2006 TL New Car Test Drive
The Acura TL is a true sports sedan, albeit with front-wheel drive.
The TL features 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, which is complemented by great handling and powerful brakes. Freeway cruising is made pleasant by the reasonably smooth ride, though the TL is no cushmobile.
The TL is wrapped in a hip, bold, razor-edged design. It's a fully equipped luxury performance sedan in midsize dimensions.
Inside, it's thoroughly modern. It comes standard with the latest in 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. Every passive safety feature you'd expect in a premium car is included.
For 2006, the Acura TL benefits from a handful of changes. The most important change for 2006 is an active system to control torque steer, the car's one dynamic Achilles' heel. A tire-pressure monitoring system is now standard equipment, and there are a couple of new colors.
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.
For 2006, the horsepower numbers have been revised downward due to a new testing procedure used by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE). Although the engine offers the same performance as last year, the revised horsepower and torque numbers are 256 horsepower and 233 pound-feet, respectively.
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.
The optional navigation system ($2,000) is bundled with 3D Solar Sensing Climate Control. High-performance tires are optional ($200) with the six-speed manual transmission only.
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. A weight sensor incorporated in the front passenger seat senses if the total weight on the seat is less than 65 pounds (the weight of a small child or a car seat); if it is, the passenger airbag won't deploy in a crash. On the driver's side, a position sensor activates a more gentle dual-stage airbag mode if the seat is within half an inch of the most forward position. 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. A tire-pressure monitoring system (TPMS) notifies the driver if tire pressure sinks to dangerous levels.