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.
**Based on 2013 or 2014 EPA mileage estimates, as applicable. Use for comparison purposes only. Your actual mileage will vary, depending on how you drive and maintain your vehicle, driving conditions, battery pack age/condition (hybrid only), and other factors.