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STYLING | 6 out of 10
Controversial styling could be a hit or miss with consumers
Looks better in the flesh than in photographs
Car and Driver
New interior...is indeed seductive
Acura has apparently decided that the Japanese reputation for conservative styling is not appropriate for Acura, so it's begun to unveil a new set of vehicles with rather dramatic styling. While the new look has certainly generated buzz, the jury is still out on whether or not this will boost sales of the new 2009 Acura TL.
Love it or hate it, the 2009 Acura TL is hard to ignore. Edmunds reviewers report that there are "two TL models available: the base car and the more athletic SH-AWD mode," and both share the distinctive new corporate look. Reviews read by TheCarConnection.com won't necessarily call it attractive, but they never fail to mention the striking nature of the Acura TL's new mug. Edmunds says that "Acura's new goal is to be bold and brash, with aggressive lines and audacious details," and they go on to proclaim that "the 2009 Acura TL accomplishes just that." Initially, Automobile Magazine appreciates some of the concept drawings, especially of the hood, "but on the production car it strikes us as an oddly shaped appendage that looks out of place." Cars.com says that "there's just no escaping its looks," which they find hard to live with, and mentions that the new Acura TL "will certainly draw stares." On the positive side, Car and Driver reviewers feel that the 2009 Acura TL "looks better in the flesh than in photographs," and aside from the front, "the rest of the TL's angular, modern shape is assuredly handsome."
The overall look inside the 2009 Acura TL isn't quite as dramatic as the exterior styling might lead you to believe, but reviewers do find it attractive. Car and Driver notes that the cabin of the Acura 2009 TL lineup shares "a familiar look with other Acuras, but the multifunction controller knob and the bevy of buttons that surround it seem less confusing and cluttered than in the RDX." Road and Track loves that the Acura TL's "new interior features a cool-looking 4-gauge instrument cluster and classy center stack," while Cars.com calls the hooded gauges "sporty." In terms of overall effect, Automobile Magazine reports that the "interior has been redesigned in a twin-cockpit style for the front seat occupants, with metal trim that twists and curves as it wraps around from door to dash to console. The effect might be confining, if the cabin had not grown wider."
Styling is always a matter of personal preference, but Acura may have gone a little too far with the redesign of the 2009 Acura TL.