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2009 Acura TL Review

The highly-ranked Acura TL, which was completely overhauled for 2009, offers a compelling blend of comfort, sportiness, luxury and technology. With a top-of-the-class safety rating thrown in, the 2009 Acura TL is a great choice among 2009 midsize cars.

Pros & Cons

  • Good handling in AWD models
  • Upscale, modern interior
  • Comfortable seats
  • Stellar safety score
  • Button-heavy center stack may be confusing for some
  • Polarizing looks




Critics' Rating: 8.8
Performance: 8.0
Interior: 8.8
Total Cost of Ownership: 8.5
Safety: 10.0
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

2009 Acura TL Overview

Once they stopped talking about its unusual grille, critics said the redesigned 2009 TL was a great car. Those looking for a comfortable luxury car will be well-served by the TL, while those looking for something sportier could opt for the TL with Acura’s Super-Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD) and be plenty satisfied. The TL also drew high marks for its upscale, modern cabin and comfortable seats. The 2009 TL boasts an unbeatable safety score.

The base TL is front-wheel drive and is powered by a 3.5-liter V6 that makes 280 horsepower. Sport-tuned versions with SH-AWD get a larger, 3.7-liter V6 that produces 305 horsepower. Critics said both versions feel plenty powerful, but in addition to the added traction, AWD variants have a sport-tuned suspension, and feel more nimble as a result. Front-wheel drive versions average 18/26 mpg city/highway, while AWD models get 17/25 mpg. An automatic transmission is the only available transmission for 2009. The TL’s trunk space, at 13.1 cubic feet, is smaller than many competitors’.

Critics enjoyed spending time in the TL’s cabin. They liked the car’s modern-looking dashboard, high-tech features and high-quality materials. They found the seats to be comfortable and spacious front and rear, though some preferred the front buckets in AWD versions, which have better side support for more aggressive cornering. Standard equipment on both versions includes leather seats, Bluetooth, a power sunroof, satellite radio and a USB port. Those equipped with the Technology Package have navigation with real-time traffic, a solar-sensing climate system, an upgraded stereo and a backup camera. Bear in mind that the TL’s center stack is very button-heavy, and some critics found this setup distracting and not very intuitive.

See the full 2009 Acura TL specs »

Other Cars to Consider

If you’re considering the TL, you might want to take a look at the 2009 Lexus IS, which reviewers liked for its sporty handling and interior fit and finish. The 2009 IS offers two different engines depending on how much performance you’re looking for. The IS is also a bit smaller than the TL, which means it may feel more nimble and maneuverable, but also means it doesn’t offer as much passenger space.

Another alternative to consider is the 2009 Audi A4. The A4 comes with either front- or all-wheel drive, and critics said that its handling is crisp and agile, especially in AWD models. The A4 also drew high marks for its upscale, refined interior.

Compare the TL to the IS and A4 »

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