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  • 2010 Acura TL SH-AWD

    Posted on March 26th, 2010 ninarussin

    Luxury sedan has the heart of a sports car

    By Nina Russin

    2010 Acura TL SH-AWD

    2010 Acura TL SH-AWD

    It took me about thirty seconds behind the wheel of the Acura TL to conclude that its development team had hit their target spot on. With its sleek styling and precision handling, the TL is a sexy, hot performer. New this year is an available six-speed manual gearbox, giving driving enthusiasts better opportunity to enjoy the TL’s wide array of talents.

    All-wheel drive enhances four-season performance by automatically delivering engine power to the wheels with the best traction. It also enhances the sedan’s steering feedback on challenging roads.

    The new manual gearbox is lighter than the standard five-speed automatic. A short-throw shifter makes it easy for the driver to snap between gears. While the close-ratio box is engineered for high-performance driving, the gears have plenty of range to function well in stop-and-go traffic.

    A self-adjusting clutch reduces fatigue during commutes. Cars equipped with the manual gearbox come with a hill-start assist feature, which automatically applies the brakes on hills to keep the sedan from rolling backwards.

    The SH-AWD grade comes with a 3.7-liter V6: the larger of two available engines. The bigger engine adds 25 horsepower and 19 foot-pounds of torque compared to the 3.5-liter engine. The manual transmission improves the bigger block’s fuel economy, making it comparable to the smaller engine with the five-speed automatic transmission. 

    Standard nineteen-inch wheels give the TL a wide, stable footprint at speed. The test car comes with Z-rated summer performance tires. Buyers in four-season climates should expect to purchase a set of winter tires for the snow season.

    Equally at home on urban or rural roads

    I decided to divide my time in the TL between roads and highways in the Phoenix metro area, and some rural roads east of town. My three-hour test drive covered about 100 miles, including some stop-and-go traffic during rush hour, highways through town, and the Bush Highway: a two-lane road that passes through the Tonto National Forest.

    The TL comes well equipped with comfort and convenience features out of the box, including remote keyless entry, power heated front seats, dual-zone climate control, a power moonroof, satellite radio and Bluetooth interface.

    A technology package adds navigation with voice recognition, upgraded audio system with ten speaker surround-sound, sport seats and keyless ignition. MSRP is $43,385, not including an $810 destination charge.

    Variable valve timing and a high-flow exhaust system make the engine as efficient as possible, enhancing both power and emissions. Average fuel economy for the test car is 20 miles-per-gallon: not bad for a full-sized sedan weighing just under 4000 pounds. A drive-by-wire system enhances throttle response while eliminating weight from the chassis.

    An electric power steering pump is more compact than hydraulic systems, and eliminates mechanical parts that can wear out over time.

    A fully independent suspension consists of a double wishbone setup in front and multi-link configuration in the rear. It provides a compliant ride, while maintaining crisp steering response.

    The salient point in all of this is that the Acura TL is effortless to drive. It can truly function as an owner’s only car, with enough room inside for four adult passengers.

    The TL’s low center of gravity enhances on-road performance, but makes the sedan impractical on unimproved roads or trails. Ground clearance is a scant 5.7 inches. The large wheels and low-profile tires are certain to suffer scrapes and bruises on anything but a paved road. Buyers looking for off-road capability should consider the MDX sport-utility vehicle.

    Ergonomic interior

    2010 Acura TL Interior

    2010 Acura TL Interior

    Designers paid careful attention to ergonomics throughout the car. The steering wheel is small enough to be comfortable in women’s hands; ditto for the shift lever. Redundant steering wheel controls minimize driver distraction. The tilt-and-telescoping wheel allows smaller drivers to maintain a clear forward view.

    Seat adjustments provide excellent lower lumbar support, and controls in the center stack are within easy reach of either front seating position. A dead pedal reduces leg fatigue on long drives.

    While there are some metal embellishments, most of the touch points inside the car are leather, which doesn’t make the driver suffer in extreme heat or cold. 

    Visibility around the vehicle is quite good. I was able to see several lanes of traffic to the left when merging onto the highway. The optional navigation system adds a rearview camera which makes it easier to parallel park.

    I found the gauges and navigation screen easy to read in daylight and at night. A mouse device controls a variety of convenience options, minimizing clutter. Twelve-volt power points in the center stack and center console recharge portable electronic devices.

    The Acura TL comfortably seats up to four adults: a tall floor tunnel minimizes legroom in the second-row center position. Adults should find plenty of leg, hip and headroom in the outboard positions.

    All passengers have access to a variety of storage bins and cupholders. Vents behind the center console circulate air throughout the back of the cabin.

    The TL has a spacious trunk that can easily hold luggage, groceries, and a couple of golf bags. A bicycle, however, would be a stretch.

    Standard safety

    All models come with front, side and side curtain airbags, antilock braking and electronic stability control. Acura builds the TL at its assembly plant in Marysville, Ohio.

    Likes: A full-sized sedan with sports car performance and a high level of safety, comfort and convenience features.

    Dislike: Lack of legroom in the middle rear seat.

    Quick facts:

    Make: Acura
    Model: TL SH-AWD
    Year: 2010
    Base price: $43,385
    As tested: $44,195
    Horsepower: 305 Hp @ 6300 rpm
    Torque: 273 lbs.-ft. @ 5000 rpm
    Zero-to-sixty: N/A
    Antilock brakes: Standard
    Side curtain airbags: Standard
    First aid kit: N/A
    Bicycle friendly: No
    Off-road: No
    Towing: No
    Fuel economy: 18/26 mpg city/highway
    Comments: The manufacturer recommends the use of premium unleaded fuel.


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