2013 Acura TL SH-AWD Elite

There’s no mistaking the Acura TL. Its tapered front and rear are reminiscent of a streamlined speedboat; that signature grill, a smiling shark. This is built for speed.

The tester was the top of the line, SH-AWD Elite—which stands for super handling all-wheel drive—and it came with many gearhead-friendly upgrades.

Not that it was needed, but one was the fuel-injected 3.7L 24-valve six-cylinder engine. Total output: 305 hp and  273 lb-ft of torque. When you raise the hood, ta-da! That V-6 is presented as though on a platter. But for the washer-fluid cap, all other machinery is hidden beneath a plastic lid.

Despite that muscle, the drive was nimble. Imagine crossbreeding a rhino and cheetah. Another upgrade was the 19” x 8” aluminum-alloy wheels. Between them and the active all-wheel drive, which automatically applies extra power to assorted wheels when it senses imbalance, there’s mucho grip. Fortunately, you can disengage the anti-skid technology and enjoy a touch of slip on dirt roads. (The TL would be fun in winter. While the backseats don’t flatten, there’s a small pass-through door to the trunk for transporting skis.)

The engine is well muffled and the TL is well soundproofed. So you needn’t disturb neighbours, nor interrupt your listening pleasure from the eight-speaker system.

Another upgrade from the Elite package was the blind spot warning lights. Illuminating when someone’s invading your space from either side, they logically flank the rearview mirrors, just inside, and are carved into two cars, one of which invades the other’s blind spot.

The rearview camera and spoiler are both part of the Technology Package, another upgrade. With such power, any extra viewing is wise.

Complaints? Some.

During the whole week, I never got comfortable with the programmable seat. I found the dash too high for easy viewing. The TL only takes premium and even then its fuel economy stats are 10.4 L/100km city and 6.8 highway. To get near those numbers, you’ll need use the cruise control and paddles as much as possible.

Which is fine, because that’s fun.

Pricing: 2013 ACURA TL SH-AWD Elite

Base TL: $39,500

TL Tech: $43,450
TL SH-AWD: $43,950
TL SH-AWD Tech: $47,450
TL SH-AWD Elite: $49,450

Freight: $1,945

Price as tested: $49,450

Though a co-owner and former editor of DailyXY, Steven Bochenek is actually an advertising writer who does some journalism on the side. In 2011 he was accepted into the Automotive Journalists Association of Canada. His other interests include playing music, long-distance running, skiing and writing in the third person.

Photo courtesy of the author.


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