Just Car Blog
|Five Hondas, Two Acuras Recalled Due To Takata Airbag Inflators||
|Honda Recalls 2.2 Million Cars In The US For Takata Airbag Inflators||
|2014 Acura TL Special Edition Review & Test Drive||
First introduced in model year 2013, I didn’t get a chance to test drive the new Special Edition Acura TL until now. I just picked up the 2014 model and it is just how I like Acura’s to look, perform and please me driving a sporty luxury sport sedan. What the Special Edition does is offer a step up from the standard TL, with the addition of highly desirable feature upgrades, creating an excellent value in the luxury four-door sedan segment.
This front-wheel-drive TL Special Edition features unique 10-spoke dark chrome 18X8 inch alloy wheels wrapped with Michelin Pilot HX MXM4 245/45R18 inch low-profile high-performing tires for excellent grip and a quiet, smooth ride. Just four paint colors are available for the Special Edition and my test model came with Crystal Black Pearl with full leather-appointed Ebony interior with contrasting stitching. The body also features a color-matched deck lid spoiler and trunk-mounted Special Edition badge. Standard keyless access with pushbutton start adds convenience and ease of use. The keyless access system lets me enter the car without having to handle a key or fob. The keyless access remote has a unique digital identity that is automatically communicated to the car; I simply pull one of the front door handles while the remote is in my possession, and the door unlocks and opens. The trunk can be unlocked and opened by pressing a button located on the TL Special Edition rear spoiler. Another great feature is that the system identifies which of the two supplied fobs is in use each time the driver’s door is opened (even if it is already unlocked) and then automatically sets the driver’s seat, outside mirrors, climate control and audio system, including audio system presets, to a profile preset by the driver using the fob.
The front-wheel drive TL Special Edition come standard with Acura’s 3.5 liter, all-aluminum SOHC 24-valve V6 with intake valves actuated by Acura’s VTEC (Variable Valve Timing and Lift Electronic Control) system for excellent low-end torque. This compact and efficient engine produces 280hp at 6,200rpm and 254lb.ft. of toque at 5,000rpm. It is mated to a sporty Sequential SportShift 6-speed automatic transmission operated by a straight-gate style console-mounted leather-wrapped/baseball stitched shifter. For more fun a racing-inspired steering wheel paddle shifter system is standard. Besides Drive mode, there is Sport mode that increases rpms and remaps the gear shift pattern to hold the gears longer for quicker acceleration and more pulse quickening performance.
On the inside the TL Special Edition illustrates Acura’s driver-oriented sport-sedan philosophy. Sweeping shapes and high-quality materials blend a luxury aesthetic with a feeling of advanced technology. Deeply cut and comfortable/heated sport leather bucket seats are standard and feature 10-way adjustable power driver’s side and an 8-way adjustable power front passenger’s seat. The sporty leather-wrapped/heated/tilt/telescopic, 3-spoke steering wheel features baseball stitching, audio, Bluetooth, and cruise control buttons. The rallye gauges are easy to see and understand. A power moonroof, 276-watt AM-FM-CD audio system with eight speakers, dual-zone climate control system with automatic humidity control are also standard. The TL Special Edition comes well-equipped with standard technology features including a Bluetooth HandsFreeLink wireless telephone interface, USB connectivity and a high-resolution Multi-Information Display above the center stack. The rear seats feature a pull-down center armrest with dual cupholders, air-vents from the rear of the center console and a pass-through for longer items needing transport stored in the trunk. Other standard equipment not mentioned above includes XM satellite radio, MP3 auxiliary input jack, two driver memory, HomeLink system, power windows with front express up/down, power door locks, self-dimming rearview mirrors, heated/power remote sideview mirrors with turn signal indicators, dual map lights, dual lighted vanity mirrors, variable speed wipers/washers, trip computer with readouts in the center of the gauge cluster, aluminum door sill plates, a center console with dual cupholders under an accordion sliding cover, armrest and deep lighted storage box, lighted glovebox, grab handles above each door, easy to use center stack buttons and dials with all buttons, switches and dials fully illuminated for safe nighttime travel, signature front floor mats and rear floor mats, remote trunk/fuel filler buttons and storage slots in each door.
Under the skin of the TL Special Edition is what I would expect from Acura-performance and smoothness. The suspension is fully independent with a front double-wishbone setup with coil springs, twin-tube gas-charged shocks and a 1.18mm hollow stabilizer bar. The rear is a multi-link setup with twin-tube gas-charged shocks, coil springs and a 0.75mm. Matched with an electric variable power-assisted rack and pinion steering system the response is quick and precise. Assisting my handling is the Vehicle Stability Assist that works with the throttle control and brake control that utilizes yaw, lateral g, speed and steering sensors for traction and stability enhancement when I take curves a little faster than the recommended speed. It virtually eliminates any torque steer at launch.
Speaking of excellent brakes, the new TL Special Edition has them standard. Up front are 12.6 inch vented discs clamped with dual-piston calipers and 13.1 inch solid discs clamped with single-piston calipers. Keeping me in control of my direction during severe braking times is standard ABS, EBD and BA.
The exterior is up-to-date with the signature ‘overbite’ front grille, front Xenon High-Intensity Discharge front headlights, daytime running lights, front bumper integrated foglamps, rear LED lamps, steeply raked windshield A-pillars, a full-perimeter chrome strip around the greenhouse, another chrome strip that runs along the drip rail from the hood back to the center of the trunk, big pullout door handles, and deep lower side extensions. The rear shows a thick chrome strip just below the trunk lid, a rear diffuser and 7 inch wide dual rectangular chrome exhaust finishers.
Standard safety features include dual-stage /multiple-threshold front airbags, front-side airbags, side curtain airbags for all outboard seats, 5-3-point safety belts with front seatbelts utilizing automatic tensioning and load limiters, LATCH system for child seats, front/rear crumple zones, a tire pressure monitoring system, steel beams in each door, and daytime running lamps.
Priced at just $37,405.00 the 2014 Acura TL Special Edition is a great looking, comfortable, luxurious high-performing mid-size sport sedan. It comes equipped with everything to keep me and any other enthusiast happy behind the wheel.
Acura is getting ready to introduce an all-new 2015 TLX luxury sport sedan that will probably cost more than the Special Edition so take my hint and check one out before they are all gone, besides Special Edition, it is also a Limited Edition.
COPYRIGHT: 2014: HARVEY SCHWARTZ
- Price: Base TL $36,925 / As-Tested TL Special Edition $38,905
- Engine: 3.5-liter SOHC 24-valve V6 VTEC 280 horsepower @ 6,200 rpm / 254 lb.ft. of toque @ 5,000 rpm
- Wheelbase: 109.3 inches
- Total length: 194 inches
- Total height: 57.2 inches
- Total width: 74 inches
- Track: f/r-63.2/63.8 inches
- Minimum ground clearance: 6.1 inches
- Headroom: f/r-38.4/36.7 inches
- Legroom: f/r-42.5/36.2 inches
- Turning circle: 38.4 inches
- Fuel tank: 18.5 gallons
- Curb weight: 3,726 pounds
- EPA mileage: 20mpg/city, 29mpg/highway
- 0-60 mph: 6.5 seconds
|Acura Continues to Revamp Line to Compete with Tier 2 Luxury Brands||
Honda’s luxury division plans to continue their product line revamp to put them in a better position to challenge second-tier luxury brand rivals such as Audi, Buick, Infiniti and Volvo. Acura’s new positioning will not focus so much on directly competing with the likings of BMW, Lexus and Mercedes-Benz.
Acura’s bread and butter TL will likely be renamed the TLX and shrink in size while they phase out the TSX potentially carrying on in a limited V6 production form. The TLX is due to get a new line of Earth Dreams engines featuring direct injection, 310 horsepower and 265 lb-ft of torque. The same powertrain will be used in the upcoming Honda Accord and potentially deliver as much as 45 MPG.
Reportedly, the smaller Acura ILX, which will not have a coupe variant, will have the base 2.0-liter engine replaced by a 2.4-liter making 181 horsepower. Additionally, a more-powerful 2.4-liter direct injection engine could also be offered producing close to 230 horsepower.
The new 2013 RDX will carry on with its current 273 horsepower V6 while its larger MDX sibling will eventually get the Earth Dreams V6 engine adding power and efficiency over the current 300 horsepower V6. The ZDX could remain in the lineup for now but eventually phased out due to slipping sales well after the new MDX is launched.
The Acura RL flagship is due for a redesign in the fall where it will get the TL’s Earth Dreams V6 engine and weigh in below 4,000 pounds due to lightweight aluminum and high-strength steel.
Of course 2014 will bring about the launch of the highly anticipated Acura NSX using an all-wheel-drive system powered by a V6 engine and two electric motors.
With Acura’s semi-conservative approach to competing with so-called ‘second-tier’ luxury brands, they will put themselves into an attractive position for consumers looking to slip into the luxury auto market for the first time.
|2010 Acura TL SH-AWD Review & Test Drive||
Driving the latest Acura TL had me reminiscing of when one of the very first Japanese luxury cars came to the United States in the form of the Acura Legend. Those days are long gone, which could be a good thing or bad thing depending on how you look at it. We look at it as a good thing because Acura has still managed to keep that ‘Legend’ going. Now it can be seen shared in the vast lineup of vehicles all having similar characteristics making them unmistakable, including the 2010 Acura TL.
The new Acura TL SH-AWD with technology package, in which we had the opportunity to review is a worthy contender in such a competitive automotive segment. Polished with some of the latest automotive technology and a sleek newly designed skin aims to set the Acura TL off from its competitors.
For 2010 the Acura TL remains visually unchanged from its redesigned 2009 model year. A new refined V6 engine for the SH-AWD variant adds more excitement due to an extra 25 horsepower totaling 305hp and 273 ft-lbs of torque in the 3.7-liter V6. Base model TL’s get the 3.5-liter V6 power mill generating 280hp and 256 ft-lbs of torque. Pumping all 305hp through 4 wheels makes the 305hp usable and turns the TL into a good performer with the only limitations being the grip of the 18-inch Michelin Pilot all-season rubber.
The Acura TL’s Super Handling All-Wheel Drive system (SH-AWD) is truly remarkable. The all-wheel drive system will individually power a wheel when traction in the other is lacking. The system also directs additional power to the outboard wheel under heavy turns. It basically acts as an ‘electronic limited slip differential’ only for all 4 wheels. The system is actually remarkable giving you an extra sense of security when you come out of a corner laying into the throttle. Because the TL is somewhat light on its feet having 305hp, you can only imagine how much of a handful it would be if it where only front-wheel drive.
Lately Acura has been somewhat performance and enthusiast oriented. I say this because for 2010 you can opt for a manual 6-speed transmission in the TL SH-AWD. Our test vehicle was fitted with a 5-speed auto that on occasion seems behind the times after stepping out of one of our other test vehicles with a 7-speed auto. Don’t let the 5 automatic gears fool you, the TL is not shy about letting its 3.7-liter run to the redline and hammering in the next gear. The performance numbers will show you that the TL is a good performer with a 0-60 time of 5.6 seconds.
Acura’s interior has always been tech savvy while incorporating quality materials. Most times the automotive enthusiast and long-term car shopper can tell a slight difference in Honda and Acura interiors due to the use of ‘different’ surfaces. Some of the surfaces do not try to emulate other materials but instead have their own characteristics such as the textured trim lining the dash. Most of the controls are where they should be and easy to reach. Getting into a new Acura TL and figuring out the controls is only easy if you have not been spoiled by one of its competitors. Otherwise it takes some getting used to but after that everything is a breeze.
Seating appointments in the TL SH-AWD are very decent with the perforated leather seats and soft bolsters. Seating positions can vary greatly giving the driver several options depending on height and size.
If there is still such a thing as a plug-and-play vehicle, the Acura TL leads the pack due to its explosive sales over the past few years of the previous generation TL. This is mostly due to its great reliability and value factor. The base Acura TL starts at $35,105 and can creep up to over $43 grand for our test vehicle’s configuration. The configuration of our test vehicle includes several tech toys such as GPS satellite navigation backed by a wonderful voice recognition system that can be utilized for several common car functions. I found myself adjusting the HVAC controls through voice commands. It was literally a breeze in our Acura TL while under the hot Florida sun.
If we could change something about the 2010 Acura TL it would be the numb steering feeling. Although the steering was somewhat effortless when parking, it has very little feel when on the road at certain speeds. Electric steering remains to be a complaint among several other automotive makes as well. So this is nothing new here. The city gas mileage figures (17mpg) could also be improved but we never complained with our 305hp test vehicle put us back in the seat from the smooth and powerful acceleration. On the highway the Acura TL gets a decent 25mpg.
Overall, the 2010 Acura TL SH-AWD is an amazing transportation appliance. It does what it is supposed to very well with very little complaints. The styling of the TL remains to be controversial with some, but still manages to gain the love of those looking for a solid value in a mid-sized luxury vehicle.
Copyright: 2010 AutomotiveAddicts.com
Price: Base Acura TL 3.5 $35,105 As-Tested Acura TL SH-AWD Technology Package $43,195
Type: Midsize Sedan
Where Built: United States
EPA Class: Midsize Cars
Length: 195.5 in.
Width: 74 in.
Height: 57.2 in.
Wheel Base: 109.3 in.
Ground Clearance: 5.7 in.
Curb Weight: 3975 lbs.
Front Head Room: 38.4 in.
Front Hip Room: 55.7 in.
Front Shoulder Room: 58.2 in.
Rear Head Room: 36.7 in.
Rear Shoulder Room: 56.2 in.
Rear Hip Room: 54.8 in.
Front Leg Room: 42.5 in.
Rear Leg Room: 36.2 in.
Luggage Capacity: 12.5 cu. ft.
Maximum Seating: 5
Number of Cylinders: 6
Engine Size: 3.7 liters
Base Engine Type: V6
Horsepower: 305 hp
Max Horsepower: 6300 rpm
Torque: 273 ft-lbs.
Max Torque: 5000 rpm
Drive Type: AWD
Turning Circle: 38.4 ft.
Fuel Tank Capacity: 18.5 gal.
EPA Mileage Estimates: (City/Highway/Combined)
Automatic: 17 mpg / 25 mpg / 20 mpg
Range in Miles:
Automatic: 314.5 mi. / 462.5 mi. / 370 mi.