- Lots of smooth power
- Comfortable interior
- Available all-wheel-drive (AWD)
- Great grip with a firm ride
- Limited by front-wheel drive
- Too well-mannered?
- Only a five-speed automatic
The 2008 Acura TL is a "nice" car that's well equipped in every category except personality.
Totally reengineered way back in 2004, Acura's mid-size TL entry-level luxury/sport sedan received a number of updates and improvements for 2007. These improvements included revised exterior and interior styling, as well as an upgraded navigation system with AcuraLink satellite communication system and real-time traffic monitoring. With so much changing last year, alterations for 2008 were limited. For Acura, 2008 is the year that the company added tire pressure monitors as standard along with a new color, Bold Beige. Wow, eh? (This isn't a real surprise, as Acura will introduce an all-new Acura TL for the 2009 model year.)
The most sporting 2008 Acura TL is the Type-S high-performance edition. It's stuffed with a 286-horsepower, 3.5-liter V-6 engine (from the more expensive Acura RL sedan), and its chassis gets a sport suspension. The TL Type-S can be visually distinguished by its rear spoiler, 10-spoke alloy wheels, quad exhaust tips, and other upgrades.
The TL's standard 3.2-liter V-6 engine delivers 253 hp. While the Type-S can be ordered with either a six-speed manual or five-speed automatic transmission, the standard TL only comes with a five-speed Sequential SportShift automatic. This hurts the Acura, as many manufacturers (Ford and General Motors) are making six-speed automatics standard on lower-priced cars.
Like other Acura models, the TL comes with lots of standard equipment, including a DVD-Audio system and a relative handful of available options--such as a voice-activated navigation system and high-performance summer tires.
While the experts from TheCarConnection.com like the 2008 Acura TL just fine, it's hard for them to forget that this car is related to the Honda Accord. On the plus side, these roots form the basis for a smooth and refined automobile that is also practical and not too pricey. All these are good points. However, a certain passion is lacking from the Acura TL, and this sedan doesn't have the same level of personality that some other cars in the class have. Part of the problem is the front-wheel-drive powertrain that limits what Honda engineers can do with the car. They understand as well as anybody that you can't make a front-wheel-drive car handle like a rear-wheel-drive car.
The second main group are those with sportier personalities. These are the rear-drive sedans from BMW, Infiniti, and Lexus IS. All three brands offer 300-horsepower-plus six-cylinder engines and chassis that love to take on challenging canyon roads.
The last car to consider is a dark horse of sorts, the all-new Chevrolet Malibu. When decked out in its best duds and its top engine, the Malibu is a very nice car. Yes, it is a Chevy, but it offers nearly everything the Acura TL does at a lower price.