2009 Acura TL

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Flash Drive: 2009 Acura TL

By Staff of MSN Autos

Acura’s all new TL may be an example of design gone wild. The previous TL was plain vanilla. But this one is almost cartoonish, with possibly the most extreme example of Acura’s signature grille and rear styling yet, including a rear diffuser that will make the most hard-core street tuner jealous. But underneath the new skin is a serious sport sedan. This is a bit of a surprise given that the TL shares nearly identical mechanical components with the mundane RL flagship. The steering is quick and razor-sharp, and the Super Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD) really drives the TL through the twisties. The 305-horsepower 3.7-liter V6 engine (an option) is powerful, shifts are smooth and the leather sport seats hold the driver in position. Basically, the TL is an engaging, fun-to-drive sport sedan. –MikeMeredith

The new Acura TL is a technological marvel of a car. However, the engineers forgot to hand the exterior details to the automotive designers. The front grille appears to be a metallic shield, and the rear end looks like an angry comic-book villain. Inside the car is a different story. The driver is surrounded in high-quality leather and aluminum accents. The seats are super comfortable, and equipped to quickly heat and cool the passengers. The driver is unfortunately surrounded with a plethora of buttons on the steering wheel and along the center console that makes it feel as if he or she is piloting an airplane. Fortunately, one has access to real-time traffic information, Zagat restaurant details and a usable voice-recognition system. Driving the car is a pleasure due to the crisp handling, the smooth and powerful engine, the option of all-wheel drive and the security of many airbags and electronic safety features. I applaud Acura for trying to design a car that is different from the competitors. But in this case, it is what’s inside that counts. –Joe Chulick

There are no surprises with the Acura TL. It has a smooth engine, a transmission that is more entertaining than those found in any Honda, an interior that never feels confining, and a well-controlled ride focused on comfort. That means it is no different than any other Acura on the road. In fact it’s a challenge to think of any way that one Acura stands out from another, except in size and number of doors. As for me, I’d like a car with a little more personality. –Paul Hagger

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BB04 - 9/29/2014 11:35:58 PM