Are you shopping for a new vehicle and having trouble finding one, or have you been waiting a long time for a factory order? A reporter would like to speak with you; please reach out to [email protected] by Tues. 5/11 for more details.

Acura TL vs. Nissan Maxima vs. TL-S

smlull163smlull163 Member Posts: 15
edited June 2014 in Acura
I'm researching my next car and I really like these two. I'm 54, my daily commute is 50.3 miles 50/50 highway/city and I'm looking into these two cars right now. I've test driven both cars. I'm also not sure about the TL-S, does it really give you that much more? I do some spirited driving when the mood strikes. I'm not thrilled at dealing with a car dealer. I'd like to at least feel I got a decent deal.
I've been reading Edmunds for about 4 months and really enjoy the information I get here.
I'm trying to get the best bang for the buck, good resale, solid car, reliable and fun to drive in a sedan.

Thanks for all your inputs in advance,
Scott - Virginia Beach VA


  • thebinkthebink Member Posts: 10
    I went through the same analysis a month ago and went with the TL-S. Definitely worth the extra $2K over the regular TL (performance, upgraded brakes, style, cool sounds). Drove the 09 Maxima and didn't care for it (previous car was a Maxima). Steering was too light, interior felt cheap, and car was loud with CVT. You'll probably get a better deal as well.
  • go_mdx1go_mdx1 Member Posts: 135
    Based on your 50+ miles, I'd say the TL is a better fit than the TL-S. TL rides smoother, quiter and depreciates less. TL-S is more for the performance oriented customer who loves travelling on those twisted side roads.
  • mf15mf15 Member Posts: 158
    You should be able to get a real good deal on the outgoing 08 TL if not now then
    shortly. I drive an 07 base and love it. I had the same decision last year was looking
    strongly at the new Altima, but thought that even with the upgrades that Nissan
    made the interior was still cheap, and loaded up I thought the price was too high.
    Old Mike
  • smlull163smlull163 Member Posts: 15
    thank you all for the input. I have test driven the 09 Max and the 08 TL. I have not tested the TL-S. Actually, I'm just jealous of the paddle shifters. My wife hasn't seen the TL's yet. Should this weekend. I'll keep you all posted.

    (I'm checking the TL buying experience for costing)

    -S- :)
  • bvdj84bvdj84 Member Posts: 1,724
    Though the maxima is getting better with time, it still falls short with its competitors. Its interior, is better now than the previous model. I am glad they changed its overall design, but I am not sure it looks any better on the exterior, though night and day better than the bloated, boring, altima. The TL pretty much has everything down pat, with its end of the design, it should be quite solid in many factors. Not to mention its value that it holds quite well. The TL interior looks more upsale, and quite classy in its overall fit and finish, the exterior has been around awhile, but it is certainly one that looks good, and does not look real dated. Its aged well.

    With all of this said, Nissan is going in the right direction when presenting the Maxima.
  • dap2006dap2006 Member Posts: 68
    I had an 06 base TL which I recently traded for an 08 TL-S. I'm amazed at the difference! :shades: More power, better seats, active noise cancelization, paddle shifters (a fun toy) etc... I wouldn't have expected it to be so much better but it definitely is. I was considering the 335i but it was a bit too small for my taste, though I loved the drive... :blush:
  • dap2006dap2006 Member Posts: 68
    Actually I had a TL with nav, not a "base" TL, just not the TL-S... :blush:
  • smlull163smlull163 Member Posts: 15
    Dap2006, when you traded up, what made you decide on the S instead of the TL standard? I too have looked at the BMW 3 and 5 series (used on this one) and the 3 doesn't have much room, handles wonderfully though. The 5 series handles just as nicely with more interior space, but I seem to keep running across conflicting information Time in shop, repairs are expensive and little things. For $35k to $45K, I shouldn't have those little things. (that is what turned me off to MB)

  • dap2006dap2006 Member Posts: 68
    I wanted a change. I was never completely happy with the 06, mainly due to rattles - I expected better from Acura. It's the little things that drive me nuts. I fully expected to get the 335i - the drive alone almost made me go for it! But then my more rational side won out; little interior room, sub-par nav/features... I decided to give the TL-S a try, though I didn't expect too much and my 06 rattles still haunted me. Once I drove it though it won me over. The more powerful engine, styling, quieter ride (just a pleasant engine growl), better seats, backup camera - I could get the step-up I was looking for an still stick with Acura, which surprised me. 5000 miles later still no rattles and it's much more fun to drive - I highly recommend it! :shades:
  • charles12charles12 Member Posts: 79
    I am warning you that unless you do not care about the rattle noise for the TL (from everywhere - in the order starting from 500 miles to now 6000 miles for my 08 TL, (1) Center Near The Shift; (2) Back From The Glass - glass removed and put back - still light noises there; (3) front center near the speaker ; (4). Drivers Door; (5) 3rd Back Light; (6) passenger door; (7). passenger seat; (8) driver seat; (9). ceiling next to the moonroof....)

    Upper case Letter ones have be fixed after going to the dealer many times and lower case letter ones still there even after going to dealer a few times. The driver seat noise comes out a couple of weeks ago. I am not sure how many new ones will come out in the future.

    My decision for this car is based on "less money for more car" compared to other brands such as Lexus or Infinite. What a big mistake for me - 30k for a rattle box?

    Think it twice before you go to Acura dealer!!!

    Do not make the same mistake as I did (less buck for more car).
  • izzyb213izzyb213 Member Posts: 6
    I have owned a 2001 TL, a 2005 TL and this last October I bought a 2008 TL TYPE-S & love it!!! Of course it is better than the '01 and it even tops the '05. The Type-S is black on black and I bought after market 18" wheels & Ecsta ASX tires & it handles like a dream especially with the stability control system. I'm 28 so more into the performance, speed, handling side of the Type S but it provides a comfortable ride for my clients & also you gotta love Honda/Acura durability. I've also taken this car on 2,000 + mile road trips with no issues, great gas mileage & lots of fun! You can cruise at 100-110 mph like nothing. One friend has the Maxima with an aftermarket cool air intake & I still took it off the line & down the stretch. The Type S has a massive 2nd & 3rd gear. I've also tailed & hung with Mustang Cobras & M3s on the highway. Aside from the performance, the cars features, options, maintenance costs & durability are like none other for the price…go with the TL at least or a Type S if you want the noticeable performance difference & styling.
  • aka57aka57 Member Posts: 10
    Well, I've wanted a TL for some time - am disappointed in the 09 sheet metal (despite loving the SH-AWD) so am considering 08 TL vs TL Type-S. I have never bought a Pre-Owned car before so am a touch leery - but my question is:
    Is the Type-S any less quiet/ does it exhibit more road noise than the Base?
    The roads near the dealership are too well maintained to tell the tale during a test drive.
    I commute (sometime 2+ hours one way over decepit L.A. freeways) and want a quite cabin and a smooth ride.
  • izzyb213izzyb213 Member Posts: 6
    I have owned an '05 TL and now have an '08 TL Type-S...the main difference I noticed & wanted was the tighter suspension on the Type-S. Some people might not like this but at my age & driving style I enjoy a tighter suspension. This does great a tad rougher ride which then has the potential to create more road noise. In the Type-S you have power, many standard features like paddle shifters, navi, etc. that come with a higher price that are only options on the TL. Drive both & see what you decide on, I'd love to hear.
  • jspagna1jspagna1 Member Posts: 34
    I have been looking at new cars for the last few months. Have owned 2 Maximas, a 1992 and a 2003. Still have the 2003 going to give it to my daughter.
    We drove the 2010 Maxima and it just did not seem to have the power that you would expect. Really had to push it to get it going. My 2003 has more take off power than the new one.
    Also the wife and I did not think interior head room was very good. Roof too low and dash too long. Never owned a Honda, but went to drive the new TL and we fell in love with it. Much more expensive, but we keep our cars forever, so wanted something we could live with. Very impressed with the quality so far.
  • gbosilgbosil Member Posts: 88
    I purchased my 2007 TLS new off the lot. Silver / Black int. I now have 49,000 trouble free miles. One word of caution .. Brakes are EXPENSIVE! The car is fitted with BREMBO in the Front. Front Brake job only: Pads / Rotors and Labor is around $700! The parts are expensive!!! Other than that I had some rattles and Subwoofer problems but Acura fixed them all. The car rides as smooth as glass. It also hauls [non-permissible content removed]! I constantly get compliments on the car. There isn't many on the road which is a plus. I have been so happy with Acura that I purchased a Second Car a 2010 TSX w/Tech. It's about the size of the old TL. I hate the new TL. Frankly it's just plain UGLY and a BOAT! It's huge!!! That front beak is awful! :P
  • izzyb213izzyb213 Member Posts: 6
    You dont have to replace the pads with Brembo pads, there are much cheaper options & the performance difference on daily driving is next to none.

    I'm on my 3rd TL, I've owned an 01, 05 & now an 08 TL-S so I LOVE the cars. Three friends have Maximas & I hands down like the TL much better but I know Nissan is reliable as well. I decided on the 08 TL-S after seeing the new 09 TL which is nasty...they are getting horrible feedback so it will change soon. Aftermarket front grills also make it look much better.
  • billyperks2billyperks2 Member Posts: 378
    All I get is complements on mine- AWD TECH, white with black interior.
    I addded the wood wheel, wood gear shift knob, back up sensors, trunk tray, wheel locks, door edge guards and the all weather mats.I also tinted the windows (35%).

    People come on this forum and bash the car, especially those with the previous generation (I guess it makes them feel better).All I can say is, when my car pulls up next to the previous generation, it makes the prevoius generation looks so dated.

    A lady in a 2010 TSX same color as my TL, pulled up beside me on the I95 and gave me the thumbs up and I have gotten a lot of those since my 3 months of ownership.
    The car is a blast (not the fastest) and very entertaining with the gizmos- currently I am burning my current cd's and cd's I had from my college days (A LOT). The car is a driving music box, I dont even need the XM or an IPOD, the HDD is the best.

    Happy Motoring!!!!!!
  • gbosilgbosil Member Posts: 88
    It's still God Awful Ugly! I have a 2007 TLS with a AEM Cold Air Intake and AEM peformance Chip dynoed at 325 HP. I'll eat any TL AWD for breakfast. Simply put the new TL is a Boat and extremely heavy! I recently had a 2010 TL as loaner and was embarrased driving in it. I felt like people were staring and laughing at me at the light. Acura... please redesign it ASAP!!!!! :cry:
  • smarty666smarty666 Member Posts: 1,503
    I just wanted to point out that your complaining about previous generation TL owners coming on here putting down the new TL yet you did the exact same thing by making a statement putting down the previous generation TL

    While I have a 08 TL, there are things I like and dislike about the fourth generation TL; the interior of the new TL is absolutely wonderful, it looks like a sculpture cockpit of a race car and the technology and comfort is wonderful

    What I don't like about the new TL is the exterior body style; first off, the car has grown so much that it is now in the large sedan category; not one of the cars it competes with, Nissan Maxima, Infiniti G37, Lexus ES350, Mercedes C-Class, or BMW 3-Series is considered a large sedan, for Acura to make the car this massive in just one year is ridiculous, the TL is actually bigger than their top of the line car, the RL, how is that suppose to make any sense?

    I like the new TL from the side, but the rear end and front end are just atrocious; I even waited till I saw some in person and even in person they look atrocious; the front snow plow grill is just too massively big even on a car its size; the size on the new grill on the TSX looks much better and if Acura had done that it would have looked a lot better; the rear end just looks tall and bloated, much like the previous generation Nissan Maxima

    Every professional car review site, edmunds, Mototrend, Car and Driver, US NWR, JD Power, automobile mag, etc list the polarizing exterior styling as a con for the vehicle; you can not tell me it looks great and that everyone likes it when you have certain Acura dealers and many aftermarket body shops who specifically offer a certain priced paint service to paint the majority of the grill the body color as to try and shrink it and make it look better, I've actually seen a new TL with this done and it makes it look a lot better and more like the grill size on the TSX

    I don't ever recall the third generation TL needing its front end grill painted in order to make it look better; the 3rd generation was a beautifully sculpted car, was just the right size on the outside as a mid-size luxury sedan and had just the right amount of exterior lines and cues that made it look sporty but not overdone, like it is on the current TL; I am still kissing the ground I got my 08 TL when I did and not wait for the 09 to come out
  • billyperks2billyperks2 Member Posts: 378
    First off, I was not bashing anyones car, I love Acuras on a whole, I just did care for the previous generation.It blended in too much with the Camrys, Accords and Maximas, that is why I skipped it and waited for the 4th generation (my humble opinion). Secondly, I dont care if every magazine editor and car reveiwer bashes the car, I go with my own taste and how deep my pockets are.I remember when I graduated college in 2000 and I went to lease a Mazda Millennia.Every review I read said the car was outdated and sluggish-turned out, the car was a GEM to own.
    Again- I have owned this car for three months now and all I get is praise, my neighbors co-workers and people who I dont even know.This one young man at a gas station even told me that this TL was the freshest thing on the road right now.Bottom line, I love my car and if someone wanted to swap me a 5 series or a e350 I would in NO DOUBT turn them away. Lets move on off this topic now and enjoy our cars.
  • billyperks2billyperks2 Member Posts: 378
    I will take you in the corners and off the line. I had your car for a loaner and the FWD set up was so noticeble, it was embarassing peeling out from a light.
  • izzyb213izzyb213 Member Posts: 6
    I ditto what Bbosil & Smarty said!!! Every site, forum, dealership, friend, foe & their mama that I've talked to or read articles from agree that the new 4th gen TL is not attractive. Don’t get me wrong, beauty is in the eyes of the beholder…we are all free to choose whatever we want. If a Chevy Cavalier makes me happy, that’s my choice. All I'm saying is that I personally had an 05 TL, waited to see the 4th gen on the street or at a dealer & decided on an 08 TL-S! I heard the 4th gen has a much heavier American design influence so therefore the big change into a boat with odd lines but I agree the interior is well designed. I have people give me the same thumbs up & compliments on mine…it's Nighthawk Black Pearl, always clean, after market rims, slightly tinted windows & well cared for. The TL has dropped to like #6 or #8 under BMW, Lexus, Benz, Maxima & others.
  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H EdmundsAdministrator Posts: 11,114
    Let's try to veer away from the "my car can beat up your car" conversation. It isn't productive.


    Need help navigating? [email protected] - or send a private message by clicking on my name.

    Share your vehicle reviews

  • billyperks2billyperks2 Member Posts: 378
    Why me? the other posters are defending their car too.
  • smarty666smarty666 Member Posts: 1,503
    well we all defended our cars and said our piece but at the end of the day when it all comes down to it, all that really matters is that you like your car and that your satisfied with your purchase

    no matter what generation TL you have I guess we can all agree that we like Acura and feel they produce some pretty nice cars, GO ACURA!!!!!
  • izzyb213izzyb213 Member Posts: 6
    Yes, if there is one thing we learned is that TL owners love THEIR TLs and are willing to defend them & fight for them to prove their love for the car. Lets enjoy our cars! Go Acura! the 4th gen is still ugly! :)
  • richielrichiel Member Posts: 2
    It is not a knock on something if you are stating your preference. I honestly did not like the look of the '09 when it first came out. Now I love it, am obsessed with it and I will be getting one in a few months (I have a '07 TSX). I am actually going to buy instead of lease for the first time in 10 years, which is indicative of how contempporary this design will be for several years. Everything out there seems so bland in comparison. If you look at the front, the way the lights are positioned, it's really agressive and sporty. I would prefer it if the rear was flat like the '08, but if the spoiler is there (and this is a must), it looks fine, especially with the wrap around tail lights and dual exhaust. The profile, either straight on or at an angle, is excellent. I do think there is some truth to the '08 model looking somewhat dated in comparison, but I also think that the '08 still has its own charm.
  • Paul3557Paul3557 Member Posts: 2
    I keep trying to buy a TL. I have an 01 CL Type S with 118,000 trouble free miles that desparately needs replacing. ( I am tired of it, it still works great though). When I go into the dealership and look at the TL, I see the mouthy grill and think, "Why would they screw up a car and make it look like that? What were they thinking? Did the sales prevention department style this one?" Anyway, if someone from Acura actually cares, could you please replace the ugly front end so I can buy a new TL? TX for listening.
  • izzyb213izzyb213 Member Posts: 6
    You have two options: either get an 08 TL-Type S...there's allot of them with less than 10k miles for great deals being brought back to the Acura dealerships after leases have finished, just saw 3 beautiful ones in mint condition at my local Acura OR get the new 4th gen and get a custom after market grill. There's a company called RonJon that specializes in TL aftermarket parts & you can get a very simple subtle different front end that flows better. The new TL has slightly grown on me as well, I dont hate it as much as before. However, when you read the comparisons between the 4th gen vs a Type-S the Type-S comes out on top in handling, accelaration, looks & performance.
  • volvownervolvowner Member Posts: 37
    I read more comments here and in the press about the oversized beak on the 4th gen TL, but to me it's the rear that's the turnoff. It's bottom-heavy, and the small upward-angled taillights only accentuate the effect. They took a shot at replicating the front design queues in the back, but to me it didn't work. They succeeded in visually separating the TL from the Accord...have to give them that.

    That said, the car is great on the inside and drives wonderfully, and since I've always cared more about those aspects than the exterior design, they may still get me in 2011. I suspect (hope) they're at hard at work on a mid-stream redesign to resuscitate the TL's sales.
  • gbosilgbosil Member Posts: 88
    I have a 2007 TLS with 53K problem free miles. Excellent car all the way around. Always getting plenty of compliments. I ordered it with an A-Spec Package with Acura Ground Kit. Purchased new and will be holding onto until the new Type S comes out... I hope! Car is FAST and handles very well for a sedan.
  • nystarnystar Member Posts: 28
    I've done a test drive on both cars (2010 maxima S base Model, and Acura TL with Tech Package) and here is my experience:

    * The TL has a better Engine Sound, its quiet and you bearly can hear it on low revs and when you push all the way it will give you a nice sport sound !

    * For the Maxima the Engine is very noisy and you can hear it loudly all the time even on low revs ! (You might like it if like loud sport cars)

    * For the TL, the road nosie is noticable, its not well muted and the noise level is little better than the Accord !!! ( You don't get the premium feel).

    * For the Maxima, the Road Noise is better than the TL (Well Isolated and Muted), so you get the premium feel but the engine Noise will really annoy you unless you used to drive sport Cars with loud sport Engines.

    As a Brand, definately the Acura is a higher than Nissan and should be compared to the Infinity brand !

    The Nissan CVT transmission lacks behind as with 10 minutes driving, I faced a situation that the engine needs a lower gear but the CVT didn't respond so i forced to accelerate in order to fix the gear ratio !!! (Transmission Hesitation) ! While the TL has a better transmission (Ordinary 5 SP Automatic) and the engine noise is lower but its little rough and noisy (Not very comfortable)

    As a preference, I prefer the Maxima because its a better value for money, more comfortable with no road noise, I don't mind little sound engine and the CVT technology.

  • jspagna1jspagna1 Member Posts: 34
    Nissan has always given you the greatest Bang for the Buck with the Maxima. That is whay I have owned 2 Maximas, but I don't think that is the case with the newest Maxima. A fully loaded Max will have an MSRP of like $39,850 which is up there with introductory Luxury cars, which I would never think of the Maxima as being.
    For a little more or the same price you CAN buy a true introductory Luxury car.
    Drove both cars and the 2010 TL got my vote.
  • billyperks2billyperks2 Member Posts: 378
    Never tested the Maxima-never will but I dont think you are correct about the road noise with TL.I have the AWD and it exemplify no road noise and this is with the 18" 45 series tires.
This discussion has been closed.