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2012 Acura TL: Less Is More!

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On: Mon, Apr 18, 2011 at 3:42PM | By: Lou Ruggieri

2012 Acura TL:  Less Is More!

If you are in the market for a new car, and can afford it, you are pretty lucky. With that said, given all of the unsteady state of the economy, people are looking for value more than ever. So, if we said that you could have a legitimate five-passenger sedan for less than the price of comparable four-passenger sedans, your ears might perk up a bit wouldn’t they?  Well, listen up… Acura is simply the best luxury car value on the planet, bar none. For less than the price of a similarly equipped 3-Series BMW or Audi A4 you can get your hands on a brand new 2012 Acura TL.  

When it debuted as the TL (sans any numerical prefixes) eight years ago, the car was a conservatively styled success. But, when the 2009 redesign showed up, even with its bigger interior, all-wheel drive, and more powerful engine, it was received with harsh criticism for being far too over the top, essentially going from a shirt and tie to glowing red leather suit. It was a better car, but most people couldn’t get past the exterior to find the quality inside.

Thankfully, the intelligent folks at Acura listened to their customers and brought out the all-new 2012 TL, a car that has kept all the pluses of the previous car, and managed to tone down the design intensity a few notches, creating one of the best values on the market (that actually looks pretty good, too).

Starting from the outside, the 2012 TL improves the giant-grin-grille of last year’s model, using a shorter overhang, along with chrome-accented turn signals that help reconcile one of the biggest complaints. Likewise, the rear issues are dealt with in much the same way. The metallic trim under the trunk door is now reduced by 50%, while the rear diffuser and higher license-plate mount makes the rear end appear much less massive. The tailpipes and wheels have been restyled to help give the car a more upscale and complete feel.

Under the hood, the TL brings the same two engines as last year, either the tried-and-true 3.5-liter V6 making 280 horsepower for use in the FWD models, or the bigger 3.7-liter 305-horsepower V6 to offset the weight of the heavier SH-AWD variant. Although the engines are the same, the internals of those engines have improved, thanks to an intense focus on friction reduction on cylinder liners and pistons.

The transmission has been upgraded to a six-speed (instead of a five) and gets a multi-plate torque converter which gives the car better acceleration at speed, thanks to its ability to rev match and downshift two gears when necessary instead of just one as in past years. The SH-AWD does feel a bit heavier behind the electrically-assisted power steering wheel than the FWD model, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but when driven back-to-back you can feel the difference in weight between the two. The AWD model does seem to have better footing around fast corners, and certainly in poor weather, but it does come at a cost of about 3 mpg overall.

The most notable aspect of the 2012 TL is actually the absence of a change. Despite all of its upgrades and changes, the Acura TL has a base price of $35,605. Not only is that price in the ballpark of the smaller 3-Series and A4, it is the list of amenities that accompany that base price where the true value of the Acura starts to become incredibly apparent. Unlike a comparably priced 3-Series that amounts to nothing short of a stripped-down, base-engine Beamer, the TL gives you almost everything you could ask for up front.

The first thing that every BMW salesperson will tell you is that, “everything is an option,” and they aren’t kidding. Power seats, moonroof, Xenon lights, chrome trim, seat heaters, and even keyless entry are all items that need to be checked off at the Bavarian dealerships, while all of that and more comes standard issue in the new TL, and oh, by the way, you can carry along one extra person and their stuff with all the extra passenger and cargo room the Acura provides.

The 2012 is available now at dealerships, and you might even qualify for an incentive program if you hurry by the end of the month. If you are still unsure of what car to go with because you may think that BMW or Audi carries a little more cachet than the TL, you might benefit from what one savvy potential customer had to say, “After seeing what each car offers for the money, I feel I would be buying the BMW for everyone else to see me in from the outside, but buying the Acura is for me from the inside out.” So, there you have it: sometimes less really is more.

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