By Jennifer Newman on December 6, 2011
In a bid to regain its best-seller status, Acura has softened the look of the 2012 TL's polarizing shield grille. Whether it's enough to appeal to consumers remains to be seen. On the inside, the midsize sedan's dimensions remain the same, with seating for five.
For the Car Seat Check, we use a Graco SnugRide 30 rear-facing infant-safety seat, a Britax Roundabout convertible child-safety seat and Graco high-back TurboBooster seat.
The front seats are adjusted to a comfortable position for a 6-foot driver and a 5-foot-8 passenger. The three child seats are installed in the second row. The booster seat sits behind the driver's seat, and the infant seat and convertible seats are installed behind the passenger seat. We also install the infant seat in the second row's middle seat with the booster and convertible in the outboard seats to see if three car seats will fit. If there's a third row, we install the booster seat and a forward-facing convertible.
Here's how the 2012 TL did in Cars.com's Car Seat Check:
Latch system: The TL has two sets of lower Latch anchors in the outboard seats. The anchors sit behind a large leather flap that can be folded, but they're not easy to use because there's a lot of cushioning around them. The inboard anchors also are obstructed by the seat belt strap or buckles. Unlike the Latch anchors, the three tether anchors, which sit on the rear shelf behind the backseat's head restraints, are easy to use.
Booster seat: The high-back booster seat was nicely cradled by the TL's seat bolsters, but the seat belt buckle caused several problems. The buckle was placed too far inward, causing the booster seat to sit on top of it. The buckle also was floppy, making it difficult for a child to use.
Convertible seat: Both the forward- and rear-facing convertible fit well in the TL, though the Latch anchors are difficult to reach.
Infant-safety seat: To fit this rear-facing car seat, we had to move the front passenger seat forward. The front passenger still had plenty of legroom, though.
How many car seats fit in the second row? Two
Editor's note: For three car seats — infant-safety seat, convertible and booster seats — to fit in a car, our criterion is that a child sitting in the booster seat must be able to reach the seat belt buckle. Parents should also remember that they can use the Latch system or a seat belt to install a car seat.
Assistant Managing Editor Jennifer Newman is a certified car-seat technician. A mom of two, she owns a 2013 Subaru Outback crammed with sports gear. Email Jennifer