Road Test: 2010 Acura TL - SH-AWD

Road Test: 2010 Acura TL - SH-AWD

11.06.2010: Text: Iain Shankland / Images: Acura Something happened this week that has never happened before… usually it takes many months and 30-35 cars before “my new favourite” is replaced by another “new favourite car.” Last week I drove the Acura RL and a

Text: Iain Shankland / Images: Acura






Something happened this week that has never happened before… usually it takes many months and 30-35 cars before “my new favourite” is replaced by another “new favourite car.” Last week I drove the Acura RL and announced it was my new favourite car – it was even better than the out-going Mitsubishi Evo X.

Now I spend a day with the Acura TL – with a manual and the wonderful SH-AWD system and wouldn’t you know it…IT is now my new favourite car!!! Two changes in the matter of one week – what is the world coming to?



First Impressions

There is a consensus among most automotive journalists’ that there is no point in having the Acura RL when the TL does everything just as well but at a lower price-point – especially now that the TL is available with Acura’s SH-AWD system.. I however, disagree – I believe there is a market for both - these are two completely different cars; with the RL being just a bit bigger and offering a more luxurious ride compared to the TL (though I do agree the TL is the superior ride dollars for features). I had the perfect opportunity to compare the two because I went directly from one to the other within minutes and drove them back to back over a two week period.

Getting behind the wheel of the TL, I immediately notice that there are far fewer buttons on the centre console when compared to the RL. It looks cleaner and in my opinion better. The steering wheel is quite a bit smaller and very fat – very similar to BMW’s M sport wheel.


The 2010 Acura TL comes in two models; the base model comes with front-wheel-drive and gets a 3.5-litre SOHC V-6 aluminum alloy engine with 209 Kw (280 hp) at 6200 rpm and 344 Nm (254 lb-ft) of torque at 5000 rpm. Moving up to the next model you get Acura’s Super Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD) system and the larger engine with more oomph – a 3.7-litre SOHC V-6 aluminum alloy engine with 225Kw (305 hp) at 6300 rpm and 372 Nm (275 lb-ft) of torque at 5000 rpm - also found in the Acura RL. Both models come with a 6-speed manual transmission or an optional 5-speed automatic with paddle shifters (at no extra cost). A Technology Package is available on both models.

Starting the engine is just a matter of pushing the big red button – the key fob can remain in your pocket indefinitely because you don’t even need it to lock/unlock the doors. To unlock, you simply place your hand behind the door handle and to lock you press a little rubber button on the handle. There is a two person memory system for the seats and mirrors, so once you’ve got everything set perfectly you don’t need to worry about someone getting in a screwing up your seat (I hate it when that happens). The steering wheel is manually tilt and telescopic adjustable.

Driving off onto public roads, I notice that the TL feels considerable lighter than the RL, but the RL certainly didn’t feel heavy by any stretch of the imagination. The clutch is very light, but a little difficult to modulate for smooth shifting through the gears – I must point out however that this only occurred when the car was cold (sitting in below-freezing temperatures) for some time. Once the car was warmed up – less than 5 minutes – it was perfectly smooth and slick to operate, as you’d expect of a Honda gearbox/clutch system.

One serious problem I encountered immediately with the TL was the “Oh My God!!! This fast!!!!!” syndrome. If I thought the RL was quick, then the TL erased all memories of my previous week with the RL. Seriously – this car is phenomenal! The steering, the accelerator pedal, the seats, the brakes, the suspension  – it’s like Acura took the best and put it into the RL – and then dialed everything up two notches and stuffed it into the TL!!


SH-AWD system…

For those of you that have your eyes glaze over when tech people explain details that you don’t understand – or you simply don’t want to understand, then skip the next paragraph. For those of you that are into the nuts and bolts of how a car works, here are the SH-AWD system details… According to Acura, the system offers dramatically enhanced traction, control and acceleration in all weather conditions. Accelerate and the system directs up to 40% of the engine's torque to the rear wheels to, in turn, deliver full power to the ground.

During a moderate corner the rear wheels help generate cornering power. Electronic sensors monitor the speed and tightness of the turn, and automatically vary torque to the outside cornering rear wheel, resulting in enhanced stability and driver control. During Acceleration through a corner, the outside cornering wheel gets up to 100% of the available rear wheel torque and is accelerated to rotate 5% faster than the inside cornering wheel, providing greater turning force and an incredibly stable corner line.

During straight-line cruising, the SH-AWD's sophisticated electronic controls automatically monitor road conditions and alternate torque from front to rear, as well as splitting rear wheel torque from left to right. The end result is a continuously smooth, stable ride even in poor weather or road conditions.


Welcome back…


One thing that I did notice and wasn’t expecting was the amount of torque-steer when I mashed the go pedal. It usually only happened when I was overtaking a slower moving vehicle – I’d drop down a gear and floor the throttle only for some torque-steer to grab at the wheel as the speed rose and the AWD system kicked in. I’ve driven the previous generation TL which was front wheel drive and don’t remember ever having an issue with torque-steer back then – that was why it stood out – the lack of it was impressive.

Being prepared for it after the initial surprise made the overtaking maneuver a “hold-your-breathe-till-it’s-done” thrill for a couple of seconds. Perhaps in the summer with summer tires this whole explanation would be moot, but winter challenges certainly brought this to the fore.

Rear seat accommodation is perfectly acceptable for a car of this size. Getting in is easy enough and once seated it’s a very comfortable environment in which to spend some time. It’s definitely a two-person back seat, because even if you had someone small enough to sit on the middle area, you’d have to really hate them if you expected them to spend more than a few seconds sitting there.

Headroom, hip and knee room are more than adequate – even with the front seat pushed all the way back. Getting out may be a little bit of a problem for those with very large feet as there is a limited amount of space in the foot area when getting out – something that you don’t realize when getting in to the car.




The TL has a roomy, 371-litre trunk, but note that the TL SH-AWD’s is a touch smaller at 354-litres (the TL SH-AWD has a smaller trunk due to floor pan intrusions required to make space for the SH-AWD’s rear differential). Either way, it’s plenty big and I didn’t notice a difference from the larger RL Acura.

If you choose to go with the Technology Package, you get an Acura/ELS Surround premium sound system with 10 speakers and 440 watts of power. Also included is a single disc player that plays: DVD-Audio, CD audio, DTS CD, Dolby ProLogic II,  MP3 or WMA files (on CD) and a 12.7-GB hard disk drive (HDD) media storage system (including track information provided by Gracenote®), Bluetooth® Audio, USB port and an auxiliary jack.

The sound quality is nothing short of spectacular. Also included is Acura’s terrific Sat-Nav system which has the added bonus of Voice Recognition.



The Conclusion

I didn’t want to give the keys back – that’s how much I loved this car. The price is definitely worth it when compared to its immediate competition. A friend of mine purchased a TL in 1994, paying only $90 less than what the 2010 model commands – considering all the added features, it truly boggles the mind how they’ve kept the price down over all these years. 

Some may have issues with its appearance; the odd looking front and even the rear of the car, but you won’t see that when you are sitting behind the wheel. To be perfectly honest I loathed the look when I first saw it about a year ago, but it’s grown on me, so obviously Acura are on to something… give it time and it’ll improve with age like a fine wine.



+ PLUSES:

Rush of power from the go pedal

Sharp suspension and steering

Very comfortable seats

Acura Super Handling All-Wheel Drive system

As much fun or more than the  Mitsubishi Evo X – same price too!



- MINUSES:

Nothing that I can think of

Immediate Competition:

BMW 335 Xi, Hyundai Genesis, Lexus ES 350/450, Lincoln MKZ, Volvo S-60



By The Numbers…

Powertrain:            3.7L 24-valve SOHC VTEC V-6; Multi-Point Programmed Fuel Injection (PGM-FI®) system; 6-speed manual transmission; SH-AWD

Horsepower (Kw):     305 (227) @ 6,300 rpm

Torque (N.m.):         275 (372) @ 5,000 rpm

0-100 kph:         5.8 seconds


Curb Weight:         1,801 kg

Cargo Capacity:     Passenger Volume: 2,781 litres  //  Cargo: 371 litres

Towing capacity:     N/A

Fuel Consumption:

City: 12.3 L/100 kms  //  Highway: 8.3 L/100 kms
I averaged 10.9 L/100 kms during some very aggressive (combined) driving, and 8.8 L/100 kms during 100% highway driving @ 120 km/h.


Pricing for the 2010 Acura TL SH-AWD

Base Price: $39,990 [Cdn] – (FWD)
As Tested: $48,490 [Cdn] (SH-AWD + Tech Package)
Please visit your local dealer for the latest prices and incentives.

 

Copyright © 2010 by Iain Shankland – www.twitter.com/Road_Test   / www.Road-Test.org

This original, copyrighted material may NOT be copied, used in whole or in part in any way, cut and pasted, published or otherwise reproduced in any form or in any medium - which means DO NOT post this on another website or BBS. If you want somebody else to see this, send them a link or post a link to this page.

Permanent-URL: http://www.automobilsport.com/road-test-acura-tl-sh-awd-2010-by-iain-shankland-impressions-fuel-consumption---81738.html

11.06.2010 / MaP

More News

Road Test Special: Man’s Best Friend, Shouldn’t He Wear A Seatbelt Too?
02.06.2010
Text & Images: Iain ShanklandEvery day, people all over the world load their dogs into their vehicles. The trip could be short, or long, to the vet or off to the local park for a bit of exercise. People take their dogs everywhere - they visit friends, more >>
Road Test Special: Toyota and the Runaway Vehicles
19.05.2010
Text: Iain Shankland / Images: Toyota Unless you've been living under a rock for the past 6 months or so, you already know all about the problems and media-induced panic that has been attached to Toyota v more >>
Road Test: 2010 Acura RL Elite
05.05.2010
Text: Iain Shankland / Images: Acura/Honda   When I last drove the Acura RL several years ago, I absolutely loved the styling, however, while I liked it, there were too many niggly things that left me somewhat disappointed. With an All-new RL for 2010 I more >>
Honda Accord Crosstour 4WD - Road Test: 2010
13.04.2010
Text: Iain Shankland / Images: Honda   The Honda Crosstour is the first of several new vehicles that will be popping up in the coming months that are all quite similar. There’s the BMW 5 Series Grand Turismo, the Acura ZDX, one from Audi, and a couple of more >>
Volvo XC60 3.2 AWD
09.04.2010
Road Test: 2010 Text: Iain Shankland / Images: Iain Shankland & VolvoIt’s been a while since I’ve driven a Volvo CUV, so when the opportunity came up to take the all-new XC60 for a week I jumped at the chance. I’d eyeballed the more >>
2010 Dodge Ram 1500 Laramie 4x4 Crew Cab
03.04.2010
Road Test: Text / Images: Iain Shankland   The last time I drove the full-size Dodge Ram, I had a hard time climbing into the cab because it was so far off the ground. Since the Dodge Ram 1500 was completely re-designed for the 2009 model year more >>
Lexus RX 450h Road test
24.03.2010
Road Test: Text / Images: Iain Shankland It’s been a couple of years since I last drove the Lexus RX hybrid. It was so outstanding my wife and I wanted to trade our first-born for one.. too bad we only had a chinchilla to trade.For the more >>
BMW 335d Road test
18.03.2010
Road Test Text: Iain Shankland / Images: Iain & Gail Shankland (BMW - car pictures) This week’s road test is actually a holiday test… we spent a week in Germany and what better vehicle could there be to drive around in than a BMW? The road t more >>
2010 Toyota Venza AWD
09.03.2010
Road Test: Text / Images: Iain ShanklandThe Toyota Venza appears at a time when we’re inundated by CUV’s (Crossover Utility Vehicles) of all shapes and sizes. So it begs the question: Do w more >>
Road Test: 2010 Kia Soul “4u+”
04.03.2010
Text & Images: Iain Shankland When my wife first laid her eyes on the Kia Soul at the auto show, right then and there she wanted one. I was intrigued, but not overly thrilled at owning one (I don’t have a vehicle of my own – more >>
Road Test: 2010 Toyota Prius
28.02.2010
Text & Images: Iain Shankland Well it had to happen… sooner or later I had to get a Prius to test drive for a week. I’ve driven all kinds of hybrids over the years, but I’ve always managed to avoid the mother of all pretentious-tree-huggi more >>
Ford Edge Sport AWD Road Test: 2010
10.02.2010
Text & Images: Iain Shankland   I last drove the Edge back in April of 2007 and I quite liked it. I wasn’t really setting out to request another road test with it, but Ford suggested I give the Edge Sport a try. It had that one thing going for it … the designation &l more >>
Road Test: 2010 Ford F-150 4x4 SuperCrew Lariat
04.02.2010
Text & Images: Iain Shankland  It’s been a year or two since I’ve taken a full-size pickup truck for a road test. With the Ford F-150 being all-new in 2009 and having major improvements over the 2008, I thought it would be a good time to test one. S more >>
2010 Mitsubishi Evolution X (MR)
21.01.2010
Road Tes by Iain Shankland / Images: Mitsubishi / Iain Shankland Sweaty palms, shortness of breath and a racing heartbeat. I didn’t know it yet but I had fallen in love.  That was the first few seconds of my experience behind the wheel of the 20 more >>
Mitsubishi Lancer GTS Road Test
13.01.2010
Road Test: 2010 by Iain Shankland / Images: Mitsubishi & Iain Shankland While the base Lancer without the lower body kit and rear wing is no dog, the GTS adds enough looks and pizzazz to make it a far more attractive car. But it’s not just different in the looks department - for 2009 the GTS got a bigger engine and therefore becomes a completely differen more >>
Ford Flex SEL AWD
06.01.2010
Road Test 2010 Text & Images: Iain Shankland The first time I actually got to see the Flex in person was at the 2008 Canadian International Auto Show. Superstar designer Chip Foose was introducing his version of the Flex along with the Foose F-150 more >>
Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Sahara
29.12.2009
Road Test: 2009 Text & Images: Iain ShanklandThe last time I drove a Jeep Wrangler was many years ago – back when they were called either a TJ or a YJ. They were bouncy and a little primitive to say the least. Other adjectives you could use to describe the more >>
2009 Mitsubishi iCar
22.12.2009
Road Test by Iain Shankland / Images: Mitsubishi / Gail & Iain Shankland I first saw the iCar at the Toronto Auto Show in February 2009. At the time the president of Mitsubishi Canada was telling the auto journalist crowd that he was rooting f more >>
FORD Makes Parallel Parking A Breeze & Shows Us Some Very Useful Safety Features
17.12.2009
Road Test Special: Text: Iain Shankland / Images: Iain Shankland & Ford While Ford was encouraging us to put the Fiesta through its paces, they took the opportunity to showcase a couple of their new safety items.  Last week we covered the ingenio more >>
FORD Shows Us Some Very Useful Safety Features – MyKey And Other Safety Innovations
09.12.2009
Road Test Special by Iain Shankland / Images: Ford While Ford were encouraging us to put the Fiesta through its paces, they also took the opportunity to demonstrate a couple of their “exciting” new features that when I first heard abou more >>
2009 Dodge Nitro R/T
02.12.2009
Road Test Text & Images: Iain Shankland This review is almost a part 2, and more of an up-date - as opposed to a full-blown Road Test. Last week I covered the mid-range Nitro SLT and I loved it. This review is based on the top level R/T which has a bigg more >>
2009 Dodge Nitro SLT
26.11.2009
Road Test Text Iain Shankland / Images: Iain & Gail Shankland When I saw the Dodge Nitro at the Toronto International Auto Show a couple of years ago, and I thought it was a great-looking truck in a manly sort of way. I knew right away it would be the kind of more >>
We Drive The European Ford Fiesta A Year Before Arriving In North America
19.11.2009
Road Test Special by Iain Shankland / Images: Iain & Gail Shankland and Ford Ford is the only one of the “Big Three” that didn’t declare bankruptcy and they didn’t go crawling to the U.S. and Cana more >>
2009 Toyota Tacoma Access Cab
12.11.2009
Road Test:  Text / Images: Iain Shankland Toyota trucks have been known worldwide for years as being indestructible. If you’ve ever seen the BBC TV show Top Gear, then you’ll know how much abuse the Toyota can take and still live to drive home. They& more >>
Road Test Special Report: Is It Worth Buying A Hybrid To Save Money On Fuel?
05.11.2009
We Take the 2009 Toyota Camry Hybrid On A Summer Holiday To Get The AnswerText & Images: Iain Shankland A couple of years ago I drove a Toyota Camry hybrid on an extended run of a whirl-wind trip from Niagara Falls to the Road America Racetrack  in more >>
Volvo C30 VER 2.0 / T5 Automatic
29.10.2009
Road Test:Text & Images: Iain ShanklandHaving driven the C30 T5 a couple of years ago and loved it, I couldn’t pass up the unique opportunity to drive another while on a business trip/vacation in California. The manual transmission in the C30 T5 is one of the sweetest and slickest gearboxes available; however, since probably 90% of these car more >>
2009 Dodge Charger SRT8
22.10.2009
Road Test Text & Images: Iain Shankland A couple of years  ago I had the opportunity to drive the Daytona Charger. It was bright Orange and turned out to be a head-turner for people of all ages – men and women, kids and dogs. When Chrys more >>
Road Test & Beyond: Dream Garage
17.10.2009
Transform a Dingy Garage into Dual-Purpose Space - For a Car and a Portrait StudioRecently my wife and I faced the daunting task of finding a more appropriate space to call home for our portrait photography business.  Needing to keep overhead to a minim more >>
2009 MINI Cooper S Clubman
16.10.2009
Road Test: 2009 MINI Cooper S ClubmanText & Images: Iain ShanklandHaving grown up in the UK, the Mini has always been an integral part of the roadscape to me. From the familiar and traditional 2-door version to a station wagon (Clubm more >>
2001-2021 copyright automobilsport.com