Honda’s luxury division redesigned its midsize sedan. TL is a midsize, front-wheel-drive, four-door sedan powered by a 3.2-liter V6 engine. Acura offers the TL in only one trim level ($32,900). Except for two new body colors and a newly standard tire-pressure-monitoring system, little has changed for the 2006 model year. A revised engine management system and steering-angle sensor logic are intended to reduce torque steer. The TL has been Acura’s top-selling model.
Although the engine offers the same performance as last year, the revised horsepower and torque numbers are 256 horsepower and 233 pound-feet, respectively. TL buyers choose between two transmissions: five-speed automatic or six-speed manual; the cost is the same. Included with the manual transmission is a limited-slip differential, Brembo four-piston front brake calipers and larger front brake rotors.
Leather is standard and trims the seats and door panels and wraps the shift knob and steering wheel. A 10-way power driver’s seat is equipped with power lumbar-support adjustment.
Also standard: the DVD/CD/cassette/AM/FM/XM Satellite Radio system with DVD-Audio 5.1. Hands-free, wireless, cellular telephone capability employing Bluetooth technology is built in.
TL includes dual-zone automatic climate control, heated front seats, a tilt/telescoping steering column, and an Acura/ELS eight-speaker surround-sound system with an in-dash six-CD changer and DVD audio. Steering-wheel buttons operate audio, cruise-control and voice-recognition functions. Brushed-aluminum trim accents the dashboard. Acura’s optional navigation system features voice recognition and an 8-inch display screen.
The TL comes with dual-zone, dual-mode automatic air conditioning with micron filter, power everything, xenon high-intensity discharge headlights, green-tinted glass and a long list of other features.
Antilock brakes include electronic brake-force distribution and brake assist functions. Side-impact airbags, dual-stage front airbags and side curtain-type airbags are installed. A passenger-side position sensor controls airbag deployment. An electronic stability system is standard.
The four-channel vehicle stability system works in conjunction with the drive-by-wire throttle and antilock brakes on each wheel to provide stability for accelerating, braking and cornering.
The 17-inch wheels and firmly tuned suspension make the TL feel like a European car. Huge Brembo disc brakes come standard with the six-speed manual transmission, and they do an excellent job of erasing speed. Brake Assist automatically applies maximum braking pressure in emergencies while Electronic Brake Distribution changes front/rear brake force depending on the load.
The TL also has a Bluetooth-based hands-free phone system standard. This system allows voice-activated, hands-free calling through the built-in audio system with any cell phone.
Styling, performance and an exceptional interior make the TL a delight to drive every day.