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2012 Acura TL

Overview
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2012 Acura TL Review

By

KBB Expert Rating: 7.7

When the current-generation Acura TL bowed in the 2009 model year, its bold aesthetics garnered mixed feelings from car reviewers and the buying public alike. Some liked the sharp angles, while detractors were particularly critical of the large beak-like front grille. For the 2012 model year Acura has softened the TL's face and made a few other exterior refinements. With a mild facelift and improved fuel economy, Acura hopes the freshened TL will lure even more buyers from varied temptresses like the BMW 5 Series, Infiniti M and Lexus ES.

You'll Like This Car If...

Compared to competitors from BMW, Infiniti and Lexus, the Acura TL is a bargain; offering a lot of technology, performance and luxury for less than the rest.

You May Not Like This Car If...

Even with its Super Handling All-Wheel Drive system, we found that the Acura TL still isn't as engaging rear-drive cars like the Infiniti M or BMW 5 Series.

What's New for 2012

The 2012 Acura TL upgrade is a little show, a little go. Underneath the exterior changes the TL sports a new six-speed automatic transmission that delivers more miles per gallon. The TL is still available in base and Super Handling All-Wheel Drive trim levels, and a new Advance Package has been added to the option list.

Driving the TL

Driving Impressions The 2012 Acura TL marries the size of a BMW 5 Series with the lower price of an Infiniti G37 Sedan, but doesn't capture the performance feel of...

either. Front-wheel drive and synthetic steering feel combine in a car that's neither as engaging around town nor as capable at the limits compared to some of its more storied rear-wheel drive competitors. On the flip side, the Acura TL is about 100 times more fun than the soft-tuned Lexus ES 350 with which it also sort of competes. Stepping up to the SH-AWD version nets more horsepower, a sportier suspension and Acura's Super Handling All-Wheel Drive system that directs more energy to the outside rear wheel while cornering. You have to push the TL pretty hard before you can feel SH-AWD working, but that's exactly when you need it. Otherwise, around town and on the highway the 2012 Acura TL behaves like most other performance-oriented mid-size sedans.

Six-speed Automatic Transmission
The new six-speed transmission is the sole contributor to the overall increase in fuel economy. More gears also equal more fun as the transmission is able to keep the engine in its sweet spot during spirited driving. As a bonus, the revised gearing results in lower engine rpm while cruising, resulting in lower cabin noise.

Blind Spot Information System
We like everything that comes with the Advance Package, but if we had to choose one thing, it would be the blind spot information system. These indicators tell the driver if there is a car in the blind spot, which is a handy reassurance when changing lanes.

2012 Acura TL Details
2012 Acura TL photo Interior

We find the 2012 Acura TL's interior luxuriously sporty. And for the new model year, it's even more luxurious as new platinum-plated trim pieces on the dash, center console and door sills have been thrown in to update the look. In addition to being heated, the front seats are now ventilated (Advance Package only) and the overall interior noise level has been reduced by 2.7 decibels thanks to an increased amount of body-sealing points.

Exterior
2012 Acura TL photo

At first glance the 2012 Acura TL looks largely the same as the 2011 edition, but a closer inspection reveals the changes. The front and rear overhangs have been shortened by an inch. Up front, the grille surround has been shaved down and the upper portion of it smoothed out, addressing the exterior's most obvious pain point. Other new additions include darkened headlights, new turn signals and a new fog light design. Out back is a new rear bumper, which includes a relocated license plate frame that sits higher making way for a rear diffuser. The taillights received a color change and the trunk trim is thinner, which we think gives the car a more sophisticated look.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

The 2012 Acura TL comes well equipped right out of the box, which can't be said for many of its competitors. Some of the most notable features include heated leather seats, a power moonroof, 276-watt audio system with Bluetooth and USB connectivity, a 10-way power driver's seat and 17-inch alloy wheels. In addition to all-wheel drive and more horsepower, the TL SH-AWD trim adds to the list by offering additional seat bolstering for a sportier feel and French stitching on the steering wheel, seats, shift lever and parking brake.

Optional Equipment

The Acura TL is available with two option packages: The Technology Package and the new-for-2012 Advance Package. The Technology Package includes a hard drive-base navigation system with Acuralink traffic and weather updates, 440-watt surround sound system, Milano premium leather seating surfaces and keyless access system. The Advance Package comes with a Blind Spot Information (BSI) system, ventilated (cooling) front seats and plus-one wheel sizes (equals 18-inch wheels for the base, 19-inch wheels for the SH-AWD trim).

Under the Hood

Engine choices available for the 2012 Acura TL include a 280-horsepower 3.5-liter or a 305-horsepower 3.7-liter V6. A new Sequential SportShift six-speed automatic is available on both trims, but the six-speed manual transmission is exclusive to the SH-AWD trim level. The six-speed automatic features a "double-kick-down" feature that lets the driver down shift twice (from fifth to third gear, for example) to aid performance in spirited driving situations. The six-speed auto also improves the city/highway fuel economy of 3.5-liter versions by 2/3 miles per gallon, respectively. When matched with the 3.7-liter engine the new transmission ups fuel economy by one mpg city and highway.

3.5-liter V6
280 horsepower @ 6,200 rpm
254 lb.-ft. of torque @ 5,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 20/29

3.7-liter V6
305 horsepower @ 6,300 rpm
273 lb.-ft. of torque @ 5,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 17/25 (manual), 18/26 (automatic)

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2012 Acura TL Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
9.5
Out of 10

Based on 155 Ratings for the 2009 - 2014 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    9.6/10
    Quality
    9.6/10
  • Reliability
    9.7/10
    Performance
    9.5/10
  • Comfort
    9.5/10
    Styling
    9.4/10

I think this is the best car I have driven,

By on Saturday, September 27, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 13,500

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: "driveability, sound , style"

Cons: "its a little low in front can hit the curb"

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

"And the sound system is fantastic.also the back up camera is so right on,I never turn around anymore."

2 people out of 4 found this review helpful

I love my 2013 Acura TL

By on Thursday, August 14, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 15,500

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "fast car with a smooth ride. downloads cd's"

Cons: "poor neck support and too much outside noise"

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

"The only two complaints I have are that the headrests are not comfortable at all. They are angled in such a way that prevents good neck and head support, even with available adjustments. The other complaint I have is the poor noise cancellation. It is tough for me to be on a conference call in the car without there being too much background noise."

4 people out of 7 found this review helpful

My third TL. Great driving machine.

By on Thursday, July 31, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 11,500

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
8/10
Comfort
7/10

Pros: "Good value, reliable, solidly built, rides great"

Cons: "premium fuel, poor side/rear sightlines"

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

"This is my third straight TL. I am convinced that Acura makes a fine automobile. Can't remember having a mechanical issue with the car. Fun to drive, great pickup and road handling. I overbought and underuse the "Tech" package. Sightlines for sides and rear windows are not great. No warning alarm on backup camera is an issue although the camera has a very clear picture. Mileage seems very good but I'm not sure it compensates for premium gas requirement. Exiting vehicle due to low seats in front issue for some. Extremely dependable vehicle."

9 people out of 18 found this review helpful

Bought my first Legend in 89, this is my 6th, now

By on Monday, July 28, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 124,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Once you get in, it is very comfortable and fun to"

Cons: "Nav system too complex, hard to get in and out of,"

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

"a TL. Very reliable! A little too much to operate on steering wheel and at time the Nav. system is a little too complicated and trunk is a little small. Also is hard for tall (6 Feet) people to get in and out of. Going to MDX this time to shut my wife up!"

I love my New Acura TL

By on Sunday, July 27, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 17,000

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: "Love the speed and surround sound system"

Cons: "none"

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

"I had a choice between 2013 GS350 Lexus and the 2014 Acura TL, a Birthday present from my husband. I owned a 1998 GS300 Lexus for 16 years. I thought that I could not find a better car then the Lexus GS300 until I drove the Acura TL. It is amazing and the speed is unbelievable. I get so many compliments about my car. I have had it now about 6 weeks"

Great value for performance, handling and looks

By on Monday, July 14, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 37,500

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "looks, value, hard drive for musiv"

Cons: "can't think of any"

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

"Cannot complain about the value of the vehicle. I've had it for 2 years and the car handles the same way it did 2 years ago. Great looking car, love the Hard drive storage for music and the HID light make the car look great at night. Buy it. it is worth every penny."

7 people out of 11 found this review helpful

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