2012 Acura TL

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starting MSRP

2012 Acura TL
2012 Acura TL

Key specs

Base trim shown


The good:

  • Styling vastly improved
  • Higher mileage
  • Manual transmission option
  • AWD performance
  • Standard leather
  • Interior comfort

The bad:

  • Premium gas required
  • Backseat doesn't fold
  • Trunk relatively small

6 trims

Starting msrp listed lowest to highest price

Wondering which trim is right for you?

Our 2012 Acura TL trim comparison will help you decide.

Notable features

  • Refined exterior styling
  • New six-speed automatic
  • Optional manual transmission
  • Front- or all-wheel drive
  • Upgraded LCD screen
  • Optional heated/cooled front seats

2012 Acura TL review: Our expert's take

By Sara Lacey

Since Acura introduced the TL’s shield grille with its 2009 redesign, this luxury sedan’s looks have been polarizing to consumers. For 2012, Acura has softened the TL’s grille, but this redesigned five-seater still means business with its sharp, sporty looks.

For parents who mean business, the 2012 Acura TL will fit the bill for expedient transportation and polished looks; it zipped me and my family from Point A to Point B in comfort and style.

While the grille may not look as aggressive, the TL’s V-6 engines more than make up for it. The base TL with front-wheel drive has a 3.5-liter V-6, and there’s a larger engine — 3.7-liter V-6 — in all-wheel-drive TL SH-AWD. Like delving into the secret stash of Lucky Charms, Mom or Dad get to have fun driving the TL when no one is looking.

The 2012 TL has a starting MSRP of $35,605. My test car, a TL SH-AWD, cost $40,015.

The TL’s restyled exterior has angular lines that say, “Don’t mess with me,” causing kids in the carpool pickup lane to cower. Once the TL rolls up, getting the kids in and out will be a breeze, and the doors are easy to open.

If you’re putting infants or toddlers in child-safety seats, the TL’s low roofline could cause you to hit your head or your child’s head on it. The TL isn’t alone in this problem. It’s a sporty sedan and coupe issue.

The TL’s trunk was able to hold all the bags from a large grocery run. However, the trunk narrows toward the back, so fitting a double stroller in it could be a problem.

My all-wheel-drive test car had a 305-horsepower, 3.7-liter V-6 engine and a six-speed automatic transmission that got an EPA-estimated 18/26 mpg city/highway. When equipped with a six-speed manual, the TL gets 17/25 mpg. The smaller engine — 280-hp, 3.5-liter V-6 — in the base TL gets 20/29 mpg. Lay off the gas pedal in this bad boy to make the most of your premium-gas-fueled miles. Be warned, once you get the lead foot out, you’ll have a hard time reeling it in.

Family Friendly (Not Really, Fair, Great, Excellent): Fair
Fun-Factor (None, Some, Good Times, Groove-On): Good Times

My test car’s interior looked stylish, but it felt much too cheap for a luxury sedan. There’s a lot of black- and silver-colored plastic on the center stack and center console as well as across the dash.

The center stack’s many buttons border on overwhelming at first. Like any nut that’s tough to crack, though, once you get to know the systems you’re rewarded with ease of use.

The front seats were bolstered and supportive, and I was impressed with the soft, supple leather. The front row’s cupholders were hidden by a sliding cover. The cupholders were deep, causing me some angst when grabbing my cup. To get the cup out, I had to lift it by the lid and I constantly feared I’d pull the top off and spill coffee everywhere.

Speaking of cupholders, the TL has a couple in the backseat’s armrest. The rear seats are deep and supportive, and there’s plenty of legroom for kids.

Storage Compartments (Puny, Fair, Ample, Galore): Fair
Cargo/Trunk Space (Puny, Fair, Ample, Galore): Fair-Ample

The 2012 Acura TL has been named a Top Safety Pick by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. To earn this safety award, a car must receive the top score of Good in front, side, rear and roof-strength crash tests. The 2012 TL also received five out of five stars in rollover crash tests by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. It hasn’t undergone NHTSA’s frontal and side-impact crash tests.

In the backseat, the TL has two sets of lower Latch anchors in the outboard seats. With the driver’s seat adjusted to fit me, there was plenty of space for a rear-facing infant-safety seat. However, my kids’ booster seats didn’t fit well because the seats are sculpted. Find out how the 2012 TL performed in our Car Seat Check.

The 2012 TL has standard front-wheel drive, all-disc antilock brakes with brake assist, an electronic stability system, traction control and six airbags, including side curtains for both rows. Optional safety features include all-wheel drive, a backup camera with rear parking sensors and a blind spot warning system.

Get more safety information about the 2012 Acura TL here.

Consumer reviews

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

Most recent consumer reviews


Superb car and super fun to Drive

This is hands down the best Acura TL! My first one was the base model which is FWD with a 3.5 L engine, but the SH-AWD Technology package with the 3.7L is a beast and super fun to drive! A very reliable car, with little to no issues at all. Hot collectors car for enthusiasts who are not a fan of the new TLX. 100% recommend!


Perfect blend of sport/luxury

The handling and power of an all wheel drive manual, (SH-AWD), makes this car the most enjoyable ride I've ever owned. Sadly manual is almost extinct these days. Don't ever dare sell her because I may never experience a quality ride that the newer cars don't seem to deliver for the price.


Great value

This is a well needed vehicle and a great price . Lots of leg room and ease of use that most cars dont have ..

See all 93 consumer reviews


New car and Certified Pre-Owned programs by Acura Precision
New car program benefits
48 months/50,000 miles
60 months/unlimited distance
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
7 years/100,000 miles
Dealer certification required
182-point inspection
Roadside assistance
View all cpo program details

Have questions about warranties or CPO programs?

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