I have always been a fan of the Acura TL. It is a nice car and in years past there were some things I would change on it, but overall I was a fan. Although Honda did not ask what those things would be, it is almost as if they read my mind. The 2012 version of the TL is a much improved vehicle.
Let’s start with styling. Acura toned down the front end some but held true to their heritage. It is just not so “in your face” this year. There is less chrome on the front and small changes to the rear taillights. Overall, these were nice and needed touches.
Next big change was the move to a 6-speed automatic from the previous version which had a 5-speed. I was hoping for a 7-speed when the change came, but I’ll take it. The change resulted in better fuel economy in both city and more so in the highway mileage.
My evaluation car is a beauty, it is a dark gray called Graphite Luster Metallic. The interior of the car is really nice and comfortable. This car is the Advance package, which gets you navigation and the upgraded sound system. I find the operation of the different areas of the onboard systems to be cumbersome at first, but like all Acuras, it has one of the best navigation systems I have seen.
Under the hood is a 3.7-liter 24-valve single overhead cam V6 that is producing 305-horses. The engine performs flawlessly, and unlike many of the import engines, it has a really nice growl under heavy acceleration. It is quite responsive from a dead stop and the 6-speed automatic goes through the gears smoothly but with determination.
You get a lot of things standard in the TL Advance like push button start, power moonroof, heated and cooled seats, blind spot monitoring system, rear camera, and AcuraLink which gives you real time traffic and weather information.
For me however, the beauty part of any Acura is the handling. It is unique and nothing is quite like the SH-AWD. Super Handling-All Wheel Drive (SH-AWD) is a full-time, fully automatic all-wheel drive traction and handling system. The system allows torque to be continuously distributed between front and rear wheels from 70% front/30% rear to 30% front/70% rear, with up to 100% of the rear power being distributed to the outer left or right wheel to assist in cornering and dramatically reducing understeer. The system first came out in 2004 and Popular Science magazine called it one of the best auto innovations for the year. Bottom line is a great handling car in all situations.
The Acura TL is a great car for the money and stacks up nicely with anything out there you will find. Acura took a great car, with a super history of reliability, and made it better.
What I liked most: The handling and driving experience.
What I would change: The layout of the interior controls, it could be simplified.
Fuel Economy: Rated at 18 city and 26 highway and doing it.
2012 Acura TL SH-AWD in a few words: A great handling, comfortable luxury sport sedan.