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2012 Acura TL test drive





Honda”s luxury arm, Acura recently revamped their highest selling model and tagged it as the 2012 Acura TL. Now, we all know that the Acura TL was a model which was abhorred earlier on for its looks and somewhat outdated technology. But then the Acura engineers didn’t take the easy way away and instead brought on major changes to the sedan including the way it looks. I have got my hands on the new 2012 Acura TL and here is the test drive report of the same.

The majority of the changes have occurred in the looks department and the earlier beak of the 2011 model has vanished. The sedan now looks more like the Chevrolet Camaro in profile. It has got that curved lip smile from a rhinoceros. The integration of the bumper with the radiator grille is seamless The air dams are split units and house the turn indicators along with the crystalline fog lamps. The 2012 Acura TL looks more like a concept car rather than a production car. Pushed to the corners, the wheel wells seem more apparent now. The alloy wheels are available in 17,18 and carried over from the previous year, 19 inches. The side profile reflects more of a coupe sense that the car tries to imitate. The rear has got a hunch profile which looks straight out of a concept car. The high loading lip of the boot also shows off its concept car looks. The twin tail pipes also look part of the concept design.

The cabin reeks of quality but cannot match the one in the Lexus. The 3 spoke steering wheel and the double hooded binnacle make a style statement of their own. The cabin hasn’t changed  much from the previous model since it any which ways was excellent. However the bad point was the joystick control for the stereo or the navigation system has been carried forward from the 2011 model. It just doesn’t work cosmetically. Functionally, it is right upto the task. There are again too many buttons on the central console. Front seats hug you like a lost lover meeting you after 3-4 years. The rear seats however aren’t too comfortable mostly due to the sloping roofline and less under thigh support. The boot space is also at par with the competition however the higher bootline does make loading a bit of a chore here.

Due to the reworked front face, there is a 5.4 percent reduction in aerodynamic drag. Moreover, the engine gets more of the fresh air now from the air dams. The 2012 Acura TL carries forward the same platform that the earlier one was known for. Acura’s much fabled SH-AWD is present in this car as well and it makes a hell lot of difference to the handling of the car. The steering wheel is one of the most direct units that I have handled so far. It provides for excellent feedback. The chassis feels tight around corners and there is no bouncing or rocking as can be experienced from the others in its class. The 2012 Acura TL also makes one of the best ride and handling packages. NVH however is on the higher side and this is more evident once the car is in the upper ranges of its engine’s performance.

2012 Acura TL Photo Gallery


Engine options in the 2012 Acura TL are the two V6 units. One is more tuned towards fuel economy whereas the other more towards the performance brigade. The 3.5 liter V6 engine gets 280 Hp of power and torque ratings of 254 pound feet. The bigger engine is the 3.7 liter V6 which makes 305 Hp of power and 273 pound feet of torque. Both the variants get an option of 6 speed manuals or a new 6 speed auto transmission. Performance is crisp for both the version with even the fuel efficiency tuned one delivering the goods as far as performance is concerned. Unfortunately due to the short test drive, the performance figures couldn’t be measured. Safety is also top notch with 6 air bags, reverse camera and the other normal goodies.

Fuel efficiency has gone up notches with the smaller of the V6 engine now giving an EPA estimated 20 mpg in city and 29 mpg on the highway. The bigger engine returns 18 mpg in city and 27 mpg on the highway. The 2012 Acura TL price starts from $35,605 and goes all the way to $42,885 for the SH-AWD version.

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  1. Thanks for the review. While the look / exterior design of the Acura TL seems to have brought many to Acura’s salesrooms, the performance of the vehicle has left this first-timer with a feeling well below the “wow factor” one typically hopes for in new, redesigned vehicles. Specifically, the ride of the Acura TL (Base) is not at all smooth; rather, the ride is a bit shaky, rough, hard. Having experienced BMW 3-series, I do not feel that the Acura TL can yet compare to the high end brand BMW.

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