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Older Acura TLs



  • In looking for some data on the forthcoming 2004 TL sedan I found it quite amusing to review the discussions of various Acura fans regarding the normal design TL car with the 225 hp engine being "enough" or "more than adequate" which of course it is indeed, however it is clear that none of these well meaning folks have had one to one on hand experience with both vehicles, instead most probably they are driving the 3.2 TL car with the normal engine.

    In January 2001 we purchased TWO of these vehicles. The TL 4 door sedan in 2001 was available ONLY with the 225 hp engine,and that is what we bought, but the CL coupe had the S engine option and we bought a type S car here. Both cars are 5 speed automatic cars with no options other than trunk mat and mud guards, everything else being standard. The S car came with memory seats and an in dash 6 disc CD changer(which should have been standard and now is on the TL beginning with the 2002 model year) and 17 inch tires 215 x 50 aspect ratio tires as opposed to the 205 x 60 aspect ration 16 inch tires on the TL. The engines are the other difference.

    Now with 39K miles on the TL we love the car totally except for the missing memory seats and the CD changer. The ride is excellent although clearly weighted towards the stiff side of the handling spectrum as opposed to the softer riding Lexus vehicles and the engine is quite smooth and has adequate if not excellent power across the entire power band. We love it. The car replaced a 1998 RL Special Edition which was a bit too large and soft riding a car for us. The TL is a better fit for our needs.

    But we must tell you that the S car is just SO MUCH MORE a road vehicle that the comparison is not even close. That engine is just so much fun to tip into every so often that it just makes the CL-S car even more pleasant to drive. So a TL with the S engine would be the best of both worlds, not so? We would be buying one in January 2004 if it were not being replaced by the new TL car which should be even more a road car from what we are seeing....more power, bigger brakes, all the good stuff standard and not optional as one finds in the Infiniti G35 cars.

    Make no mistake about it, the TL is a fine car and an excellent investment, but the S car is the one to buy whether you have four or two doors in mind.

    Problems, yes of course. I knew the transmission was in some difficulty at 12K miles when I changed the fluid (which was looking grey in color and not pink as anticipated) and found lots of grey sludge adhering to the magnetic plug. I took a sample and presented it to Acura service and was told "perfectly normal"....right! I continued to change fluid at 12K intervals and remove less material from the plug but was not comfortable with the trans. At 35920 miles last week the S car ate the transmission as we anticipated it would be doing according to the Acura letter we received a year ago advising of some extra ordinary transmission problems before we had them. The car now has a totally new transmission and trans computer (plus a new engine fuel pressure regulator....why that item was changed I can not imagine) and they even furnished a new dip stick for the trans! The car is like new and the 2-3 shift is more firm than it ever was. Our TL with more miles is not showing any transmission difficulties.

    Tires were a bit of a disappointment as the 50 series tires are very short in static loaded radius and therefore transmit a bit more road "feel" to the seat of your pants. And I blew one tire in a small pothole after a snow storm that should have not been a problem. I was travelling slowly and the pothole was not deep, but apparently I hit it just right to rip open the side wall of the tire. I would prefer to have 225 x 60 16 inch tires on this car and not the 50 series but I also see that in 2001 when this car was new 215 x50 17 tires were RARE and now they are showing up on all sorts of sport sedans and coupes do I guess the 50 series is here to stay.

    The S car replaced a 95 Mitsubishi 3000 GT car and is more car in every way. We used to purchase Legend 2 door coupes with the more powerful engine and frankly the CL-S car is everything the old (1993 and 1995 models) Legend Coupe was for 10,000.00 dollars less money. That is surely a winner.

    So friends, if you are in the market for a TL or CL before they go away in October 2003, go for the S version. It is truly worth every penny more.

    Fuel mileage is 1 mpg LOWER in the S car than the normal TL (perhaps because of the tendancy to enjoy the engine a bit) but they are both OVER 30 MPG at constant 70 mph (1900 engine rpm in gear 5) and around town in mixed driving we get 24 MPG on the TL and 23 on the S car. We surely can live with that.
  • I think you're looking at some very nice cars. I think that for a given level of equipment, the TL will cost you a lot less. Personally, I chose the TL in part to get front wheel drive, as I do a lot of bad-weather driving in the NY City area - the other cars you're looking at are rear-drivers. As far as problems - I had to replace the catalytic converter at 95,000 miles; everything else was warranty, and not much of that! Factory tires lasted 61,000 miles; brake pads were replaced at 80,000 and battery at 85,000. Other than that, all it's gotten is fluid changes. It goes in for a timing belt and plugs at 105,000, which should be in September.

    Short story - I've never owned a more reliable car. It's a great highway cruiser and has been exceptionally cheap to own and run. If you like 3-series BMWs, for example, you'll find that it isn't a great-handling car... but for luxury on the cheap, with safety and long life, I think it's among the best. I'd own another in a minute.
  • scott31scott31 Posts: 292
    on several points.

    The S model does pump things up a bit. I have a TL-S and when I get a TL loaner, there are so many differences. I'm glad I spent the extra $2k on the S.

    I also had a '95 Legend LS Coupe 6-speed. LOVED that car.
  • Does it have MD(mini disc)player?
    I wish MD(mini disc)player in tl.
  • I have read all of the comments about the new TL (I currently have a 1999 TL). If you want AWD, more HP (300), and a luxurious yet sporty interior and exterior... why don't you look at the new Volvo S60R. This is not your father's Volvo. I have ordered one and can't wait. I love my TL but the S60R really got my adrenaline pumping.
  • I agree with you about the R, what an awesome machine! My girlfriend and I flew from Boston to Detroit in February to go to NAIAS just to see the R's (well that and the Aston Martin display which was not in Boston :( I have always loved the look of the S60, and the R with AWD and 300hp routed through a manual ought to rock!

    Downside: 45 grand to start, I've seen them on the lots for 50K. THe TL should be around 32-35K, also would like to keep my next vehicle for about 7-10 years and Volvo's reliability is still a bit sketchy IMO. Also if I were to go the R route, I would go with the V70 merely for the utility that comes along with the excitment.

    Just curious, How do you sum up the reliability of your 99 TL? Has it been good to you?
  • ash213ash213 Posts: 40
    What are the other differences between TL and TL-S, please?
  • ruskiruski Posts: 1,566
    I feel that too. I always though that it was the tranny (like a tooth missing on a gear - joke). But it feels like the power delivery is pulsing (I was thingking of it in terms of grabbing before)
  • ruskiruski Posts: 1,566
    but I did not find the pulsing that much of a concern compared to my broken tranny and the hickups that both the old and new trannies produce(d) on a daily basis.
  • ruskiruski Posts: 1,566
    and did your Acura rep tell you what was wrong with the trannies and how they fixed them?

    Oh, I think I know how they fixed them. With every new (refurbished) tranny replacement they started including a new Power Control Module that somewhat reduces the engine's power. What a great idea.
  • mickedmicked Posts: 32
    If there are "spy" photos, then there is a TL around somewhere. Why is it no one knows the specs on it if it really exists? Does anyone know when it is due to be on the dealers lots?

    Eddie G
  • You're right about the R and its price, but you get what you pay for. I love my '99 TL. 50K miles and not one problem, not even a minor one. With the new TLs coming out, trade-in values will be severely compromised. Probably have to sell it myself. I think I'll be lucky to $14-15K even though its in great (not perfect - a few dings and scratches) condition. My R arrives in September. I splurged for all of the extras. I got to test drive one in July and the thing just leaps off the pavement.
  • scott31scott31 Posts: 292
    Aside from the engine, the other major difference is in the traction control systems. The TL has what I call cheap traction control. If a wheel slips, it brakes that wheel. So, basically the engine and the braking system are at war.

    The TL-S also retards the engine when a wheel slips. Plus, the TL-S adds stability control to the mix.

    In a nutshell, the differences are:

    more HP
    17" Tires (vs 16)
    stiffer suspension
    different seats
    different gauges
    VSA vs TCS

    If you go to they mention the S type extras in more detail.
  • swsmsswsms Posts: 62
    There is still hope for AWD in the TL, just maybe not for '04. We may have to wait until '06 after the '05 RL is launched next April which will have AWD and about 300 hp. With the RL trying to get back into the luxury sedan game, Acura would be shooting themselves in the foot by offering AWD now for the '04 TL. Who knows! AWD may only be a feature on a future TL Type-S model...we'll see.

    In addition, the TL isn't force to have AWD because it is already a 4-season vehicle. Currently the G35 can't claim that which maybe affecting its sales in the Northern areas of the US. AWD would definitely help G35 sales in those areas.

    In the end, the TL will still be a more polished, refined sports sedan than the G35 even with AWD.
  • gaurav2gaurav2 Posts: 5
    i went to my local acura dealer and he said it would be out in november. he also said it would be in the range of $40,000 - $43,000 (canadian prices) THATS MY CAR
  • swsmsswsms Posts: 62
    See post#267 for events in relation to the '04 TL.
  • That's awesome. The R is a really nice machine. Leave it to Volvo to break from the mold and introduce a serious sports Sedan. And at only 7500 available, you probably have little chance of seeing another at a stop light like a 3'er or a TL. Good luck with your purchase!
  • mredaamredaa Posts: 3
    After seeing the in/out pictures from TeamTSX site, I was surprised at how much the '04 TL looks like the new Accord both in and out. Specs we don't know so will have to wait. Everything else is speculation. Before buying my '03 TL-S (which I absolutely love!) I looked at the Accord V6 EX. It was tempting because of all the new features that met and even surpassed those on my TL including the heated seats, auto up/down window, etc. But then they added the aluminum trim, luminescent instruments (like the Lexus), voice activated navi, telescoping steering wheel, additional controls on the steering wheel, dual zone climate control, blue ambient lighting, 5-point rear suspension, etc. That, and about $4,000 lower price made it a hard choice until I drove it. The Accord was soft and mushy, and the handling didn't come close to the TL. While the '03 TL's styling might be considered sedate by today's standards, frankly, the Accord is downright ugly. But while the '04 TL definitely has similar lines, they fixed all that was wrong with the accord and made it absolutely gorgeous! Let's just hope Honda didn't soften the suspension like they did on the '03 Accord to appeal to the "mature" market.
  • bodble2bodble2 Posts: 4,519
    Were you able to get any info from your dealer as to whether or not Navi will be offered on the new TL?
  • gaurav2gaurav2 Posts: 5
    My dealer did not know too many specs but he said it would probably have navi as a feature
  • gaurav2gaurav2 Posts: 5
    do u think acura will have the dvd sound system and the other cool gadgets standard and not optional
  • gaurav2gaurav2 Posts: 5
    which do you think would be a better buy the g35 sedan fully loaded or the 2004 TL
  • bodble2bodble2 Posts: 4,519
    The G35 fully loaded is up around, what, $46 - 48K CAD? The TL would likely be at least $3K less. It will have more power, better interior, and IMO, just looks better inside and out. Plus it's FWD which is an advantage for us here up in the Great White North.

    Personally, I'm actually trying to decide between the TL and the Lexus RX330. I know it's kind of odd to cross-shop these 2, but I wanted something with AWD. That's why I'm kind of disappointed the TL would not be offered with AWD. BUT, if the TL has Navi, that may be enough to sway me since I can't really afford an RX with Navi.
  • gaurav2gaurav2 Posts: 5
    my cousin has just bought a rx 330 and it is not worth ur while. when ur spending so much money there are better choices on the market
  • ruskiruski Posts: 1,566
    I'd go for a FX35 or FX45 instead

    I actually am leasing an RX300 now. I like how well it is built - nothing rattles. But it has a mushy ride.
  • stlgasmanstlgasman Posts: 139
    I am thinking of a new TL. Can't decide between white diamond pearl and desert mist. It doesn't seem desert mist is too popular. I have heard wdp is difficult to repair. Any advice? Any strong feelings? For those WDP owner's - how is the upkeep?
  • bodble2bodble2 Posts: 4,519
    How do you mean? Does your cousin find certain aspects of the car not as good as touted? I'd be interested in what your cousin finds disappointing about the RX. I've also considered the value factor. I looked at other choices such as the Volvo XC, BMW X5 3.0, ML350, Acura MDX, Toyota 4Runner. And the RX appears to have them all beat on value maybe except for the MDX but I found the MDX too soccer-mom-ish, and too bulky
  • bodble2bodble2 Posts: 4,519
    The RX330 is supposed to be much improved over the 300 in terms of ride and handling though, is it not. The FX35/45 are actually priced slightly higher than the RX. The FX certainly has a leg up on the RX in terms of raw performance, but I think the RX is a better well-rounded vehicle.
  • talon95talon95 Posts: 1,110
    The recent test by Motor Trend showed that ride is great, but they were very disappointed with the handling. They found it to have numb steering, lots of body roll and pitch during cornering, and they said that it exhibited pronounced understeer.
  • swsmsswsms Posts: 62
    We must have run out of '04 TL info to share....when are those specs coming?!? :->
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