2012 Acura TL

MSRP $35,705 - $45,185

Ranked #2 in Sedan

8.3

Overall Rating

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2012 Acura TL Price, Review, Ratings and Pictures

Updated on: August 27, 2021

Nathan Dyer's image
Nathan Dyer 

Senior Editor


Acura’s midsize luxury sedan, the 2012 TL continues in its fourth generation with a mid-cycle refresh. The controversial chrome beak stays, but this time it’s been toned down for a sleeker look. The cabin remains familiarly spacious with features galore, and the 2012 Acura TL’s 3.7-liter V6 now produces 25 hp more, at 280 hp. The sluggish 5-speed automatic transmission has been replaced for an athletic and efficient 6-speed automatic transmission, available with all 3.5 TL models. 

See detailed review »

Pros

Luxurious interior

Roomier second row with excellent comfort

Responsive all-wheel drivetrain

Cons

Controversial exterior styling

Inadequate trunk space

Poor navigation interface

What's New?

Revised front-styling

New six-speed manual transmission option

Upgraded navigation system


Features

vehicle bio

base price

$35705

bodystyle

4dr Sedan

passenger capacity

5

top speed

150 mph

drivetrain

front wheel drive

engine type

displacement

212 cu.in.

horsepower

280 hp @ 6200 rpm

torque

254 lb.-ft. @ 5000 rpm

transmission

6 speed automatic w/OD and auto manual

chassis

suspension front

double wishbone front suspension

suspension rear

Independent rear multi-link suspension w/anti-roll bar

dimensions

wheelbase

109.3 in.

length

194 in.

width

74 in.

height

57.2 in.

curb weight

3726 lbs.

ground clearance

6.1 in.

capacity

passenger volume

98.2 cu ft.

cargo volume

13.1 cu ft.

payload capacity

850 lbs.

performance

zero to 60 mph

5.4 sec.

standing 1/4-mile

13.9 sec.

fuel economy

city/combined/highway

20/24/29 mpg

highway range

536.5 mi.

warranty

basic warranty

4 yr./ 50000 mi.

drivetrain warranty

6 yr./ 70000 mi.

powertrain warranty

6 yr./ 70,000 mi.

corrosion warranty

5 yr./ unlimited mi.

roadside assistance

Yes


Pictures & Videos


Trims

Base$35,705 onwards

Technology Package$39,435 onwards

Advance Package$41,635 onwards

Colors and Styles

2012 Acura TL in Basque Red Pearl color
Basque Red Pearl

Vehicle images are guides only and may not reflect the model's exact specifications/features– exact specifications/features should be confirmed with the seller.

Ratings

Pricing and Feature

7.0

Features

9.0

Engine and Performance

7.0

Fuel Economy

8.0

Interior

7.0

Exterior

9.0

Safety

9.0

Competition

9.0

8.3

OVERALL RATING

Expert Review, Pricing Analysis and Buying Guide

8.3

Overall Rating


There’s also a new 6-speed manual transmission, but it only comes with the 3.7 SH-AWD model if the Technology package has been selected. The Acura TL comes in a total of five combinations, and prices have increased by $100 from last year. The base Acura TL with the 3.5-liter V6 engine, and front-wheel drivetrain starts from MSRP $35,705. The midsize Acura goes head-on against the Hyundai Azera, Nissan Maxima, and Toyota Avalon in this price range.


9.0/10
Features

7.0/10
Engine and Performance

8.0/10
Fuel Economy

7.0/10
Interior

9.0/10
Exterior

9.0/10
Safety


2012 Acura TL Features

9.0/10

The 2012 Acura is primarily available in two trims based on their engine - the 3.5 L V6 and 3.7 L V6. The former is available with a front-wheel drivetrain, and the latter with Acura’s Super-Handling All-Wheel-Drivetrain. The standard 3.5 TL gets 17-inch wheels, sunroof, dual-zone climate control automatic xenon headlamps, heated eight-way power front seats, leather upholstery, and an auto-dimming rearview mirror. The 3.7 TL upgrades are more driver-centric with aggressive suspension, and steering tuning, 18-inch wheels with upgraded brakes, and leather-stitched deep bolstered front seats. 

Trim

3.5L

3.7L SH-AWD

Price

$35,705

$39,155

Key Features

280-bhp 3.5-liter V6 engine

305-bhp 3.7-liter V6

 

17-inch wheels

18-inch wheels

 

Front-Wheel Drive

All-Wheel-Drive

 

10-way power driver seat

6-speed manual transmission

 

Eight-way power front passenger seat,

The specially tuned AWD system

 

Heated front seats

Special front springs and dampers

 

Steering wheel-mounted controls

Stiffer engine/transmission mounts

 

Power tilt/slide moonroof

Heavy-duty front differential

   

Special electronic power-steering tuning

We Recommend

The Acura TL 3.7L SW-AHD (quite the lengthy name) with the six-speed manual transmission is the most thrilling, but it’s an option that is available in the Technology package. So, the 3.5L with the Advance Package makes sense, with ventilated front seats and blind-spot monitor information system, but to be fair, we would go with the 3.7L for this model that gets the new 6-speed automatic transmission, alongside Acura’s plethora of features, and it is priced reasonably.

2012 Acura TL Engine and Performance

7.0/10

The 2012 Acura TL gets a combination of two engine options. It starts with the base 3.5-liter VTEC V6 engine that produces 280 hp and 254 lb-ft of torque, mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. With this powertrain, it takes 6.4 seconds to reach from 0-60 mph and finishes the quarter-mile in 14.7 seconds around 94 mph. Acura also offers the 3.7-liter V6 that now produces 25 hp more, at 305 hp and 273 lb-ft of torque for added thrills. 

The TL shares this engine with the RL, and like the RL sedan is also available with Acura’s “Super-Handling All-Wheel-Drive” system. Acceleration with this engine is also similarly brisk, but the newly available six-speed automatic transmission creates a significant difference. However, the 3.7 L can also be had with a six-speed manual transmission, which brings down the 0-60 mph timing to 5.3 seconds, and finishes the quarter-mile timing in 13.9 seconds with almost 100 mph of speed.

Model

2012 Acura TL

2012 Hyundai Azera

2012 Nissan Maxima

2012 Toyota Avalon

MSRP

$35,705

$32,000

$32,420

$33,195

Engine

3.5-liter V6

3.5-liter V6

3.5-liter V6

3.5-liter V6

Drivetrain

Front-wheel drive

Front-wheel drive

Front-wheel drive

Front-wheel drive

Transmission

6-speed shiftable automatic

6-speed shiftable automatic

Continuously variable-speed automatic

6-speed shiftable automatic

Power

280 hp @ 6200 rpm

293 hp @ 6400 rpm

290 hp @ 6400 rpm

268 hp @ 6200 rpm

Torque

254 lb-ft. @ 5000 rpm

255 lb-ft. @ 5200 rpm

261 lb-ft. @ 4400 rpm

248 lb-ft. @ 4700 rpm

0-60 MPH (seconds)

6.4

6.6

6.6

6.2

Quarter mile (seconds)

14.7

15.1

14.4

14.7

Top speed (mph)

162

157

147

130

Acceleration figures are not the strongest of suits of these midsize luxury sedans. All four sedans finished the 0-60 mph mark in and around the 6 seconds. The 2012 Toyota Avalon is marginally quicker than the Acura TL by 0.2 seconds (6.2 seconds). Both the Hyundai Azera and Nissan Maxima are slower cars in this competition despite being powerful enough.

2012 Acura TL Fuel Economy

8.0/10

Fuel efficiency figures of the Acura TL are at best average with the base 3.5-liter V6 model. This engine has EPA ratings of 20 MPG in the city, and 29 MPG on the highway. With the 18.5-gallon fuel tank, the Acura TL will be good for 537 miles on the highway. With the 3.7-liter V6 engine mated to the 6-speed automatic transmission, fuel efficiency drops to 18 MPG in the city, and 26 MPG on the highway. It further drops to 17/25 mpg with the six-speed manual transmission. However, the above numbers are official figures, real-world figures are bound to drop.

Model

2012 Acura TL

2012 Hyundai Azera

2012 Nissan Maxima

2012 Toyota Avalon

MPG (City)

20

20

19

19

MPG (Highway)

29

28

26

28

MPG (Combined)

23

23

22

23

Fuel Capacity (Gallons)

18.5

18.5

20.0

18.5

Range (City/Highway/Combined, in Miles)

370/537/425

370/518/425

380/520/440

352/518/425

Despite a bigger tank at 20 gallons, the 2012 Nissan Maxima falls short in its range due to poor fuel efficiency ratings. The base Acura 3.5L TL has the best EPA fuel mileage ratings on the highway, followed by the Hyundai Azera and Toyota Avalon. Despite the figures being the only average, it scores well in the category.

2012 Acura TL Interior

7.0/10

The interior of the 2012 Acura TL sees some changes too, where designers have replaced the chrome accents on the dash and door panels with soft plastics that look like carbon fiber. The instrument panel has a cockpit-style feel to it, and the controls are well-positioned which is not too low from your line of vision. Although the Acura TL finds its root in the Honda Accord, it feels and looks much better than the Honda. The 2012 TL’s cabin feels tight, and noise-free as well on high speeds- a character that puts it on par with its German counterparts that include the likes of the Audi A4 or a BMW 3 Series.

There are a lot of buttons on board that might leave you overwhelmed, but the neat arrangement makes it easier to get adjusted to all. And given that this is a luxury sedan, the TL is filled to the brim with comfort features, starting with the eight-way power-adjustable front passenger seats, the second-row seats are well-bolstered, and it has leather steering, dual-zone climate control, auto humidity control system, as well as a 12-volt power port. There’s also a unique Milano premium leather available with ventilated front seats, and a keyless access system if the $2,200 Advance Package is chosen.

Model

2012 Acura TL

2012 Hyundai Azera

2012 Nissan Maxima

2012 Toyota Avalon

Seating Capacity

5

5

5

5

Front Row (Head/Shoulder/Leg) (in)

38.4/58.2/42.5

40.3/58.3/45.5

38.5/56.3/43.8

38.9/59.4/41.3

Rear Row (Head/Shoulder/Leg) (in)

36.7/56.2 /36.2

37.6/56.4/36.8

36.4/55.1/34.6

37.5/58.2 /40.9

Cargo Capacity (cubic feet)

13.1

16.3

14.2

14.4

Cargo space is considerably compromised in the Acura TL with just 13.1 cubic feet of space. The 2012 Hyundai Azera has the most spacious cabin in this lot. Not only does it enjoy 16.3 cubic feet of cargo space, but it also gets 45.5 inches at the front, and 36.8 inches at the rear in terms of legroom which is the most in this segment. The 2012 Toyota Avalon. enjoys the most legroom space in the second row at 40.9 inches. Some of the standout interior features on offer are:

  • Leather upholstery
  • Eight-way power-adjustable front seats
  • Sunroof
  • Automatic Humidity Control System
  • Heated front seats
  • Milano Premium Leather (optional)

How intuitive is the 2012 Acura TL's Infotainment unit?

As mentioned before, the Acura TL gets a tech-laden interior, and this is evident in the crisp, high-resolution center-mounted display that can be connected to both iPod and MP3. Standard across the Acura line-up is an 8-speaker stereo system, and if the Technology Package is chosen then it upgrades to a 440-watt Acura/ ELS surround system. This package also adds a navigation system with live traffic, but the display is not up to the mark. Also available with this package is a rearview camera, AcuraLink communication system, GPS-linked dual-zone climate control, and keyless access. Some of the key infotainment features on offer are:

  • Satellite Radio & HD Radio
  • Eight Speaker Stereo System
  • 8-inch full VGA high-resolution color display
  • Voice Recognition
  • Real-time Traffic with Traffic Rerouting and Real-Time Weather
  • 10 speaker premium sound system
  • 60GB HDD storage facility
  • High-resolution Multi-Information Display
  • USB, AUX, and Bluetooth Connectivity
  • AM / FM / CD Player

2012 Acura TL Exterior

9.0/10

The Acura TL has had a controversial look in the past, and its essence can be felt in the 2012 Acura TL as well. The chrome beak that highlighted its grille in the past did stir up quite the conversation with its size and chunky nature, but that has been toned down now for a much sleeker look. The V-shape is still prominent, but it’s not like its predecessor. The mid cycle refresh also raises the license plate. 

With a diffuser added, and wide dual exhaust at the back, the 2012 TL looks much better. Acura’s “Keen Edge Dynamic'' design language has remained consistent since the 2009 model, and in the 2012 model, it definitely is at its most subtle styling. The Acura TL also looks more proportionate but adds 100 lbs more to its curb weight. It is considerably longer at 184 inches and with a ground clearance of 5.9 inches, it has a higher ride than its competition.

Model

2012 Acura TL

2012 Hyundai Azera

2012 Nissan Maxima

2012 Toyota Avalon

Curb Weight (lbs)

3726

3605

3540

3572

Length (in)

194.0

193.3

190.6

197.6

Width (in)

74.0

73.2

73.2

72.8

Height (in)

57.2

57.9

57.8

58.5

Ground Clearance (in)

5.9

N/A

N/A

5.3

Wheelbase (in)

109.3

112.0

109.3

111.0

Despite the Acura TL measuring 0.7 inches longer than the Hyundai Azera’s 193.3 inches length, the latter has a longer wheelbase at 112 inches ( 2.7-inches longer than the Acura TL) which translates to more space inside the cabin. And despite the Toyota Avalon being taller and longer, the Acura TL is wider in this competition. Some of the key exterior features include:

  • 17-inch wheels
  • Optional 19-inch wheels
  • Fog lamps
  • Automatic xenon headlights
  • Heated mirrors
  • Sunroof
  • Front and rear license plate brackets

2012 Acura TL Safety

9.0/10

Acura’s Advanced Compatibility Engineering body has been designed to minimize impact during frontal crashes. And on-board, the 2012 Acura TL gets dual side-curtain airbags for head protection, dual side-impact airbags for torso protection, three-point seatbelts with automatic pre-tensioning during impact, and active front head restraints, as part of its standard safety features.

However, when it comes to federal institutions' ratings - the Acura TL has received mixed results. The IIHS believes that the TL is one of the safest models; it’s even an IIHS Top Safety Pick+ car with ‘Good’ ratings in all test categories. However, the NHTSA rates give the TL an overall three stars and a disappointing two-star rating on frontal impact. Besides the mixed response, it gets a list of active electronic safety features as well which include:

  • Anti-lock brakes
  • Electronic stability control
  • Electronic brake distribution
  • Brake assist

2012 Acura TL Final Verdict

For a midsize luxury sedan, the 2012 Acura TL is a good start, among non-European counterparts. It gets a healthy combination of an efficient powertrain and drivetrain, along with a sporty variant. The cabin of the 2012 TL is well-specced with comfort features, and the updated exterior now also feels better. But the limited cargo space does play spoilt sport, and the shadow of its controversial exterior look still prevails. If you can look past that, then the TL will not disappoint you.

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