Rare Rides: The Six-speed Acura TL, From 2005
On yesterday’s lovely Camaro-cum-Trans Am article, commenter dal20402 presented a very tidy Acura TL located in the gentle climate of Washington state. Said TL happened to be a pretty desirable example, so let’s take a look.
TL was a new midsize entry from Acura for the 1996 model year. A direct replacement for the ill-received inline-five Vigor, the TL was larger and more conventional in an attempt to curry more favor with American customers. Initially called the 2.5 TL or 3.2 TL, the former actually used the same I5 from the Vigor – an odd choice by Honda. TL was the first time Acura used alphanumeric naming instead of words, a trend that quickly took over the brand and continues today.
The TL was successful enough to warrant a second generation in 1999, and the new version moved even more mainstream and further from its Japanese roots. While the first TL was made in Japan, had a longitudinal engine layout, and was a rebadge of the Japanese Honda Saber, the second was transverse, made in Ohio, and shared a platform with the Accord. Inline-five power was gone, as the 3.2 TL carried on alone with V6 power. The second generation lived longer than the first and was on offer through the 2003 model year.
2004 saw the TL switch its softer, more organic styling for sharper edges and a strong beltline. Nomenclature was now just TL, with no indication of the power beneath the hood. Said power varied by trim. Standard versions used the 3.2-liter as before, good for 258 horsepower. In 2007 a new Type-S performance trim received the 3.5-liter Accord V6 tuned to 286 horses. Transmissions on offer were either a five-speed auto or a six-speed manual. The vast majority of examples sold were of automatic variety.
TL received another generation for 2009 and saw the model grow to its largest-ever proportions. Overall length grew by five inches, and the base trim gained about 300 pounds over its predecessor. Other trims were even heavier as all-wheel drive made its way to the TL. Styling was increasingly questionable as Peak Beak set in at Acura, and sales of the large midsize faltered. Its last year was in 2014, as Acura consolidated the larger TL and smaller TSX models into the singular midsize TLX.
Today’s TL is the sportiest one could buy in 2005 before the Type-S debuted. In graphite with a black interior, the six-speed is fully loaded but has questionable chrome five-spokes. With 96,000 miles on the odometer, the one-owner car seeks $8,995.
HAIL 2 on May 06, 2021
‘04 owner here. Satin Silver metallic, black leather, 6MT and Nav. 276,000 miles now. Third timing belt, second set of rims, and ORIGINAL CLUTCH. I took delivery in April 2004. My twin sons were born two years later. In a few months they’ll begin drivers’ ed and will learn to drive stick in the car I’ve loved for 17 years. Thank you Honda/Acura.
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