Full 2007 Acura TL Review
What's New for 2007
After a three-year absence, the performance-oriented "Type-S" trim level returns. It features a 286-horsepower, 3.5-liter version of Acura's SOHC 32-valve VTEC-equipped V6, a sport-tuned suspension and Brembo high-performance front and rear disc brakes. The Type-S also gets a unique front fascia, quad tailpipes, specific 17-inch wheels and paddle shifters for the five-speed automatic transmission when that option is ordered. The regular TL continues forward with freshened exterior styling and a revised center stack and instrument panel. However the six-speed manual transmission and Brembo brakes are now restricted solely to the Type-S model.
With the introduction of the distinctively styled, well-detailed third-generation TL back in 2004, Acura finally established its place in the midsize luxury market. Sharing much of its engineering with the Honda Accord (and built alongside it at Honda's Marysville, Ohio assembly plant), the TL is an exquisitely competent front driver that comes carrying just about the most comprehensive list of standard equipment in its class. It's always been a solid performer, and for 2007 it gets better with the reintroduction of the performance-oriented Type-S.
With a 286-hp, 3.5-liter version of Acura's SOHC 24-valve VTEC V6 thumping away under its hood, an all-independent suspension tuned to match, big Brembo disc brakes and a uniquely aggressive appearance, the Type-S instantly becomes the Acura TL to lust after. It's also now the only way to get a TL if you want the six-speed manual transmission and its accompanying limited-slip differential or paddle shifters to go with the available five-speed automatic.
Still, the regular old TL is a wonderful environment in which to survive a daily commute The front seats are among the very best in any car, the stereo is so good it alone is almost enough to justify buying the car, all the switches and controls operate with precision, the engine operates with utter serenity but still manages to have an engaging character, the suspension is well-controlled without being brutal and there's enough room in the trunk to hold the lighting section of a good-size Home Depot.
The 2007 Acura TL is not a car without limitations, but for many buyers they're the sort of limitations that don't really matter.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2007 Acura TL is a midsize entry-level luxury sport sedan. There are two trim levels: base TL and Type-S. The base TL comes well equipped with a moonroof, heated side-view mirrors, automatic headlights, leather upholstery, power and heated front seats, dual-zone climate control, HomeLink and full power accessories. The astounding ELS Surround Premium eight-speaker sound system with DVD audio capability is also standard. The sole option is Acura's satellite-based navigation system that integrates both a rearview camera and voice-recognition ability with the "AcuraLink" real-time traffic-reporting system.
The TL Type-S receives a more powerful engine, a sport-tuned suspension, performance tires and more powerful brakes. The navigation system is standard, the interior is trimmed with aluminum and fake carbon fiber instead of fake wood, special sport seats promise more lateral support, the LED instrumentation glows red and blue and the pedals are finished in aluminum. On the outside the front fascia has a deeper front airdam, the side skirts are more pronounced, there's a deck lid spoiler, the taillights glow with LED brilliance, there are four exhaust outlets and the special 17-inch wheels, front grille and other trim all feature a dark matte finish.
Powertrains and Performance
Base TL sedans have a 258-hp 3.2-liter V6 under their hood, lashed to a five-speed automatic transmission with sequential manual shifting that drives the front wheels. The TL Type-S has a 286-hp 3.5-liter version of the same V6 hooked to either a six-speed manual transaxle and limited-slip differential or the five-speed automatic with paddle shifters for manual operation.
The driver side and passenger dual-stage, dual-threshold airbags are supplemented by side airbags for the driver side and front passenger and side curtain airbags for both front and rear passengers. A Vehicle Stability Assist (VSA) program helps keep the car upright while antilock and electronic brakeforce distribution systems ensure the four discs aboard stop the car. The 2007 Acura TL gets the top five-star rating from NHTSA for frontal impact and side impact safety. The IIHS rated the TL "Good" (the best rating possible) for protection in frontal-offset crashes and gave it a "Best Pick" designation after its front-offset crash tests.
Interior Design and Special Features
Among its peers, the TL luxury sport sedan has one of the best interiors with an elegant design, excellent material quality and nicely shaped seats. The cockpit has a stylish two-tone color scheme, aluminum inlays and an attractive set of bright blue electroluminescent gauges. There's plenty of room for a pair of adults to ride in back, and the trunk holds 12.5 cubic feet of cargo.
Both the TL and TL Type-S receive suspension revisions for 2007. Collectively, the effect is a crisper and more controlled car without the harshness usually associated with sport tuning. We've driven all its competitors and the TL is definitely the smoothest operator on all types of pavement. The Type-S is just slightly edgier but still within the acceptable range. However, dedicated driving enthusiasts will likely be a little disappointed with the front-drive layout, as it prevents the car from being as fun to drive as other sport sedans like the BMW 3 Series and Infiniti G35.