2009 Acura TL
2009 Acura TL
2009 Acura TL
2009 Acura TL. Click image to enlarge

Review by Justin Pritchard

Vehicle Type: Luxury Sedan

History/Description:  With more power, features and performance than ever before, the 2009 Acura TL advanced the name of this popular luxury sedan to a new level. Offering available Super Handling All Wheel Drive and a 305 horsepower engine, shoppers were able build their own TL to match their exact tastes.

Standard are features like dual-zone automatic climate control, cruise control, remote keyless entry, a tilt and telescoping steering wheel and a power glass sunroof. Other features available include navigation, a Hands-Free Link cellular phone interface and a hard-drive based music storage system. Music duty is handled by an available 440 watt ELS surround stereo system with speed-sensitive volume and an auxiliary input jack.

Look for xenon lighting, a backup camera, climate controlled leather seats and more.

From 2012 and on, various enhancements were applied to the TL lineup, including revised fascias, a new six-speed automatic transmission, improved sound deadening and various fuel-efficiency enhancements, mainly enabled by reduced friction.

Engines / Trim: Two engines were available – namely, a 3.5L V6 engine with 280 horsepower and 254 lb.-ft of torque as standard with front-wheel drive, and a 3.7L V6 engine with 305 horsepower, teamed exclusively with the SH-AWD system.

Note that depending on the year, drivers could specify a six-speed manual transmission with the 3.7L engine and SH-AWD, otherwise, most models in the used marketplace will be automatic with paddle shift.

Further, note that TL models differentiated themselves from one another with packages, including the A-Spec for sportier looks, the Tech for more gadgety equipment and the Elite, for the fully-loaded package.

What Owners Like: This generation TL was loved for a fantastic blend of performance, comfort, fuel efficiency, handling and decent all-around bang for the buck. Many shoppers note Acura’s reputation as a key factor in considering a TL, as well as the slick SH-AWD system, a top-notch powertrain and pleasant all around driving experience. The up-level audio system is much loved, too.

What Owners Dislike: The TL, especially towards the end of this generation, was getting a bit old and dated looking, some owners wished for more exciting styling, and the lack of a split-folding rear seat limits cargo carrying capacity.

Some owner reviews here.

2009 Acura TL2009 Acura TL
2009 Acura TL. Click image to enlarge

The Test Drive: First and foremost, don’t let Acura’s reputation for building solid and reliable cars cloud your judgement – Acura or not, the TL is a machine made from parts and components that will eventually wear down and require attention. The rate at which this happens is largely subject to how the model in question was treated by its former owners, so seek out a model with service records, and preferably one familiar to a local Acura dealership, for maximum peace of mind.

As with any used car, budgeting for a full fluid change is a good idea if the service history of the model you’re considering is unclear.

Most reliability-related discussions centre around squeaks and rattles, mostly with the sunroof, which may require a new or revised track mechanism. Other rattles may be emitted from the rear-view mirrors or A-pillars.

Shoppers are advised to check the rear spoiler for signs of adhesive failure beneath it, as well as all buttons and controls related to the seats. Some owners have reported replacing door seals and window seals under warranty, possibly due to heat-related warpage.

2009 Acura TL2009 Acura TL FWD
2009 Acura TL. Click image to enlarge

Some niggling issues were reported with the entertainment system – particularly relating to non-functional Bluetooth interfaces, failure to power on, or blown speakers. Spend a few minutes working through all functions relating to the communication, navigation and stereo systems, just to be safe. Confirm proper operation from all remote keyfobs and the push-button start system, and be sure none of the xenon headlamps, if equipped, are burned out. Any problems here should be called in to pricing negotiations.

Some owners do report excessive oil consumption, though there’s no verdict if this is a worrisome or systematic problem, or what amount of oil consumption is considered normal. Still, shoppers are advised to check the level and condition of the motor oil in the unit they’re considering, just to be safe. Apparently, TL’s that consume more oil than others may not have been broken in properly.

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