View Local Inventory
SAVE

2003 Acura TL

Change year or vehicle
$1,236 — $7,124 USED
29
Photos
Sedan
5 Seats
24 MPG
(Combined)
Key specs of the base trim
 — 
Compare 2 trims

Our Take

from the Cars.com expert editorial team

Posted on 10/23/02
Vehicle Overview
Revisions are modest for the latest version of Acura’s luxury performance sedan, which went on sale on Feb. 5, 2002, as an early 2003 model. Two versions remain available: the standard 3.2 TL and the high-performance TL Type-S. For 2003, sedans equipped with Acura’s DVD-based navigation system also include General Motors’ OnStar communication system, which has become available as a result of an agreement between GM and Acura.

Honda’s luxury division first launched the TL as a 1996 model, redesigning it three seasons later. Styling revisions for 2002 gave the front-wheel-drive TL a more aggressive look, and the Type-S joined the lineup. Acura claims that the TL has been the top-selling luxury performance sedan in its class.

The TL sedan is produced in Marysville, Ohio, alongside the CL coupe. According to Automotive News, 69,484 TLs were sold in the United States during 2001 — a slight increase over the 2000 total. Acura’s TL duo competes against sedans such as the BMW 3 Series and Lexus ES 300.

Exterior
The TL’s styling resembles that of Acura’s full-size RL sedan. The TL displays a pronounced wedge-shaped, cabin-forward profile, a raked belt line, and what Acura calls an “aggressive” shield-shaped grille that incorporates a large logo and standard integrated fog lamps. The TL measures 192.5 inches long overall, rides a 108.1-inch wheelbase and stands 53.7 inches tall.

A double-wishbone suspensio...
Posted on 10/23/02
Vehicle Overview
Revisions are modest for the latest version of Acura’s luxury performance sedan, which went on sale on Feb. 5, 2002, as an early 2003 model. Two versions remain available: the standard 3.2 TL and the high-performance TL Type-S. For 2003, sedans equipped with Acura’s DVD-based navigation system also include General Motors’ OnStar communication system, which has become available as a result of an agreement between GM and Acura.

Honda’s luxury division first launched the TL as a 1996 model, redesigning it three seasons later. Styling revisions for 2002 gave the front-wheel-drive TL a more aggressive look, and the Type-S joined the lineup. Acura claims that the TL has been the top-selling luxury performance sedan in its class.

The TL sedan is produced in Marysville, Ohio, alongside the CL coupe. According to Automotive News, 69,484 TLs were sold in the United States during 2001 — a slight increase over the 2000 total. Acura’s TL duo competes against sedans such as the BMW 3 Series and Lexus ES 300.

Exterior
The TL’s styling resembles that of Acura’s full-size RL sedan. The TL displays a pronounced wedge-shaped, cabin-forward profile, a raked belt line, and what Acura calls an “aggressive” shield-shaped grille that incorporates a large logo and standard integrated fog lamps. The TL measures 192.5 inches long overall, rides a 108.1-inch wheelbase and stands 53.7 inches tall.

A double-wishbone suspension is used at both the front and rear. For increased cornering ability, the TL Type-S has a sport-tuned suspension with firmer springs, increased damping rates and a larger rear stabilizer bar. Speed-sensitive rack-and-pinion steering is used on the 3.2 TL, while the Type-S uses torque-sensing, variable power-assisted rack-and-pinion steering for a sportier feel.

Aluminum-alloy wheels hold 16-inch tires on the 3.2 TL sedan, while the Type-S wears 17-inch high-performance Michelin tires. Xenon high-intensity-discharge headlights and a power moonroof are standard. Two new colors — Desert Mist and Royal Ruby — will become available in the fall of 2002.

Interior
Space is provided for five occupants on leather seating surfaces. An eight-way power driver’s seat is equipped with a memory feature. All models include automatic climate control with a micron air filter, keyless entry, an auto-up driver’s window, heated power front seats, wood-patterned trim and an Acura/Bose sound system with an in-dash six-CD changer. A lockable trunk pass-thru door is provided, and the passenger-side mirror tilts down automatically. The Type-S features deep-sculpted, perforated-leather bucket seats; a matching steering wheel; metallic-faced gauges; and a perforated-leather shift knob with a “Type-S” emblem. Trunk capacity is 14.3 cubic feet.

Acura’s navigation system, which now includes the OnStar communication system, is the sole factory-installed option. Pressing the OnStar button on the mirror provides quick access to an OnStar advisor 24 hours a day for emergency assistance, automatic door unlocking, accident notification and other services. An optional Personal Calling Package that includes a wireless phone and Virtual Advisor Internet services is also available.

Under the Hood
Operating with Acura’s Variable valve Timing and lift Electronic Control (VTEC) system, the 3.2-liter, 24-valve V-6 engine develops 225 horsepower and 216 pounds-feet of torque. With a dual-stage induction system, low-restriction dual-outlet exhaust and increased compression ratio, the V-6 in the Type-S trim generates 260 hp and 232 pounds-feet of torque. Both versions are classified as Low Emissions Vehicles (LEV).

Both engines team with a five-speed Sequential SportShift automatic transmission, which permits semi-manual gear changes by moving the gear lever fore or aft. When the vehicle is set for automatic mode, Grade Logic Control reduces gear hunting when driving in hilly terrain. Traction control is standard, and a Vehicle Stability Assist (VSA) system is included with the Type-S. Responding to eight sensors, the VSA system applies brake force to either front wheel as necessary while managing the throttle and ignition systems. If vehicle response is outside the predicted range, VSA intervenes with the appropriate corrective action to keep it stable.

Safety
Three-channel all-disc antilock brakes come standard in the 3.2 TL, while four-channel ABS help halt the Type-S. Side-impact airbags and dual-stage, dual-threshold front airbags are installed for front-seat passengers. LATCH child-safety seat anchors and tethers are installed for the rear seat.

 
Reported by Jim Flammang  for cars.com
From the cars.com 2003 Buying Guide

Consumer Reviews

What drivers are saying

4.5
55 reviews — Read All reviews
Exterior Styling
(4.3)
Performance
(4.5)
Interior Design
(4.5)
Comfort
(4.6)
Reliability
(4.3)
Value For The Money
(4.5)

Read reviews that mention:

(5.0)

Excellent car

by Kamcmah from Albuquerque New Mexico on November 30, 2018

This car met all our needs. It was economical to operate, had very strong performance, was quiet and comfortable. I?d definitely get another Acura with no reservation. Read full review

(5.0)

Best car I?ve ever owned. Sorry, not selling.

by Jns1014 from Syosset, NY on July 29, 2018

Bought this new when selecting a safe large, luxury sedan for arrival of new baby. Now with 144,000 miles, the car is still as great and reliable as ever. Comfortable, powerful, safe, and fun to drive... Read full review

Safety

Recalls and crash tests

Recalls

The 2003 Acura TL currently has 3 recalls


Crash and Rollover Test Ratings

The 2003 Acura TL has not been tested.

Latest 2003 TL Stories

Change year or vehicle

0 / 0 0 Photos
0 / 0

Cars.com Car Seat Check

Certified child passenger safety technicians conduct hands-on tests of a car’s Latch system and check the vehicle’s ability to accommodate different types of car seats. The TL received the following grades on a scale of A-F.*
* This score may not apply to all trims, especially for vehicles with multiple body styles that affect the space and design of the seating.

Warranty FAQs

What is a Bumper-to-Bumper warranty?

Often called a basic warranty or new-vehicle warranty, a bumper-to-bumper policy covers components like air conditioning, audio systems, vehicle sensors, fuel systems and major electrical components. Most policies exclude regular maintenance like fluid top offs and oil changes, but a few brands have separate free-maintenance provisions, and those that do offer them is slowly rising. Bumper-to-bumper warranties typically expire faster than powertrain warranties.

What is a Powertrain warranty?

Don't be misled a 10-year or 100,000-mile powertrain warranty doesn't promise a decade of free repairs for your car. It typically covers just the engine and transmission, along with any other moving parts that lead to the wheels, like the driveshaft and constant velocity joints. Some automakers also bundle seat belts and airbags into their powertrain warranties. With a few exceptions, powertrain warranties don't cover regular maintenance like engine tuneups and tire rotations.

What is included in Roadside Assistance?

Some automakers include roadside assistance with their bumper-to-bumper or powertrain warranties, while others have separate policies. These programs cover anything from flat-tire changes and locksmith services to jump-starts and towing. Few reimburse incidental costs like motel rooms (if you have to wait for repairs).

What other services could be included in a warranty?

Some automakers include free scheduled maintenance for items such as oil changes, air filters and tire rotations. Some include consumables including brake pads and windshield wipers; others do not. They are typically for the first couple of years of ownership of a new car.

What does CPO mean?

A certified pre-owned or CPO car has been inspected to meet minimum quality standards and typically includes some type of warranty. While dealers and third parties certify cars, the gold standard is an automaker-certified vehicle that provides a factory-backed warranty, often extending the original coverage. Vehicles must be in excellent condition and have low miles and wear to be certified, which is why off-lease vehicles feed many CPO programs.

See also the latest CPO incentives by automaker

What's your location?

To find the best deals near you, please enter your ZIP code.