- Responsive, athletic driving feel (SH-AWD)
- Awesome premium sound system
- Luxurious interior
- All-weather-capable, yet sporty
- Refined, comfortable ride
- Techno-cluttered instrument panel
- Inferior navigation interface
- Small trunk
The 2014 Acura TL is an attractive, comfortable, well-appointed luxury sedan. Choose the SH-AWD model, and you have yourself a legitimate sport sedan, too.
The 2014 Acura TL isn't as luxurious in the traditional sense as some of its German or even American competitors. But in SH-AWD all-wheel-drive guise, it's an engaging sedan, with athletic driving feel coupled to a spacious and comfortable interior.
It's also a lame duck: for the 2015 model year, the Acura TL will be replaced by a new sedan, the Acura TLX.
You could say that the TL looks a bit robotic, with its unmistakable and controversial metallic beak. That cosmetic feature was toned down in 2012, giving it a little more mainstream appeal, while the interior remains about attractive as any. It's intuitively assembled, with flowing arcs and circles that feel a little like art, without compromising ergonomics. There may be a few too many buttons--like so many of the Acuras on the road today--but we like everything else about it. The interior details don't feel European, nor do they feel terribly overwrought, and the twin-cockpit design doesn't rob too much space for the passengers, either.
Acura sells two TLs, with distinctive personalities. The base car has front-wheel drive, relatively spry acceleration, and comfortable and predictable handling along with a well-composed ride. In its tarter SH-AWD edition, the TL gets a more eager 3.7-liter V-6, 305 hp, and all-wheel drive with the ability to modulate power front to back, giving it a more nimble feel. This version also offers a manual transmission.
The TL has Honda Accord roots, and there's no shame in it. Not when the TL delivers a lot more space than some of its compact luxury-sedan rivals. The TL isn't what we'd call lavishly outfitted, but it does have great space, excellent long-distance front seats, and an adult-sized rear seat with room for three passengers in medium-distance situations. The only real disappointment is a small, 13.1 cubic-foot trunk.
All TL sedans come with the usual power features, as well as an 8-speaker audio system, a high-res screen for the infotainment, and a USB interface. Add the Tech package and Acura fits a rearview camera, keyless entry, automatic climate control, and navigation with real-time traffic. The navigation itself feels dated. The well-outfitted TL SH-AWD model has the features we want, including blind-spot monitors, a powerful ELS audio system, and ventilated front seats. With a price of about $46,000, it's overlapping the 5-Series and E-Class, which is a problem for a car with a plainer personality, and much less heritage at its back.