The Acura TL has long been a favorite among entry-luxury cars. Significantly redesigned for 2009, when it received a powerful V6 engine and the availability of all-wheel drive, it continues into 2010 with only a few changes. The most important new feature for the 2010 TL is the availability of a six-speed manual transmission on the upper-level SH-AWD (Super Handling All-Wheel Drive) model.
The 2010 Acura TL lineup consists of two models: The base Acura TL has a 280-hp 3.5-liter V6. The Acura TL SH-AWD has a 305-hp 3.7-liter V6. Both engines come with a five-speed automatic, but the SH-AWD is available with the new six-speed manual. (Both transmissions are the same price.)
Get behind the wheel of the Acura TL and you are presented with a quality, driver-focused interior with plenty of available gadgets. Standard features include solar-sensing, dual-zone automatic climate control with automatic humidity control, XM satellite radio, an iPod interface, and a Bluetooth cell phone link. A Technology Package, available on both models, includes the Acura Navigation System with Voice Recognition, AcuraLink Real-Time Traffic with Traffic Rerouting, AcuraLink Real-Time Weather with radar image maps, an Acura/ELS Surround premium audio system, and the Keyless Access System with pushbutton ignition. The Navigation System features an eight-inch full VGA high-resolution color display for excellent visibility. The Acura/ELS Surround 10-speaker, 440-watt premium sound system includes DVD-Audio, CD, DTS, AM/FM tuner, XM Radio and a 2,500-song hard disk drive (HDD) media storage.
Room in the front seat is plentiful. The back seat is big enough for most passengers, though tall rear passengers will want more head room. The trunk offers a decent amount of space, but split folding rear seats are not offered.
On the road, the TL drives smaller than its size, and that's a compliment. The base front-wheel-drive model handles quite well, reacting readily to quick changes of direction and leaning very little through turns.
The SH-AWD model is heavier, but stiffer suspension settings make it handle capably as well. Acura's Super Handling All Wheel Drive system can send power to the outside rear wheel in a turn, which helps rotate the car through that turn. All-wheel drive is a great option for customers in northern climates.
The responsive handling doesn't come at the expense of ride quality, however. Bumps seldom intrude, there is no float or wallow, and up-and-down motions are kept to a minimum. The TL's balance of ride quality and handling prowess is quite impressive. Braking is quick and worry-free.
Both models offer plenty of power to get in front of traffic from a stop or pass with ease. While the SH-AWD model has more power, it also weighs more, so straight-line performance of the two versions is similar. Both engines provide enough power to make a 0-60 mph run in 6.0 seconds or less. The automatic transmission has a manual shiftgate and standard steering-wheel shift paddles to allow drivers more interaction with the powertrain. The six-speed manual provides a high degree of shift accuracy with great feel and low effort, and utilizes a short-throw shifter. The manual transmission is matched with a dual-mass clutch for consistent feel and effort.
Bottom line: The Acura TL offers bold styling, plenty of responsive more power, great handling, and the benefit of available all-wheel drive. Anyone looking for a capable sport sedan will do well to give the TL a test drive.
The 2010 Acura TL is offered in two models, the base TL and the TL SH-AWD. The base model has a 280-hp 3.5-liter V6 engine, while the SH-AWD model has a 305-hp 3.7-liter V6. Both are matched to a five-speed automatic transmission with a manual shiftgate and steering-wheel shift paddles. The SH-AWD 3.7-liter V6 is available with the six-speed manual.
The Acura TL ($35,105) comes standard with leather upholstery; heated front seats; cruise control; solar-sensing, dual-zone automatic climate control with automatic humidity control; tilt/telescoping leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio controls; power windows and door locks; heated power mirrors with tilt-down back-up aid and turn signals; eight-speaker 276-watt AM/FM stereo with six-disc CD changer; XM satellite radio; auxiliary audio input jack; USB port; Bluetooth cell phone link; multi-information display; 10-way power adjustable driver's seat with lumbar adjustment; eight-way power adjustable front passenger?s seat; memory for the driver's seat, mirrors, climate control and radio settings; interior air filter; auto-dimming rearview mirror; universal garage door opener; theft-deterrent system; sunroof; rear pass-through; automatic high-intensity discharge headlights, fog lamps; and P245/50R17 tires on alloy wheels.
The TL with Technology Package ($38,835) upgrades with premium Milano leather upholstery, keyless access and starting, rear spoiler, chrome accented door handles, navigation system, rearview camera, AcuraLink real-time traffic with traffic rerouting, real-time weather, and a 440-watt Acura/ELS 10-speaker premium audio system with DVD Audio and 12.7-gigabyte hard drive.
The TL SH-AWD ($38,655) adds sport steering wheel, sport front bucket seats, and P245/45ZR18 tires. P245/40ZR19 Michelin Pilot Sport summer tires are optional. Automatic transmission is standard. The TL SH-AWD with Technology Package ($42,385) is available with either the automatic or six-speed manual transmission for the same price.
Safety features include dual-stage, dual-threshold front airbags, head-protecting curtain side airbags, torso-protecting front side airbags, and active front head restraints. Active safety features include antilock brakes with electronic brake-force distribution and brake assist, and Vehicle Stability Assist (VSA, or electronic stability control) with traction control. Tire-pressure monitoring is standard. A rearview camera comes with the Technology Package, and we recommend it because it can help the driver see small children and pedestrians when backing up. SH-AWD all-wheel drive improves safety in slippery conditions.