| Acura TL
More Expert Reviews
|2008 Acura TL
|2008 Acura TL
By Holly R.
- Super-stiff suspension (a sedan that drives like a sports car)
- Easy to read gauges and controls
- Super-comfortable seats
- Superb acceleration
- Headlamp beam pattern is not good (dark, curvy roads using the low beam setting was downright scary)
- Bluetooth® was too hard to program (of course, I still haven’t been able to program my portable one, so take this criticism with a grain of salt)
- The windows didn’t roll down or up smoothly and it would be hard and frustrating to just crack the window open for some ventilation
If you have self-control issues, you do *not* want this car. You won’t be able to afford to keep it after all the tickets you’ll get. With that said, this was my first car for a review. Wow, what a car! I was thrilled to drive it, to say the least.
I was actually a bit terrified to drive this car. A 6-speed manual transmission! I’ve not driven a stick in almost 10 years! What started off as a somewhat shaky experience, turned into a comfortable ride within just a few miles. Once I hit the freeway, I’d bonded with the car. The car is just plain FUN TO DRIVE!
It was easy to shift and easy to accelerate up to speed when entering the traffic flow.
The windows are easy to see out of and I noticed no discernible “blind spot”. I was so comfortable in the cabin that I still felt as though I was in my own car.
The steering wheel has little “nubs” to anchor your thumbs when making sharp turns. The turning radius felt adequate when making u-turns, and I never felt like I needed another lane’s width to make the turn. Because it really IS a sedan, I didn’t expect the turning radius of a *true* sports car. I found a curvy road to be an extremely comfortable ride, and a very enjoyable experience in this vehicle.
The car felt solid to me. The trunk closed firmly. Not heavy, not wimpy, but solid. When closing the doors, they felt quite solid and seemed to close out any outside noise. I’m used to driving a heavy, heavy car, and this car felt similarly stable. It was a quiet ride, despite the stiffness of the suspension. I drove around with the stereo off, listening for any loose items. Any detectable noises that didn’t belong. Any kind of rattling. The only noise I was able to detect was when I had a small water bottle in the water-bottle holder (it didn’t fit firmly) and it was rattling around. I was unable to detect any rattling of the seat-belts (a huge annoyance in my opinion), doors, interior items, etc. Unfortunately, I didn’t look under the hood, so I can’t say if there were difficult to replace parts!
Interior Comfort and Ergonomics:
When I first sat in the car, I noticed how comfortable the seats were. I’m really big on heated seats, and the heat was excellent. They heated up quickly and didn’t get too hot.
The instrument panel was really easy to see at night. Everything (radio, heat, mirrors) were within easy reach. I’d never driven a car with a navigation system and the light from the large 7″ display was at first, distracting. However, within just a few minutes, the soft glow from the display became pretty comforting.
The HomeLink® system was so easy to program. Within only a few moments, I had it synced to my garage, and in we went.
The built-in BlueTooth® Hands Free Link is a brilliant addition to this car. Especially with the new cell phone law going into effect this year. I only wish it were a wee bit easier to program, as it’s a fairly complex setup. But, if it’s your car, you’ll take the time to do it. I would.
The stainless steel pedals are really SPORTY! I think they’d be really durable too. The only fault I could find with them is that I’d think they’d be pretty slippery if it rains. But, we do live in Northern CA, and not Seattle or Portland.
The Acura Navigation System was a breeze to program. I even tried to trick it by going the wrong way, and it would not be fooled. Granted, this was the first time I’d used one, but I thought it was really simple to use. I even cranked the stereo up, and found that it would dim the sound and I was able to hear the voice commands. Easily.
The rear-view camera seems a bit extravagant to me, and I found it pretty distracting. I do understand that some people really do need one, however. Those people would surely find it really easy to see what’s coming up behind you. The screen is large and easy to see.
The 286-horsepower engine make this car feel like a rocket-ship. At least, in my opinion. The 6-speed manual transmission adds to this. I revved it up a few times, but it didn’t sound or feel like I was winding it up too tightly (except for that one time that I down-shifted into 3rd gear when I meant 5th gear -oops).
I never once, floored it (oh, but I sure was tempted!), but it has a very crisp acceleration in normal driving conditions. Even when I had it in 6th gear on the freeway, whenever I tried to pass someone, it didn’t lag and let me down. The response was always immediate and whooosh! I was past the car that was in my way.
Stopping quickly is as important as going fast and the Type-S is outfitted with Brembo brakes and 12 inch rotors. I was fortunate enough not to have to try an emergency braking scenario, but when I was in safe locations, I hit the brakes pretty hard. The car stops when YOU need it too, not when it WANTS to. And it braked solid – not wimpy. Super important in the rush-hour traffic around here.
For some, this car might feel a bit heavy in the turns. I’m used to a heavy car, so for me, it just felt pretty normal. I didn’t rail any corners, but I drove it fairly quickly through a few wide corners, and some on and off-ramps, and it felt SOLID in its cornering capability. I expect that this has to do with the car’s lower center of gravity, and it’s handling ability. Even then, I didn’t have to hit the brakes (or push the panic button) once. I took the on-ramp to Northbound 17 from Los Gatos Blvd pretty quickly, and between the cornering and acceleration, it was an exhilarating experience! Winding down a descent on one of my favorite roads, the car felt responsive and handled very well.
The car is beautiful to look at. My heart sped up just walking up to it. All of my friends that saw the car were drooling (and frankly, jealous)! The paint and color on this model were just out of this world! The wheels are sexy and the dark metal rims will help hide any brake dust that will inevitably accumulate. The looks bely the fact that it’s really a 4-door sedan. The car looks as good coming as it does going, and it has a low, sporty, yet stylish profile.
For the car, the warranty (6 year/70k power-train warranty, and 4 year/50k limited vehicle warranty) and such, it really is a decent value. It’s spendy, but it’s definitely NOT a cheap car. As of July of 2008, hands-free talking is the LAW here in CA. This model already has the Bluetooth® built-in. Some of the newer cars have the XM-Satellite radio (plus free activation and 3 months of free service!), as this one does. The navigation system is really good and has a nice, large display. If you’re someone who gets lost easily, this addition alone is worth it’s weight in gold. The 17 inch alloy rims and Bridgestone Potenza tires that come stock with this car are sweet. The leather interior is luxurious. And I’m just mentioning the plush features. The TL safety features are right up there with some of the safest cars on the road (driver and passenger front and side airbags, side curtain airbags, side impact door beams, tire pressure monitoring system, anti-lock brakes with electronic brake distribution and brake assist). And the pricing for this model is similar to what I consider to be the safest car on the road: Volvo.
Would I buy it? If I wasn’t a bike racer and didn’t need to travel to races with bikes, teammates and my dog, yes. It would be a blast to own and drive on a daily basis. Besides being a sheer joy to drive (and look at!), the car has so many useful features. For those that want to go fast, you can. For those who can’t back up to save their lives, you have the back-up assist camera. For those who can’t navigate their way out of a paper bag – you have the easy-to-use navigation system. For myself, who CAN back up, and who has the gift of a great sense of direction – sure, I don’t need those things. But the navigation system was really fun to have, and if I had it, I’d make good use of it! If it were my car, I’d also take the time to program the Bluetooth® hands-free link. It’s great that it’s standard in this model, because in my car, it’s an add-on feature for a couple of hundred more (and an entire day to install).
As previously noted, the seats in this car were really, really comfortable and fit me like a glove. The seat heaters warmed quickly, and never got too hot.
The climate system was more than adequate and did its job quite well. In fact, the entire interior environment was well thought out, and everything was within easy reach, and in a sensible location (I didn’t have to hunt for the cruise control buttons).
I’m a big fan of stock stereos and the sound quality in this one was really, really good. My only gripe was a non-intuitive way to search for radio stations, but everything else about the stereo was simple and easy to use.
Who should buy it?
Someone who wants a sporty car, in a 4-door sedan package. Someone who doesn’t have a lot of sports equipment to haul around (unless your sporting equipment is short, such as a set of golf clubs, a basketball, baseball glove, soccer balls, etc.). I was able to get my bike into the back seat area, which was great, but if you have a large bike, or teammates, forget it!
If you have great self-control, want a sports-car feel, and don’t really care much about your mileage, then this would be a great car. Seriously. It doesn’t suit my lifestyle, but if my lifestyle were different, I could definitely see myself in one.
|The official website of Acura – www.acura.com|