Farewell to My Acura TL

After nearly six years, my 2012 Acura TL is gone. It was a great car that set a really high bar. I’d like to say goodbye.

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Filling up right after purchase. So shiny!

The Good

I purchased you in May 2014 with barely over 37,000 miles. You had fewer miles than  my 2007 Acura TSX when I bought it and you were far more luxurious. Your engine was buttery smooth and quiet with a powerful growl when called upon to merge me quickly and confidently into traffic. You were a car of firsts – proximity key, push button start, ventilated seats, blind spot monitor, all wheel drive, saddle brown (Umber) leather, adjustable lumbar, xenon automatic headlights, nav system, paddle shifters, customizable vehicle settings, and sport mode.

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A final shot of the interior beforeI said farewell. That leather was gorgeous.

You were stylish enough on the outside but beautiful on the inside with high-quality materials, curves, and mixed textures. You were criticized for having too many buttons but I liked that you lit up like a city at night. If it’s any consolation, most of your buttons were well-placed and easy to use. Your seats were comfortable and your interior was roomier than your competitors – one of the reasons I bought you. Your audio system was amazing with strong clear bass, great midrange, and poignant highs. I loved jamming out to your audio system on the way to and from work. We enjoyed many playlists as a family in your care.

You were a great vehicle for a road trip with a firm, but well-behaved ride and good performance. A quick tap of a paddle shifter or a slip of the gear shift into Sport mode usually closed any speed gaps. When I put good tires on you, you were great in the snow, allowing me to confidently make it from place to place and smash through the plow wall at the end of my driveway without getting stuck.

The Bad

Nothing is without its flaws, and you certainly had some. Your paddle shifters were great but they were significantly delayed, dulling the excitement. Sport mode was nice, but it cut sixth gear out of the picture which made your engine loud and thirsty on the highway. Even outside of sport mode, your fuel economy was bad for a car in your class. I never achieved the rated 18/26/21, getting about 19 average for a 75% highway commute. On a few rare occasions I barely managed 24 mpg. Oh and you took Premium.

As you aged and my iPhones were upgraded over the years, the great integration you had with them started to erode. At the beginning you eagerly loaded up my playlist info, indexed my music so I could request songs by voice, and let me choose music using my rotary dial. By the end you couldn’t recognize songs by voice, barely could display song titles on the current playlist, and didn’t allow me to select music even if you could. It became so frustrating that I just used Bluetooth, which was lower quality and didn’t display any information about the current song, not even the title. What a sad waste of your audio system.

You had a slew of mechanical issues that had nothing to do with your design. I’m convinced that you were in an unreported front-end collision. In the first week I found out that you had a mis-installed non-Acura headlight that melted the housing and barely worked. Within the first year you had two alignments, two tire balances, a bearing replacement, a differential replacement, a transmission replacement, and multiple repairs to bent rims. A month later I found out that one of the radial belts slipped in your front tire, preventing it from staying balanced. I got you four new tires for the trouble. Luckily many of the really expensive repairs (e.g. the transmission) were covered under the remaining year of warranty and Prime Acura North dutifully diagnosed issue after issue while loaning me a car for the day, or even the night.

The rest of your life was a bit quieter, though I endured a really annoying thumping sound in your front end for almost two years until another bearing was replaced. You took one more set of tires and a couple of new batteries, but otherwise you were in great condition. Never had an issue with the engine, just the stupid wheels and suspension. We spent 54,000 miles together and they were pretty good. Even with issues I spent about $1,300 per year on you including registration.

The Legacy

My TL was a comfortable, relatively sporty sedan that got me from A to Z in comfort and luxury. It was fun to drive and enjoyable to be in. It was safe and secure. I didn’t love how it looked on the outside but I really enjoyed the inside and everything else, despite some issues. I had great luck with the local Acura dealer even though I didn’t buy it there. It was such a good vehicle that I barely noticed when I passed the three and a half year mark where I usually bought another car. The end of my loan came and went quickly and I had no desire to look for a new vehicle.

My TL set the bar so high for my next car. I enjoyed every feature it had and refused to compromise on very few. It had to be as powerful or more powerful. It had to be all wheel drive, preferable the torque-vectoring kind like my TL had. It had to have a great audio system. It had to have ventilated seats. It had to have an interior that was high quality and interesting but not too cozy. It had to have paddle shifters.

I found a carthat could exceed the TL’s feature set, beat its performance, and eclipse its design but there were very few candidates from which to choose. The TL was a great car. Farewell my friend.

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