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2013 Acura TL

$11,205 — $21,373 USED
Sedan
5 Seats
21-23 MPG
(Combined)
Key specs of the base trim
 — 
Compare 3 trims

Overview

Is this the car for you?

The Good

  • Manual transmission option
  • AWD performance
  • Standard leather
  • Interior comfort

The Bad

  • Premium gas required
  • Backseat doesn't fold
  • Trunk relatively small
2013 Acura TL exterior side view

What to Know

about the 2013 Acura TL
  • Six-speed automatic or manual transmission
  • Front- or all-wheel drive
  • Optional heated/ventilated front seats

Our Take

from the Cars.com expert editorial team

Cars.com's Kelsey Mays takes a look at the features available in the cars going head-to-head in the $46,000 Sports Sedan Challenge.

by David Thomas -

In the world of luxury sedans, the Acura TL has lost its way.

A radical redesign in 2009 left many loyal fans of the extremely popular sedan perplexed. Slight tweaks for 2012 smoothed things out a bit, but the 2013 version adds little to last year's updates. You can compare the 2012 and 2013 models here.

That doesn't mean the TL is a bad car; styling is always subjective, and if the looks work for you, the 2013 Acura TL's robust V-6 engine, spacious interior, tech features and relative value all impress.

The editors at Cars.com recently pitted the 2013 Acura TL against five other contenders in a Sport Sedan Challenge, including the BMW 3 Series and Volvo S60, each priced no higher than $46,000 as-equipped. We drove a TL 3.7 SH-AWD (3.7-liter engine and Super Handling AWD) hundreds of miles in various conditions. The base car is the Acura TL 3.5, which has a 3.5-liter V-6 and front-wheel drive.

Performance
There was no question the Acura TL's powerful V-6 engine stood out against the rest of the field. Entry-level models from many automakers, including those in our Challenge, feature turbocharged four-cylinders — and in the Volvo's case, a turbocharged five-cylinder. The 305 horsepower churned out by the Acura TL 3.7's V-6 is a significant increase over the TL 3.5's 280 hp, which is still more than the Cadillac ATS 2.0T's 272 hp — the second-highest output in our test.

And Acura's V-6 just felt different. The more exhilarat...

by David Thomas -

In the world of luxury sedans, the Acura TL has lost its way.

A radical redesign in 2009 left many loyal fans of the extremely popular sedan perplexed. Slight tweaks for 2012 smoothed things out a bit, but the 2013 version adds little to last year's updates. You can compare the 2012 and 2013 models here.

That doesn't mean the TL is a bad car; styling is always subjective, and if the looks work for you, the 2013 Acura TL's robust V-6 engine, spacious interior, tech features and relative value all impress.

The editors at Cars.com recently pitted the 2013 Acura TL against five other contenders in a Sport Sedan Challenge, including the BMW 3 Series and Volvo S60, each priced no higher than $46,000 as-equipped. We drove a TL 3.7 SH-AWD (3.7-liter engine and Super Handling AWD) hundreds of miles in various conditions. The base car is the Acura TL 3.5, which has a 3.5-liter V-6 and front-wheel drive.

Performance
There was no question the Acura TL's powerful V-6 engine stood out against the rest of the field. Entry-level models from many automakers, including those in our Challenge, feature turbocharged four-cylinders — and in the Volvo's case, a turbocharged five-cylinder. The 305 horsepower churned out by the Acura TL 3.7's V-6 is a significant increase over the TL 3.5's 280 hp, which is still more than the Cadillac ATS 2.0T's 272 hp — the second-highest output in our test.

And Acura's V-6 just felt different. The more exhilarating BMW might have been quicker in all respects, but the TL's steady power was welcome. The TL 3.7 comes with either a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission at the same price. Ours was an automatic, as were the other five Challenge contestants.

We tested the Acura TL in zero-to-60-mph, quarter-mile and 60-to-zero braking tests. The TL came in third in both the acceleration tests and last in braking.

On the road, the TL SH-AWD was more of a long-haul favorite. Editors taking part in the Challenge gave the TL high marks for its ride comfort and pleasing engine sounds versus the rest of the field. It just couldn't handle the track quite as well as the BMW or ATS. Being nearly a foot longer and almost 500 pounds heavier than the BMW, the Acura TL couldn't navigate tight corners as well or brake as quickly.

EPA mileage for the automatic SH-AWD is rated 18/26/21 mpg city/highway/combined. The six-speed manual transmission performs 1 mpg worse in all three EPA numbers.

Our observed mileage in the TL was 21.6 mpg combined. In a caravan of roughly 200 miles of city and highway driving, that beat the all-wheel-drive Volvo S60 T5 by 1.2 mpg while the Audi 2.0T, which also had all-wheel drive, beat the TL by 4.8 mpg.

The front-wheel-drive TL 3.5 gets an EPA-estimated 20/29/23 mpg.

Interior
What you get back in exchange for the Acura TL SH-AWD's poor fuel economy — besides a pleasant V-6 experience — is a comfortable, spacious interior that the rest of our field couldn't quite live up to thanks to their smaller statures.

The TL excelled with its comfortable front seats, but it was backseat room that was most impressive. Rear passengers have more breathing room behind the front seats, especially between the doors and their shoulders. The Acura TL is the car to pick if you routinely drive with another couple or children.

Drivers will have to navigate a center console full of dozens of buttons to find the command they need. It's a busy cluster, but the buttons themselves are quite large and easy to read. The 8-inch screen is also easy to read, but the graphics look outdated versus not only a few of the other cars in our competition, but especially compared with modern technology found in smartphones. It also doesn't hold up to the vibrant information screen in the Honda Civic that Cars.com recently purchased.

Despite the look, the tech itself is competitive and works like you expect it to. Bluetooth for phone, voice commands to navigate your iPod playlists and the navigation system itself are all well-executed and rang up few complaints from our editors.

A few editors, as well as a real-world family, found some of the interior materials to be a step below the rest of the competitors in our Challenge. The Acura TL just didn't feel as luxurious as the rest.

Features
At a starting price of $36,800, including destination charge, for the 3.5-liter version, the Acura TL comes well-equipped and costs less than the rear-wheel-drive BMW 3 Series.

At that price, the Acura TL comes with standard leather seats, heated front seats, xenon high-intensity-discharge headlights, a power moonroof, 17-inch aluminum wheels, an eight-speaker stereo system, USB connectivity and Bluetooth for phone and streaming audio.

The TL 3.7 SH-AWD starts at $40,350, including destination, and besides the upgraded performance aspects also comes standard with 18-inch wheels and more heavily bolstered seats.

Acura is also one of the few automakers to keep its options wrapped in just a few packages. Besides picking between the base price TL 3.5 and the TL 3.7 SH-AWD model, you can only pick a Technology Package for an additional $3,730 or the Advance Package for an additional $5,930.

The Tech Package upgrades the stereo system to an impressive 10-speaker setup with voice control. I've enjoyed this system in previous Acura TLs, and versus the field we had on hand, only the Audi really came close to the TL's aural performance.

Also found in the Tech Package are a navigation system and a backup camera that display on an 8-inch screen.

The Advance Package includes everything in the Technology Package plus cooled front seats, a blind spot warning system and either 18-inch wheels (on the TL 3.5) or 19-inch wheels (on the TL 3.7 SH-AWD).

Safety
The Acura TL earned a Top Safety Pick+ designation from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. This new designation is the highest the organization awards. The Acura TL scored the top rating of Good in front, rear, side and roof-strength crash tests, as well as in a new small-overlap test that judges how well a car can handle a crash that hits only a small portion of the front of the car.

The Acura TL has a four-star overall safety rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, out of five stars possible.

TL in the Market
There's a lot to like about the Acura TL, even if it didn't take the winner's podium in our challenge. As a stand-alone entity, it offers a lot for shoppers to consider if interior room and comfort matter more than simply performance.

Send David an email  

 

Consumer Reviews

What drivers are saying

4.6
48 reviews — Read All reviews
Exterior Styling
(4.6)
Performance
(4.7)
Interior Design
(4.6)
Comfort
(4.7)
Reliability
(4.6)
Value For The Money
(4.5)

Read reviews that mention:

(5.0)

Love my Acura TL!!

by Diane0425 from Dallas, TX on October 22, 2018

I have driven Acura TL's since 1999. I love them so much, I don't want to drive any other car!! I do not like that they combined the TL and TSX to make the TLX in 2015. I'll find another one this body ... Read full review

(5.0)

This MACHINE IS IMPRESSIVE!!!

by Taylor J on August 6, 2018

So I am now the proud owner of a 2013 Acura TL SH-AWD 3.7 Tech 6MT (Black). This combination was very difficult to find but it was well worth the wait. First, the car is big. This is the first thing I ... Read full review

Safety

Recalls and crash tests

Recalls

The 2013 Acura TL currently has 1 recall


Crash and Rollover Test Ratings

Based on 2013 Acura TL 3.5

IIHS rates vehicles good, acceptable, marginal, or poor.

Front

Overall evaluation
good

Head Restraints and Seats

Dynamic Rating
good
Overall Rear
good
Seat Head/Restraint Geometry
good

Moderate overlap front

Chest
good
Head/Neck
good
Left Leg/Foot
good
Overall Front
good
Restraints
good
Right Leg/Foot
good
Structure/safety cage
good

Other

Roof Strength
good

Side

Driver Head Protection
good
Driver Head and Neck
good
Driver Pelvis/Leg
good
Driver Torso
acceptable
Overall Side
good
Rear Passenger Head Protection
good
Rear Passenger Head and Neck
good
Rear Passenger Pelvis/Leg
good
Rear Passenger Torso
good
Structure/safety cage
good
Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) is a nonprofit research and communications organization funded by auto insurers.

Warranty

New car and certified pre-owned programs by Acura

New Car Program Benefits

  • Bumper-to-Bumper

    48 months / 50,000 miles

  • Powertrain

    72 months / 70,000 miles

  • Roadside Assistance

    48 months / 50,000 miles

Certified Pre-Owned Program Benefits

Latest 2013 TL Stories

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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