The mid-size Acura TL is completely new for 2009. It's about six inches longer than last year's model, and about two inches wider and slightly higher. That translates to a significantly roomier interior; but the real news is a more aggressive appearance outside and in. Acura has adopted a more angular yet sleek appearance for the new TL, most notably at the rear, where a sleek, rakish rear window flows smoothly into a decklid that's creased along the middle and flanked by pointed taillamps and dual exhausts. In front, projector-beam headlamps and Acura's new matte-metallic grille bring distinctive impression.
On the inside, the new TL has a layout that affords both the driver and front passenger their own personal space, divided by a center console and audio controls that protrude outward. Front occupants get firm but comfortable sport seats and there's space in back for three across. Rear legroom is up by 1.3 inches in the new model.
Also of note is that the new TL now has two different V-6 engines available. A 280-horsepower, 3.5-liter V-6 powers front-wheel-drive versions, through a Sequential SportShift five-speed automatic transmission. The all-wheel-drive SH-AWD model upgrades to a 305-horsepower, 3.7-liter V-6 and a throaty high-flow dual exhaust system that brings more of a sport-sedan character. Although the all-wheel-drive model does improve the TL's available traction in snow and on slippery roads, the primary focus of the so-called SH-AWD (super handling) is to improve stability in sharp corners by sending torque to the wheels that need it most.
For both models, a double-wishbone front suspension and rear multi-link setup assures a firm but smooth ride. The SH-AWD model is tuned for more responsive handling without giving up much in ride comfort, by incorporating a performance-tuned suspension, larger wheels and tires, and a version of the electric power steering system tuned for more feel of the road. The hood is made of aluminum for weight savings in both models.
Standard features on the TL include dual-zone climate control, a power moonroof, leather upholstery, a Bluetooth HandsFreeLink calling interface and an eight-speaker, 276-watt sound system with XM Satellite Radio and compatible with Bluetooth audio streaming.
Options are limited on the TL, with the most noteworthy of them being the Technology Package. It brings premium Milano leather surfaces, plus Acura's voice-recognition navigation system, AcuraLink real-time traffic and weather info, a surround-sound premium system with ten speakers, 440 watts and a 2500-song hard-drive system, and Keyless Access. An active noise cancellation system and ambient lighting system are also included.
Acura's mid-size luxury sport sedan, the TL, has been completely redesigned for 2009. Based on the all-new Honda Accord introduced last year, the new TL is larger, more aggressively styled and sportier than before. Especially of note is the new all-wheel drive model, incorporating Acura's performance-oriented SH-AWD system and a more powerful 3.7-liter V6. The model, as before, serves to showcase some of the luxury automaker's top technology features, including AcuraLink real-time traffic and weather.