2010 Acura TL

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$35,105

starting MSRP

2010 Acura TL
2010 Acura TL

Key specs

Base trim shown

Overview

The good:

  • AWD model's handling prowess
  • 3.7-liter V-6's power, smoothness
  • Short-throw manual shifter
  • Comfortable bucket seats
  • Gauge legibility

The bad:

  • Steering feel
  • Many interior trim pieces don't seem luxurious enough
  • Backseat doesn't fold
  • Small trunk
  • Heated front seats have only two levels

3 trims

Starting msrp listed lowest to highest price

Wondering which trim is right for you?

Our 2010 Acura TL trim comparison will help you decide.

Notable features

  • New six-speed manual for 2010
  • Choice of two V-6 engines, one making 305 hp
  • Available real-time weather information
  • Available 19-inch wheels
  • FWD or AWD

2010 Acura TL review: Our expert's take

By Mike Hanley

Shifting for ourselves is becoming a lost art among U.S. drivers, but for those who still prefer a manual transmission, there’s a new model to consider: the 2010 Acura TL. All-wheel-drive TLs can now be equipped with a six-speed manual.

The five-speed automatic that’s standard is a fine performer, but the new six-speed manual is a treat for enthusiast drivers; it delivers a sense of connectedness to the car that’s impossible to replicate with an automatic.

The Look
The TL, which was redesigned for 2009, has a unique design: Looking something like a concept car that escaped from an auto show, it features Acura’s controversial shield grille, which makes up part of the car’s protruding nose.

The TL’s flanks are relatively unadorned and conventional, but the designers amped things up at the rear, which incorporates many different angles, giving the trunklid a pinched look. The quad exhaust tips on all-wheel-drive models add to the design interplay. To see a side-by-side comparison of the 2009 and 2010 TL, click here.

V-6 Performance
The TL’s available 305-horsepower, 3.7-liter V-6 and six-speed manual transmission make a great pair. The V-6 pulls strongly even in higher gears, and it makes a great growling sound when you let it rev, though the engine itself remains smooth. It lets you have some fun when you want, but it’s also quite civilized when just cruising around town or on the highway.

The clutch pedal is light and the clutch engages easily, making smooth shifts and takeoffs a breeze. The six-speed manual has a short-throw shifter that slips into gears with a mechanical feel. The stick moves naturally through the gears, but the manual transmission available in the Infiniti G37 is a little more fun to shift. There’s no gas mileage penalty for choosing the manual transmission; like the automatic all-wheel-drive TL, it’s rated 17/25 mpg city/highway and takes premium gas.

Ride & Handling
While base front-drive and uplevel all-wheel-drive models have the same four-wheel independent suspension, all-wheel-drive versions come with different springs and shocks designed to improve the car’s handling characteristics. I tested the all-wheel-drive TL, and the suspension maintains good body control over dips and rises in the road, but ride quality is firm. It’s similar to what you’d experience in a G37, which is to say you’re going to feel road imperfections, but not to the point that you’d dread taking this car on a long road trip. One benefit of the firmer suspension tuning is that the all-wheel-drive TL doesn’t exhibit excessive body roll when cornering.

The all-wheel-drive system’s formal name is Super Handling All-Wheel Drive, or SH-AWD for short. It’s one of an increasing number of all-wheel-drive systems that aim to enhance vehicle dynamics by sending more power to the outside rear wheel when cornering.

You can feel the system at work, even when roads are dry. You can sense the transfer of torque to the outside rear wheel when powering out of a turn, and it helps the TL feel more neutral and less nose-heavy than a traditional front-wheel-drive sedan. The system also helps prevent understeer; turns remains tight, as opposed to drifting wide of your intended path.

There’s definitely room for improvement where the TL’s electrically assisted power steering is concerned. The steering wheel turns with a light touch, which is nice when maneuvering at slow speeds, but it doesn’t tighten up noticeably when you get on the highway. That’s where a little more heft to the wheel is appreciated. There’s also hardly any steering feedback, which is problematic in a car with sporting intentions. Acura says steering is weightier in models with the six-speed manual, but it needs to be even more so.

The Inside
The TL’s cabin is sporty-looking, featuring a four-gauge instrument panel and a three-spoke, leather-wrapped steering wheel. Heated leather bucket seats are standard, and upgraded leather upholstery is included with a $3,730 Technology Package, which is automatically added to TLs with the manual transmission. The driver’s seat is quite comfortable and should be able to accommodate a variety of people thanks to its generous width. Using the front seats’ standard power adjustments, I was able to find a comfortable driving position from which all the essential controls — steering wheel, pedals and shifter — were within easy reach.

There is some upscale trim in the TL, including a soft-touch dashboard, but many of the plastic pieces, like the door release and grab handles, don’t look appreciably nicer than what you’d find in a Honda Accord. While the Accord compares well with mainstream family sedans in terms of interior quality, the similar materials in the TL don’t seem upscale enough for a car that starts around $35,000.

Acura’s navigation system, which is included with the Technology Package, uses an 8-inch screen positioned high on the dash. The system is operated by a large knob in the center of the dash. It’s fairly easy to get accustomed to the knob interface, and when you don’t want to use the navigation system you can turn off the screen and still access audio functions via a grouping of buttons on the center control panel. The Technology Package also includes a backup camera, which is a worthwhile safety feature.

The TL’s rear bench seat is reasonably comfortable for taller adults, with adequate legroom and headroom, plus a stadium-style design so you get good views forward over the front seats. The hump in the floor that’s necessary to accommodate the driveshaft isn’t overly tall for an all-wheel-drive car, though it is wide. There’s a fold-down center armrest and a trunk pass-through behind it, but the seatback doesn’t fold down in either front- or all-wheel-drive models.

Safety
The TL received Good overall scores — the highest possible — in the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s frontal-offset, side-impact and rear crash tests. As of publication, it hasn’t undergone IIHS’ new roof-strength test, and as such it isn’t eligible for the Institute’s 2010 Top Safety Pick designation. (To qualify, it needs to score Good in this test, too.)

Standard safety features include antilock brakes, side-impact airbags for the front seats, side curtain airbags for both rows, active front head restraints and an electronic stability system. Check out all the TL’s safety features on the Standard Equipment & Specs page.

TL in the Market
I applaud Acura for spending the time and money to make a manual transmission available in the TL, even if the stick-shift model is unlikely to make up a large portion of TL sales. The decision speaks to the automaker’s commitment to driving enthusiasts who prefer the enhanced level of control a manual offers.

We’ve noticed that many Cars.com readers are interested in cars with all-wheel drive. The TL’s available SH-AWD technology delivers impressive handling performance, and the car is one of the few larger luxury sedans to offer all-wheel drive and a manual transmission. The BMW 5 Series is another such model, but it costs significantly more. While there might be relatively few people looking for this combination, if you count yourself as one of them, the TL is an appealing entrant.

Send Mike an email  

Consumer reviews

Rating breakdown (out of 5):
  • Comfort 4.6
  • Interior design 4.6
  • Performance 4.8
  • Value for the money 4.6
  • Exterior styling 4.5
  • Reliability 4.7

Most recent consumer reviews

3.6

"Chuckie" my 2010 TL

I purchase my 2010 TL brand new in June of 2010 fully loaded. It was my first new car purchase. I drove it right off of the show room floor with 8 miles on the odometer. At present (Dec. 2022) it has just over 60,000 miles on it. Just three weeks after my purchase I had to return to the dealership because the car would veer to the left hard. They checked it out and couldn't find what the problem was so they replaced the left front strut to see if that would fix the problem, it did not, too this day (Dec. 2022) it still pulls/veers to the left even with several sets of new tires (Michelins) on it. The handling has been sloppy at best. Its somewhat tiring driving it long distances hence the low millage on it at present. Although I've had it back at Acura for all of its services they still can't tell me why this is happening they've even performed several alignments on the car. There was a recall on a computer chip in the transmission that was causing the engine to rattle, the chip was replaced under warranty but the rattling still manifests at times. The car goes through batteries like crazy in fact one year after I purchased the car the battery went bad and was replaced under warranty since then I've had several Acura batteries installed (just had one install this month Dec.2022). Once major problem I've had is with the oil engine light. It comes on even when the engine oil is full I've learned how to reset the light and had it check by Acura they had no answer for the problem but recommended and I had replaced the Oil Pressure Switch at a cost of $289.85 the problem still exist to date. I had the timing belt replaced and was told by Acura that the oil pump was leaking so they replaced the Spool Valve/O-Ring etc. as well for 600.00 was told by the technician that it would have been over an 800.00 cost had they not saw it when they did. I could go on and on. Bottom line this car has not been cheap to maintain for example along with the timing belt replacement and the oil leak was a cost of $1753.14 in 2019 the car only had 43,595 miles on the odometer. As to the ride, it rides very stiff/hard firm but smooth. I felled to mention that the outside mirrors shakes when you shut the door Acura refused to do anything about it because they stated that's the nature of the car. By now, you may be asking why I'm still driving this car....IT'S PAID FOR! lol. All in all it does most things well, good stereo, pretty quiet ride, roomy, 5 star rating (safe) and somewhat reliable. It's a good first car when brought second hand as long as the car has been taken care of. I must state that the SH/Awd is excellent I have never gotten stuck in the winter weather. At last, I just found out (Dec. 2022) that the navigation system will not be able to be ungraded after 2021 because the upgrade CD's are being discontinued. Hope this review helps someone thinking about purchasing this car used.

5.0

Exceeded my expectations!

I bought this car for my son who just turned seventeen. I needed something reliable and sporty (and inexpensive 😁). This car is so good that I'm considering trying to find one for myself! After this experience, I think I'm done leasing new vehicles.

4.7

Never had any trouble with this vehicle.

hands down the most dependable car i ever owned. fun to drive especially with the SH-AWD. never had a problem with snow either. a great piece of machinery

See all 81 consumer reviews

Warranty

New car and Certified Pre-Owned programs by Acura Precision
New car program benefits
Bumper-to-bumper
48 months/50,000 miles
Corrosion
60 months/unlimited distance
Powertrain
72 months/70,000 miles
Roadside assistance
48 months/50,000 miles
Certified Pre-Owned program benefits
Maximum age/mileage
6 years old and newer from their original in-service date, with 80,000 miles or fewer at time of vehicle delivery.
Basic warranty terms
2 years/100,000 miles
Powertrain
7 years/100,000 miles
Dealer certification required
182-point inspection
Roadside assistance
Yes
View all cpo program details

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