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2013 Acura TL

Overview
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2013 Acura TL Review

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KBB Expert Rating: 7.6

Despite a subtle reshaping last year, the 2013 Acura TL retains its rather distinct, some might even say polarizing, exterior. For Acura purists, however, it's what's underneath the skin that counts. Acura is masterful at packing a lot of content into its cars, helping a fully loaded model stay thousands less than a comparable BMW or Audi. Less money doesn't mean less performance, with the 2013 TL offering Acura's Super Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD) mated to a 300-plus-horsepower V6 engine. Acura hopes the freshened TL will lure even more buyers from varied temptresses like the BMW 5 Series, Cadillac CTS and Infiniti M. But, with no rear drive model in the lineup, driving purists probably won't be rushing to make the switch.

You'll Like This Car If...

The TL comes very well equipped and even fully loaded its price tag remains a bargain. The TL's excellent repair and reliability ratings promise a low cost of ownership even after the warranty expires.

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 as rear-drive cars like the Infiniti M or BMW 5 Series.

What's New for 2013

There are no major changes to the Acura TL for 2013.

Driving the TL
Driving Impressions

The 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...

... (FWD) 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 TL behaves like most other performance-oriented mid-size sedans.

6-SPEED AUTOMATIC TRANSMISSION?
The Acura TL's 6-speed transmission is a major contributor to the car's good 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.

2013 Acura TL Details
Interior

We find the 2013 Acura TL's interior luxuriously sporty. Platinum-plated trim pieces on the dash, center console and doorsills are a nice touch, but what we like most are the excellent sport front seats. 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

The Acura TL's unique appearance includes a beak-like grille surround with a large chrome plate on the upper portion. Other features of note include darkened headlights, narrow side turn signals and recessed fog lights. Out back the TL's bumper includes a relocated license-plate frame that sits higher, making way for a rear diffuser.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

The 2013 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 2013 Acura TL is available with two option packages: the Technology Package and the Advance Package. The Technology Package includes a hard-drive-based navigation system with AcuraLink traffic and weather updates, 440-watt surround-sound system, Milano premium leather seating surfaces and the 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 2013 Acura TL include a 280-horsepower 3.5-liter or a 305-horsepower 3.7-liter V6. A Sequential SportShift 6-speed automatic is available on both trims, but the 6-speed manual transmission is exclusive to the SH-AWD trim level. The 6-speed automatic features a "double-kick-down" feature that lets the driver downshift twice (from 5th to 3rd gear, for example) to aid performance in spirited driving situations. The 6-speed automatic also improves the city/highway fuel economy of the 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 1 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 mpg

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

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