Acura’;s guide-outfitted TL is nonetheless really the driver
ASSOCIATE EDITOR GRAHAM KOZAK: I will not consider several individuals have genuinely been positive what to make of Acura lately. The neo-NSX has been in the performs forever, the TLX “prototype” we noticed in Detroit was great sufficient but hardly a stunner, and the assortment-topping RLX can not very preserve up with the German competition.
So the prospect of driving a 2014 Acura TL SH-AWD (a single of 2 designs the coming TLX is supposed to substitute, the other becoming the TSX), didn’;t specifically get the heart pumping. Off the bat, I knew I was going to be confronted with a cluttered, button-laded center console and a pretty solid chassis/powertrain draped in so-so sheetmetal.
Even now, I am usually satisfied to be proven incorrect by a car, and though the TL does still sport that unfortunate elements-bin-sourced infotainment cluster, it is effortless sufficient to appear previous the center console as soon as you depart the driveway.
The TL wasn’;t just far more fun to drive than I was expecting — an admittedly reduced-ish bar — it was genuinely entertaining.
You’;ll want to tap the delicate throttle just due to the fact the V6 seems so pleased to be revved. The engine note is pleasantly mechanical, and it truly is just loud sufficient to hear in the otherwise quiet cabin. I like that it really is a great, subtle reminder of how Honda acquired to be exactly where it is today. The exact shifter caught me off guard in a great way, and I am pleased that Acura sees fit to supply the 6-speed manual in its larger-level, AWD-equipped trims. Mazda, consider note.
Like its engine, the car seems to enjoy being pushed the AWD system eliminates any torque steer that the 273 lb-ft may possibly have created. It truly is flat and sound by way of corners and confident in the snow.
All in all, this is the most pleasant, most interesting and most engaging Acura I can recall being in lately. It really is not precisely a stunner, but its angles stand out from beak to trapezoidal exhaust guidelines. It’;s acquired a excellent engine and a surprisingly crisp transmission. And the cost isn’;t even that ridiculous when you think about that a comparable Buick Regal GS AWD is in the ballpark.
But — and you knew there was going to be a “but” — this is almost certainly the variety of vehicle Acura needs to be presenting as its baseline if it wants to move forward. It truly is a quite decent instance of the potential-techno-luxury (or entry-degree luxury, or no matter what) that Acura could be bringing to the market, from its smaller autos on up by way of its massive crossovers. And the aforementioned Buick is not the only point within this cost rage: So is the Audi A4 quattro and the somewhat smaller 4Matic-equipped Mercedes-Benz C-class.
I know, I know. I never have to layout, engineer, develop or sell automobiles, so it’;s simple ample for me to talk. But it truly is also easy sufficient for buyers to drive correct past the Acura good deal in search of some thing else, which appears to be the situation these days.
SENIOR MOTORSPORTS EDITOR MAC MORRISON: I’;ve always preferred the third-generation TL’;s exterior styling and proportions to people of this 4th-gen model, but I never ever have many complaints once I push the begin button and begin to give the vehicle a work out. Youthful Kozak shouldn’;t be surprised by the 6-pace manual’;s precise action, as it is a long-appreciated Acura staple.
Stuck driving by means of snow once again as this Nuclear-esque winter drags on with no finish in sight, the AWD-outfitted TL inspires excellent confidence thanks to its effectively-managed chassis, excellent seating place and chunky steering wheel maybe the highest compliment I can shell out it is to say the TL is a very fluid package, resulting in spirited driving even in much less-than-best problems. Never error that statement as bragging of hooliganism or unsafe driving, but rather to level out how the TL puts you into driver mode instantly. The solid traits talked about previously synthesize with the sturdy, mildly rumbly engine to create a effectively-balanced, mechanical-feeling sport-sedan that I still take pleasure in extremely a lot even now, a great 5 years post-introduction.
I agree with Graham concerning some of the controls, even though I never automatically discover the center stack as well active I will not always choose that every control is embedded inside of a complicated, on-screen only multi-media/navigation/climate/trash compactor setup. But some of the controls that are on-display only are mildly irritating to discern. And please, Acura, the driver’;s show message — and diagram showing 3 pedals (!) — instructing me Each TIME I get in to depress the clutch prior to firing the ignition (or in the case of the automated-gearbox equipped TL, to press the brake first) is asinine.
ASSOCIATE EDITOR JAKE LINGEMAN: This gearbox has been around for a lengthy time now, and it truly is still one of the very best in the business. Best throw, best height, and perfect snap as it clicks into spot. When I was assigned the vehicle for the weekend, I currently knew I liked the naturally-aspirated engine the guide transmission was a bonus.
This V6 delivers great acceleration in virtually every gear, and pushes hard, even when shifting early. The exhaust note sounds a little metallic, reminding me of the Nissan V6s. All-wheel drive stored me cruising above all kinds of terrain, from snow to ice to dusty salt. It even squawked a number of tires when I popped the clutch right after slowing for a distracted driver.
The shape is pretty dull, and like Mac mentioned, this is 1 of the handful of Acuras that looked far better in previous many years.
The multitude of buttons is variety of a soreness, but you do get employed to them above the course of a few days. I even transformed the settings in the radio so I could skip via all channels, and not just favorites. The navigation method was great when I received caught in visitors on my way property, and began taking random turns just to get some pace going. The system also quickly connected to my Apple iPhone and played all my things.
The TL comes in right at BMW 3-series cash, which is a challenging promote for individuals who care about brands. Would a purchaser select an Acura more than the Roundel, all other items being equal? I doubt it.
Road Test EDITOR JONATHAN WONG: I hope every person enjoyed what most likely will be their final go about with this TL SH-AWD and the guide transmission, simply because it certain does not seem to be like there are plans for a very good outdated-fashioned, 3-pedal setup in the approaching TLX.
The fact that a manual is obtainable in this generation TL with SH-AWD was not a offered and is only here due to the fact engineers at Honda R&D America fought for it. They got the prepare accepted and created it, which is the very first time a manual gearbox was utilized in conjunction with SH-AWD. To make it function, they had to develop more powerful engine and transmission cradles and half-shafts. What are the chances of a manual getting authorized once again? Possibly slim, but you never know. We can always hope.
This TL’;s bland general look has been nicely documented over, but I do choose the existing softer lines in contrast to the wild and crazy creases all more than the spot that this car had when it initial debuted. I nonetheless uncover the cabin supremely comfortable, with exceptional seats that are cushy and supportive. Materials throughout are of good high quality with wonderful finishes, and the button-heavy center stack is one thing I have never ever had a difficulty with. It’;s logically laid out and isn’;t going to get a lot time to get utilised to. I know Acura is moving towards much more touchscreen-dependent interiors like the one particular located in the MDX, and to be honest I choose tough buttons more than tapping on a display that will inevitably smudge up.
But this TL remains a strong car even in its old age. Nobody builds a smoother V6 than Honda/Acura and no person does far more fluid guide gearboxes. The engine sounds wonderful at wide-open-throttle and effortlessly revs up substantial with peak energy currently being manufactured up there. Even down lower, there is sufficient grunt in the V6 to make it a flexible engine. Although the guide shifter in the TSX is tops in operation, the TL is a near second, with crisp shifts and a light clutch that is a snap to operate.
It is a dynamic-feeling chassis that’;s responsive to steering inputs with effectively-weighted steering come to feel. It really is nicely-damped to maintain the entire body nicely tied down with minimum physique roll. Trip top quality is company but comfortable, with the vast majority of modest and medium ruts smoothed out.
And for $ 44K, there is very good value here, with the Technologies trim level packing in navigation with genuine-time visitors and climate details, a rocking ELS sound method, push-button starter, and Bluetooth. The only point missing that I would truly want is the blind spot monitoring program that is included in the Advance versions, but which is not obtainable with the manual. I would gladly reside with no the blind-spot check for the stick.
Base Value: $ 44,295
As-Examined Price: $ 44,295
Drivetrain: 3.6-liter V6 AWD, 6-velocity guide
Output: 305 hp @ 6,000 rpm, 273 lb-ft @ 5,000 rpm
Curb Weight: 3,889 lb
Fuel Economy (EPA City/Highway/Combined): 17/25/20 mpg
AW Observed Fuel Economic system: 18. mpg
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