Acura TL Review & Ratings
- 4 August 2015
- Author: Nikolas Perseputto
The Acura TL is classified as a mid-size luxury car and is manufactured by the Japanese carmaker Honda. This vehicle was first introduced to the public in 1995 in an effort to supplant the Acura Vigor and badged for the Japanese market in 1996 until 2000 under the “Inspire” name. The Acura TL was also badged under the Honda Saber name from 1996 to 2004. The TL was Acura’s top-selling model until it was outsold by the MDX in 2007. At one point, the TL was the second best-selling luxury sedan in the U.S, next to the BMW 3 Series.
The first generation of this vehicle, known as the TL “Touring Luxury”, was first introduced to the public as the 1996 model with a 2.5 liter 175 horsepower SOHC 20-valve 5-cylinder engine which was also used in the Vigor. There was also the 3.2 TL which used the 3.2 liter 200 horsepower SOHC 24v V6 from the second generation Acura Legend. The TL marked a significant change from traditional vehicle names to alphanumeric designations.
The 2.5 TL was marketed as the sportier version of this vehicle and the 3.2 was designed to be more of a luxury vehicle. While it is true that there were some similarities between these two vehicle, the 3.2 TL had significantly larger tires, despite the fact that the 2.5 TL has the sportier design. The 3.2 TL had a front-rear-mounted V6 engine, which was a significant departure from that of the other vehicles that used a typical transverse engine mount style. Because of this new engine mount design, the 3.2 TL has an elongated hood in the first generation. There was also an inline-5 engine in the 2.5 TL which went head to head with other 5-cylinder engines that were sold by Audi as well as Volvo.
The second generation of the Acura was first displayed as the TL-X concept vehicle in 1998. This vehicle is now called the 3.2 L and was finally released in 1999, using the US-market Honda Accord platform in its design. The 3.2 L is available with a new 3.2 liter 225 horsepower SOHC VTEC J32 engine with a 4-speed electronic automatic transmission with SportShift. The second generation 3.2 TL was manufactured in Marysville, Ohio, at the same time as the Honda Accord, at the Marysville Auto Plant. Both of these vehicles were imported into Japan and sold as the Honda Inspire.
The first 1999 Acura TL came off the assembly line in August of 1998. This vehicle’s options was limited to a CD-based navigation system. The navigation system for the 1999 Acura TL was updated to a navigation system that stored maps in time zones. More features were added to the Acura TL in 2000, including a 5-speed automatic transmission which included SportShift. The changes to this vehicle’s mechanics improved its fuel economy as well as acceleration. One of the major failures of this model Acura is that the 5-speed transmission failed for many people.
The fourth generation of the Acura TL came off the assembly line in September of 2008 and debuted as the 2009 model. One of the more distinctive exterior features on this vehicle is its “Power Plenum” upper grille, and the overall size of the car has been increased a bit, resulting in a longer wheelbase of 1.4” to 109.3”. The base model of the fourth generation Acura TL has a front-wheel drive design and uses a 3.5-liter V6 that can produce up to 280 horsepower and 254 pound-feet of torque. Despite some of the initial failings that this vehicle experienced, it was a critical success.