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#4

in 2011 Upscale Midsize Cars

Avg. Price Paid: $20,277 - $24,197
Original MSRP: $35,305 - $43,585
MPG: 18 City / 26 Hwy
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2011 Acura TL Interior

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

Acura doesn’t have the old-world luxury reputation of Mercedes-Benz or the sporty, driver-centric reputation of BMW. Instead, Acura is known for its exceptional technology. The TL’s interior plays to its strengths, with a contemporary design that emphasizes the car’s high-tech features. Designers used liberal amounts of polished aluminum trim and tightly pulled, smooth leather. Reviewers like it, though some point to cheaper, hard plastics in spots.

  • "plethora of center-console control buttons" -- Car and Driver
  • "Overall, the surroundings have a more austere look and feel, much like an Audi. Materials quality is top-notch, with plenty of soft-touch surfaces." -- 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
  • "Unlike many of its competitors, the 2011 Acura TL comes with most of today's must-have features as standard equipment." -- Kelley Blue Book

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Seating

The base and SH-AWD versions of the 2011 TL each include different front seats. Reviewers tend to compliment both but make note that the SH-AWD version’s sport seats are firmer and more heavily bolstered.  A daily commuter doesn’t need the grippy seats of a sport sedan, but some testers pointed out the AWD’s seats were better on a long haul. The technology package includes an upgrade to soft, supple leather that most reviewers seem to like.

  • "back seats fit for only two adults" -- Car and Driver
  • "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
  • "The driver's seat in the base TL could use a bit more support for long drives" -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "Roominess abounds throughout the vehicle; even tall passengers will feel comfortable in the backseats." -- Automobile.com

Interior Features

Acura is well known for its high-tech interiors and its best-selling car – the TL – is a major reason the brand has that reputation. The interior of the TL includes some of the best automotive in-cabin technology available. Reviewers are particularly impressed with the equipment included with the optional Technology Package. Checking that box adds a navigation system with real-time traffic and weather updates. The upgraded sound system with a built-in hard drive also earns rave reviews. 

However, not all critics are impressed with the interface that controls these systems. Without the Technology Package, the TL uses separate buttons for each of its climate and entertainment functions. This makes the interior look complicated, but it is fairly easy to learn. The Technology Package adds an “interface dial” that controls most of these systems through a single knob and a series of menus on the navigation screen. It’s similar to the systems most manufacturers now offer at this price point, including BMW’s iDrive and the Mercedes-Benz COMAND system. Reviewers say Acura’s is easier to learn than most but it still takes some time.

  • “Techno gadgets galore, excellent audio,” but “center-console button overload." -- Car and Driver
  • "Abundant user-friendly high-tech features" -- 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
  • "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 Acura TL offers 13.1 cubic feet of trunk space -- less than some competitors, like the Lincoln MKZ and Lexus ES. Some reviewers point out that the SH-AWD model offers even less, since the rear differential intrudes on the floor of the trunk.

  • "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." -- Edmunds
  • "the trunk’s 13.1 cubic feet of cargo room is woefully inadequate when stacked up against others in this class." -- Automobile.com