What Changed for 2009:
- First redesign since 2004
- Larger in most dimensions
- New interior and exterior styling
- Two new V-6 engines, including the most powerful Acura engine ever
- All-wheel drive available for the first time on TL
- Hard-drive audio and navigation now offered
- Real-time weather newly available
The Acura TL has been an entry-level luxury favorite since its release for the 1996 model year. In fact, it was the best-selling luxury sedan from 1999 to 2001 and again in 2005. The sportiest of Acura's three 4-door sedans, the TL was last redesigned in 2004 and is redone again for 2009. This time, the TL gets the most powerful Acura engine ever and is offered for the first time with all-wheel drive (AWD).
The 2009 TL is bigger than the outgoing model and is now almost as big as the line-topping RL. Based on the current Honda Accord, the TL's wheelbase grows 1.4 inches to 109.3 and overall length is up 6 inches to 195.3. The new TL is also 1.8 inches wider at 74 inches, but base curb weight is up only 80 pounds thanks to the use of aluminum in the hood, front bumper beams, sub-frame and steering hanger beam. New technology features include XM NavWeather and a hard drive to hold navigation map information, music files and pictures for the navigation screen.
The 2009 Acura TL is offered as the base front-drive TL model and the TL SH-AWD with AWD. Standard features on the base TL include leather upholstery; heated front seats; cruise control; solar-sensing, dual-zone automatic climate control with automatic humidity control; tilt/telescoping leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio controls; power windows and door locks; heated power mirrors with tilt-down back-up aid and turn signals; 8-speaker, 276-watt AM/FM stereo with 6-disc CD changer; XM satellite radio; auxiliary audio input jack; USB port; Bluetooth cell phone link; Multi-Information Display; 10-way power adjustable driver's seat with lumbar adjustment; 8-way power adjustable front passenger seat; memory for the driver's seat, mirrors, climate control and radio settings; interior air filter; auto-dimming rearview mirror; universal garage door opener; theft-deterrent system; sunroof; rear-seat pass-through; automatic high-intensity discharge headlights; fog lamps; and P245/50R17 tires on alloy wheels.
The SH-AWD model adds Acura's Super Handling AWD, as well as a sport steering wheel, sport front bucket seats, and P245/45R18 wheels. Both models are offered with a Technology package that includes premium Milano leather upholstery, keyless access and starting, rear spoiler, chrome accented door handles, navigation system, rearview camera, AcuraLink real-time traffic with traffic rerouting, AcuraLink Weather, and a 440-watt Acura/ELS 10-speaker premium audio system with DVD Audio and 12.7-gigabyte hard drive. The SH-AWD model can also be ordered with P245/40R19 Michelin Pilot Sport summer tires.
The base Acura TL for 2009 has a 3.5-liter SOHC V-6 engine that makes 280 hp at 6200 rpm and 254 lb.-ft. of torque at 5000 rpm. The TL SH-AWD is powered by a 3.7-liter SOHC V-6 engine that produces 305 hp at 6300 rpm and 275 lb.-ft. of torque at 5000 rpm, making it the most powerful Acura ever. Both engines are mated to a 5-speed automatic transmission with a manual shiftgate and standard steering wheel shift paddles. Acura says models equipped with the 3.5-liter engine will get 18 mpg city/26 mpg highway, and the TL SH-AWD will get 17 mpg city/24 mpg highway.
The 3.5-liter V-6 engine has Acura's VTEC (Variable Valve Timing and Left Electronic Control) for the intake valves. For 2009, the 3.7-liter V-6 engine adds VTEC for the exhaust valves as well. The TL SH-AWD model also comes with lower gear ratios for a sportier driving experience.
Acura's Super Handling AWD system sends 90 percent of the power to the front wheels on dry pavement under normal driving conditions. It can send up to 70 percent of the torque to the rear wheels under heavy acceleration or on slippery pavement. The rear differential can also apportion the power between the rear wheels. This allows the TL to send 100 percent of the power to the outside rear wheel in a turn, which Acura says helps rotate the car through the turn.
The 2009 Acura TL was designed with Honda's Advanced Compatibility Engineering (ACE) body structure. According to the company, ACE enhances frontal collision compatibility with vehicles of different sizes and bumper heights, reduces intrusion into the passenger cabin in front-end collisions, and is designed to mitigate pedestrian injury. The 2009 Acura TL's standard safety equipment includes dual-stage, dual-threshold front air bags; head-protecting curtain side air bags for outboard occupants in both seating rows; torso-protecting front side air bags; active front head restraints; tire-pressure monitor; anti-lock brakes with electronic brake-force distribution and brake assist; traction control; and electronic stability control. A rearview camera is included with the Technology package.
As of this writing, the redesigned 2009 Acura TL has not yet been tested by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) or the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). However, according to internal tests, Acura claims the 2009 TL will get 5-star front and side-impact ratings from NHTSA and \"Good\" ratings for front, side and rear impacts from the IIHS.
The 2009 Acura TL's navigation system comes with AcuraLink Traffic that was co-developed with XM NavTraffic and provides real-time traffic with traffic rerouting. New for 2009 is AcuraLink Weather. Co-developed with XM NavWeather, this feature shows real-time weather information for 21 metropolitan areas, one- and three-day forecasts, severe weather alerts, and Doppler-style radar maps. The navigation map information is stored on a hard drive, 12.7 gigabytes of which are devoted to music and picture storage. Acura says it can hold up to 2500 songs. The hard drive comes with GraceNote, which allows songs to be shuffled by album, artist or genre. The audio system can also play songs from an MP3 player through an auxiliary audio input jack or from an iPod, iPhone, MP3 player, or thumb drive storage device through a USB port. When the USB port is used, it can charge storage devices and the song titles are shown in three lines on the car's navigation or Multi-Information Display screens.