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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 171 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

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."

6 people out of 7 found this review helpful

Love this car

By on Friday, April 17, 2015

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

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "value price for performance, comfort, convenience"

Cons: "very few - rusty wheel hubs/calipers"

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

"I have the TL SH-AWD w/ 6MT and Technology Package. It rivals the BMW 5 series, Audi A6 and Mercedes at 75% or less of the cost. This car handles oustandingly - smooth quiet ride, hugs the corners, solid acceleration, comfortable yet sporty feel. It's an all around great great car. Love the manual transmission too."

7 people out of 14 found this review helpful

Best car I've owned

By on Monday, March 23, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 35,000

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
10/10

Pros: "Overall awesome sedan, sporty and comfortable"

Cons: "No cons"

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

"Own a Lexus RX and C-5 Corvette and must say my TL is even better. Style of 2012 still receives compliments from observers. Top end options package equipped is excellent. AWD is awesome in midwest snow. 19" wheels and low profile 45's give excellent ride. HP is excellent and MPG averages near 26 for my normal mixed road daily driving in suburbs of Chicago. Still love to drive it 2.5 years later."

9 people out of 20 found this review helpful

Great car!

By on Tuesday, January 13, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 53,400

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Comfort, performance with manual transmission"

Cons: "Road noise"

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

"My only complaint is having to replace the clutch, pressure plate, flywheel, and release bearing at 37000 miles. Other than that it has been a real gem."

19 people out of 36 found this review helpful

Best value and ride ever!

By on Wednesday, December 31, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 98,000

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: "standard luxury, fun to drive, best crash test"

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

"I have had no issues with this car. it drives extremely smooth and the pick up is amazing. i wouldn't trade it for anything. i get so many compliments all the time. people are always asking me what kind of car that is."

3 people out of 6 found this review helpful

Love my 2009 Acura TL

By on Saturday, December 06, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 59,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
5/10

Pros: "Fun to drive, lots of amenities with Tech Package"

Cons: "Premium fuel"

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

"I purchased this car used Dec 2010 with 15K mi, I now have close to 59K mi. Only routine maintenance during my ownership. I love this car so much & don't understand why it's considered a near luxury vehicle mine has the Tech Package offering more amenities than some Mercedes Benz and BMW models. The ride is awesome and interior is spacious, comfortable & quiet, trunk space is pretty large"

22 people out of 35 found this review helpful

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