Smooth, Stylish and Full of Great Features: 2014 Acura TL
Acura really hit the nail right on the head with the TL which is a gorgeous mid-sized luxury sedan. Anyone who fancies cars without sharp lines needs to take a hard look at the TL, there isn’t a corner to be found anywhere. Offering a lower starting price point than most of its completion this vehicle has a lot to offer for the money in the luxury class.
As a winner of the 2014 Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) Top Safety Pick in its class, the Acura TL is ablaze with safety and performance to please any owner. The TL does offer a very nice and smooth ride with a well-designed suspension and excellent chassis, but does fall short of its rear-wheel drive competitors. Anyone looking for the better handling and capabilities offered by RWD might find much more driving pleasure from the Super Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD) model offering power to all four wheels equally allowing a much more precise ride than the front-wheel drive version. As far as road sounds entering the cabin, the TL does a masterful job of sending these noises back to the road where they belong allowing the vehicle occupants to enjoy any sounds they want without hearing the road.
As expected with most luxury and performance model cars, premium gasoline is needed to power the Acura TL regardless of the engine set up chosen. The engines start out with a 3.5-liter V6 engine bringing in a substantial 280 horsepower and 254 lb.-ft. of torque which is more than enough to rocket this ship across the pavement or move quickly through traffic around town. Offered only with the six-speed automatic transmission that does offer manual paddle shifters for those who like to shift the car themselves, when partnered up the two bring in a fuel mileage of 20 city/29 hwy mpg for this size engine that is fairly respectable.
Moving up to the SH-AWD version of the TL brings in a 3.7-liter V6 engine leaving the 300 horsepower plateau by reaching up to 305 along with 273 lb.-ft. of torque to make this a very formidable engine to deal with. A six-speed manual transmission is an option for this set up and when used will bring in a fuel mileage of 17 city/25 hwy mpg while opting for the same automatic as the 3.5-liter engine will offer 18 city/26 hwy mpg. Although the fuel efficiency is really poor, the power is premium for this mid-sized luxury sedan, which seems to always be the trade off and real decision car buyers have to make.
With a sporty, stylish and luxurious cabin the inhabitants might never want to leave the luxury and style of the TL to go back to doing other tasks. When the SH-AWD model is chosen the side bolsters are much more aggressive to create an even more appealing seating feel. Even though this car is on the low end of the price range in its class it still comes standard with plush leather throughout. Although all the controls are in place they seem to be a little confusing and will take some getting used to in order to figure out where each one resides. The rear seat offers plenty space, but do not fold down for added cargo space although there is a center pass through for long thin items to be carried.
On the outside the TL is a designer’s dream. The team at Acura must have had plenty of coffee to come up with an exterior that is almost entirely devoid of any sharp lines. Instead smooth and sexy curves adorn the outside of the TL offering a hint of aerodynamics mixed with pure luxury. Riding along on 17-inch aluminum-alloy wheels standard and an option for 18 or 19-inch wheels for the higher trim levels the feel of luxury is finished off with these very stylish and aggressive looking wheels.
Opening up a standard model Acura TL and the owner is greeted with a veritable cracker jack box full of fun features that all come standard. Starting this list off is the leather interior, power front heated seats, dual-zone climate control, a power moon roof, xenon headlights and an eight-speaker audio system with Bluetooth streaming and connectivity. For the SH-AWD models the standard features start with larger wheels and a higher powered performance inspired engine. If the Technology package is chosen a ten-speaker premium audio system with a hard drive is in place, a navigation system, keyless access, rearview camera, and a GPS-linked climate-control system are all included. At the top end with an Advanced package adds ventilated front seats and blind-spot monitoring to the box of fun.
Almost every optional feature is bundled into one of the eight different trim levels available for the Acura TL including wood grain accents and shift knob, a trunk drawer, underbody spoilers, a remote start system, and backup sensors just to name a few. With so many different trim levels available there is sure to be a TL to please every owner and have the right amount of equipment to make their ride as luxurious as possible.
Is this really a luxury vehicle? The price sure doesn’t suggest so, with all the standard features and updated technology an expected price might be somewhere near $60,000, but the 2014 Acura TL shows up with a starting price of just under $37,000; very affordable for all the car included. Moving up to the SH-AWD model offers a starting price of $40,500, which is very reasonable for the added control of AWD and at the very top the price can reach as much as $47,000 with all the options chosen, but still comes in better than much of its completion, some of which does start north of $50,000.
The Acura TL for this year is not only an IIHS top safety pick, but is also an engineering and design delight to drive. A luxury car at a reasonable price that makes the competition take notice with its beauty and brains the TL is a smart buy for anyone needing a great car.