Anybody can make a great car -- just pick out some wow factor that seems intriguing and ignore every other aspect. You can have power, or luxury, or economy, or almost anything else, as long as you toss every other consideration aside. The TL-S isn't great by any of those standards, and that's it's best feature. It can accelerate well enough to get on any highway, handle well enough to stay out of trouble, offer enough comfort and quiet so that you don't mind spending a day in the car, all at a price that's still within shouting distance of being reasonable, with acceptable gas mileage. FWIW, the model has had transmission problems -- Honda extended the warranty and didn't keep it secret
The car simply inspires confidence -- the acceleration and handeling are good enough so that I feel secure (and it has a full range of safety features, just in case.)
I wish the gas mileage were a bit better -- or that it ran on regular gasoline.
Acceleration, handling and braking are good. Interior fit/finish still the Honda/Acura levels. Reliability an issue. I knew about the recall on the trans, mine was repaired, but then had to replace trans at 52,000 miles. Battery replaced, factory replacement died after 7,000 miles. Headroom could be better as could fuel economy. Seat adjustability needs better range. Bought Type-S instead of Premium because seats fit me better as a taller person (regular seats too cushy and cut head room for me). Exterior striping is a decal instead of black metal which is now bubbling. If buying a 1999-2003 TL research wisely and make sure the car is solid before purchasing.
Ergonomics excellent, comfortable ride for all types of car trips. Stealth looks for car with higher power ratings. Just enough sport for a family sedan.
Mechanical/accessory reliability. Trans, brakes and little inane things like the light for the clock could better better. Accessing panel for clock involved taking IP out, which is not fun. Dealer would charge a lot to replace a $3 bulb.
I bought this off a lease return with 45K miles on it a year ago. Now I have 57K miles. Overall I'm happy with the car. I have the Aegean Blue, with navi. Looks pretty gangsta, plus nobody where I live has an Acura, so I stand out. But I do notice that the tranny is shifting a bit harder now and is starting to have a bit of trouble picking appropriate gear between 40-50 mph. But then again, I think I'm due for a transmission fluid service at 60K, so it may resolve itself after that service.
Great set of standard features without having to pay extra, navi, Bose speakers (no booming bass here, but very clear sound), nice stock rims.
Telescoping steering wheel (going in and out), dual climate control, LED lights.
Have had 3 transimissions in this car, so far, not to mention little annoying items that don't work or break (air vents close when fan on high, center console latch broke within 2 months of purchase, etc.). Given the purchase price and expected quality, am extremely disappointed in this car. Will never buy another Acura!