Last post on Jan 07, 2012 at 6:27 PM
You are in the Acura TL
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Acura TL, Sedan
#2077 of 9045 Acura 3.2 TL and 3.2 CL Type S vehicles
Aug 04, 2003 (12:24 pm)
In looking for some data on the forthcoming 2004 TL sedan I found it quite amusing to review the discussions of various Acura fans regarding the normal design TL car with the 225 hp engine being "enough" or "more than adequate" which of course it is indeed, however it is clear that none of these well meaning folks have had one to one on hand experience with both vehicles, instead most probably they are driving the 3.2 TL car with the normal engine.
In January 2001 we purchased TWO of these vehicles. The TL 4 door sedan in 2001 was available ONLY with the 225 hp engine,and that is what we bought, but the CL coupe had the S engine option and we bought a type S car here. Both cars are 5 speed automatic cars with no options other than trunk mat and mud guards, everything else being standard. The S car came with memory seats and an in dash 6 disc CD changer(which should have been standard and now is on the TL beginning with the 2002 model year) and 17 inch tires 215 x 50 aspect ratio tires as opposed to the 205 x 60 aspect ration 16 inch tires on the TL. The engines are the other difference.
Now with 39K miles on the TL we love the car totally except for the missing memory seats and the CD changer. The ride is excellent although clearly weighted towards the stiff side of the handling spectrum as opposed to the softer riding Lexus vehicles and the engine is quite smooth and has adequate if not excellent power across the entire power band. We love it. The car replaced a 1998 RL Special Edition which was a bit too large and soft riding a car for us. The TL is a better fit for our needs.
But we must tell you that the S car is just SO MUCH MORE a road vehicle that the comparison is not even close. That engine is just so much fun to tip into every so often that it just makes the CL-S car even more pleasant to drive. So a TL with the S engine would be the best of both worlds, not so? We would be buying one in January 2004 if it were not being replaced by the new TL car which should be even more a road car from what we are seeing....more power, bigger brakes, all the good stuff standard and not optional as one finds in the Infiniti G35 cars.
Make no mistake about it, the TL is a fine car and an excellent investment, but the S car is the one to buy whether you have four or two doors in mind.
Problems, yes of course. I knew the transmission was in some difficulty at 12K miles when I changed the fluid (which was looking grey in color and not pink as anticipated) and found lots of grey sludge adhering to the magnetic plug. I took a sample and presented it to Acura service and was told "perfectly normal"....right! I continued to change fluid at 12K intervals and remove less material from the plug but was not comfortable with the trans. At 35920 miles last week the S car ate the transmission as we anticipated it would be doing according to the Acura letter we received a year ago advising of some extra ordinary transmission problems before we had them. The car now has a totally new transmission and trans computer (plus a new engine fuel pressure regulator....why that item was changed I can not imagine) and they even furnished a new dip stick for the trans! The car is like new and the 2-3 shift is more firm than it ever was. Our TL with more miles is not showing any transmission difficulties.
Tires were a bit of a disappointment as the 50 series tires are very short in static loaded radius and therefore transmit a bit more road "feel" to the seat of your pants. And I blew one tire in a small pothole after a snow storm that should have not been a problem. I was travelling slowly and the pothole was not deep, but apparently I hit it just right to rip open the side wall of the tire. I would prefer to have 225 x 60 16 inch tires on this car and not the 50 series but I also see that in 2001 when this car was new 215 x50 17 tires were RARE and now they are showing up on all sorts of sport sedans and coupes do I guess the 50 series is here to stay.
The S car replaced a 95 Mitsubishi 3000 GT car and is more car in every way. We used to purchase Legend 2 door coupes with the more powerful engine and frankly the CL-S car is everything the old (1993 and 1995 models) Legend Coupe was for us.....at 10,000.00 dollars less money. That is surely a winner.
So friends, if you are in the market for a TL or CL before they go away in October 2003, go for the S version. It is truly worth every penny more.
Fuel mileage is 1 mpg LOWER in the S car than the normal TL (perhaps because of the tendancy to enjoy the engine a bit) but they are both OVER 30 MPG at constant 70 mph (1900 engine rpm in gear 5) and around town in mixed driving we get 24 MPG on the TL and 23 on the S car. We surely can live with that.
#2078 of 9045 cjs2002: My take on the TL
Aug 04, 2003 (12:32 pm)
I think you're looking at some very nice cars. I think that for a given level of equipment, the TL will cost you a lot less. Personally, I chose the TL in part to get front wheel drive, as I do a lot of bad-weather driving in the NY City area - the other cars you're looking at are rear-drivers. As far as problems - I had to replace the catalytic converter at 95,000 miles; everything else was warranty, and not much of that! Factory tires lasted 61,000 miles; brake pads were replaced at 80,000 and battery at 85,000. Other than that, all it's gotten is fluid changes. It goes in for a timing belt and plugs at 105,000, which should be in September.
Short story - I've never owned a more reliable car. It's a great highway cruiser and has been exceptionally cheap to own and run. If you like 3-series BMWs, for example, you'll find that it isn't a great-handling car... but for luxury on the cheap, with safety and long life, I think it's among the best. I'd own another in a minute.
#2079 of 9045 jeromeairsys1, agree with you
Aug 04, 2003 (12:42 pm)
on several points.
The S model does pump things up a bit. I have a TL-S and when I get a TL loaner, there are so many differences. I'm glad I spent the extra $2k on the S.
I also had a '95 Legend LS Coupe 6-speed. LOVED that car.
Aug 04, 2003 (3:15 pm)
What are the other differences between TL and TL-S, please?
Aug 04, 2003 (5:00 pm)
I feel that too. I always though that it was the tranny (like a tooth missing on a gear - joke). But it feels like the power delivery is pulsing (I was thingking of it in terms of grabbing before)
Aug 04, 2003 (5:01 pm)
but I did not find the pulsing that much of a concern compared to my broken tranny and the hickups that both the old and new trannies produce(d) on a daily basis.
Aug 04, 2003 (5:33 pm)
and did your Acura rep tell you what was wrong with the trannies and how they fixed them?
Oh, I think I know how they fixed them. With every new (refurbished) tranny replacement they started including a new Power Control Module that somewhat reduces the engine's power. What a great idea.
#2084 of 9045 ash213, TL vs TL-S
Aug 05, 2003 (5:30 am)
Aside from the engine, the other major difference is in the traction control systems. The TL has what I call cheap traction control. If a wheel slips, it brakes that wheel. So, basically the engine and the braking system are at war.
The TL-S also retards the engine when a wheel slips. Plus, the TL-S adds stability control to the mix.
In a nutshell, the differences are:
17" Tires (vs 16)
VSA vs TCS
If you go to www.acura.com they mention the S type extras in more detail.
Aug 05, 2003 (7:28 pm)
I am thinking of a new TL. Can't decide between white diamond pearl and desert mist. It doesn't seem desert mist is too popular. I have heard wdp is difficult to repair. Any advice? Any strong feelings? For those WDP owner's - how is the upkeep?
Aug 06, 2003 (6:38 am)
The upkeep is the easy part, repairs will take you to the bank and then some.
Just pray you don't get into any accidents with a Pearl color car.The paint is a three stage process and body shops hate repairing this color.
Secondly, if you do have an accident, you need to find the right Body Shop.The color is very difficult to match and if not match properly you are going to end up with two different shades of white.
I am not discouraging you from getting the WDP, my previous Millenia was that color and so is my current TLS.
Just don't get into any accidents or any major scrathes ie- keying.