The Acura TL has long been a top choice in the midsize luxury sedan segment. And new this year, the 2012 TL gets a sleeker exterior design as well as improved fuel economy. Other notable attributes include its solid build quality, roomy interior, long list of features, outstanding optional audio system, strong engines and athletic all-wheel-drive version (SH-AWD).
Other new developments for the 2012 Acura TL include improved noise insulation for a quieter ride, an upgraded navigation system with better graphics, additional maps and a 60 GB hard drive, an improved Bluetooth audio display, active pairing for Bluetooth phones and the addition of ventilated seats and a blind spot warning system to the optional Advance package.
In addition to its refreshed looks, the new TL's gas mileage gets a boost from a new 6-speed automatic transmission as well as some friction improvements to the base V6 engine, significantly upping its highway mpg by 3 over last year's performance.
Also very appealing for driving enthusiasts is the more powerful and performance-oriented TL SH-AWD. With all-wheel drive and a sporty suspension, the SH-AWD boasts roomy accommodations for a sport sedan and road manners as capable as smaller competitors such as the Infiniti G37, BMW 3-Series and Lexus IS 350.
As much as the TL has to offer, we always feel it's wise to also compare worthy rivals befor making a final buying decision. The base TL, with its refined ride, spacious cabin and long list of features, competes with other solid choices such as the Buick LaCrosse, the Lincoln MKZ, the Hyundai Genesis and the Lexus ES 350, while the more sport-oriented TL SH-AWD, with its sophisticated Super-Handling All-Wheel Drive system, takes on such sport sedans as the Audi A4, the BMW 3-Series and the Infiniti G37.
Trims, Standard Features And Options:
The 2012 Acura TL is a midsize luxury sedan offered in two trims: TL and TL SH-AWD.
Standard features on the regular TL include full power accessories, leather upholstery, a moonroof, a 10-way power driver seat, an 8-way power passenger seat, heated front seats, dual-zone automatic climate control, cruise control, a tilt/telescoping steering wheel, steering wheel feature controls, a trip computer, driver and passenger seat memory functions, an auto-dimming reaview mirror, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, a tire pressure monitor, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, chrome and woodgrain interior trim accents, keyless entry, 17-inch alloy wheels, halogen foglights, automatic xenon headlights, an anti-theft alarm and engine immobilizer, and a 276-watt, surround sound 8-speaker audio system with satellite radio, a 6-disc CD changer, an MP3/WMA player, an auxiliary audio jack, an iPod/USB audio interface and a subwoofer.
The TL SH-AWD goes on to add a more powerful engine, all-wheel drive, sportier suspension and steering tunings, 18-inch alloys, upgraded brakes, deep bolstered sport bucket front seats and contrasting leather stitching.
Standard safety features on both models include traction control, stability control, antilock disc brakes (ABS) with brake assist, front-seat side airbags, active front head restraints and front and rear side curtain airbags located in the headliner.
In terms of optional features, the Technology package (available on either model) includes navigation, voice controls, a very highly regarded 10-speaker Acura/ELS surround-sound audio system, upgraded leather upholstery, keyless ignition/entry, solar-sensing GPS-linked climate control, a rearview camera, upgraded tires, a rear spoiler, upgraded interior metal trim accents and automatic phone book downloading.
Opting for the Advance package (also offered on both models) adds everything from the Technology package plus ventilated front seats, a blind spot warning system and larger wheels (18-inchers on the base or 19 on the SH-AWD).
Engines, Powertrain And Gas Mileage:
Under the hood of the front-wheel drive base 2012 TL is a 3.5-liter V6 engine good for 280 horsepower and 254 pound-feet of torque, and capable of going from a standstill to 60 mph in a quick 6.5 seconds. A 6-speed automatic transmission is standard and the EPA has estimated its fuel economy at 20 mpg city and 29 mpg on the highway.
The TL SH-AWD is named for Acura's Super-Handling All-Wheel-Drive system and is able to direct different levels of power to different wheels in order maximize grip and traction performance in turns or in bad weather conditions. Powering the SH-AWD is a 3.7-liter V6 that pumps out a robust 305 horsepower and 273 pound-feet. While the 6-speed automatic is also standard on this model, a 6-speed manual with hill start assist is optional. A manual TL SH-AWD completes the 0 - 60 mph sprint in an impressive 5.7 seconds, while getting gas mileage of 18 mpg city and 26 highway with the automatic and 17 city and 25 highway with the manual.
The 2012 Acura TL's cabin is attractive, spacious, solidly constructed with high quality materials and refined. The seating is comfortable and supportive both front and rear. The front seats use multiple adjustment options and appropriate side bolstering to make for very accommodating quarters, while the rear seats offer plenty of room for even taller passengers. It should be noted that there is also an available two-tone color design that adds additional appeal.
Also impressive is the overall quietness thanks to plenty of sound insulation. Rear passengers will also be pampered with large flip-up headrests both for comfort and safety which easily slide down for maximum visibility when not being used. The TL's trunk capacity comes in a little under average for its class at 13.1 cubic feet, but its wide opening makes for easier loading of bulkier items such as golf clubs or luggage.
The drive of each TL model is distinctively different. Designed for drivers most attracted to a smooth and luxurious driving experience, the base TL offers an excellent ride quality that easily handles bumps and rough spots while also capable of brisk acceleration and very competent handling.
Those with more driving-enthusiast inclinations will be well served by the SH-AWD. With its impressive all-wheel drive system and performance-based upgrades, it really is "Super Handling". This athletic version is quick, offers plenty of grip in the corners and is confidently handled with its precise and responsive steering.
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