Mother Proof's view

This car has sex appeal. It’s fun, sporty and has a girlish figure. I get a cheap thrill out of playing road-flirt with a couple of college boys driving their pickup truck along the highway. With my highlighted hair blowing in the wind, the moon roof open and the XM radio blasting with surround-sound, I caught their attention. If only they knew my dirty little secret: my son’s child car seat (littered with crumbs) is hidden in back. At first glance, this doesn’t seem like a mom-mobile, but smaller cars can actually be family-friendly and fun.

Since I only have one child I don’t need a large vehicle, though I certainly need space. While the Acura TL seems small it actually has comfortable room and nice storage. There are several compartments and cupholders in the front console and all four doors. There’s also great trunk space with an added surprise: the back center console opens to allow for pass-through storage from the trunk.

Speaking of surprise storage features, the in-door storage compartments pop out to hold more stuff and allow for easy cleanup. There are also pop-out back-seat compartments that are nice for holding books and magazines. They won’t hold toys, however, so a cargo net would be a nice contribution.

The low stance of the Acura TL makes it hard to load and unload my son. I am in need of an adjustment from my chiropractor after a week of driving it. However, this might be a perk for older children as they can easily get in and out of the car.

The blue lighting theme in the dash, console and mirrors is easy on the eyes and automatically adjusts for day or night driving. The controls for the A/C, music and navigation can be activated by pushing the appropriate button on the console, or by voice command. At first I think, “Great, another complicated system I’ll have to spend weeks learning to command.” But after a few minutes of tinkering around, I find the control center to be very user-friendly. It’s also a lot of fun, so much so that I spend and extra 10 minutes playing around in the car before I finally get out and get on with my life.

Given the time to figure them out, the techie-perks like the Hands Free Link (HFL) and driver detection are great for safer driving. The HFL allows me to command the navigation system and my cell phone via voice command, which is located on the steering wheel. What a concept! I can have a friendly conversation while keeping my hands on the steering wheel and my eyes on the road.

The Acura TL can also detect different drivers when they get into the car. Don’t ask me how it knows, but it knows. A message will appear in the text window of the console indicating whether Driver 1 or Driver 2 has been detected, at which point the preset mirrors, driver seat and steering wheel move to accommodate that particular driver. The text window also shows other information about the vehicle like oil level, ambient temperature, hours spent driving, and when the next service is due.

Sometimes when I’m driving this cute car I forget, almost for a moment, that I am married with child. Then I notice my son in the back “raising the roof” to the music, something his dad proudly taught him. I guess it’s even fun for toddlers. Since I spend a lot of time in my car this baby is like a fun mini-getaway.

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