When it comes to sport sedans, the TL represents a terrific value. It comes with a powerful V6 engine and a lengthy list of standard equipment; in fact, the only option available from the factory is Acura's Navigation System. All TLs come standard with leather seating surfaces, power windows, power locks, an engine immobilizer alarm system, xenon headlamps, Bose audio, 5-speed automatic transmission with sport shift, traction control and alloy wheelsand that's just the big stuff! There is one optional trim level, the Type S, which boosts horsepower to 260 and adds a set of super-comfy sport seats as well as 17-inch wheels and tires.
But there is more to the TL's story than value; there is history. Acura cars have a solid reputation for providing their owners with years of trouble-free driving. Their build quality and high resale values continue to rate among the best in the industryand the TL is no exception. Freshened for 2003, the TL now has a larger grille and front headlamps. Character lines on the hood are more pronounced and bear a striking resemblance to Acura's new sport coupe, the RSX. Both the base TL and Type S receive a handsome new set of alloy wheels.
On the road, the TL performs admirably. Its 3.0-liter V6 is as smooth as silk and packs quite a punch, especially when you push the gas pedal straight to the floor. A 5-speed electronic automatic transmission makes easy work of distributing the engine's torque, and comes with a Sportshift mode that allows you to shift your own gears without the use of a clutch pedal. Once up to running speed, you'll notice that wind and road noise is reduced to a hushed whisper; absorbed by yards of sound deadening material and numerous isolation bushings (lifesaver-shaped rubber rings that are sandwiched between moving metal suspension parts). The TL's steering wheel provides the driver with good feedback and even though the TL is a front-wheel-drive vehicle, torque steer is not an issue. Body roll and lean are kept to a minimum, thanks mostly to Acura's brilliant double wishbone suspension.
A look inside the TL will confirm this as one performance sedan that loves to pamper its occupants. Slip behind the wheel, and you are greeted by a low, sweeping dash punctuated by three, deeply recessed binnacles that house the tachometer, speedometer, fuel and temperature gauges. Supple leather covers the seat faces, door panels and steering wheel and both driver and passenger seats are power operated and electrically heated. The driver's seat also includes a memory feature in addition to manual lumbar support. To the right of the driver resides the audio and HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) controls. On cars so equipped, the optional Navigation System screen is placed neatly above the audio controls and has the HVAC controls incorporated into the touch-screen. The TL also includes the OnStar system which can instantly put you in touch with a representative who can aide you with everything from simple driving directions to summoning emergency help.