What's New for 2000
A new five-speed sequential SportShift automatic transmission and free-flowing intake manifold debut. A side-airbag system becomes standard as does a dual-stage inflator for the front-passenger airbag. The optional navigation system now features a DVD database.
Acura's torch bearer into the rapidly growing near-luxury market is the TL, and it's pitted against some stiff competition in the form of the Audi A4, the Infiniti I30, the Lexus ES 300 and the Mercedes C-Class. Each of these models is already well established in the marketplace, which puts the pressure on Acura not only to meet but to exceed what those cars have to offer. The wildly popular '99 TL, with its promise of luxury, performance and value, had no problem meeting the challenge. It will likely be front and center for 2000 as well.
The TL is based on a Honda global platform, but its wheelbase is 2 inches longer than the Accord's. Unfortunately, for some reason the rear seat pays the price, becoming cramped when a tall driver is at the helm, and there's no underseat room. Storage space, on the other hand, is in abundance, including the deep center console and map pockets in the doors. The driver's seat is quite comfortable, although having only the seating surfaces upholstered in leather is disappointing, and the lack of seat height adjustability for the front passenger doesn't win points.
The only engine is a peppy 3.2-liter V6 that utilizes VTEC technology to produce 225 horsepower and 216 foot-pounds of torque, while still getting 19/29 mpg in city/highway driving. The V6 remains strong in every gear, and it can scoot from zero to 60 in under 8 seconds. This puts the TL ahead of much of its competition in the horsepower race, and we can confirm that it definitely gets out of its own way. The standard SportShift automatic transmission is quite user-friendly.
The TL offers near-luxury equipment without a hefty price, and you get more than just air conditioning and a smattering of leather. You snag a power sunroof, a 180-watt sound system with an in-dash CD, heated front seats, steering-wheel audio controls, rear heat/air vents, micron air-filtration system, traction control, and four-wheel antilock brakes because it's all standard. The super-simple navigation system is the only option, but this year it has been improved by having a matte finish to prevent fingerprint smudges. Its new database has coverage of the entire continental U.S. on only one DVD.
The TL is a car that offers sporty styling and near-luxury features for a price that is well below the class average. The TL continues to deliver performance and value in typical Acura fashion.