The 2008 Acura TL Type-S didn't rock my world. I was really expecting sparks to fly, but I'm a few weeks away from giving birth and probably a bit crabby, which undoubtedly affects my worldview. While the car performed relatively well, there were too many things that disqualified it from being my perfect mommy-mobile. In short, the TL was fine, but not fabulous.
I drove the TL Type-S to Crested Butte, Colo., for the Fourth of July weekend, and my trip fell short in some respects, too. I know I sound implacable, so please don't get me wrong - I'm not that hard to please. But I like things the way I like them, so when they're not that way, I don't like them. Got it?
Acura says the TL Type-S has gas mileage of 17/26 mpg city/highway, but it seemed to perform considerably worse than that for me. I can understand the lower mpg when driving on mountain roads, but it didn't get any better off the mountains. Given current gas prices, I need better fuel efficiency. And speaking of mountain roads, I'd love to see Acura make an all-wheel-drive TL Type-S. Currently, it's only available in front-wheel drive, which is impractical for this Colorado girl.
Another impracticality is that the TL's storage is limited. Cargo space in the trunk is 12.5 cubic feet, which is a little smaller than most other cars in its class. I got by, but a bit more trunk space would have been better. Adding to the storage shortage is the fact that the backseat doesn't fold down. There is a pass-thru, which would be handy for toting skis (though they couldn't be very long skis, which rules out my hubby's pair), but the ability to fold the backseat down is something I need.
The flat, plastic look of the dashboard and instrumentation was kind of dullsville. For a car that wants to be sporty (note the charcoal-colored spoked rims and small spoiler on top of the trunk), the interior deserves a dash of panache.
There were some good things about the TL Type-S, including the standard rearview camera and navigation system. They make up a $2,500 package on the base TL.
Also, the headlights are excellent. They were particularly handy in shedding light on a couple of deer crossing the highway in the dead of night on the way to CB. Had it not been for the headlights' luminosity, I would've had some explaining to do about the large deer imprint on the car.
The seats were also nice; they were a buttery soft taupe leather that weren't too uncomfortable. It's a big deal for a nine-months-pregnant lady to say she wasn't too uncomfortable driving for four hours in any car. That's as good as comfort gets at this point, so trust me on this! I really liked the driver and front-passenger door storage "pockets" that slid in and out, making it easy to retrieve stuff from them.
The cons, though, outweighed the pros enough on this car that I couldn't see myself buying the TL; there are plenty of other cars in this price range that would be more amenable to my mountain mama lifestyle. Call me hard to please, but like I said, I like what I like!
*For more information on the 2008 Acura TL and its safety features, visit Cars.com. With questions or comments regarding this review, write to firstname.lastname@example.org.
LET'S TALK NUMBERS
Latch Connectors: 2
Seating Capacity (includes driver): 5
IT'S THE LITTLE THINGS THAT COUNT
Storage Compartments (Puny, Fair, Ample, Galore): Fair
Cargo/Trunk Space (Puny, Fair, Ample, Galore): Ample
SENSE AND STYLE
Family Friendly (Not Really, Fair, Great, Excellent): Fair
Fun Factor (None, Some, Good Times, Groove On): Good Times
2008 Acura TL Type-S
Base price: $38,225
Price as tested: $38,225
Engine: 286-hp, 3.5-liter V-6
Fuel: 17/26 mpg
Ground Clearance: 5.8"
Turning Radius: 19.8'
Cargo space: 12.5 cu. ft.
NHTSA Crash-Test Ratings
Driver's side: 5 stars
Passenger's side: 5 stars
Front occupant: 4 stars
Rear occupant: 5 stars
Rollover resistance: 4 stars