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#2

in 2009 Upscale Midsize Cars

Avg. Price Paid: $16,840 - $19,105
Original MSRP: $34,955 - $43,235
MPG: 18 City / 26 Hwy
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2009 Acura TL Interior

This interior review was created when the car was new. Some links may no longer point to an active page.

The 2009 Acura TL offers the most advanced cabin electronics of any entry-level luxury car, together with comfortable seating for four adults. But for those looking for traditional wood-and-leather luxury, the TL may disappoint. This is the 21st century aluminum-and-leather brand of upscale.  Reviewers also note that many of the high-tech features standard on the TL are optional on rivals, making Acura's car a less-expensive proposition.

  • "The TL's interior has been redesigned in a twin-cockpit style for the front seat occupants, with metal trim that twists and curves as it wraps around from door to dash to console. The effect might be confining, if the cabin had not grown wider. The dash is more stylized than before, but still readable. The quality of interior materials is very good." -- Automobile Magazine
  • "A technical knockout." -- AutoWeek
  • "The Technology package, an option box that 70 percent of TL buyers are expected to tick, adds to a long list of standards... Material qualities are first-rate, and this car feels far more upscale than the previous one did." -- Car and Driver
  • "TLs without the Technology Package feature cheaper-looking metallic trim and audio switchgear, which gives the cabin the impression of belonging to a snazzied-up Honda Accord. On the flip side, the SH-AWD model's available two-tone color scheme, higher-quality alloy trim and contrasting stitching are a nice touch." -- Edmunds
  • "The TL's plethora of new and improved gee-whiz gizmos, standard and optional, include ELS Surround Premium audio tuned by Elliot Scheiner, voice-activated real-time nav/traffic and AcuraLink real-time Doppler radar weather. Whew. Impressive from inside the car." -- Motor Trend

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Seating

The 2009 TL offers comfortable seating for all, with reviewers reserving particular praise for the adjustability of the driver's position. The standard leather upholstery is nice, but many say the upgraded Milano leather is exceptional. The front seats are heated and perforated, but somehow the phenomenal seat heating and cooling system from the RL hasn't made it into this car. SH-AWD models offer more supportive sport seats to hold occupants in place when the car corners hard.

  • "The SH-AWD seats offer better grip during cornering than the base seats, but they don't feel cramped or restrictive at any point. Both seats are supportive and comfortable." -- Consumer Guide
  • "The comfortable seats embrace you with deep side bolsters, enhancing the wraparound feeling. Both front seats are power, with memory for the driver's side, and seat heaters are included. Leather is standard, but more-supple, fragrant "Milano" leather is part of the technology package option." -- Automobile Magazine
  • "Drivers will appreciate the wide adjustment range for the well-bolstered driver seat. The rear seat is spacious and offers enough headroom for passengers more than 6 feet tall Large flip-up headrests provide protection for occupants, while clearing rear vision when nobody's back there" -- Edmunds
  • "The seats are comfortable, the fronts in the SH-AWD offering more bolstering, while the SH's steering wheel is right there with BMW's M cars in terms of rim thickness." -- Road and Track
  • "Out on the road, the TL immediately impresses with its quiet; almost no wind noise intrudes." -- Motor Trend

Interior Features

The interior of the Acura TL is a showcase for automotive technologies. It is constructed of materials similar to those found in other upscale midsize sedans, but not at the top of their class. The look is decidedly high-tech -- with brushed aluminum accents where rivals use wood and leather.

Even base model TLs include an extraordinary list of cabin technologies, and Acura estimates that 75 percent of buyers will add the Technology Package that takes the car right out of its class in electronics. It offers a huge eight-inch navigation screen, featuring real-time traffic information, weather info (including radar weather maps, an Acura exclusive) and forecasts, with inclement weather alerts from XM radio. The system uses voice recognition.

A 440-watt, 10-speaker audio system impresses most reviewers, with a 12.7-gig hard drive and a DVD reader, as well as USB and aux inputs (with seamless iPod integration). Bluetooth connectivity and satellite radio are standard, and the radio includes a marking function that can remember the title and artist and a sample snippet of up to 30 different songs. 

  • "The TL is a showcase for the latest automotive gadgets. Along with the litany of standard and optional high-tech features, the 2009 Acura TL features a thoroughly high-tech design The center stack juts out in a waterfall fashion toward the driver, which puts climate, audio and navigation controls right at hand.  The steering wheel also features a number of buttons for audio, cruise control, the trip computer, Bluetooth and the Technology Package's large number of voice commands." -- Edmunds"
  • "Indeed a technophile's delight. The 8-inch high-resolution screen in the dashboard can display a wealth of information, from radar weather maps to traffic reports to the backing-up view from a rear-mounted camera."  -- New York Times
  • "Inside the sculptural, 'dual-cockpit' cabin awaits a feast of advanced technology, enough to make the commander of a Los Angeles-class submarine jealous." -- Motor Trend
  • "The TL's new instrument panel features large and legible main gauges. The center stack with audio/climate/communications controls has its fair share of buttons, but they are logically grouped and easy to reach. The Technology Package uses an 'interface dial' to access these systems, but it is not as complicated to use as those in some European makes." -- Consumer Guide
  • "This new navigation system shows XM NavTraffic, which it did before, and now includes weather, and even a Doppler radar map of the country. Of course, a hard-drive-based navigation system means room for music storage, which complements the TL's iPod integration and streaming Bluetooth capability. These are some very nice tech additions." -- CNET

Cargo

The trunk of the base model 2009 Acura TL offers 13.1 cubic feet of space, less than typical in this class. The SH-AWD model offers even less, since the rear differential intrudes on the floor of the trunk. Interior storage is decent, but not exceptional.

  • "The trunk opening narrows toward the bottom and hinges intrude into the trunk space -- though they are covered so as not to damage cargo. Interior storage space is good." -- Consumer Guide