Last post on May 09, 2013 at 9:32 AM
You are in the Sedans
What is this discussion about?
BMW 3 Series, Infiniti G37, Acura TL, Lexus IS 350, Mercedes-Benz C-Class, Cadillac CTS, Volvo S60, Audi A4, Acura TSX, Car Comparisons, Sedan
Jul 30, 2012 (8:18 am)
Long time posters here will know that I fell off the Audi wagon about a year ago and went with a 2012 Acura TL SH-AWD Advance. The car has lived up to its reputation of being "perfect" from a mechanical perspective -- I would assume this car would soldier on for years and years and 100's of thousands of miles with nothing but regular maintenance. This is the first car I have ever owned that seems to be deft at hiding the miles it shows on the odometer (20,000+ in 11 months). The Germans I have had showed their age unless they were "over maintained."
In fact there has only been one -- troubling -- issue with the car. The front brakes at 8,000 miles were warped (and "turned" as part of the warranty.) Again at 20,000 miles the tell-tale shuddering of warped rotors returned and they were again resurfaced. Today, two days after the resurfacing, the brakes feel "the way they should" in my opinion.
While the car was in for an oil change, tire rotation and brake resurfacing, my loaner car was a 2012 TL Tech. Not AWD, not Advance -- simply a nice 3.5L FWD TL with the tech package.
Previous loaners have always been new MDX's -- I can't remember when I actually had driven a TL that was not AWD and not Advance, in fact.
To cut to the message: I get out of my TL and into the FWD TL and motor off to run errands and drive all over the city of Columbus, OH for a few hours -- my first thought within one mile, "this car is a sofa." Had they given me a Lexus instead?
OK, here's my impression -- the TL FWD falls over its tires, i.e., understeers easily, has torque steer aplenty and is unimpressive for a car that probably lists (as my loaner was) close to $40K. There is no way it belongs in any discussion -- while keeping a straight face -- called Entry Level Luxury Performance Sedans. It feels like an Accord or a Camry (or perhaps Avalon) for pity's sake. The steering is way overboosted and there doesn't appear to be any device affixed to the thing that provides any resistance to the massive body roll and exacerbated understeer this thing is capable of demonstrating.
No wonder all the good stuff written about the TL (for 2012) is about the SH-AWD Advance version -- without that level of trim, the thing is practically a joke with respect to "performance" entry level or other-wise.
I had no idea the difference would be so pronounced.
While I was there, I looked at the new RDX -- now without SH-AWD (good looking, upscale Honda CRV, NO SH-AWD, what were they thinking?) and the ILX -- better looking than a Civic but with a puny engine and 5 speed automatic, again it makes me wonder "what were they thinking?"
The TL, as mine is configured when driven back to back with an Audi S4, made me think, the TL was (for the money) an S4-lite (or S4 like) for $11,000+ less money.
Going from the German cars I have been used to in my garage since 1978 to the TL was, with this model, not terribly difficult. It does appear that Acura needs to really step up its game to be in the ELLPS crowd. As of my day in the life this weekend, I would say Acura is on probation to remain a member of this group.
2014 can't come soon enough!
#14523 of 16087 Re: Acura TL vs Acura TL [markcincinnati]
Jul 30, 2012 (8:58 am)
"While I was there, I looked at the new RDX -- now without SH-AWD (good looking, upscale Honda CRV, NO SH-AWD, what were they thinking?)"
I think they were thinking that the RDX with SH-AWD turbo 4 was selling like electric blankets in July and they had to either change it drastically or get rid of it. The new RDX is selling like crazy. So it appears that there were lots of people that SAID they loved the turbo and SH-AWD but those same people were not BUYING them. It's easy to say a company should do this or that when you have no skin in the game. However, if you're trying to make a profit you have to design and sell vehicles people will actually buy and not just post about on so-called enthusiusts forums.
#14524 of 16087 Re: Acura TL vs Acura TL [markcincinnati]
Jul 30, 2012 (9:24 am)
Mark 20K in 11 months, that's a whole lot of driving.
I have 18K and I am going on 3yrs (8/17 exactly).
I guess I will have enough equity in my car when the 2014 hits the showrooms.
#14525 of 16087 Re: Acura TL vs Acura TL [markcincinnati]
Jul 30, 2012 (9:37 am)
Mark...appreciate your thoughts. I loved my TL SH AWD. As you say, it's an "S4 lite".
Be anxious to see what the TL will become, if they release an "S" version, will there be a future TL model, at all?
#14526 of 16087 Re: Acura TL vs Acura TL [graphicguy]
Jul 30, 2012 (1:06 pm)
Supposedly -- the next TL will be called, in keeping with the new nomenclature, TLX. Of course this is confusing or could be to anyone who knows the way the car biz names things -- X's typically mean cars that are ALL WHEELS DRIVEN (328ix, M37X, X6, FX56 and so forth.)
Also, for those shopping this apparent class of car, the transmission choices should never include fewer than 6 speeds and often what is needed to be compared with the best is 7 or 8 speeds (and, if possible a 6 speed stick.)
If one of your key features and differentiators has been SH-AWD, Torque Vectoring, or whatever that special secret sauce is, dumbing down the line also is a way to telegraph you're place on the Premium Class pecking order is falling not rising.
I suspect Acura does OK financially due to the popularity of the MDX. The dealer I use in Columbus had dozens and dozens of MDX's and not much of anything/everything else. I swear I saw no RL's of any MY, no ZDX's (but I really think that the ZDX is dead and no one has been informed, yet), a few ILX's and a few RDX's.
I have no issue with Acura making a decision to slide gracefully out of, off of the Premium Class list -- and maybe that is what is being done. Somehow it seems, however, that they're oblivious to what is going on around them.
I used to think of Acura as the Japanese Audi -- no more. In fact I can't seem to find any descriptive term that fits the line. Their cars, and I now have the proof, are all over the map.
I used to think of Acuras as "members of the club" -- now I'm pretty certain they're no longer members and that maybe they don't know it or don't care.
#14527 of 16087 Re: Acura TL vs Acura TL [markcincinnati]
Jul 30, 2012 (2:44 pm)
It seems to me that Acura has decided to compete more directly with Lexus as evidenced by the new RDX which is clearly aimed at the RX. The RX is certainly a premium or luxury vehicle but also not a great driver or handler.
As to is whether it is premium or not? What is the definition of premium? Is it track performance or luxury appointments or does it have to be both? Does it include dealer experience or is just how a car accelerates and handles.
Now, the title of this particular discussion happens to be Entry Level Luxury Performance Sedans. There are going to the vehicles that are clearly no brainers and there are going to vehicles that are at the very bottom of the list and up for some discussion as to whether they belong or not. The base TL is very similar to ES but the TL SH-AWD is closer to the GS. The TSX V6 is close to the IS350.
Have to agree that Acura seems to have drifted away from the performance aspect that many liked about it in years past. I think they still have a good premium/luxury product that is comparable in quality to all the rest but may be towards the bottom of the ranking and not towards the top. Somebody always has to represent the bottom of a catergory and it appears Acura is that somebody.
As long as they keep selling a ton of MDX and now the new RDX and a good number of TL and TSX they are probably happy. Even though a bunch of enthusiusts would like every car they build be track worthy. They might not be as lost as some would think but have found a way to compete better against Lexus and Infiniti which I think, in their eyes, are their biggest competitors.
I think sometimes we forget that Honda is a much smaller company than Toyota, Nissan, VAG, Mercedes, BMW, GM etc and cannot and will not try to compete on all levels as they do. Little more niche IMO.
#14528 of 16087 Re: Acura TL vs Acura TL [m6user]
Jul 30, 2012 (6:45 pm)
I'm amazed that this is now a topic- Acura died with the deaths of the NSx and the integra - would also throw the no coupe, no convertible, no sports car, terrible flagship, no v8, dropping the turbo 4, the second tsx, the beak of the line, the Zdx, the delay in a 6speed auto, fwd... I need to take a breath - I'm missing a fewthings - this was a thougth 4 years ago Now it's obvious- just like its obvious that the tsx (gen 2) should never have been included in Ellps- I agree standard TL should go as well.
Curse of the beak.
#14529 of 16087 Re: Acura TL vs Acura TL [m6user]
Jul 30, 2012 (9:54 pm)
The Acura TSX is actually a re-badged Accord. In Japan, it sells as the "Accord". So it's not viable for this category at all - not even close. No matter what lipstick and dress they put on the thing, it's still not a luxury car.
How does this tie into the TL?
The TL is sold as an extra-large Accord over there. Essentially exactly what Toyota did with the Camry and Avalon. Same basic idea, just larger. Honda is pimping it out as a luxury car, but it's really a large family sedan. Essentially a Japanese Buick Lucerne.
It's simply not part of this category, at least not in Japan it wouldn't be. Perhaps because we have such a miserable selection of good cars in the U.S. compared to most of the rest of the world we might consider it to be a performance sedan, but it's really not.
I'd buy a CTS over a TL in a millisecond.
#14530 of 16087 Re: Acura TL vs Acura TL [plekto]
Jul 30, 2012 (10:29 pm)
Is a CTS-V quite a bit different car than the base CTS? Is the Shelby Mustang quite a different car than a base V6 Mustang? I don't believe just because a car is sold somwhere else that outfitting the car completely different doesn't change the character of the car. The same can be said of the Honda CR-X and the Acura RDX. They share some(very little) attributes but one only has to feel and drive them to understand they are not the same vehicle whatsoever. The people that say the new RDX is just a CR-X with some lipstick are clearly ill informed and probably have not been in both but just repeating others. I'm sure there are many more examples of plainjane autos that with the right equipment become completely different experiences.
I really don't know much about the Euro Accord except that the TSX is based on it. I guess I'm not that hung up on the fact that a premium car here is not considered a premium car elsewhere and I don't worry about what is offered in other countries that we don't get here either. If it bothered me that much I guess I'd have to move there or quit bitchin about it.
#14531 of 16087 Re: Acura TL vs Acura TL [m6user]
Jul 31, 2012 (12:29 am)
But... quite literally, the TSX *is* the Accord in Japan. No change. They just swap the console over to the left side, change the lights and so on to U.S. DOT approved ones, change the nav system (if equipped) to a U.S. one, slap an Accura badge on it, and it's done.
The TSX *is* a great car, mind you, but as the real Accord, you'd expect it to be. What we get as the "Accord" over here is actually an in-between car, much like how the Corolla is in between the Camry and the Yaris. In Japan, to compete with Toyota, they actually sell four main levels. Toyota would be Yaris/Corolla/Camry/Avalon. Honda is City/Civic/Inspire(U.S. Accord)/Accord(U.S. TSX) all "Honda" on the badge.
All not premium cars in Japan or Europe, either. It's such a scummy tactic to offer us fewer dumbed-down cars and then charge us a significant up-charge for an Acura badge.
It's big, soft, and front wheel drive. The 4 cylinder engine is noisy and rough, the steering is vague, and while it's lovely to look at, and has a great interior, it's simply not even close to cars like the C class, the CTS, and the G37. Let alone a 3 series.