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2011 Acura TL

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2011 Acura TL Review

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KBB Expert Rating: 7.3

If you placed the current Acura TL next to the first generation TL, you'd be hard pressed to equate the two as related. Why, you ask? Because the current TL exudes substantially more attitude than its predecessor, that's why. Gone is the attractive yet sedate styling of previous design, replaced by a bolder sedan wearing a love-it-or-hate-it grille that is now the face of Acura. In addition to six more inches of body length, the latest TL also features more powerful engine choices, an available sport-tuned SH-AWD (Super-Handling All-Wheel Drive) variant, and a Technology Package that can blow out eardrums as easily as it guides drivers away from stressful traffic congestion. Though not as engaging as competitors such as the BMW 3 Series and Infiniti G37, the Acura TL continues to impress with its reasonable price, quality feel and all-around abilities.

You'll Like This Car If...

The daring TL continues to be a bargain when compared to pricier models from BMW, Cadillac, Infiniti, Lexus and others. There's a bit more room for rear passengers, and the larger engine and all-wheel-drive make the new SH-AWD version very entertaining on twisty roads, as well as supremely confident on slick surfaces.

You May Not Like This Car If...

From a performance driving perspective, the 2011 TL doesn't offer as much pure fun as some of its competitors despite the addition of Acura's sophisticated SH-AWD system.

What's New for 2011

The Acura TL sees no major changes for 2011.

Driving the TL
Driving Impressions

With two powerful engine choices, the 2011 Acura TL is poised to stake its claim in the affordable performance sedan segment. The SH-AWD model's 305-horsepower V6 – the most powerful...

... engine ever offered by Acura – delivers smooth acceleration, and the five-speed automatic transmission promises quick, nearly seamless shifts, regardless of whether the gearbox is set to regular drive mode or being manipulated with the paddle shifters. Competitors offer more torque for better response when the traffic light turns green, but the TL's available all-wheel-drive system helps level the playing field. The SH-AWD can push more power to the outside rear wheel in a corner, transforming the TL into a fun family sedan on winding back roads. On the flip side, the SH-AWD version carries with it a ride that's stiffer than that of the base TL.

SH-AWD
All-wheel-drive capability has been available on other Acura models for years, and now it's available on the popular TL. Dubbed SH-AWD (Super Handling All-Wheel Drive), the system improves handling in inclement weather while also enhancing cornering ability on dry pavement, and is available only with the TL's 305-horsepower, 3.7-liter V6.

Technology Package
Even in standard guise, the 2011 Acura TL is well-equipped, but the Technology Package ups the game with its DVD-Audio system and 440-watts of surround sound. At the heart of the package is AcuraLink, a satellite system that provides real-time weather and traffic information with a convenient rerouting feature.

2011 Acura TL Details
2011 Acura TL photo Interior

Those already impressed by previous Acura interior treatments just might become ecstatic once they get a look inside the 2011 TL. There's more rear leg room than ever before, and SH-AWD versions feature deeply-bolstered seats and a thick, leather-wrapped steering wheel. The driver's seat in the base TL could use a bit more support for long drives, but there's no need for improvement when it comes to the cabin's quality materials. The Technology Package, with its real-time traffic and weather information, is a handy if pricey addition for busy urban-dwelling commuters. Oddly, Acura still does not provide the passenger with any form of adjustable lumbar support (the driver gets a power-operated unit), a strange omission at this price point.

Exterior
2011 Acura TL photo

New from the ground up in 2009, the 2011 Acura TL is longer, wider and taller than any TL model before it and projects a bold, almost concept car-like persona. Most notable is the large "grinning smile" grille, and body panels featuring accentuated contours and curves setting it far apart from most other sedans in this category. Base TL models ride on 17-inch alloy wheels; the TL SH-AWD rolls on 18- or 19-inch alloys, and it has cooling ducts on the front bumper, four tailpipes instead of two and unique badges that say, not surprisingly, SH-AWD.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

Unlike many of its competitors, the 2011 Acura TL comes with most of today's must-have features as standard equipment. Those include HID headlights, power moonroof, 276-watt sound system with auxiliary and USB input jacks, hands-free telephone interface, power/heated front seats and mirrors, and leather upholstery. SH-AWD models add sport seats with more robust bolsters and contrast stitching and all TLs protect occupants with six airbags and Acura's Advanced Compatibility Engineering (ACE) front body structure, technology designed to dissipate crash energy.

Optional Equipment

For 2011, the TL lineup is available with one major option, the Technology Package. In exchange for roughly $3,700, buyers will enjoy a 440-watt Acura/ELS surround sound system with DVD-Audio and a 12.7-gigabyte hard drive, keyless ignition, and a rearview camera. More impressive is the voice-activated navigation system, complete with an eight-inch high-resolution screen, real-time traffic information and rerouting guidance, and weather reports including Doppler-style radar maps just like you'd see during the six o'clock news. Go with the TL SH-AWD for a sport-tuned chassis, 18- or 19-inch alloy wheels (as opposed to the TL's 17s), and available high-performance tires.

Under the Hood

With a 3.5-liter V6 now under its hood, the base 2011 Acura TL is nearly as powerful as the 2008 TL Type-S. For those not satisfied with that kind of performance, the TL SH-AWD delivers a new 3.7-liter V6 as well as sport-tuned steering, brakes, and suspension systems. There are two transmissions offered – a five-speed automatic with a manual-shift mode and paddle shifters, or a newly designed close-ratio six-speed manual with Hill Start Assist. Fuel economy figures are comparable with the TL's primary competitors.

3.5-liter V6
280 horsepower @ 6200 rpm
254 lb.-ft. of torque @ 5000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 18/26

3.7-liter V6
305 horsepower @ 6200 rpm
273 lb.-ft. of torque @ 5000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 17/25 (automatic), 17/25 (manual)

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2011 Acura TL Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
9.5
Out of 10

Based on 177 Ratings for the 2009 - 2014 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    9.5/10
    Quality
    9.5/10
  • Reliability
    9.7/10
    Performance
    9.4/10
  • Comfort
    9.4/10
    Styling
    9.3/10

Has been an excellent car-

By on Sunday, June 5, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 176,500

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
9/10

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"Great pick up even at 175K miles, great reliability. Bit of a sports car type ride, ok for us. Great maintence dollar output- never high and always affordable and fair at dealership. My second Acura and may not be my last."

2 people out of 2 found this review helpful

Cant beat the value for the cost

By on Friday, April 1, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 47,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
9/10

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"As much as I would like a BMW. I cant pass up the value I receive from the TL for what I paid. Smooth, quiet, handling, power and best of all...RELIABILITY! LOVE IT!"

10 people out of 13 found this review helpful

Well maintained, excellent condition, park inside

By on Monday, December 7, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 49,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Great to drive with power when needed"

Cons: "too many gadgets for me!"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"This is the 6th Acura we have owned since 1991...I think that says a lot! I'm at a point where I want a 'fun sporty' car and they do not have one. The NSX is coming but that is out of my league."

5 people out of 10 found this review helpful

I love this car! It's fun to drive, and flashy.

By on Thursday, November 19, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 57,517

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Fun to drive and fully equipped."

Cons: "Feels like a big car, can be intimidating."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

Beautiful!

"This is a beautiful car and is equipped an excellent tech package. It handles so well on the road that you have to remind yourself to slow it down. For the experienced and savvy driver who likes total control you will love this car. It stops on a dime, really. Definitely a great choice."

22 people out of 35 found this review helpful

Beautiful!

Great Value for the Price.

By on Monday, July 20, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 30,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
7/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Standard fetaures, hassle , very low maintenance"

Cons: "driving dynamics could be better"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8

"You get what you pay for. It's in the middling price range, Not as costly as the BMW's or Audi's and not as cheap as the hondas and you get what you have paid for. The features are great like Bluetooth , leather seats and Backup camera which come standard but the driving dynamics leaves something more to be desired. Overall I am pretty much satisfied as I am pretty much aware of what to expect and it has lived up to my expectations."

12 people out of 22 found this review helpful

Defective Paint

By on Wednesday, May 20, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 69,800

10 6.0
overall rating 6 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
6/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
6/10
Quality
4/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "handles well, comfortable"

Cons: "paint, rough ride due to sport suspension"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1

"Beware, Acura black pearl paint has defects, and Acura WILL NOT stand behind the paint after the warranty expires. Crows feet tick marks on the roof. Also, door locks break often, expect to pay $200-$300 for the repair."

25 people out of 41 found this review helpful

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