Model: 2004 to 2008 Acura TL
Vehicle type: Luxury Sport Sedan
Approximate used space range: $13,000 to $30,000

History/description: In many regards, the Acura TL existed to give shoppers a lower-priced alternative to luxury sedans like the BMW 5-Series and Mercedes E-Class.

 

The TL came exclusively in a four-door, five-passenger configuration built from the same platform that houses the Honda Accord. Under the hood was a 3.2 litre V6 engine with 258 or 270 horsepower — depending on the year in question. Earlier models were rated the most powerfully, though the drop in output is due to changes in the horsepower rating system and not the engine itself.

 

Transmission choices included a five-speed automatic with sport-shift or a six-speed manual, and all TL models were front-drive. In the used market, shoppers can also look for a visually-tweaked ‘A-Spec’ model and a 286-horsepower, factory-tuned TL Type S model later in the machine’s life. The Type S represented the pinnacle of TL performance for its time, though it will be more expensive to insure and fuel.

 

Options and hardware included a Bluetooth phone, voice-command, navigation, satellite radio and a premium stereo system. A sunroof, heated leather, automatic climate control and an intelligent key system were all available or standard too.

 

Ultimately, the TL did a commendable job of blending luxury, technology and performance.

What owners like: Performance, acceleration, drivetrain refinement, looks, comfort and handling are the most highly-rated attributes of the last-generation TL, according to existing owners.

What owners hate: Overall interior space, ease of entry, blind-spots and some squeaks and rattles sum up the most common owner gripes. If you’re an audiophile, you’ll likely wish for some more connectivity options for your MP3-player.

Common issues: On a test-drive, ensure proper operation of the power memory seats and all other interior electronics. Squealing or grinding from the brakes mean the vehicle will need new pads and rotors soon. This can be a pricey job, so ensure the brake system is in relatively good shape. Ensure the tires aren’t worn, and have a look beneath the vehicle for leaks or rust, too.


Scrutinize the operation of the automatic transmission if so equipped. Earlier Honda Accord models in this generation were known for transmission trouble, and a moderate number of earlier last-generation TL owners report similar problems. If there’s any jerking or slipping during gearchanges, select another model or stick to the manual transmission.


Also note that a mechanical inspection and full fluid change is advised if you’re unsure of the vehicle’s service history.

The verdict: Find a good deal on a ‘newer’ used TL or one with the six-speed manual gearbox, and buy confidently if things check out.