Hi there! I just wanted to share my personal experience in driving an Acura 2.5 TL 1996, in stating that it has been a reliable vehicle ever since I purchased it. I'm still driving this vehicle, and it still runs well.
I have had this acura for four years now and it out performed my previous STS Cadillac. The only repair which I have had to do in the last four years was to replace the muffler. Yes, I was quoted like $600 for a muffler but, what I did was buy one using the internet with a rebate costing me only $114 usd, and then had it installed at a local mechanic for $25 since it was just three bolts to deal with but it required a lift to replace it. Overall great car!!!! I take care of it so it will last, why deal with car payments for a new one... LOL
Got this car with 135k on it for $4k and had no real problems till just recently. Ball joint on psgr. side is squeaking, and steering rack leaks p/s fluid (leakstop stopped it tho). No really BIG issues though! Wish I found a 3.2 (drove my friends one, BIG difference!), but the 2.5 is ok. Acceleration is a bit sluggish, but it is over 3k lbs. Proper maintenance keeps this bad boy running smooth. Just replaced the console with the 3.2 premium wood console. Made a world of a difference in the cockpit!
Back on 2/16/04 I wrote a review when the car had 154k. Well, it now has 214K! It's getting a bit tired now, uses a bit of oil, leaks a bit of oil, bunch more rattles and sqeaks. HOWEVER you can't go wrong with a first generation TL!! Best car I have ever owned. I am in the process of looking to buy for another 96-'98 TL with say 100k miles. I'll be giving my TL to my oldest teenager. He loves the car.
I bought my acura in 2007 from a private party with about 160,000 miles on it. Since then it's been extremely reliable, the only thing I have spent money on is brake calipers for rear left wheel. Other than that I have had no issues. My car has now 216000 miles on it and it still feels the same. I would highly recommend acura to anybody who wants to buy a used car.