2008 Acura TL Review

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Pros & Cons

  • 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.
  • 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.
List Price Range
$8,183 - $9,995

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Edmunds' Expert Review

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.

Vehicle overview

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.

2008 Acura TL models

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.

2008 Highlights

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

Performance & mpg

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.

Safety

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."

Driving

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.

Interior

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.


Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 2008 Acura TL.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

A great used choice
edechazal,12/20/2012
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.
A few gremlins to prepare for.....
first used acura for me,08/19/2015
4dr Sedan w/Navigation (3.2L 6cyl 5A)
Nice sized city car with ample power, high quality interior and attractive looks. Relatively quiet and comfortable. Bought used from Acura w/ 64k miles. Subsequent repairs/replacement that are endemic to this car as you'll learn on the internet. Purge value in the evap system, easy fix. O-rings on the hydraulic steering system (loud sound on cold mornings that goes away as engine warms, an easy fix). Hydraulic shocks/struts for the hood, easy fix. O2 sensors, a bit trickier fix. Check Youtube for demos on replacing these items and save big, big bucks over expensive Acura dealers. The nav system is not intuitive and if it has the original DVD, you'll pay like $170 for an upgrade that is, unfortunately, probably worth it. The upgrade has all U.S. major roads and city streets. The original only had 72 cities and was filled with irrelevant stuff like reviews of restaurants. Big diff. Do not tint the rear window or the nav won't be accurate............as it isn't in mine. Grrrr. Car holds value well, it appears, and I think that is because it is one of the best looking of the TL series plus Honda's reliability record which is best with their 4 cylinder jobs, not six cylinders. Mostly satisfied but would be happier if some of the components were more durable and the Acura dealers only charged an arm instead of an arm and a leg.
Heating and a/c system
b927,01/06/2011
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
3rd timies a charm.
jimrobertson,09/27/2011
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.

Features & Specs

MPG
18 city / 26 hwy
Seats 5
5-speed shiftable automatic
Gas
258 hp @ 6200 rpm
MPG
18 city / 26 hwy
Seats 5
5-speed shiftable automatic
Gas
258 hp @ 6200 rpm
MPG
17 city / 26 hwy
Seats 5
5-speed shiftable automatic
Gas
286 hp @ 6200 rpm
MPG
18 city / 27 hwy
Seats 5
6-speed manual
Gas
286 hp @ 6200 rpm
See all Used 2008 Acura TL features & specs

Safety

NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver5 / 5
    Passenger5 / 5
  • Side Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
  • Side Barrier Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver4 / 5
    Passenger5 / 5
  • Combined Side Barrier & Pole Ratings
    Front SeatNot Rated
    Back SeatNot Rated
  • Rollover
    Rollover4 / 5
    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
    Good
  • Roof Strength Test
    Not Tested
  • Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
    Marginal
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test
    Good

More about the 2008 Acura TL

Used 2008 Acura TL Overview

The Used 2008 Acura TL is offered in the following submodels: TL Type-S, TL Sedan. Available styles include 4dr Sedan w/Navigation (3.2L 6cyl 5A), 4dr Sedan (3.2L 6cyl 5A), Type-S 4dr Sedan (3.5L 6cyl 5A), Type-S 4dr Sedan (3.5L 6cyl 6M), Type-S 4dr Sedan w/High-Performance Tires (3.5L 6cyl 5A), and Type-S 4dr Sedan w/High-Performance Tires (3.5L 6cyl 6M).

What's a good price on a Used 2008 Acura TL?

Price comparisons for Used 2008 Acura TL trim styles:

  • The Used 2008 Acura TL Type-S is priced between $8,183 and$9,995 with odometer readings between 106472 and159994 miles.
  • The Used 2008 Acura TL Base is priced between $8,991 and$9,655 with odometer readings between 95754 and131631 miles.

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Which used 2008 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) 2008 Acura TL for sale near. There are currently 5 used and CPO 2008 TLS listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $8,183 and mileage as low as 95754 miles. 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 2008 Acura TL.

Can't find a used 2008 Acura TLs you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used Acura TL for sale - 1 great deals out of 10 listings starting at $16,544.

Find a used Acura for sale - 1 great deals out of 9 listings starting at $17,096.

Find a used certified pre-owned Acura TL for sale - 7 great deals out of 12 listings starting at $22,809.

Find a used certified pre-owned Acura for sale - 10 great deals out of 24 listings starting at $17,750.

Should I lease or buy a 2008 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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