requirement for someone driving a premium sports sedan is
room to run. The driver has to accommodate the need for
speed with a choice of venues. With the TL sedan, Acura
provides the rest. TL is the step-into-upscale class, front-drive
vehicle from Honda's luxury division that won wide praise
following a total redesign a couple of years ago. Acura
had no reason to mess with the look of TL this year. They
already got it right with the low-slung aggressive appearance,
with wide stance, high-rising haunches and ready-to-run
2006, there are a few enhancements, including a new tire
monitoring system that alerts a driver when a tire starts
to lose air. Also new on the six-speed manual trans version
are engine control module modifications to eliminate the
uneasy feeling of front-end lightness during acceleration
called "torque steer." Those changes should clean
up some criticism the stick shift TL previously received.
remains race-inspired at the heart, with a 3.2-liter, all-aluminum
V-6 engine, with special valve timing and electronics called
"VTEC" that enhances performance and smoothness.
Under new industry measurement standards, it churns out
258-horsepower and 233-lb. ft. of momentum generating torque.
For those who want the driving kick of a stick in an easier
to use iteration, TL's five-speed automatic SportShift with
semi-manual mode is available.
technology abounds in TL. The optional, factory-installed
navigation sytem has a voice recognition feature set to
respond to 293 spoken commands. The industry-dominant, hands-free
Bluetooth wireless communications interface comes standard.
A new adapter was recently introduced by Acura to play tunes
or talk stored on an Apple IPOD through the TL's audio system.
And a "Maintenance Minder" coaxes the busy into
a dealership when it's time for service.
there's leather trim, easy read gauges and a tad more room
than earlier TLs, while "quiet" window glass keeps
noises outside. And safety-wise, Acura's no slouch. Side
curtain airbags are standard, while sensors in front bolsters
and seat bottoms read someone's position and weight and
adjust front and side impact airbag deployment.
$33,325 base, the midsize TL isn't the cheapest of the entry
lux autos. And while a bit costlier than its smaller, limited
edition TSX sibling, it still falls below the price point
of some competitive vehicles such as BMW's 5 Series. Want
performance on the road? Acura calls its TL a "potent"
performer, dressed in eye-catching exterior and intelligent,
luxury-laden interior. We won't disagree.