1997 Acura TL Review

Pros & Cons

  • Typical Acura luxury, refinement, and reliability.
  • Cramped back seat.
List Price Estimate
$676 - $1,631

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Edmunds' Expert Review

Vehicle overview

Acura's all-new TL replaces the defunct Vigor in the lineup, and heralds the debut of a new nomenclature scheme at Honda's upscale division. Seems consumers were getting too cozy with names like Legend, Vigor and Integra, and weren't paying much attention to the fact that these were Acuras. By switching to letters and numbers, Acura hopes to focus more attention on the Acura brand name. Within several years, all Acuras will be designated by alphanumeric names, except the NSX, which won't be changing.

The TL comes in two flavors: 2.5-liter five cylinder (2.5) and 3.2-liter V6 (3.2). Each model gets unique front styling, though at first glance you'll be hard-pressed to see the differences. The V6 is shod with larger tires as well, though the 2.5TL is marketed as the sportier version. Hmmm....

Inside, the TL is sumptuously comfortable, as long as you're riding in the front seat. While the TL is larger inside than the Vigor it replaces, the rear seat is still no picnic for big passengers, and the rear windows won't go all the way down. Smaller people will feel quite comfortable on the supportive rear bench. Classy gauge markings compliment tasteful wood appliqués on the dash, which is laid out in typical Acura fashion: perfectly. The quality of the interior materials and the feel of the switchgear approaches that of the vaunted Lexus ES 300, though some glossy plastic on the armrest door handles detract from the ambiance.

Exterior styling is attractive, but unadventurous. Still, we prefer the Acura to the Infiniti I30, which looks like a Maxima with lots of aftermarket garbage hung on it. The TL looks sleek, with a long, high hood, small greenhouse, and abbreviated rear deck. The tail treatment is too close to Toyota's Avalon, and the rear bumper fascia is too characterless for a near-luxury entry.

Overall, we like the conservative TL. It should compete fairly well in this crowded price segment, if it can manage to steal some attention from the I30 and Oldsmobile Aurora.

1997 Highlights

Vigor replacement designed to do battle with new Infiniti I30 and the Lexus ES300 in the near-luxury segment. Cleanly styled with room for four, the new TL-Series comes with either a 2.5- liter, inline five- cylinder, or a smooth, 3.2-liter V6.

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the Used 1997 Acura TL.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

4.13 out of 5 stars
Good car but not great
divergentdan,01/08/2013
3.2 4dr Sedan
I bought a '97 TL because the trannys on the 99-03s are notorious for failing. Bought the car with 138K and now it's up to 176K. I've replaced radiator ($150), axles+tie rod ($450), fuel pump ($250), starter ($150). Also replaced regular things (battery $100, rotors and pads $300). The car does tend to overheat, but it's usually caused by air in the cooling system so you just need to bleed the system when it does and it takes care of the problem 95% of the time. Gas mileage is just OK (26-28 highway, 24 combined). Slow windows is a universal problem. Otherwise it's a good car.
5 out of 5 stars
'97 TL, an Excellent Car
Clay,12/31/2005
3.2 4dr Sedan
Excellent car in every way. At 110,000 miles the dealer replaced the o2 sensor and the spark plugs under the free Acura extended emissions warranty (up to 150,000 miles). Otherwise the car has been extremely reliable with only regular maintenance. Regular maintenance costs were low. The paint and the fit and finish of all interior and exterior parts are still great after eight years of use. And it's still comfortable and fun to drive with good acceleration, braking, and handling.
5 out of 5 stars
This is my secon Acura 2.5 T L
ave8tor,06/25/2012
2.5 Premium 4dr Sedan
I have now owned two Acura 2.5 T L's. What an excellent automobile. The first one I sold after putting on almost 300,000Kms with just regular maintance. The only major problem is the manifold cracked and was not repairable, a $2,000 fix. Other than that I loved the car. The paint was excellent, and the interior stood up well, with just a few cracks in the leather interior. I purchased my second 2.5 t l in Geroria with only 40,000 miles on the spedo. Drove it Canada and had it totalled in a rear end collision with a pick up truck this week. I would recommend this car for its comfort, economy, and reliability and driving performance. A true five (5) star automobile.
4.88 out of 5 stars
1997 Acura TL
todd,04/22/2009
2.5 Premium 4dr Sedan
This is the best vehicle I have owned yet. It currently has 285,000 kms and going strong. I just replaced my cv axle. It drives smooth, quiet and peppy as ever. I do find my fan (blower) isn't working as well as it used to but if that's my only problem... then I really don't have any. Still keeps up with the best of them.

Safety

NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver4 / 5
    Passenger4 / 5
  • Side Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
  • Side Barrier Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    DriverNot Rated
    PassengerNot Rated
  • Combined Side Barrier & Pole Ratings
    Front SeatNot Rated
    Back SeatNot Rated
  • Rollover
    RolloverNot Rated
    Dynamic Test ResultNo Tip
    Risk Of RolloverNot Rated
IIHS Rating
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
  • Side Impact Test
    Not Tested
  • Roof Strength Test
    Not Tested
  • Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
    Not Tested
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test
    0

More about the 1997 Acura TL

Used 1997 Acura TL Overview

The Used 1997 Acura TL is offered in the following submodels: TL Sedan. Available styles include 3.2 4dr Sedan, 2.5 Premium 4dr Sedan, 2.5 4dr Sedan, and 3.2 Premium 4dr Sedan. Pre-owned Acura TL models are available with a 3.2 L-liter gas engine or a 2.5 L-liter gas engine, with output up to 200 hp, depending on engine type. The Used 1997 Acura TL comes with front wheel drive. Available transmissions include: 4-speed automatic.

What's a good price on a Used 1997 Acura TL?

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Which used 1997 Acura TLS are available in my area?

Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 1997 Acura TL for sale near. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a used car from our massive database to find cheap prew-owned vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a used vehicle you're interested in, check the AutoCheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the Used 1997 Acura TL.

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Find a used Acura TL for sale - 3 great deals out of 7 listings starting at $23,250.

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Find a used certified pre-owned Acura TL for sale - 11 great deals out of 20 listings starting at $19,026.

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Should I lease or buy a 1997 Acura TL?

Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

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