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Contender #1 – Acura’s TL

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The Acura 2011 TL AWD with Technology Package

If you’ve been keeping up I’ve been hunting for a new car to augment my truck that is in need of some TLC and to reduce my environmental footprint save at the pump. I have narrowed the search down to 2 cars, the 2011 Subaru Legacy 3.6R Limited, a 2009 Volvo S60 AWD, and a 2011 Acura TL AWD with Technology package (yes this how it is stated on the fact sheet on the car). I can see why so many people drive this car, it is NICE.

TL InteriorThe body styling is awesome. It looks aggressive, but subtle at the same time. The inside is like a cave lots of head room and leg room. I’m pretty tall and I had to pull my chair up quite a bit to get to a comfortable driving position. I’m sure there will be plenty of room for the back passengers.Also, the cabin was quiet, like library quiet while, I could hear my fiancé talk which is mostly a problem in my Pathfinder. Road noise is kept to a complete minimum and that provides one to fully take in the luxury of this vehicle.

This car can move, it’s fitted with a 307 hp V6 engine and a 5 speed auto-manual transmission. I really like having the capability to shift on my own, without having to use a clutch, even though I’m still interested in learning how to drive a true manual. It also comes with paddle shiftersJ. I was able to let the engine roar a little bit, but I had precious cargo in there with me and I didn’t want anything bad to happen to her. The shifting is smooth, even when shifting manually.

TL ExteriorWith the Volvo saying, “Let’s be seen,” and the Legacy screaming, “Peddle to the metal,” the TL is a nice balance of both. The TL is not without its faults, however. In my search to find a more fuel efficient vehicle I have to weigh this factor into the equation and the TL is at the bottom of the totem pole here. With a MPG of 17 city/25 highway and range of miles 314.5/462.5 it’s highly inefficient for me. Now I’m not looking for 30 or 40 MPG, if I was, I would have looked at a hybrid, but I want something that can go a whole week without the gas light coming on. This car really lags in that regard. With the Volvo S60 coming in at 19/28 and the Legacy coming in at 18/25, the TL needs to find a way to get more efficiency from its engine.

While the cabin is roomy and there is plenty of head and legroom, there is a weird non-driving foot rest and keeps my knee bended. I felt it maybe a min or 2 after getting in. I’m not sure what it was but after getting out, the back of my knee was kind of sore. This is a reoccurring pain that I should probably have checked out but until I do it is what it is. Needless to say while not the car’s fault it is something I have considered.

This is a lot of car and lots of car comes with lots of price tag and the TL is no exception. With a price tag of about $42,000 (cost of the one that was test drove) it’s steeper than I was preparing to go for a new vehicle and is the highest priced car in the competition.

The last thing that got to me can be a gift or a curse depending on how you look at it, (to me it’s a little of both). The layout of the radio and console is full of buttons. Buttons on the steering wheel, buttons for the radio, buttons for the nav, buttons for the climate controls. The thing looks like something out of a Blackbird cockpit. Don’t get me wrong but I like buttons and I like to have my controls separate so that I don’t inadvertently push a button that I didn’t want. It is however cumbersome to try to utilize why keeping focused on the road.This is a vehicle that you will have to set everything up before you hit the road and leave as is.

Well there you have it. One car down, two more to go.