The 2010 version of the Acura TL can once again be noted for its athletic demeanor, roomy interior, long list of luxury and high-tech features, excellent crash test scores and strong reliability reputation.
Especially impressive is the TL SH-AWD (super-handling all-wheel drive ... if they don't say so themselves, but actually true this time) that features a 305 horsepower engine and the grip and performance dynamics normally expected from a sport sedan. And for the first time, the SH-AWD is also available with a six-speed manual transmission for those seeking an even more engaging driving experience.
Trims, Standard Features And Options:
The 2010 Acura TL is categorized as a midsize luxury sedan and is offered in two trims: base and SH-AWD.
Even the base model TL is pretty much loaded with standard features that include leather upholstery, a sunroof, full power accessories, heated power front seats, driver memory settings, dual-zone automatic climate control, rear ventilation controls, foglights, 17 inch alloy wheels, xenon headlights, heated side mirrors, a tilt/telescoping steering wheel, Bluetooth phone connectivity, steering-wheel-mounted audio controls, phone and trip computer controls, an 8-speaker sound system with in-dash 6-disc CD changer, satellite radio, streaming Bluetooth audio, an auxiliary audio jack and USB port.
Moving up to the TL SH-AWD model adds all-wheel drive, a more powerful engine, upgraded brakes, 18 inch alloy wheels, hill start assist, premium perforated leather upholstery, sportier front seats, and upgraded metallic trim accents.
There's also an optional Technology package for either trim that includes a voice-recognition navigation system with real-time traffic and real-time weather forecasts, a solar-sensing and GPS-linked adaptive climate control system, a rearview camera, keyless entry, keyless ignition, a rear spoiler and a 10-speaker Panasonic/ELS surround-sound system with 12.7GB of digital music storage. In addition, 19 inch wheels with high-performance summer tires are an available option on SH-AWD models.
Engines, Powertrain And Gas Mileage:
Powering the front-wheel drive base 2010 TL is a 3.5 liter V6 engine that generates 280 horsepower and 254 pound-feet of torque. Under the hood of the all-wheel-drive TL SH-AWD is a 3.7 liter V6 that pumps out 305 horsepower and 273 lb-ft of torque. It's all-wheel-drive system transfers varying amounts of power to individual wheels to optimize traction and grip through turns and in poor weather conditions.
Standard on both models is a 5-speed automatic transmission with steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters. And new for 2010 is the 6-speed manual transmission available for SH-AWD models equipped with the Technology package.
Even with the SH-AWD's higher horsepower, both models accelerate from a standstill to 60 mph in an identical 6.7 seconds. The SH-AWD is at its best on the winding and twisty back roads.
The EPS-estimated gas mileage for the 3.5 liter TL comes in at 18 mpg city and 26 mpg on the highway. The SH-AWD loses just 1 mpg in both city and highway numbers with either transmission.
Standard safety features on all 2010 Acura TL models include antilock disc brakes (ABS) with brake assist, traction control, stability control, front-seat side airbags, full-length side curtain airbags and active front restraints.
In government crash tests, the TL was awarded the highest possible five-out-of-five-star ratings for both frontal and side impact protection for all occupants.
The interior of the 2010 Acura TL is well-designed, elegant and considered one of the best in its class. The materials and build quality is top-notch, while aluminum trim is widely used in comparison to the more prevalent glossy wood trims used by many competitors. The SH-AWD's metallic trim is still further upgraded and it also has an available two-tone color scheme.
The cabin is spacious, comfortable and quiet, featuring a well side-bolstered driver seat and back seats that can accommodate fairly tall passengers. The rear flip-up headrests provide extra comfort and protection and conveniently slide down when not in use. And while the TL's 13.1 cubic feet of trunk space is nothing special, its wide opening makes it easy to load larger items such as golf bags and luggage.
The base TL offers a ride that emphasizes comfort and luxury. Its 280 horsepower engine will satisfy most drivers, while road bumps and rough spots are easily handled making for a smooth and compliant drive.
While certainly not engineered to be a sports car, the SH-AWD would be the better choice for those seeking more engaging driving dynamics due to its enhanced grip and control. It's steering is precise and responsive, while the all-wheel-drive system is particularly adept at transferring additional power to the outside wheels when cornering.