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MARK PHELAN: Acura TL is sporty but tends to stray

Jumpy handling mars well-appointed sedan
April 22, 2004

If you like your luxury sedans sporty and precise, I'm afraid the 2004 Acura TL is not for you.

The 2004 Acura TL five-seat sedan has a long list of standard equipment and a lean, athletic body.

The five-seat sedan has an interior worthy of a spread in Architectural Digest and a lean, athletic body, but severely twitchy handling robs the midsize sedan of the driving pleasure its sweet 270-horsepower, 3.2-liter V6 should deliver.

I found driving a lavishly equipped midsize $34,650 TL for a week was unnerving and, eventually, exhausting.

Taking the TL out for a spin was like taking a toddler to the playground: I could never relax for fear it was going to light out in some unexpected and potentially hazardous direction.

While the TL has a nasty tendency to wander when you want it to go straight, it handles reasonably well when pushed to the limits in curves and quick turns. It is noticeably nose-heavy, however, with steering that was slow to correct in fast turns and heavy braking.

That nose-heavy feel is common in front-wheel-drive cars with powerful drivetrains, but the TL's handling and steering response fell far short of the Pontiac Grand Prix GTP, which is probably the best-handling front-drive midsize sedan.
(Full Story HERE)
 

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Originally posted by Mr_Pringle@Apr 23 2004, 09:44 PM
but the TL's handling and steering response fell far short of the Pontiac Grand Prix GTP, which is probably the best-handling front-drive midsize sedan.
(Full Story HERE)
if the GTP does better than the acura. i cant wait for the GXP to come out and out performe as well. :mf_boff:

the GTP is still most bang for the buck car. at 27670$

BMW 325i $29,375

Infiniti G35 $27,950

Lexus IS 300 $30,805

Pontiac Grand Prix GTP Comp G $27,670

Acura TL Base price: $32,650 (excluding destination charges)
 

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It's odd that he gave it 2 stars out of 4, when the only shortcomings he found were in the handling. Oh well. The car is an awesome car, and the one I drove didn't show the servere torque-steer everyone talks about. The car has an absolutely awesome interior that the Grand Prix would die to have. The powertrain is awesome. It has great styling, and awesome sound system. Basically, it's what the Grand Prix wants to be. :p
 

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That's too bad to hear the writer describe the new Acura TL. I'm not a huge fan of the exterior styling, but I love the interior. I also love all the neat little gadgets that are available on the car. 270 hp can't hurt either. Front wheel drive wouldn't bother me one bit. I could live with it.

I've spent many hours thinking about the TL as my next new car, but it will have to compete against a lot of of other worthy competitors as well. I've got a few years yet, but I must admit I am somewhat taken by the TL. The new RL looks better and should perform even better, but it will be far from my price range.
 

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Speaking of Grand Prixs, I think GM did a great job updating this car. I see a lot of new 2004 Grand Prixs all over the place around here. The look is getting better and better, but I'm not sold on it yet. At least people are buying them. From my experience with my brother's 2001 Grand Prix GT coupe, the Grand Prix is a great buy. It's just that GM still let's the car down at times.
 

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don't get me wrong, I honestly think the tl is probably the BEST looking car in its class. on the other hand, once you are talking about those levels of power on a fwd, handling IS important.
altough the power looks good on paper, when you compare with the gtp (or for few extra cash, with the boneville gxp), it's not that impressive:

it has 270 hp/6,200 rpm and 238 ft-lbs/5,000 rpm vs
260 hp/5,200 rpm and 280 ft-lbs/3,600 rpm

I would chose the reliable 3.8 anytime...
 

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Originally posted by johnd89@Apr 24 2004, 06:05 AM
I would chose the reliable 3.8 anytime...
That's one of the main reasons why my brother picked up a used 2001 Grand Prix. Our family is just tired of working on engines and he needed something durable and reliable. The 3.8 came highly recommended.
 

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Nice to hear about the GTP. I didnt know that. I think the TL is ok, but its not that good.
 

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Originally posted by AJR@Apr 24 2004, 05:45 AM
Speaking of Grand Prixs, I think GM did a great job updating this car. I see a lot of new 2004 Grand Prixs all over the place around here. The look is getting better and better, but I'm not sold on it yet. At least people are buying them. From my experience with my brother's 2001 Grand Prix GT coupe, the Grand Prix is a great buy. It's just that GM still let's the car down at times.
The '04 GP's exterior look is reasonably good although it tries a little too hard to look sporty and still retains a bit of the dreaded Pontiac boy-racerness. They need to fix a few things like the awful-looking tacked-on exhaust tips that on every GP I saw on a dealer's lot were already corroded and dull. It's the interior where GM really dropped the ball. If they spent a few hundred bucks upgrading design and materials it would have gotten more consideration from me. As it is, the black plastic on the dash, the door panels and the original Uglycloth (TM Regd.) base upholstery turned me off the car the moment I saw it.
 

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I doubt many people will even drive this car THAT hard...
 

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this is why I spent a lot on my leather coach at home, because it's very important. the car on the other hand is meant to be driven. you can't chose right if you won't take the car for a test drive...
of course, anyone have priorities, but there is no excuse for uninformed or ignorant people
 

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Guys, The new GP way out-funs the crappy TL. Please, the TL more sporty than the GP? Yeah, that torqueless wonder of an engine is really fun, even when it torque steers like crazy......but without the torque. And this writer is right, it handles like you wouldn't believe, in a bad way.
 

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I don't really think you can't have fun with an automatic tranny: that is a mater of personal taste. for instance I can't have fun with a small engine without tons of tire shreding down low torque. or a car wich handles bad, or bad weight distribution. Weird enough, lately I'm having more fun at legal speeds, than at very high speeds. for instance jumping from 0 to 40mph across the intersection, or cornering at higher speeds...

in the end, you need a gearbox with 6 speeds if you have a narrow powerband, and want to catch up the big boys with the boring automatics...
 

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Well, I've test driven both a TL and a GP and I didn't notice a difference. Then again, I didn't drive it very hard. Still, I doubt that most people accelerate harshly and most can live with torque steer (look at the TL sales numbers).
 

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I would believe that anyone interested in this hp range will pretty much abuse them... come to think off, the rustang gt has the same power rating... if the ford is considered an "enthusiast car", by all means the s/c gp and tl should be considered the same!
 

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Consumer Reports can bite my @ss....

I can give you a preview of their next release:

Everything made outside the U.S. has superior quality and engineering, everything made in the US is substandard. Then they'll throw in a token product or two in order to say that they are unbaised.

Go drive the damn cars, and 9 out of 10 will agree that the GTP is superior...
 

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Originally posted by GotAWD@Apr 24 2004, 03:39 AM

the GTP is still most bang for the buck car. at 27670$

BMW 325i $29,375

Infiniti G35 $27,950

Lexus IS 300 $30,805

Pontiac Grand Prix GTP Comp G $27,670

Acura TL Base price: $32,650 (excluding destination charges)
The TL and the GP suffer from being FWD. Your list is only looking at price? For the price of a TL go get a CTS. The CTS kicks the TL's A$$.
It would be interesting to see Acura build either a AWD or a RWD car. The TL like the GP is nice but could be better.
 
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