Review 2009 Acura TL: $40K and worth every penny

It wasn't too many
years ago $30,000 was the beginning price point for a luxury vehicle.
Now, $40,000 is the standard, and that's where the Acura TL has been
perched for the past several years. The TL debuted with the 1996 model,
was redesigned in 2004 and for 2009 has its third generation. Like
previous models, the current edition is all good with the vehicle's
largest engine to date and a good selection of other new additions.

The Weekly Driver’s Ratings

Acceleration (8)

wheel and AWD models have plenty of power, both testing in the
0-60 mph standard in 6.0 seconds. The only transmission is a smooth and
responsive five-speed automatic with two keen features — manual
shift gate and steering wheel paddle shifters. It all adds up nicely,
particularly since there's an expanded 3.5-liter, 24-valve, 280
horsepower engine.

Braking/Steering/Handling (7)
and steady on all accounts. Confident turning, strong and steady
stopping and maneuvering through all traffic situations as if it's
in charge, which it is.

Cargo Room (5)
areas, glove box to cup holders, are satisfactory to the class. But the
trunk could have been better configured, considering the category.

Controls (7)
and clear navigation screen with cool features, including traffic
location finder. Gauges are large and logical and design is simple and
classy, complemented by a sleek console look.

Details (7)
front grill looks likes a “smiling face” and there's a lot of metal. But
there's something about the look . . . it gets increasing appealing.
Sharp console line, particularly above the glove box. It makes the car
look more expensive, particularly with its standard leather seats.

Front Seats (7)
and firm and efficiently positioned to provide ample leg and head room.
Visibility is above average, forward and rear.

Fuel Economy (5)

not an economical vehicle, and premium grade fuel is required. But with
nearly 300 horsepower, the Acura TL could have done worse.

Rear Seats (5)
and exit are easy and there's plenty of room to do so. But knee, foot
and head room are only adequate. Tall passengers won't ride on long
trips in comfort.

Ride Quality (8)
Acrua strong point. The car appreciates the open road and it's a good
example of a sedan with simultaneous sports car and touring car

Total (66 out of 100)

Acura's strong points. There's little noise in freeway driving
and the car is only slightly less quiet in city driving. It's one more
reason the
TL advances well onto the entry level luxury plateau.

Class — Premium midsize.

Primary competition —  BMW 5 Series, Cadillac CTS, Hyundai Genesis, Infiniti G, Nissan Maxima SV Premium, Volkswagen CC V.

Standard equipment/option packages
— (Standard) leather upholstery; heated front seats; cruise control;
solar-sensing, dual-zone automatic climate control with automatic
humidity control; tilt/telescoping leather-wrapped steering wheel with
audio controls; power windows and door locks; heated power mirrors with
tilt-down back-up aid and turn signals; eight-speaker 276-watt AM/FM
stereo with six-disc CD changer; XM satellite radio; auxiliary audio
input jack; USB port; Bluetooth cell phone link; multi-information
display; 10-way power adjustable driver's seat with lumbar adjustment;
eight-way power adjustable front passenger seat; memory for the
driver's seat, mirrors, climate control and radio settings; interior
air filter; auto-dimming rear-view mirror; universal garage door opener;
theft-deterrent system; sunroof; rear pass through; automatic
high-intensity discharge headlights, fog lamps, 17-inch alloy wheels.

For more standard equipment/options information, visit:

Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price
— $38,685.00.

Price As Driven — $39,445.00.

Mileage Estimates — 18 mpg (city), 26 mpg (hwy).

— Bumper-to-bumper, 4 years/50,000 miles; Power-train, 6 years/70,000
miles; Corrosion, 5 years/unlimited miles, Roadside assistance, 4
years/50,000 miles.

The Weekly Driver’s final words
— One of the basic factors to determine a car's value for me is the
“what if” game. What if had $15,000 to purchase a car, what would I
buy? Or, if my budget for a new car were $150,000 what would I buy?
Many cars are priced in the $38,000-$40,000 range. And if I had $40,000
to spend on a new car, it would be difficult to do better than the
Acura TL.

James James, a journalist since 1976, is co-author of Tour de France For
Dummies. He owns several websites, contributes to many print and online
publications and is also the editor of A long-distance runner for nearly 30 years, Raia also rides his bike — to nearby coffeehouses. E-mail:

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