Home Depot is all about DIY. That's "do-it-yourself" for those of you not in the know. I despise what the DIY brainwash does to me. How it works: I enter my local Home Depot looking for a screw to fix a drawer knob. Something strange happens while inside. The desire of a simple wood screw is sneakily replaced with the desire to remodel...something. Anything. When I'm inside Home Depot, I am the invincible DIYer. So I walk out with a two-handed manly man's drill, sheets of drywall, premium wood deck sealer and 14 tubes of caulk (on sale). For reference, I live in an apartment and have the mechanical inclination of a fern.
There's a new DIY thrill for 2000 -- the five-speed sequential automatic transmission found in the 2000 Acura 3.2TL Sedan. You too get to shift all five gears yourself, rather than having the car do it. To see which one is easier on the soul, we put together a comparison test. The results follow.
Home Depot vs. Acura 3.2TL SportShift Transmission The Battle of the DIYers
Home Depot: Requires support of surly orange-vested teenager. Score: 0
Home Depot: Credit card needed. Estimated average of $100 per use. Score: 1
TL SportShift: Standard equipment, but requires $30,000 deposit. Score: 0
Travel distance required to use:
Home Depot: At least a couple miles. Score: 0
TL SportShift: About 1 foot. Score: 1
Home Depot: Shopping cart with wobbly wheel. Score: 0
TL SportShift: A solid and attractive sedan. Score: 1
It's a landslide. The Acura 3.2TL's SportShift transmission beats up on Home Depot by a total score of 4 to 1. It looks like Acura's DIY transmission might have hope after all!
When we last drove an Acura 3.2TL, it was during our comparison of 1999 entry-level luxury sedans. In that test, the TL placed third out of eight cars. It was beaten out by an Audi A4 2.8 (second place) and a BMW 328i (the winner). Ultimately, we picked the BMW due to its "...world-class driving pleasure, top-notch build quality, functional ergonomics and state-of-the-art safety." However, all three of these cars were closely matched. The TL excelled in value. It was the least expensive car in our test, yet it offered a high level of standard equipment. In the rest of our categories, the TL did well, but it never managed to take first place in any of them.
It would seem that consumers agree with our findings. The current 3.2TL (introduced in Sept. 1998) has sold considerably better than the previous-generation TL it replaced. According to Automotive News Data Center, year-to-date 3.2TL sales (as of Sept. 1999) are 40,736. Compare this to the meager 13,862 sales Acura pulled in for the previous TL during the same period in 1998.
But wait, there's more! For 2000, just one year after its introduction, Acura has given the 3.2TL additional content. This includes the aforementioned five-speed SportShift transmission, improved engine power and emission characteristics, a new navigation system, and new airbag safety systems. As the rest of the car is basically the same, we will reserve most of our commentary for the new 2000 changes. As such, we recommend you also read our full '99 3.2TL Road Test, as well as our Comparison Test: Near Entry-Level Luxury Sedans.
We were perfectly happy with the '99 3.2TL's four-speed transmission. It offered clean shifts and the SportShift option was easy to use. So things only get better in 2000 with the five-speed transmission. It doesn't look much different from the cabin. The shift pattern is still arranged in the standard fore-aft line, except for now there's a detour to the back-left for first gear.
The main advantages of the new transmission are quicker acceleration and better fuel mileage. Effectively, the five-speed transmission offers a shorter first gear (for better acceleration) and a taller final gear (for better fuel mileage). Acura says that in the EPA highway driving cycle, preliminary figures show a 2 mpg increase to 29 mpg. The closer ratios also help the transmission better match driving conditions, meaning that the engine won't be caught flat-footed as often.
To activate the SportShift, the driver pulls the shift lever to the left from "drive" and into the extra shift gate pattern. Once done, the driver can manually control which gear the TL uses by pushing forward or pulling backward on the lever. As before, an LED display on the dash indicates which gear the transmission is in. A level of safety is built into the system, as the transmission's shift logic will not allow a downshift that would cause the engine to over-rev. It will not automatically shift up at redline, however, which means you can bounce off the rev limiter as much as your heart desires. We don't recommend this, of course.
Compared to leaving the transmission in "drive," we found that the SportShift makes slightly quicker gear changes. Curiously, the SportShift downshifts took less time to execute than upshifts. As a whole, we were impressed with the new transmission. It seemed to be as responsive as the old transmission, but now with an extra gear. The SportShift feature works well, but like most automanual transmissions, its value is limited mostly to enthusiasts or people driving over hills or mountains.
With the new transmission and engine improvements, Acura says the 2000 should accelerate from zero to 60 about half a second less than a '99 model. If that proves to be true, than a 2000 TL would have placed second in our '99 entry-luxury sedan shootout behind the BMW with a time around 7.1 seconds. The half-second gain is impressive, seeing as how the official maximum horsepower and torque ratings (225 horsepower and 215 foot-pounds of torque) haven't changed. Rather, Acura says the engine improvements give the 3.2TL 5.5 percent better low-end torque. The extra torque comes from a new intake manifold, revised intake ports, and larger intake and exhaust valves. These changes also allow the 3.2TL to meet low-emission vehicle (LEV) standards and ultra-low-emission vehicle (ULEV) standards for California.
The other big change for 2000 is the navigation system. The previous hard-disk based system has been scrapped for a single DVD disc that covers the entire United States. Acura says the DVD database has been programmed to include nearly eight times as many points of interest when compared to the previous system. Acura also changed the console-mounted LCD screen to make it less susceptible to glare and fingerprints. As before, the navigation system is the only option available on the car. The DVD can be updated annually for a small fee by taking the car to an Acura dealership.
We were able to confirm that the 3.2TL's navigation system is still easy to use, highlighted by clear voice prompts and maps. We also found that entering destinations now takes fewer keystrokes. As for the bigger database and improved route calculating, we'll withhold judgement until we get more substantial time with the car.
The final major change to the 2000 Acura 3.2TL is the addition of seat-mounted side airbags for front occupants. The front passenger seat is equipped with a detection system designed to determine when a small child is sitting in the seat. It does this with seven sensors mounted in the seatback. When a child's head is determined to be in the path of the airbag, the airbag is disabled in the event of a side impact.
The added content found in the 2000 Acura 3.2TL should only add to the car's popularity. However, we can't help but notice that Acura has improved the car in areas in which we never felt were problems to begin with. The side airbags are certainly welcome, but there's still a lack of rear seat room for large passengers and a lack of quality in the leather seat upholstery. And for pure driving pleasure, the TL still falls short of the BMW 328i or Audi A4. But these problems are minor. The 2000 3.2TL is a very competent sedan. Acura should give itself a pat on the back for offering even more content for a still low MSRP of $28,400.
Is the 2000 Acura TL a good car? Edmunds experts have compiled a robust series of ratings and reviews for the 2000 Acura TL and all model years in our database. Our rich content includes expert reviews and recommendations for the 2000 TL featuring deep dives into trim levels and features, performance, mpg, safety, interior, and driving. Edmunds also offers expert ratings, road test and performance data, long-term road tests, first-drive reviews, video reviews and more.
Our Review Process All of our reviews are written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.
We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.
How do people like the 2000 Acura TL? Consumer ratings and reviews are also available for the 2000 Acura TL and all its trim types. Overall, Edmunds users rate the 2000 TL 4.6 on a scale of 1 to 5 stars. Edmunds consumer reviews allow users to sift through aggregated consumer reviews to understand what other drivers are saying about any vehicle in our database. Detailed rating breakdowns (including performance, comfort, value, interior, exterior design, build quality, and reliability) are available as well to provide shoppers with a comprehensive understanding of why customers like the 2000 TL.
Review This has been an outstanding vehicle. So much so, that I am now searching for a 2nd Acura for our household.
How can Edmunds help? Edmunds has deep data on over 6 million new, used, and certified pre-owned vehicles, including rich, trim-level features and specs information like: MSRP, average price paid, warranty information (basic, drivetrain, and maintenance), features (upholstery, bluetooth, navigation, heated seating, cooled seating, cruise control, parking assistance, keyless ignition, satellite radio, folding rears seats ,run flat tires, wheel type, tire size, wheel tire, sunroof, etc.), vehicle specifications (engine cylinder count, drivetrain, engine power, engine torque, engine displacement, transmission), fuel economy (city, highway, combined, fuel capacity, range), vehicle dimensions (length, width, seating capacity, cargo space), car safety, true cost to own. Edmunds also provides tools to allow shopper to compare vehicles to similar models of their choosing by warranty, interior features, exterior features, specifications, fuel economy, vehicle dimensions, consumer rating, edmunds rating, and color
What options are available on the 2000 Acura TL?
Available Acura TL 2000 Submodel Types: Sedan, Type-S, 3.2 Type-S
Available Trims: Base, 3.2, Technology Package, SH-AWD w/Technology Package, Type-S, 3.2 Type-S, Special Edition, SH-AWD, SH-AWD w/Advance Package, Advance Package, SH-AWD w/Technology Package and HPT
Exterior Colors: Crystal Black Pearl, Graphite Luster Metallic, White Diamond Pearl, Nighthawk Black Pearl, Bellanova White Pearl, Silver Moon, Satin Silver Metallic, Polished Metal Metallic, Palladium Metallic, Alabaster Silver Metallic, Grigio Metallic, Royal Blue Pearl, Basque Red Pearl, Abyss Blue Pearl, Anthracite Metallic, Basque Red Pearl II, Fathom Blue Pearl, Eternal Blue Pearl, Carbon Bronze Pearl, Moroccan Red Pearl, Redondo Red Pearl, Carbon Gray Pearl, Deep Green Pearl, Forged Silver Metallic, Mayan Bronze Metallic, Monterey Blue Pearl, Taffeta White, Aegean Blue Pearl, Bold Beige Metallic, Dark Emerald Pearl, Desert Mist Metallic, Heather Mist Metallic, Kinetic Blue Pearl, Laguna Green Metallic, Naples Gold Metallic, Noble Green Metallic