2009 TL New Car Test Drive
The Acura TL has been a favorite among the so-called entry-luxury cars since its release for the 1996 model year. Last redesigned for 2004, the TL is redone again for 2009, adding the most powerful engine ever in an Acura and all-wheel drive for the first time.
Based on the Honda Accord platform, the 2009 Acura TL is larger than the car it replaces, though it handles better and gets similar fuel mileage.
Two models are offered, each with a different engine. The base Acura TL has a 280-hp V6. The Acura TL SH-AWD model has a 305-hp 3.7-liter V6 as well as Acura's Super Handling All Wheel Drive.
Get behind the wheel of the 2009 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. Available in a Technology Package are keyless access and starting, a rear view camera, and a navigation system with real-time traffic, new real-time weather, DVD Audio playback capability, and hard-drive audio.
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, which may be a deal breaker for some.
On the road, the TL drives smaller than its size, and that's a complement. 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 improved handling doesn't come at the expense of ride quality. 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 is similar to the less powerful model. Both engines provide enough power to make a 0-60 mph run in 6.0 seconds or less. The only transmission is a smooth shifting, responsive five-speed automatic. It comes with a manual shiftgate and standard steering wheel shift paddles to allow drivers more interaction with the powertrain.
Bottom line, the new, 2009 Acura TL is even better than the previous-generation model, which was a very good car. The 2009 TL has bolder styling, more power, better handling, and the benefit of available all-wheel drive. Anyone looking for a capable sport sedan will do well to give the 2009 Acura TL a test drive.
The 2009 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 mated to a five-speed automatic transmission with a manual shiftgate and steering wheel shift paddles.
Standard features on the Acura TL include 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 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 passthrough; automatic high-intensity discharge headlights, fog lamps, and P245/50R17 tires on alloy wheels.
The SH-AWD model adds sport steering wheel, sport front bucket seats, and P245/45R18 tires. P245/40R19 Michelin Pilot Sport summer tires are optional.
The Technology Package 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.
Passive 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, traction control, and electronic stability control. The mandated tire-pressure monitor 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.