2012 Acura TL vs. Its Competition

2012 Acura TL 4-door Sedan 2WD Advance Angular Front Exterior View
Bengt Halvorson Bengt Halvorson Deputy Editor

Starting at $35,605 for a very well-equipped base model with front-wheel drive, the 2012 Acura TL costs somewhat more than similarly equipped Mercedes-Benz C-Class, BMW 3-Series, or even Audi A4 models.

And it's truly a step up from those models, closer to the E-Class, 5-Series, and A6.

Yet unlike most of those sport sedans, the Acura TL remains a front- or all-wheel-drive sedan.

In recent years Audi has gone to lengths to move mass on its vehicles rearward and craft its vehicles into more traditional sport sedans.

Another top rival--but for a different type of shopper--is the Cadillac CTS; its well-sorted, rear-wheel-drive chassis, great powertrains, and sumptuous interior all appeal to traditionalists and those who want seriously good handling.

Another slightly off-the-radar pick might be the Nissan Maxima; Nissan calls the latest Maxima a four-door sports car, but it’s really more like the TL, with a V-6, front-wheel drive, and a nice ride and beautiful interior above all else.

VW’s CC sedan is also an attractive pick for style mavens; its base four-cylinder engine gets great mileage, too, but it’s not at all a sport sedan.

The rear-wheel-drive Hyundai Genesis sedan is another luxury value leader; although its interior is up to par with the TL in many respects, the comparable V-6 version won't get a nod from serious performance fans.

2012 Acura TL 4-door Sedan 2WD Advance Angular Front Exterior View2012 Acura TLBrowse Used Listings2012 Audi A4 4-door Avant Wagon Auto quattro 2.0T Premium Angular Front Exterior View2012 Audi A4Browse Used Listings2012 Cadillac CTS Touring Edition2012 Cadillac CTSBrowse Used Listings2012 Mercedes-Benz C Class2012 Mercedes-Benz C ClassBrowse Used Listings2011 Nissan Maxima 4-door Sedan V6 CVT 3.5 S Angular Front Exterior View2012 Nissan MaximaBrowse Used Listings2012 Volkswagen CC 4-door Sedan Lux Angular Front Exterior View2012 Volkswagen CCBrowse Used Listings
Quick Specs
The 2012 Acura TL is a surprisingly well-rounded luxury sedan, with a host of advanced tech features, and in top SH-AWD trim morphs into a complete and compelling sport sedan.
The 2012 Audi A4 provides an engaging driving experience, impressive in-cabin technology, and surprisingly great fuel efficiency—making it a good everyday driver among premium sedans.
It has a styling leg up, and the 2012 Cadillac CTS backs up its looks with good dynamics, good build quality and a competitive set of body styles and options.
With a new base four-cylinder engine, the 2012 Mercedes-Benz C-Class makes even more sense for value-conscious (yet image-conscious) luxury shoppers.
The 2012 Nissan Maxima is a great pick if you want a stylish, sporty, comfortable, and lavishly trimmed sedan; serious sport-sedan enthusiasts should look elsewhere, however.
Value-minded sedan shoppers who are willing to sacrifice a little practicality in the name of style will find a lot to like in the 2012 Volkswagen CC.
MSRP From     
Gas Mileage     
17 MPG City / 29 MPG Hwy21 MPG City / 31 MPG Hwy16 MPG City / 27 MPG Hwy15 MPG City / 31 MPG Hwy19 MPG City / 26 MPG Hwy17 MPG City / 31 MPG Hwy
Gas V6Turbocharged Gas I4Gas V6Turbocharged Gas I4Gas V6Turbocharged Gas I4
EPA Class     
Mid-SizeCompact CarsMid-SizeCompactMid-SizeCompact
Style Name     
4-Door Sedan Automatic 2WD4-Door Sedan CVT FrontTrak 2.0T Premium4-Door Sedan 3.0L RWD4-Door Sedan C 250 Sport RWD4-Door Sedan V6 CVT 3.5 S4-Door Sedan Manual Sport
Front-Wheel DriveFront Wheel DriveRear Wheel DriveRear Wheel DriveFront Wheel DriveFront Wheel Drive
Passenger Capacity     
Passenger Doors     
Body Style     
4 Door SedanSedan4 Door Sedan4 Door Sedan4 Door Sedan4 Door Sedan
AutomaticContinuously Variable RatioManualAutomaticContinuously VariableManual