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The AutoGuide News Blog is your source for breaking stories from the auto industry. Delivering news immediately, the AutoGuide Blog is constantly updated with the latest information, photos and video from manufacturers, auto shows, the aftermarket and professional racing.
Ask AutoGuide No. 39
Midsize sedans represent a massive slice of the automotive pie. These four-door cars almost single handedly (or wheely?) form the backbone of America’s personal transportation network, shuttling people practically everywhere they need and want to go. Yeah, they’re kind of a big deal, and as a salute to these hard-working automobiles they’re the subject of this week’s installment of Ask AutoGuide.
After several announcements of various models that were awarded the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s “Top Safety Pick Plus” rating, the IIHS has released its full list of its safest cars for 2013.
Top 10 Automotive Stories of 2012
With a heavy heart the staff of AutoGuide.com say goodbye to 2012, along with its triumphs and tragedies. We await the New Year with open arms, and welcome its promise of a better world.
According to the Chinese zodiac, 2012 was a year of the dragon, and it proved to be the stuff of legend, but thankfully it wasn’t a fire-breather. The Mayans were flat-out wrong; their doomsday prophecy was about as accurate as Bernie Madoff’s promise of a sound investment opportunity.
Still, the year brought other significant stories. Scientists at the Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland discovered a subatomic particle consistent with the legendary Higgs boson. Astronaut Neil Armstrong, the first person to walk on the moon, passed away, and in a brutal political battle Barack Obama won a second term as president of the United States.
Of course the automotive industry made its share of headlines throughout the year. Here’s a rundown of the Top 10 stories from the past 12 months.
The 2012 Acura TL goes on sale in a couple of weeks, and it gets a new six-speed automatic transmission, some new gadgets, and a facelift to help consumers get over that massive buck tooth.
Honda’s new Sequential SportShift 6-speed automatic transmission blips the throttle to match gear and engine speeds while downshifting, aping the Nissan 370Z. The computer has been revised to allow drivers to double downshift, and all models now get an external transmission cooler (where only the hi-po SH-AWD model had it).
The new transmission, along with some other features, is good for a 3-mpg increase over the 2011 model, bringing fuel economy to 29-mpg highway.
The interior gets new surface finishes, a brighter nav screen, and revised Bluetooth options to complement the already feature-laden TL. A new set of features for 2012 is called the Advance Package, which includes ventilated front seats, larger wheels and a new blind spot information system.
And, front-and-rear styling has been tweaked, though the spear of aluminum on the front grille still remains: “With the 2009 TL, the exterior design was a lot about passion,” said Damon Schell, Acura’s senior designer. “With the 2012 TL, we pushed for an increased level of sophistication.” Hey, at least the schnoz doesn’t look like some kind of teleoceras.
Hitting dealers March 18th, the 2012 TL starts from $35,605. The Technology Package raises the price to $39,335, and with the Advance Package it’s $41,535. TL SH-AWD models start at $39,155 and jump to $42,885 with the Tech Package or $45,085 for the Advance Package. And in a nod to driving enthusiasts (yes, Acura hasn’t completely shunned them yet) the TL SH-AWD with the Tech Package and a six-speed manual transmission will run $42,885.
Acura is cognizant of the fact that their current design language isn’t going over well with consumers, and is at least doing something about it. Truth be told, the Acura TL is a good car. Equipped with SH-AWD it’s even better, and with the 6-speed manual transmission, it’s fantastic. Unfortunately it looks like a child’s attempt at an oragami hippo, which has prevented a lot of people from giving it a fair shake.
For 2012, the Acura TL will get a new schnoz, and although the changes are sublte, they do help make the car’s awkward front end look a little less jarring to the naked eye. Look closely and you’ll see that the chrome trim around the front is smoother and smaller, while the overhangs have been reduced in size.
Other changes, announced at the new car’s unveiling at the Chicago Auto Show, include a much-needed 6-speed automatic, an available blind-spot warning system, ventilated seats that offer heating and cooling, and finally, an available 60 GB hard-drive based navigation system.
GALLERY: 2011 Acura TL
Honda‘s Marysville, Ohio manufacturing plant started in a revolution in 1982 when it became the first Japanese auto plant on American soil. The Honda Accords that rolled off the line started an automotive revolution, and the company hasn’t looked back since.
After nearly three decades, Marysville has reached a major milestone after building car # 10,000,000. While the Acura RDX and TL are also built at Marysville, Accords have accounted for 85% of the production over the years. Here’s to another 1o million!
Hit the jump to see the official press release
First the Mazda2 Yozora, then the Chevrolet Orlando. Now Acura has its own Canada-exclusive model with the TL A-Spec. Canada has gotten previous iterations of the TL in A-Spec trim, but this marks the second time the A-Spec is exclusive to the Great White North.
Available with all-wheel drive and either an automatic or manual gearbox, the A-Spec is basically an appearance package that adds 19″ wheels with summer tires, a body kit, darker chrome grille and A-Spec badging. While Honda says that the A-Spec won’t make it to America, optional Acura accessories like spoilers and wheels can emulate the look, minus the badging. The TL A-Spec retails for $51,290 CAD.
Press release after the jump