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The mid-size Acura TL returns with some notable changes for 2012, including a host of visual updates to help set it apart from the 2011 model. The car continues to feature the bold, angular yet sleek styling that Acura is now known for and a roomy interior with a host of high-tech features.
On the inside, the TL has a layout that affords both the driver and front passenger their own personal space, divided by a center console and audio controls that protrude outward. Front occupants get firm but comfortable sport seats and there's space in back for three adults across.
A 280-horsepower, 3.5L V6 powers the front-wheel-drive TL through a new-for-2012 Sequential SportShift 6-speed automatic transmission. The all-wheel-drive SH-AWD model upgrades to a 305-horsepower, 3.7L V6 and a throaty high-flow dual exhaust system that brings more of a sport-sedan character. Although the all-wheel-drive model does improve the TL's available traction in snow and on slippery roads, the primary focus of the SH-AWD is to improve stability in sharp corners by sending torque to the wheels that need it most. The SH-AWD offers an optional a 6-speed manual transmission.
For both models, a double-wishbone front suspension and rear multi-link setup assure a firm but smooth ride. The SH-AWD model is tuned for more responsive handling without giving up much in ride comfort, by incorporating a performance-tuned suspension, larger wheels and tires and a version of the electric power steering system tuned for more feel of the road. Versions equipped with the 6-speed manual transmission also receive numerous other changes to the vehicle's dynamics, including a self-adjusting clutch assembly and a specially calibrated Hill Start Assist that helps hold the vehicle on inclines of 8 degrees or more. The hood is made of aluminum for weight savings in both models.
Standard features on the TL include dual-zone climate control, a power moonroof, leather upholstery, a Bluetooth HandsFreeLink calling interface and an 8-speaker, 276-watt sound system. XM Satellite Radio and Bluetooth audio streaming are also standard.
Options are limited on the TL, the most noteworthy of them being the Technology Package. It brings premium Milano leather surfaces, plus Acura's voice-recognition navigation system, AcuraLink real-time traffic and weather info, a surround-sound premium system with ten speakers, 440 watts and a 2,500-song hard-drive system and Keyless Access. An active noise cancellation system and ambient lighting system are also included. New this year is the Advance option package, which adds a blind spot warning system, larger wheels, and ventilated front seats.
The Acura TL receives several changes for 2012, including a revised grille and updated nose contours. Headlights are now darker, and new tail lamps have been fitted. Inside, the TL is now quieter thanks to increased noise isolation materials and a new navigation system has been fitted. Last year's 5-speed automatic transmission has been replaced with a 6-speed unit, which Acura says will increase fuel economy by 3 mpg. Finally, an Advance option package is now offered, including blind spot detection, upgraded wheels and ventilated seats.
Thanks to its aggressive styling, the TL stands out in its class; its two separate models cater separately to comfort-oriented buyers and performance enthusiasts. Although the TL is not priced particularly low, the sum of technology features offered in the TL is better than most other mid-size luxury cars.
* Advertised Used car prices plus tax, tag, title, predelivery service fee of $799.95 and administrative processing fee of $199.50. Price subject to change. Clean Car Fax refers to no structural or frame damage. Pictures for illustration purpose only and dealer is not responsible for printing errors. All vehicles subject to prior sale. See dealer for details.