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2012 Acura TL Review

Posted by on March 2, 2012 in New Cars, Reviews - 1 Comment

The recently refreshed Acura TL SH-AWD for 2012 is one of the cars that really makes you feel at home at the wheel. The drivetrain, transmission, comfort, road feel and other important factors that persuade us to invest in luxury vehicles all seem to be perfectly in tune. The 2012 Acura TL is one of the best cars in the very competitive entry-level luxury class, and arguably gives the great Lexus ES 350 and Infiniti G37 a run for their money.

The issue is with the base model of the TL; the car is uninspired, bland, less sporty than the competitors and really does not provide the experience that people have come to expect from the awesome Acura’s that we have seen in the past. Since the current generation TL was debuted in 2009, the car has seen a refresh that got rid of the ridiculous “butt” on the end of the car with the exaggerated cone shape, something that even loyalists couldn’t love.



Power & Transmission

The power on the base model TL comes from a naturally aspirated v6 (borrowed from the Honda Accord) putting out a slightly above class average 280 horsepower. The engine is  married to an excellent 6 speed automatic or manual transmission, which is very smooth and eager to downshift on hard throttle inputs. Between the transmission, curb weight and the v6 under the hood, the 2012 Acura TL base model is capable of hitting 0-60 in 6.2 seconds. If you opt for the much better SH-AWD v6, you get 3.7 liter 306 horsepower engine, which lowers the 0-60 time down to just 5.4 seconds. Because the base engine is far more common and much more affordable than the AWD 3.7 liter version, the overall rating of the engine and transmission score is lower.


The overall handling on the Acura TL inspires confidence but does not communicate with the driver to the actual way the tires are handling the road. Due to the reduced feel on the road, the driver may feel less information and have a harder time pulling off fast corners and feeling the stickiness and sportiness of the car. Like the power and transmission, if you opt for the Sport Handling AWD version of the Acura TL, you will feel a lot more information on the road, enabling a far less filtered ride. The car handles a lot better, and has much better road grip.


The new styling on the 2012 Acura TL is very elegant and classy. The car has grown over time dramatically, but still keeps to its roots with sleek accent lines, aggressive styling, and great coloring designs. One of the most welcome changes from the 2011 TL and the 2012 TL is the reduction in “bust” at the rear of the car. There were many complaints that the car looked silly, and Acura responded with new exhaust pipes, new rear bumper shape, and a much better trunk lid.

Fit & Finish



The interior look of the Acura is nice, but the included amenities are dated. The GPS is not touch screen, the software is old, and the stereo is mediocre. The interior styling is very uninspired, and does not emanate the same fit and feel of rivals such as the Lexus and Buick, both with signature classy and elagent look to remind the driver that they are navigated a luxury vehicle. The paddle shifters are a nice touch, but otherwise the interior is bland, boring and needs an update.

Overall, the 2012 Acura TL is better than the previous year TL, but needs to be updated in regards to road noise, fit and finish, engine, fuel mileage handling and many other factors that cant just be ignored.

Yosef Adelman on Google+

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1 Comment

  1. Posted April 7, 2013 at 9:41 pm

    […] for Lexus sales. The ES350 is definitely not a stand out car, but it is far better than the Acura TL, which excels in no area whatsoever, it is a clear middle of the pack average vehicle that is in […]

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