Used 2012 Acura TL
- Abundant user-friendly high-tech features
- spacious cabin
- smart all-wheel-drive system
- superb optional sound system
- solid construction.
- Base model's numb steering
- subpar government crash score for some TLs.
Used 2012 Acura TL for Sale
Edmunds' Expert Review
Thanks to this year's refreshed exterior styling and improved fuel efficiency, the 2012 Acura TL is a strong choice for a midsize luxury sedan.
Like it or not, styling oftentimes plays a large role in people's decisions. Whether we're talking about clothing, an automobile or even a potential mate, looks count big. Eye-catching style can often sway purchasing decisions toward an otherwise average car. But as the current generation of the Acura TL has shown, the inverse can also be true. Three years ago, Acura's redesigned TL raised many an eyebrow and upturned nose with its grille that resembled a metallic beak. A shame, since the car underneath was a solid performer offering a spacious cabin, features galore and excellent build quality.
The 2012 Acura TL, however, benefits from a midcycle refresh that significantly tones down the proboscis, while other styling revisions like reshaped front and rear fascias contribute to this year's sleeker look. Inside, the TL features notable improvements to the navigation system (it now has a 60GB hard drive, more maps and crisper graphics), a more detailed Bluetooth audio display (e.g., song and artist), active pairing for Bluetooth phones and improved sound insulation for a quieter cabin. Lastly, the Advance package now includes ventilated seats and a blind spot warning system.
The automatic transmission also receives an update with a new six-speed unit that matches revs on downshifts, replacing the aged five-speed. The new gearbox also slightly improves fuel efficiency, as do friction-reducing measures for the base 3.5-liter V6 engine. The EPA puts the revised 3.5's highway estimate at 29 mpg -- an impressive 3 mpg improvement over last year's 3.5.
For 2012 the Acura TL is again available in two distinct flavors. The base model offers the refined ride, big cabin and a full helping of the latest bells and whistles that will satisfy most. You'll need to look to the Buick LaCrosse, Hyundai Genesis and Lexus ES 350 for something comparable. Driving enthusiasts will likely find the more powerful and sharper-handling TL SH-AWD more appealing. Blessed with an athletic chassis and all-wheel drive, this roomy sport sedan can hang with smaller rivals such as the Audi A4, BMW 3 Series, Infiniti G37 and Lexus IS 350 on a challenging, curvy road.
Trim levels & features
The 2012 Acura TL is a midsize luxury sedan available in TL and TL SH-AWD trim levels.
The standard TL comes with 17-inch wheels, automatic xenon headlamps, foglamps, a sunroof, dual-zone automatic climate control, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, heated eight-way power front seats (with driver lumbar adjustment and memory functions), leather upholstery and an auto-dimming rearview mirror. Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity and an eight-speaker sound system with a six-CD changer, satellite radio, an auxiliary audio jack and an iPod/USB audio interface are also standard. The TL SH-AWD adds a more powerful engine, all-wheel drive, more aggressive suspension and steering tuning, upgraded brakes, 18-inch wheels, deep bolstered front seats and contrasting leather stitching.
The Technology package available on both trims adds upgraded tires, a rear spoiler, a rearview camera, keyless ignition/entry, GPS-linked and solar-sensing climate control, upgraded leather upholstery, upgraded interior metal trim, automatic phone book downloading, a navigation system, real-time traffic and weather, voice control and a 10-speaker Acura/ELS surround-sound audio system with digital music storage. Springing for the Advance package includes all that along with larger wheels (18-inch wheels on the base TL or 19-inch wheels on the SH-AWD), ventilated front seats and a blind spot warning system.
Performance & mpg
The base model 2012 Acura TL is front-wheel drive and is powered by a 3.5-liter V6 that produces 280 horsepower and 254 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed automatic is standard. We expect a 0-60-mph time of about 6.5 seconds given that the TL's five-speed predecessor made the same dash in 6.7 seconds during Edmunds testing. EPA-estimated fuel economy is 20 mpg city/29 mpg highway and 23 mpg combined.
The TL SH-AWD model features Acura's Super-Handling All-Wheel-Drive system, which transfers different levels of power to individual wheels to maximize traction and grip through turns and during inclement weather. It also gets a 3.7-liter V6 good for 305 hp and 273 lb-ft of torque. A six-speed automatic is standard, while a six-speed manual is optional and includes hill start assist. A manual-equipped TL SH-AWD hits 60 mph in 5.7 seconds. EPA-estimated fuel economy is 18/26/21 with the automatic and 17/25/20 with the manual.
Every 2012 Acura TL comes with antilock disc brakes with brake assist, stability and traction control, front-seat side airbags, side curtain airbags and active front restraints. In Edmunds brake testing, a base TL came to a stop from 60 mph in a distance of 122 feet, while the TL SH-AWD did a little better, at 120 feet. Both of these are average for the class.
In government crash tests, early-build TLs received three out of five stars for overall protection, a disappointing two stars for frontal protection and four stars for side protection. Acura later revised the 2012 TL, and models built after April 18, 2012, earned four stars for frontal impact protection and four stars overall. No matter the model, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the TL its highest rating of "Good" in the frontal-offset, side and roof strength tests.
Given the divergent handling characteristics of the 2012 Acura TL models, they can almost be thought of as two distinctly different cars. The base TL should appeal to drivers with more comfort and luxury in mind. Ride quality is excellent. Bumps, potholes and expansion joints are dismissed with a reassuring, almost Germanic thump that befits a luxury car with the TL's price tag. The 280-hp V6 is more than adequate for daily drives, and the steering, while lacking feel, offers plenty of assist to make parking easy.
Those with more sporting intentions should opt for the SH-AWD model, as it lives up to its "Super Handling" label with considerably more grip and control than the base car. The complex all-wheel-drive system directs more power to the outside wheels when cornering, while communicative and well-weighted steering delivers more confidence behind the wheel.
The 2012 Acura TL's interior features a more contemporary design language than some of its competitors. Aluminum trim adorns the cabin instead of the glossy wood treatments found in the Cadillac CTS, Hyundai Genesis or Lexus ES 350. The surroundings feel more austere, cold even, although materials quality is top-notch with plenty of soft-touch surfaces. The available two-tone color scheme helps to dress things up.
The TL's modern cabin is also roomy and quiet, with more space than similarly priced European sedans. The driver seat offers multiple adjustments and side bolstering, while the rear seats easily accommodate taller passengers. Large flip-up headrests provide comfort and protection for rear-seat passengers, then slide down flush with the seatbacks for an unobstructed view when not in use. The 13.1 cubic feet of trunk capacity is a bit less than other cars in this class, but the wide opening makes loading a few golf bags and suitcases easy.
Most helpful consumer reviews
Features & Specs
More About This Model
There was only one problem with the 2009-'11 Acura TL. Its designers unknowingly beat it with an ugly stick on their way to giving the sedan "progressive" styling.
The result was a car praised for its class-topping dynamic abilities but panned for its weird lines, most notably that in-your-face grille. Lackluster sales followed (for the TL, that meant 34,000 cars in 2010), and dealers complained.
Acura blames the car's lackluster reception less on a flawed design and more on the fact that the fourth-gen TL was simply "too bold for the new, more conservative market" brought on by the weak economy. Regardless, the design team was sent back to their CAD screens and charged with coming up with a midcycle refresh for the 2012 Acura TL a good nine months sooner than originally planned.
Less Plenum = More Sophistication
When launching the 2009 TL, Acura used the term "linear fluidity" to describe its styling. This time around, the tagline for the 2012 Acura TL is "sophisticated emotion." In English, that means Acura reworked the car's more awkward lines. The grille is noticeably smaller, while the chrome strip just above the grille is now body color, having the effect of making the hood look longer even though it's completely unchanged.
Other updates include a smaller front bumper, darker-tint headlights and redesigned foglights and turn signals. Together, their main objective is to make the TL appear wider.
The rear got a makeover as well. Again, the goal was to break up the previous car's massive amounts of flat surfacing and shrink its tail end. Acura accomplished this via a smaller rear bumper with a horizontal cutline, a higher license plate mount, smaller rear reflectors, a 6-inch-higher rear diffuser and a thinner bright strip at the base of the trunk lid. All the new styling changes resulted in an inch less overhang up front and a half inch less at the rear for a new overall length of 194 inches.
Gears Are Good
Although the most grandiose updates to the 2012 Acura TL occur at its bow and stern, there is one bit of mechanical news to be had: a new six-speed automatic transmission from the 2011 RL sedan, replacing the previous five-speed in both the front-wheel-drive TL and the SH-AWD (super-handling all-wheel-drive) model.
With lower gear ratios for 1st through 5th versus the five-speed, Acura estimates the TL SH-AWD will accelerate about 0.4 second quicker to 60 mph (figure 6.3 seconds) versus the outgoing version.
A taller 6th gear (versus the five-speed) aids fuel economy, as does the new torque converter's multiple lock-up discs, which offer better lubrication and improved cooling. These changes, along with reduced piston friction and a new cold-air intake in the 3.5-liter V6-equipped front-drive TL help fuel economy jump from 18 city/26 highway mpg for the 2011 model to 20/29 for the 2012 edition. The 3.7-liter V6 SH-AWD's mpg is less noteworthy, rising only 1 mpg across the board to 18/26, while the SH-AWD six-speed manual (which has just a 3 percent take rate) remains at 17/25.
Above and beyond the notable mpg increases and slightly quicker acceleration, you probably won't notice anything too dramatic in your daily driving with the six-speed versus the old five-speed. As with the five-speed, the new transmission shifts smoothly at all times in Automatic mode, but can also be shifted manually via standard-issue steering-wheel paddles. The software blips the throttle to smooth downshifts, making aggressive driving easier and more fun. It holds gears at redline unless you're in 1st.
About the only downside is the six-speed's desire to get to high gear as quickly as possible, even if it means lugging the engine a bit. It's all for the sake of the improved fuel economy, of course. Running it in Manual mode gets rid of that problem, so it's an easy fix if you're so inclined.
Oh, Those Engines
Part of the reason the new automatic doesn't massively improve the 2012 Acura TL driving experience is that it was already a damn good driving machine. Credit goes to the TL's powerful, high-revving V6s, the outputs of which remain unchanged for 2012.
The TL front-driver continues with 280 horsepower at 6,200 rpm and 254 pound-feet of torque at 5,000 rpm, while the SH-AWD continues to hold its claim as the most powerful Acura ever, rated at 305 hp at 6,300 and 273 lb-ft at 5,000.
The V6s in both the TL and SH-AWD are quiet and buttery-smooth at low engine speeds. They're equally impressive when you wind them out, too. Both engines seem to thrive on being pushed to the redline, an easy thing to do when using the manual shift paddles.
Crazy for Curves
Another area Acura chose to leave untouched was the TL's double-wishbone front and multilink rear suspension — damping, spring rates and antiroll bars remain identical to the specs of the 2011 model. Acura also ditched the summer tire option for the SH-AWD model due to the fact that almost no one (1 percent, we're told) opted for the grippier rubber.
Without the summer tires, the TL SH-AWD has lost some of its phenomenal, almost unfair handling abilities. But the TL in general (especially the SH-AWD, with its stiffer setup) still has the same spot-on suspension tuning. TLs with all-wheel drive put the power down with the utmost precision thanks to a torque-vectoring rear differential. The lighter front-drive model (3,726 pounds vs. 3,968), on the other hand, has a penchant for spinning its front tires when you exit tight turns with the throttle to the floor.
Although the 2012 Acura TL SH-AWD runs out of grip sooner without its stickier summer tires, it still has the same wonderfully competent and stable chassis that makes it a sport-sedan stalwart. Yes, the ride of the non-adjustable suspension is firm and can be jiggly on bumpy back roads, but the car's precision makes it worth any minor amount of harshness.
About the only gripe is the TL's electric power steering. It delivers more assist than we would like, but some of that can be forgiven since it's transmitted through a thick-rimmed, leather-wrapped steering wheel that feels great in your hands.
Only Fix What's Broken
Since the main focus of the 2012 Acura TL's redesign was the car's exterior, Acura pretty much left the already excellent interior intact. The minor updates include new platinum plating on the center stack and inner door handles, along with optional ventilation for the TL's wide, yet laterally supportive front seats. Other changes include a dedicated phone button on the center stack and active phone pairing to automatically locate Bluetooth devices.
The 2012 Acura TL, which was designed at the company's California studio and is built in Marysville, Ohio, goes on sale March 18. The TL front-driver starts at $36,465, with the SH-AWD beginning at $40,015 (prices include $860 destination), $300 increases for both models. The SH-AWD with a six-speed manual costs $43,745, the higher sticker due to the fact that it's offered only with the Technology package.
Even with the price increases, the TL is still quite a value compared to most German sport sedans. Dynamically, the 2012 Acura TL is the same stirring-to-drive performance sedan as before, only now with an extra gear and improved fuel economy. Not bad for a car with so much horsepower and a sizable interior.
And although Acura won't come right out and say it screwed up the styling the first time around, the significant exterior reworking of this version is about as much of an admission of guilt as you're ever going to get.
It was a smart move. The TL is too good of a sedan to get overlooked because of some overzealous styling. The changes effectively addressed the issue, so now Acura no longer has any excuses. We doubt it will need any.
Edmunds attended a manufacturer-sponsored press event to facilitate this report.
Used 2012 Acura TL Overview
The Used 2012 Acura TL is offered in the following submodels: TL Sedan. Available styles include Technology Package 4dr Sedan (3.5L 6cyl 6A), 4dr Sedan (3.5L 6cyl 6A), SH-AWD w/Technology Package 4dr Sedan AWD (3.7L 6cyl 6A), Advance Package 4dr Sedan (3.5L 6cyl 6A), SH-AWD w/Advance Package 4dr Sedan AWD (3.7L 6cyl 6A), SH-AWD 4dr Sedan AWD (3.7L 6cyl 6A), and SH-AWD w/Technology Package 4dr Sedan AWD (3.7L 6cyl 6M).
What's a good price on a Used 2012 Acura TL?
Save up to $300 on one of 26 Used 2012 Acura TL for sale at dealerships within 25 miles of Ashburn, VA with prices as low as $10,491 as of10/19/2018, based on data from dealers and consumer-driven dealer ratings ranging from1 to 5 out of 5 stars.
Price comparisons for Used 2012 Acura TL trim styles:
- The Used 2012 Acura TL Base is priced between $11,000 and$17,888 with odometer readings between 46853 and141186 miles.
- The Used 2012 Acura TL Technology Package is priced between $10,491 and$16,995 with odometer readings between 52941 and134638 miles.
- The Used 2012 Acura TL SH-AWD w/Technology Package is priced between $13,495 and$17,952 with odometer readings between 45229 and104142 miles.
- The Used 2012 Acura TL Advance Package is priced between $13,980 and$13,980 with odometer readings between 106229 and106229 miles.
- The Used 2012 Acura TL SH-AWD is priced between $15,599 and$15,599 with odometer readings between 91094 and91094 miles.
- The Used 2012 Acura TL SH-AWD w/Advance Package is priced between $16,975 and$16,975 with odometer readings between 72 and72 miles.
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Which used 2012 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) 2012 Acura TL for sale near. There are currently 26 used and CPO 2012 TLS listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $10,491 and mileage as low as 72 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 Carfax and Autocheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the Used 2012 Acura TL. Then select Edmunds special offers, perks, deals, and incentives to contact the dealer of your choice and save up to $300 on a used or CPO 2012 TL available from a dealership near you.
Can't find a used 2012 Acura TLs you want in your area? Consider a broader search.
Find a used Acura TL for sale - 2 great deals out of 16 listings starting at $18,044.
Find a used Acura for sale - 10 great deals out of 10 listings starting at $10,634.
Find a used certified pre-owned Acura TL for sale - 7 great deals out of 16 listings starting at $17,327.
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Should I lease or buy a 2012 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.