The Acura TL offered a luxury ride with great features at an affordable price, thanks to engine options that reached 305 HP before the TL was retired in 2014.
- The Acura TL debuted in 1996, falling between the Integra and Legend in price and size.
- The TL was Acura’s best-selling model from 1999 to 2006.
- The TL was completed in 2014 and pre-owned options provide a luxury automotive experience.
- Throughout its 18 years of operation, the Acura TL experienced four different generational changes.
- The most notable change was for the third generation. TL was the beginning of a six-speed manual transmission.
- The fourth and final generation debuted with the 2009 TL, offering two engine options.
- The 2010 TL’s J-Series 3.7L V6 engine was rated at a substantial 305 horsepower.
- Acura TL proves to be very reliable, and when things go wrong, they are not serious.
From 1996 to 2014, Acura’s TL became a bestseller and almost twice as powerful
The Acura TL first saw the light of day in the 1996 model year, taking the place of the Vigor sedan and fitting comfortably between the Acura Integra and the Acura Legend as a middle ground in terms of price and size.
It was intended only to be a reliable, luxurious vehicle that owners could comfortably drive down the road from point A to point B without worry. The TL was one of Acura’s most successful; in fact, it was their best-selling model between 1999 and 2006.
Although the TL was retired after the 2014 model year and replaced by the TLX, it still offers a great opportunity for used car buyers to take an affordable step into the luxury side of automotive life. Throughout its 18 years of production, the Acura TL went through four different generational changes. Let’s take a look at the engines under the hood of each generation of the TL.
Two first-generation TL engines of 176 and 200 HP are offered
The first generation TL (1996-1998) was available with two different engine options. The first lower-powered variant is a bit unique in that it is an inline five-cylinder engine. The second option is a 3.2-liter V6. Let’s take a look at the specific specifications of each engine.
The 2.5-liter inline five-cylinder found under the hood of first-generation TL models is a single overhead camshaft (SOHC) engine with an aluminum engine block and cylinder head. Additionally, the engine uses cast iron cylinder liners for added strength. It has four valves per cylinder, for a total of 20 valves. Uses standard multiport electronic fuel injection.
TL models equipped with the 2.5-liter engine have 176 horsepower and 170 lb.-ft. of torque They get 18 mpg in the city and 22 mpg on the highway.
The 3.2-liter V6 engine of the first generation TL has a very similar construction to that of the five-cylinder, but in a different configuration (V-shaped). It also uses largely aluminum construction with cast iron cylinder liners, and also has a single camshaft per cylinder head, for a total of two. Additionally, it has four valves per cylinder, for a total of 24, and uses standard multipoint electronic fuel injection.
The V6 has a small power advantage with 200 horsepower and 210 pound-feet. of torque See fuel economy ratings of 17 mpg city and 22 mpg highway.
Power output of the second-generation TL engine increased to 260 hp
The second generation (1999-2003) of Acura dropped the single five-cylinder engine option and only offered the 3.2-liter V6 in TL models. Although the engine displacement is the same, the 3.2-liter V6 found under the hood of the second-generation TL is from a different engine family. These are J-series engines, like those found in the Honda Accord and Odyssey.
The second-generation TL’s engine, the J32, uses a similar, mostly aluminum construction. In addition, it retains the construction of a single overhead camshaft, as well as four valves per cylinder. However, the biggest difference between the first and second-generation V6 engines is the addition of Honda’s unique variable valve timing system, VTEC.
The standard Acura TL came with 225 horsepower on tap and 216 lb.-ft. torque to complete it. However, the 2002 Acura TL saw the introduction of the Type-S model. While the engine remained the same 3.2-liter V6, power was increased to 260 horsepower and 232 pound-feet. of torque
Second-generation Acura TL models see fuel economy ratings of up to 17 mpg city and 27 mpg highway, according to the EPA.
Third-gen TL gets 286-hp, six-speed manual transmission
The 2004 Acura TL took another step forward in the generation, and with it came a huge leap in power and style. The premise remains the same, however, and the only offering is a single-engine option. Furthermore, like the previous generation, the engine in question belongs to the J series engine family. However, the third-generation models (2004-2008) saw their displacement increase to 3.5 liters.
Perhaps the most notable change for the third-generation TL, however, is Acura’s decision to offer a six-speed manual transmission. This is the first generation TL available with a manual option.
The 3.5-liter V6 engine, the J35, features virtually identical construction to the J32 but features a larger bore and longer stroke for the additional displacement.. It retains the single overhead camshaft and four valves per cylinder.
Power for the J35 was slightly higher than the previous generation, with standard models generating 258 horsepower and 233 pound-feet. of torque When production of the third generation ended, the Type S model made a triumphant return with 286 horsepower and 256 pound-feet. of torque
The third-generation TL model sees fuel economy figures up to 18 mpg in the city and 26 mpg on the highway.
The fourth generation TL offers two engines and increases power output to 305 HP
The fourth and final generation (2009-2014) debuted with the 2009 Acura TL. It’s only fitting that it ends as it began, with two different engine options.
The first option remains the 3.5-liter J35 V6 engine like the third generation models. Although this engine remains almost identical to the previous models’ variant, it comes standard with 280 horsepower and 254 pound-feet. of torque
The 2010 Acura TL introduced the successor to the Type S, the SH-AWD. It features a 3.7-liter J-series V6 engine that once again retains the single overhead camshaft construction and all other standard J-series engine features such as valve count and valve composition. material. This engine was mated to a six-speed four-wheel drive manual transmission and had a substantial output of 305 horsepower and 273 pound-feet. of torque
Fourth-generation models see fuel economy ratings up to 18 mpg city and 26 mpg highway.
Is the Acura TL engine reliable?
For those not in the know, Acura is Honda’s luxury division. As such, I would expect Acura vehicles to maintain Honda’s reputation for reliability. This assumption would be correct. Don’t just take our word for it. Let’s take a look at the Acura TL reliability rating according to a repair friend.
repair friend gives the Acura TL an overall reliability rating of four out of five stars for all model years. In terms of luxury midsize cars, this ranks it sixth most reliable out of a possible 31. Additionally, the site claims that the average annual repair cost for an Acura TL is low at $467. Furthermore, problems are rare, and the severity of repairs is generally very low.
All in all, used car buyers considering purchasing an Acura TL should take comfort in knowing that they are, in fact, very reliable. Plus, when things go bad, they’re not so bad.
As always, when buying a used car, it’s a good idea to have it checked by a certified mechanic before you buy. Additionally, entering the vehicle’s VIN into our free VIN lookup tool helps see if the vehicle has a history of accidents or theft so you know what you’re getting into.