2013 Acura TL Photo
/ 10
On Performance
$15,889 - $31,165
On Performance
In top SH-AWD guise, the 2013 Acura TL is an edgy, athletic performer.
8.0 out of 10
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PERFORMANCE | 8 out of 10

Expert Quotes:

The 6-speed manual is superior to the automatic dynamically
Road & Track

The clutch pedal is as smooth and progressive as any car we’ve driven
Car and Driver

The only real demerit here concerns the car's sheer bulk, an inevitable encumbrance given those Accord roots...TL SH-AWD never feels smaller than the sizable car it is.

There's also hardly any steering feedback, which is problematic in a car with sporting intentions.

Powering heavy through corners, we watched the all-wheel drive siphoning power from the inside rear wheel and applying it to the outside, always keeping us well on track and stable.
Winding Road

The 2013 TL essentially has two personalities, and one of them isn't all that performance-oriented. Get it in base front-wheel-drive form and it's a comfortable luxury sedan--albeit one with relatively crisp handling and an eager powertrain. But in its SH-AWD guise, this is a model that can definitely be enjoyable from the driver's seat.

The base TL's 3.5-liter VTEC V-6 is essentially the same engine as used in the Honda Accord; it makes 280 horsepower here, and it powers the front wheels with a six-speed automatic transmission. Front-wheel-drive versions of the TL can feel remarkably close in driving manners to the previous-generation Honda Accord V-6 on which they're based--although we like the feel of the Acura's steering much better. It's a responsive, agreeable, and refined sedan, but not all that sporty.

Go with the TL SH-AWD (Super Handling All-Wheel Drive), and you'll get a car that is overtly sporty. With it comes a 305-hp, 3.7-liter V-6, juicing all four wheels through Acura's capable performance-oriented system that effectively quells torque steer or any scrambling for traction, distributing its power smartly without the loss of traction, but in a way that helps this sedan feel surprisingly balanced and nimble--and almost like a rear-wheel-drive sedan at times in tight corners. You can see how the system is working through an instrument-cluster display as well.

On the SH-AWD, there's one other true sign of a sport-sedan: the availability of a six-speed manual. Overall, the AWD system feels almost impossible to fluster, allocating torque not only front-to-back but left-to-right, to help with slick surfaces or quick emergency maneuvers.

There's a lot to like in the TL's electric power steering, too--especially how it is in the SH-AWD. It does transmit a bit of feel from the road surface, and returns to center promptly out of corners, with a nice weighting.


In top SH-AWD guise, the 2013 Acura TL is an edgy, athletic performer.

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