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Practical Sports Sedan logo 7/21/2015 JackSafro

As a lifelong car enthusiast with a baby and a frugal spouse, the TL fit the bill. The car is an underrated sleeper. It gives four-door, mid-sized, practicality, sporty driving dynamics, comfort, and tasteful style to my otherwise "nose-to-the-grindstone" life. My wife insisted I buy a Honda Accord. So I did! Only, I got the one with the big engine, super-handling all-wheel drive, and great stereo/technology. It was a good compromise between the mundane Honda sibling and a used BMW. My friend bought a very nice BMW 335 sedan when I bought my car. He is already talking about selling it because of the cost, poor BMW customer service, impractically small dimensions, and the many eat [dirt] looks he gets from other drivers. The TL's "anonymity" is a plus in my book. It is a nice looking car (I particularly like the interior) but not flashy. What most people do not expect is that the car is FAST. It handles great too. Having strong pulling power on the highway is a huge plus, particularly when merging in metro-Atlanta traffic. However, my favorite thing about the car is the SH-AWD. When pulling out into traffic from a stop or speeding into a left turn to beat traffic, the AWD system provides supreme confidence. Wheel spin is (at most) a brief chirp. The car hooks up and pounces like a hungry cat. No drama, just direct, immediate, acceleration. This is immensely helpful in day-to-day driving (again... metro-Atlanta traffic...). The ride is smooth and relaxed in normal driving, but comes alive when pushed. The SH-AWD is like having a magic carpet under you. It begs for you to stay on the power to "push" the car through turns. It is addicting, and I find myself goosing the throttle all the time--much to the dismay of all the dead dinosaurs out there (more on that later). One thing to consider though is that, when taking turns off throttle, SH-AWD is not active and the car (front heavy as it is) under-steers. This means you need to plan a bit ahead to take advantage of the torque vectoring, especially if your car has a manual transmission like mine. The car is smooth on the highway and appropriately taught around town. It is quiet (much quieter than my father's 2010 model) and an overall joy to drive. I find it to be very secure and reassuring in inclement weather. The clutch is typical Honda (consistent and relatively light) and the shifting is quite good. The only knock is that I think it has a clutch delay valve. This means lightning quick 1-2 shifts will result in grinding synchros (and a jarring blow to your sporting mood). Gas mileage is ok. I average about 18 mpg (premium recommended) in mixed driving. But a heavy right foot will drop my mileage as low as 15. This has happened a couple of times, but is rare. On the highway, I will get 25 or more mpg's. Easy driving will yield decent mpg and the car feels very relaxed and smooth if driven that way. It is just so difficult to refrain from experiencing the horsepower and SH-AWD.The interior is a very nice place to be. I find the seats pretty comfortable, though with maybe too much lumbar support. I personally prefer buttons and really like the layout of the center stack. The gauges are clear and sporty. The lights on the car are excellent, casting illumination bright and far. With the fog lights on, you can see pretty well into turns too--a nice plus in poorly lit neighborhood driving. The bluetooth, navigation, stereo, etc. are excellent. I would love better Pandora integration (thumbs up/down, etc), but it works fine. Did I mention the stereo is great!?I have had two minor intermittent rattles. The dealer poured over the car and found a couple of un-seated retaining clips. What I found remarkable was the high level of quality service and attention from my local dealer's service department (and I didn't even buy the car from them). They provided a (super nice) loaner and made sure to address my concerns. No BMW dealer offers such a high level of service. My buddy who bought the BMW went to pick it up after purchase. They were supposed to fix a paint chip and address several other issues. They had not completed most of the work. The BMW dealer handed my friend some touch-up paint and told him to do it himself (unbelievable! It was a $50,000 car). Don't get me wrong. BMW makes incredible cars. But I'll stick with good service and value.Overall, I LOVE my TL. It is nice without being too flashy, sporty yet comfortable, and very practical (though the trunk could be a smidge bigger). As anyone who's ever driven a Honda product knows, it is all about quality and value. The TL is not the fanciest or the sportiest. But it is arguably the most practical mix of traits that a practical car-enthusiast could want. And with Honda/Acura reliability and high re-sale values, I am confident about my purchasing decision. So go ahead, pick up a used one and enjoy! No one will look at you like you drive a BMW--even if you drive it like one.

Average Rating : 5


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