2005 Acura Tl Review

2005 Acura Tl Review

2005 Acura Tl Review


The zenith of front-wheel-drive, high-performance luxury.

What’s new for the 2005 Acura TL: Both front airbags get an upgrade: the driver’s now deploys with less force if the driver’s seat is too far forward, and the passenger’s won’t deploy at all if the occupant weighs less than 65 pounds.

Ever since its early days as the Acura Vigor, the TL has always been a slightly slicker variation on Honda’s Accord. While basically still true, the differences have become more substantial over the years. The TL’s features are of a higher caliber (leather, heated seats, 5.1 DVD audio, xenon lights), it looks far more purposeful, and believe it or not, it’s much smaller now.

Setting it apart most of all is its emphasis on performance. At the start, the TL came with an outrageously powerful 270-horsepower V6 (later re-rated at 258), a firm suspension, and mean 17-inch wheels. Along with its obviously fast performance, the TL had quick, stiff steering and agile handling (and was available with a stick) — qualities even more abundant in the Type S model of 2007. Also impressive was the TL’s luxurious interior, especially given its bright, stylish presentation and the excellent tunes coming from its 5.1 surround sound DVD Audio system (the first in any automobile). No surprise that the TL has been Acura’s strongest seller for years.

But while the TL’s appeal hasn’t faded, its competition has been catching up on all sides. With the horsepower war in full swing, the TL’s advantage in speed has vanished. More substantially, the TL never had the natural-feeling handling that went with a rear-wheel-drive powertrain; it also lacks the now-common option of all-wheel-drive. The TL might still be one of the roomier cars, but there, too, the margin is shrinking. While we’re on the subject, its back seat could be better shaped.

Honestly, there ain’t much here that the Infiniti G35 can’t do better. But if for some odd reason you actually prefer front-wheel-drive, the TL is easily a more interesting car (and a better deal) than its main competitor, the Lexus ES350.