The 2004 model year saw the introduction of an unofficial third-generation Acura TL. Although this was the first time just the TL moniker was used on an Acura model, two previous generations of mid-size luxury sedans used the letters TL after a set of numbers designating the engine.
The TL was available initially with a 3.2-liter V6 engine that was rated at 270 HP for 2004-2005 and then reduced to 258 HP in 2006 thanks to new SAE certification ratings. The V6 could be paired to a five-speed automatic transmission or a six-speed manual, both sending power to the front wheels.
In 2007 a more powerful Type-S arrived on the scene powered by a 286 HP 3.5-liter V6, also paired to either a five-speed automatic or six-speed manual.
From 2004-2006 the TL came in a singular trim that could have various items added to it. In 2007 a Type-S edition was added.
Top 3 Reasons to Buy
- Reliability – Although the TL does have a few issues, for the most part owners have been very satisfied with reliability.
- Style – Many owners love the look of the 2004-2008 TL and consider it to be the best looking generation of TL, especially the TL Type-S.
- Sophistication – For many owners, the TL was their first luxury car purchase as they were looking for a more sophisticated car.
Top 3 Problem Areas
- Transmission – Both the five-speed automatic and six-speed manual transmission have had issues. The automatic with irregular shifts and not engaging gears, while the six-speed manual has been plagued with third gear issues.
- Dashboard Cracks – Owners have found dashboard cracks form on their TLs, specifically around the passenger airbag.
- Rattles and Squeaks – many used cars develop rattles and squeaks, but the TL appears to be especially susceptible to them in the rear.
Before You Buy
Ensure all recalls have been performed on the TL as each year has a few listed on the NHTSA website. Check for dashboard cracks around the passenger airbag and listen for any squeaks or rattles during a test drive.
Feel for any unusual behavior from the transmission as well, regardless of transmission type.
Best Bang for Your Buck
The 2004 and 2005 TL have had far more complaints lodged with the NHTSA than other model years. Despite these cars having higher horsepower ratings, the lower ratings of the 2006+ cars were just from a new rating procedure and not an actual decrease in power compared to the previous model years. Our advice would be to look for a regular 2006-2008 TL, unless more you want more performance. If that’s the case, look for a Type-S instead.
Recall and Crash Test Database
2004 Acura TL NHTSA Recall Database 2005 Acura TL NHTSA Recall Database 2006 Acura TL NHTSA Recall Database 2007 Acura TL NHTSA Recall Database 2008 Acura TL NHTSA Recall Database 2004 Acura TL NHTSA Crash Test Rating 2005 Acura TL NHTSA Crash Test Rating 2006 Acura TL NHTSA Crash Test Rating 2007 Acura TL NHTSA Crash Test Rating 2008 Acura TL NHTSA Crash Test Rating 2004 Acura TL IIHS Crash Test Rating 2005 Acura TL IIHS Crash Test Rating 2006 Acura TL IIHS Crash Test Rating 2007 Acura TL IIHS Crash Test Rating 2008 Acura TL IIHS Crash Test Rating
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