EXPERT REVIEW

KansasCity.com's view


Although Acura’s 2007 TL is showing its age, it’s not quite ready for the pasture.

The Type S is the most athletic TL available, and it bristles with 286 horsepower and a retuned suspension. Acura also improved the AcuraLink satellite communication system by adding real-time traffic information for larger cities.

Acura is the American luxury division of Honda.

The TL has taut, athletic styling. The sharp-nose, wedge-shaped profile has a chopped-off derriere. A concave character line runs the length of each side, and it creates visual interest as well an accent to the wedge shape.

TL prices start at $33,625 and the Type S starts at $38,125, including the navigation system. High-performance tires are an additional $200.

The Type S engine delivers an impressive 286 horsepower, and it’s especially fun when mated to the six-speed manual transmission whose linkage is tight and direct. The all-aluminum 3.5-liter V-6 is sweet. High compression, a two-stage intake manifold and VTEC valve control all work to give it sharp throttle response across the entire power band. The Environmental Protection Agency mileage rating is 19 miles per gallon in the city and 28 on the highway. The engine also meets ultra-low-emission-vehicle standards.

The TL’s drive-by-wire electronic throttle means there is no mechanical connection between the accelerator pedal and the engine. The neat thing about the electronic throttle is that it can be tuned to maximize the engine’s characteristics.

TL’s high-quality interior is warm and inviting. The materials are excellent, and the surround-sound DVD-audio system will make you want to ditch your home stereo. It uses six distinct channels to deliver sound quality that is 500 times better than a CD player. The system also plays standard CDs and has XM satellite radio.

The instrument panel’s multiple textures not only are pleasing to the eye, but also provide good visual rhythm. The gauges are rimmed with iridescent blue marks that look very sharp. Brushed silver accents flank the center console, and tiny blue LEDs in the ceiling direct a small beam of light on the center console at night.

The front seats are extremely comfortable and supportive.

The Type S feels like a European sports sedan. Front-wheel drive doesn’t have the balance of rear-wheel drive, and the Type S suspension is almost too firm.

Huge Brembo disc brakes come standard with the six-speed manual transmission, and they do an excellent job of erasing speed. Brake Assist automatically applies maximum braking pressure in emergencies while Electronic Brake Distribution changes front/rear brake force depending on the load.

The four-channel vehicle stability system works in conjunction with the drive-by-wire throttle and antilock brakes on each wheel to provide stability for accelerating, braking and cornering.

The TL also has a Bluetooth-based hands-free phone system standard. This system allows voice-activated, hands-free calling through the built-in audio system with any cell phone.

Price The base price of the test car, with navigation system and performance tires, was $38,325. With destination charges, the sticker price was $38,995.

Warranty Four years or 50,000 miles with a six-year, 70,000-mile powertrain warranty.

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