWD is acutely the faster model, but not to such an acute that you’ll absence the added ability in casual moves aback alive the abject TL. The bigger aberration is that the SH-AWD’s administration is appreciably brittle and aggressive, like action sedans from BMW and Mercedes-Benz. But like those two brands, the abeyance is absolutely firm. The annealed bureaucracy agency you will feel alley imperfections, and I anticipate that will about-face off some antecedent TL owners. My few hundred afar of analysis alive came on ambagious country anchorage that were impeccably well-maintained. Anytime there was a change in alley conditions, you could absolutely acquaint in the TL SH-AWD afterwards adorable at the road. It was actual pronounced. The agent additionally roared a tad, aloof abundant to intrude into the cabin, but afterwards the affectionate of aural amusement you get from a acceptable American V-8.
Of course, the TL gets bigger breadth than a V-8-powered action sedan. The 3.5-liter agent allotment an EPA-estimated 18/26 mpg city/highway, which is identical to the 2008’s mileage. The 3.7-liter agent gets 17/25 mpg city/highway, which would be a accustomed bead for any archetypal activity from front-wheel drive to all-wheel drive, let abandoned accretion ability by 25 hp. The numbers are bigger than you get from Infiniti’s G35 but aisle Cadillac’s CTS and Lexus’ ES 350.
Both TLs accept a five-speed automated chiral with about-face paddles army to the council wheel. A chiral chiral isn’t offered, and alive with the paddles, while smooth, doesn’t bear the aforementioned affectionate of adventure as accomplishing it with a shifter and clamp pedal. For the acceptable TL disciplinarian this shouldn’t accomplish a bit of difference, but Acura’s aiming at a new, enthusiast admirers with the TL SH-AWD.
The big catechism for enthusiasts will be if the TL SH-AWD bests the competition’s best. It’s a abutting call. While I still anticipate the BMW 335xi is one of the top performers in this segment, the TL SH-AWD holds its own adjoin the all-wheel-drive Infiniti G35x. The afresh revised chiral chiral in the 2008 G35 is terrific, however, and a added able 2009 G37 auto will be out at the aforementioned time as the 2009 TL.
The one car I compared the TL to the best was the new Cadillac CTS because of their about sizes, advancing looks, agnate prices and accessible all-wheel drive. I collection an all-wheel-drive CTS the anniversary I alternate from testing the new TL, and accomplished appealing bound that the TL SH-AWD absolutely would be my best over the Cadillac. The CTS is aloof as acrid over asperous roads, but doesn’t handle about as able-bodied as the Acura.
To my core, I’m a bang-for-the-buck guy, and I anticipate that speaks added to Acura shoppers than it does to absolute achievement enthusiasts who boutique BMW and Audi. There’s annihilation amiss with that; the abstraction that every car needs to be the ultimate clue brilliant is antic aback best drivers never get to acquaintance annihilation added blood-tingling than arced country roads. The abject TL takes those twisties aloof fine, and if you accept a cogent other, he or she won’t apperception activity on a drive in the smoother-riding abject model. The ablaze council will be a absolution for those who acquisition BMWs and Infinitis to be heavy-handed diplomacy as well.
Acura abiding doesn’t go too crazy with its interiors. The new TL is added aesthetic and hardly added flush than the antecedent generation, but as abolitionist as the exoteric is, the autogenous is absolutely sedate. The alone almost exhausted aspect was the blush palette. Besides accepted black, there’s additionally a abysmal amber advantage acclimated on the high birr and doors that goes with a chrism covering for the seats. This was my admired combination. There’s additionally a bright-bronze covering alternative accessible in the TL SH-AWD.
The advanced seats were both adequate and supportive; afterwards six hours of beeline driving, my aback acquainted fine. As a baseline, this is usually not the case for me, and I booty agenda aback my aback isn’t aggravation me on continued drives. I had additionally spent three hours on a alike and two hours in a helicopter anon above-mentioned the analysis drive, so, yes, I was advantageous absorption to bench comfort.
The backseat is additionally comfortable, accepting a slight bulk of added legroom over the 2008. I wouldn’t appetite to booty a continued ride aback there, but it was awfully roomier than any of the antagonism from BMW, Audi, Cadillac or Infiniti.
There were a cardinal of attenuate yet beautiful touches central that I enjoyed but which may go unnoticed. On Technology Package-equipped models, the meshed-metal apparent that’s acclimated to awning genitalia of the dash, doors and centermost animate and actualize a abounding architecture is absolute metal; aback you blow it, it feels cold. There’s alike a metal sliding aperture that hides the 115-volt bung for cyberbanking accessories.
The hooded gauges are sporty, and while they’re not the best absorbing I’ve seen, they do angle aloft best of the absolute competition. Dual cupholders in the centermost animate are abysmal abundant for baptize bottles, and they hugged soda cans, too. They additionally accept an adorable sliding cover.
My admired affection was the centermost armrest’s sliding drawer. Yep, there’s a bank drawer that ancestor out at a blow advised to authority corpuscle phones or an iPod . It’s lined with bendable carpeting, too. While I apprehend it to abide accessible during best drives, it’s nice that you can aloof accelerate it in aback you leave the car so passers-by can’t see what affectionate of big-ticket electronics you’ve larboard in the car.
Speaking of big-ticket technology, the TL packs a lot of gadgetry of its own.
All TLs appear with an eight-speaker, six-CD stereo system, Bluetooth, iPod/USB connectivity and an abetting ascribe jack. Alike with the Tech Package, however, the USB aperture alone works with iPods or USB beam drives. If you own a non-iPod MP3 player, you’ll accept to use the abetting jack.
The Tech Amalgamation absolutely ups the ante in agreement of features, and Acura says it expects best buyers to opt for it. The best important accession in this amalgamation is the voice-activated aeronautics system, which works able-bodied and appearance bigger awning cartoon compared to Acura’s accepted system. However, it’s still not as bright as systems from the brand of Mercedes, or alike Lincoln’s new high-tech system. Acura has aesthetic the bulge interface that controls aeronautics and audio controls. There are now bright adjustment buttons that accomplish it easier to jump from audio to aeronautics or added menus, and the bulge itself is abate and easier to manipulate.
It does accept added than aloof navigation, though. Included in the Tech Amalgamation is XM NavWeather and AcuraLink alive traffic. Now, it’s important to agenda that alike admitting XM NavWeather requires a account fee that can be arranged with XM Satellite Radio, the AcuraLink cartage updates — which appearance alley architecture and highlight chock-full roadways on the aeronautics map — is separate; it will assignment afterwards the XM account plan. Choose the added account plan, though, and you’ll additionally get cartage updates over a articulation approach — yes, it speaks to you — admitting if you alive in a aloft city breadth we’re academic you apperceive the bounded account radio abject that updates cartage every 10 minutes.
An upgraded complete system, acquainted by able complete architect and ambassador Elliot Scheiner and Pioneer, moves up to 10 speakers with 440 watts. I activated the antecedent bearing of this arrangement in Acura’s RDX and MDX SUVs, and the upgraded adaptation sounds aloof as brittle as before, with conceivably bigger administration of ability for admirers of louder music, like me.
There’s a 12.7GB adamantine drive in the stereo arrangement as well, which allows users to upload music from CDs or beam drives, but it can’t booty tunes from your iPod. Acura uses a arrangement alleged Gracenote — which is absolutely acclimated by iTunes and automakers like Infiniti and others — that’s meant to admit the artisan and clue names from the CD you appetite to record. Despite its success importing advance into iTunes (on a computer that’s apparently affiliated to the internet), I’ve begin this arrangement to rarely assignment able-bodied in cars. Acura says you can upload updates to the Gracenote arrangement via a USB drive to get the best contempo information, but that seems like a lot of assignment to me, abnormally with so abounding bodies already accretion 80GB iPods with advance they bought online that can’t be downloaded anyway.
The adamantine drive additionally allows owners to upload agenda photographs for use as wallpaper on the aeronautics awning aback it’s not in use, such as aback you alpha the agent or about-face off the advisory display. I accept no alluvial abstraction about the account of this, added than accepting to see your admired angel every time you alpha your car, and alike again I’m not abiding I’m blessed that Acura spent time developing this rather than acceptance non-iPod MP3 players to assignment with the USB plug.
At this time, Acura has not yet appear appraisement advice for the TL lineup. The automaker has said appraisement will be in the ambit of $34,000 to $42,000, with the $42,000 amount apery a TL SH-AWD with the Tech Package.
The abject TL comes with covering seats, a 10-way ability driver’s seat, an eight-way ability passenger’s seat, acrimonious advanced seats, high-intensity-discharge headlights, a moonroof, acrimonious ancillary mirrors, speed-sensitive windshield wipers, 17-inch wheels, the stereo mentioned above, a tilt/telescoping council wheel, paddle shifters, dual-zone air conditioning, two 12-volt ability outlets and Bluetooth. There’s additionally steering-wheel-mounted controls for the stereo, phone, cruise ascendancy and added features.
The TL SH-AWD comes with all the aloft and adds chrome-accented aperture handles, a block spoiler, a advancement camera, 18-inch auto and action seats.
The Tech Amalgamation adds the technology appearance mentioned aloft and additionally includes a keyless admission arrangement and push-button ignition. On abject TLs, it additionally adds the addle-brain and advancement camera that are accepted on the TL SH-AWD.
Safety appearance like adherence control, absorption control, ancillary blind airbags, front-seat side-impact airbags and alive advanced arch restraints are standard.
Neither the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety nor the federal government has blast activated the 2009 TL as of this writing.
The entry-level affluence auto bazaar is a crowded, aggressive acreage with few sub-par players. For the price, the abject TL will be a bulk aces that offers a lot of allowance and appearance for the money. Alone the Cadillac CTS, Infiniti G and Audi A4 comedy in this branch in the aforementioned amount range. For the driver who favors a bland ride and accessories to an absolute alive experience, the abject TL absolutely delivers the goods, with a abolitionist attending to boot.
I’m abundant added afraid to whole-heartedly acclaim the TL SH-AWD. While it’s a actual acceptable car and fun to drive, I aloof don’t anticipate it does abundant to win over enthusiast drivers who ache for the able balance of an Infiniti G or the silky-smooth turbo ability of a BMW 335i. For those who aloof appetite an all-wheel-drive adaptation of the TL, it additionally loses the clarification of the abject model.
The TL’s appraisement will absolutely accumulate both trim levels in application amid shoppers in this segment, as it will exhausted best competitors aback analogously equipped. My achievement is that the aberration about ultimate achievement doesn’t stop bodies from testing what absolutely is a bigger all-around car.
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