2005 TL New Car Test Drive
Acura's badge is a set of engineering calipers, symbolizing the brand's focus on precision engineering. That symbol holds more than ever with its latest models, the all-new 2005 Acura RL and the sportier and only slightly smaller Acura TL, which was completely redesigned and re-engineered as a 2004 model. (The 2005 Acura TL carries into its second model year with no major changes.)
The Acura TL is a true sports sedan, albeit with front-wheel drive. The TL delivers sharp-handling, a powerful V6 engine, a fully independent suspension, and the latest active safety electronics to optimize driving dynamics. Its engine doles out abundant power, whether for back road barnstorming or passing other vehicles on the freeway. Barnstorming is aided by great handling and powerful brakes. Freeway cruising is made pleasant by the reasonably smooth ride, though the TL is not a soft cushmobile.
Where previous TL models were subtle, tailored and conservatively handsome, this latest-generation TL is hip, bold, and razor-edged. It's a fully equipped luxury performance sedan in midsize dimensions. Every passive safety feature you'd expect in a premium car is included.
The interior is thoroughly modern and features state-of-the-art surround-sound. The seats are firm and comfortably bolstered. The TL isn't cheap, but you get what you pay for in performance and features.
Acura TL is a midsize, front-wheel-drive, four-door sedan powered by a 3.2-liter V6 engine. Acura offers the TL in only one trim level ($32,900). Nearly every luxury feature comes standard and there are few options.
TL buyers choose between two transmissions: five-speed automatic or six-speed manual; the cost is the same. Included with the manual transmission is a limited-slip differential, Brembo four-piston front brake calipers and larger front brake rotors.
Leather is standard and trims the seats and door panels and wraps the shift knob and steering wheel. Also standard: the DVD/CD/cassette/AM/FM/XM Satellite Radio system with DVD-Audio 5.1. Hands-free, wireless, cellular telephone capability employing Bluetooth technology is built in. The TL comes with dual-zone, dual-mode automatic air conditioning with micron filter, power everything, xenon high-intensity discharge headlights, green-tinted glass and a long list of other features.
Safety features: seat-mounted side-impact airbags and full-cabin side curtain airbags are standard. The side-impact airbag sensors note the seat occupant's height and position to minimize potential injury to out-of-place and smaller-stature individuals. Frontal airbags are dual-stage and dual-threshold, meaning they deploy at different rates depending on the severity of the crash and whether the front seat occupants are belted in. For 2005, a weight sensor has been incorporated in the front passenger seat; if the total weight on the seat is less than 65 pounds (the weight of a small child or a car seat), the right front airbag will not deploy. On the driver's side, a new position sensor has been added, so if the seat is within half an inch of the most forward position, the airbag will only deploy in the more gentle, dual-stage mode. If the seat is farther than a half inch from the forward position, the airbag deploys in either single or dual-stage mode based on the severity of the collision. LATCH child seat anchors are included.
Active safety features include anti-lock brakes (ABS) with Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD), Brake Assist and Vehicle Stability Assist electronic stability control.
The optional navigation system ($2,000) is bundled with 3D Solar Sensing Climate Control. High-performance tires are optional ($200) with the 6-speed manual transmission only.