2008 Acura TL Review | Edmunds.com

2008 Acura TL

Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) is a category of used car. Often late-model vehicles, they have been inspected, refurbished, if necessary, and are under warranty by the manufacturer.
Acura TL Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 3.2 L V 6-cylinder
  • Drivetrain Front Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 5-speed Automatic
  • Horse Power 258 hp @ 6200 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 18/26 mpg
  • Bluetooth Yes
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats Yes

Review of the 2008 Acura TL

  • If getting lots of bang for your buck is important, it's hard to beat the 2008 Acura TL, as few entry-level luxury cars pack its level of standard equipment. Well-built, reliable and exceedingly easy to live with as an everyday companion, the TL is a superb choice.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Roomy and well-crafted interior, impressive handling for a relatively large front-drive sedan, sweet V6 engines matched to excellent transmissions, fantastic surround-sound system, lots of standard high-tech features, top crash test scores.

  • Cons

    Not as traditionally luxurious as other models in its class, front-wheel-drive handling limitations are apparent when driven hard, lack of low-end torque in some situations.

  • What's New for 2008

    After big changes last year, including the return of the Type-S model, the 2008 Acura TL receives no significant changes.

Full 2008 Acura TL Review

What's New for 2008

After big changes last year, including the return of the Type-S model, the 2008 Acura TL receives no significant changes.


The 2008 Acura TL is increasingly becoming an oddball. While there are a handful of front-wheel-drive, entry-level luxury sedans, a scant few can claim to be truly sporty. A real high-performance driving experience can usually only be had when the power is sent to the rear wheels and occasionally all of them. The TL, particularly the Type-S model, sets itself apart by being a front driver that can keep up with (although still not surpass) such rear-drive thoroughbreds as the Infiniti G35. Yet despite this sporty nature, the TL still provides a wonderfully smooth ride and luxury appointments that will make comfort-minded customers happy.

After substantial changes last year, including the return of the Type-S model, the TL carries over unchanged for 2008. That's certainly OK, as Acura's best-selling car has always stood out from the pack since being redesigned for 2004. The TL's wedge-like shape is still attractive as ever, and its spacious interior remains a model of craftsmanship and ergonomics. The base engine operates with utter serenity but still manages to have an engaging character, while the suspension is well-controlled without being a rough rider. Its surround-sound stereo is so good, it's almost enough to justify buying the car alone.

If the TL has a particular forte, it's value. A package that bundles a voice-activated navigation system (with real-time traffic information) and a rearview camera is the lone option on the base car (standard on the Type-S), while features like Bluetooth, leather seating, power front seats, sunroof and that surround-sound system are included on all TLs. Those features are usually options on rivals that typically start at a higher base price.

For a front-wheel-drive, entry-level luxury sedan with sporting tendencies, the 2008 Acura TL is the best choice around. Its mix of driving fun, comfort, quality and value can't be beat. But if maximum handling and performance are priorities, the BMW 328i, Infiniti G35 and Lexus IS 350 are better choices. In the end, it could very well hinge on how you feel about oddballs.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2008 Acura TL is a midsize entry-level luxury sport sedan available in two incredibly well-equipped trim levels. The base TL comes standard with 17-inch wheels, bi-xenon headlights, foglights, sunroof, leather upholstery, eight-way driver and four-way passenger power/heated seats, driver memory functions, dual-zone climate control, Bluetooth and an eight-speaker surround-sound system with in-dash six-CD/DVD audio changer, auxiliary audio jack and satellite radio. The lone factory option is a navigation system that comes with a voice command interface, real-time traffic updates and a rearview camera.

The TL Type-S is the more performance-oriented trim level, adding a more powerful engine, a sport-tuned suspension and more powerful brakes. The exterior is also treated to more aggressively styled fascias and side skirts, along with a deck lid spoiler, quad exhausts and special 17-inch wheels. The navigation system and its accompanying features are standard on the Type-S, which also gets sport seats, special interior trim and different lighting. High-performance tires are the Type-S model's lone option.

Powertrains and Performance

All TL are front-wheel drive. The base TL is powered by 3.2-liter V6 that produces 258 horsepower and 233 pound-feet of torque. Unlike in the past, a five-speed automatic is the lone transmission available. Despite this being the "base" engine, it's still capable of bringing the TL from zero to 60 mph in around 6 seconds. For an even quicker experience, the Type-S is motivated by a 3.5-liter V6 good for 286 hp and 256 lb-ft of torque. Buyers have a choice of either a slick-shifting six-speed manual with a limited-slip differential, or a five-speed automatic that features paddle shifters. Expect either combination to deliver a 0-60-mph time in the mid to high 5-second range.

Fuel economy for the base 2008 TL is 18 mpg city and 26 mpg highway. The manual-equipped Type-S actually returns better mileage at 18 city and 27 highway, while the five-speed automatic gets 17/26.


The 2008 Acura TL comes standard with stability and traction control, front-seat side airbags and full-length curtain airbags. A rearview camera comes along with the available navigation system. In crash tests, the TL gets five out of five stars from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for both frontal impact protection and rear side impact protection. Front side impact testing resulted in four out of five stars. In the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's side and frontal-offset crash tests, the TL received top scores of "Good."

Interior Design and Special Features

For those who define "luxury" as prominent swaths of wood trim and chrome accents, the TL is likely to disappoint. Subtle wood trim can be found on the base model's center console, but otherwise, this Acura goes for more of a sporting motif with dominant alloy trim, and in the Type-S, faux carbon fiber. Both TL models are beautifully crafted, and that's where this luxury sedan really shines, with near bulletproof build quality and top-notch materials. The Type-S differentiates itself with more aggressively bolstered seats, red instrument lighting (versus cobalt blue) and two-tone leather.

Crammed full of electronics, the TL is thankfully pretty easy to operate -- even for those who wouldn't know the difference between an iPod and an iPhone. As Acura and Honda slowly migrate to an iDrive-like electronics interface, the TL features the good-old touchscreen setup (bolstered by voice commands) for navigation-equipped models that's easy to figure out and operate. Enjoy it while you can.

Driving Impressions

It's a well-known fact that front-wheel-drive cars tend to only take so much power before torque steer takes over and the car darts off in whichever direction it chooses. Despite healthy doses of 258 hp and 286 hp, respectively, both the base TL and Type-S manage to feel no worse for wear. Its steering is incalculably precise, and the car's cornering is tack-sharp. The Type-S in particular is the best that front-drive gets. In fact, only when driven aggressively back to back with rear-wheel-drive competitors like the Infiniti G35 or Lexus IS does the TL start to suffer from its drivetrain. Yet for a majority of buyers, the TL provides a tremendously sporty driving experience that nevertheless is the smoothest operator in its segment. Even the edgier Type-S is well within the acceptable range of ride comfort. Whether on a straight slog from K.C. to Denver or on a high-speed tour of the Smoky Mountains, the 2008 TL delivers.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

A great used choice

by on
Vehicle: 2008 Acura TL 4dr Sedan w/Navigation (3.2L 6cyl 5A)

I purchased a clean 2008 TL auto with navigation 6 weeks ago. It's a wonderful car. I'm a "car guy" but no longer a boy-racer since I'm in my 40's. I appreciate refinement and pieces that work well together. This car delivers in most areas. The first test drive sold me on the car's feel and driving dynamics. I'm 5' 11" and the car fits me like a glove. I like the view from the driver's seat, the powertrain's responsiveness and the look of the tan leather interior. I also test drove the redesigned 2009 model and definitely prefer the 2008 since it fits better. Piece of advice: be ready to spring for a new set of Michelins when you buy. Fresh tires clean up lots of problems.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

Purchased as cpo with 66,000

by on
Vehicle: 2008 Acura TL 4dr Sedan w/Navigation (3.2L 6cyl 5A)

I have put over 11,000 miles on my TL so far, and have had zero issues with it; unlike Volvo's which I had owned before it. It is white diamond with camel interior. My only problem with this type of leather is if you do not condition and clean it often it will discolor and crack (I do clean and condition it weekly). Other than that, the interior is in excellent condition. I do a lot of highway driving and will normally get around 30-31 MPG if the speed control is used and stays around 65-70. Average per tank is 23 - 25, and I have a lead foot. I highly recommend this car if you are in the market for a sporty fast sedan! I picked it over Mercedes, Infiniti and Audi.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

3rd timies a charm.

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Vehicle: 2008 Acura TL 4dr Sedan (3.2L 6cyl 5A)

Third TL in 12 years. 1st a 2000, loved it, got crushed by a semi. 2nd a 04, got crushed by a F-350, and a teenage driver. Both times the passengers exited without a scratch. Both times, we purchased something else, Lexus RX330, junk-ola, crap mpg, BMW 330Ci, great fun, even while draining the wallet, VW new Beetle, huge inside but no power. Back in a 2008 TL and it is by far the best of the best. Could use a little more power, but super smooth and great mpg for a roomy sedan that I drive way too fast. I hope I can keep this one forever.

Best entry level luxury/sports sedan!

by on
Vehicle: 2008 Acura TL 4dr Sedan w/Navigation (3.2L 6cyl 5A)

Excellent handling for a FWD sedan.Sticks to the corners like glue.Totally satisfied with the purchase. Car looks great, drives awesome and has a lot of technology at a very fair price when compared to other cars in the entry level sports sedan market. Trip from NJ to Ohio and back, twice and averaged 30MPG at 70-75 mph. One gripe about the car is the leather sucks.Seat absorbs the color of my pant !! never had this issue with my old BMW.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Happy acura tl owner

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Vehicle: 2008 Acura TL 4dr Sedan w/Navigation (3.2L 6cyl 5A)

No manufacturer has yet to build the perfect car (or everyone would drive that one car) but the Acura TL line comes close in the important categories. Best in safety, styling and reliability. Am impressed with the luxury. Seems like most of the displeasure on the sites deal with issues with uncooperative dealerships. Hint. You can go to the Honda dealers for service if needed. Have been getting 23 - 24 mph. Solidly built. Smart engineering, sensible appointments, solid door gaps. It's a Honda after all. Low cost to own when compared to similar cars (Lexus IS350 and Infiniti G37 - try getting same upgrades for same $$) or BMW 323i (expensive to own)Front wheel drive takes some getting used to

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

Heating and a/c system

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Vehicle: 2008 Acura TL 4dr Sedan w/Navigation (3.2L 6cyl 5A)

My heating and a/c system continues to fail. After running for 30 minutes the actual cabin temperature goes to about 65 in the winter and 84 in the summer. It doesn't matter where I set the temperature or what mode I shift into, the temperature stays the same. I've taken it to the dealer 5 times and left it there for days, with no fix. Finally I went to Acura Corp client relations for help. A totalwaste of time. I'm still under warranty> The biggest surprise to me has been the lack of concern or sense of urgency from Acura. I bought this car based on Acura's reputation. My experience makes me think they are resting on their laurels

Talk About The 2008 TL

2008 Acura TL Discussions See all Started By

Has anybody else out there noticed that the 2008 Honda Accord sedan has the same chassis as the Acura RL? It looks like Honda created the 2008 Accord sedan by taking an RL, slightly changing the exte...

Maybe Acura will also make the backseat fold down, make the telescoping wheel automatic, and put in rain sensetive wipers? Also a push start would not hurt either....

Hi, I noticed that most other car forums on edmunds have a specific discussion for interior squeak/rattle issues and that the TL forum currently doesn't have one and so I thought why not start one!...

Gas Mileage


  • 18
  • cty
  • 26
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs
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