First Drive: 2012 Acura TL

Similar measures were applied to the TL's rear bumper. The car's rear fenders are still quite tall, but by adding horizontal character lines, repositioning the license plate mount, and reshaping both the trunk garnish and reflectors, Acura has managed to craft a tail that is surprisingly proportionate and attractive.

Other exterior revisions include body-colored door handles, darker surrounds for both head- and tail lamp assemblies, and new 17- and 18-inch wheels. The optional 19-inch wheel design is unchanged, although it is now paired with a Goodyear Eagle RS-A all-season tire instead of high-performance summer rubber.

New Trim and Tech Inside
Fewer visual tweaks were performed inside the cabin. 2012 TL models continue to use the same waterfall dashboard as before, but select accents, including door handles, volume and menu control knobs, speaker surrounds, and shift knob trim, are plated with a platinum finish. Buyers will continue to have their choice of ebony, taupe, and umber interior schemes, although the latter two options are now paired with black carpeting and floor mats.

In typical Acura fashion, the 2012 TL isn't lacking when it comes to gizmos and gadgets. Base models receive dual-zone climate controls, a power moonroof, two-stage heated front seats, a 276-watt audio system, a USB audio input, and Bluetooth phone connectivity as standard equipment. The optional Technology Package not only throws in Acura's navigation system, but improved voice activated controls for both the navi and audio systems, a 440-watt ELS surround-sound system, and an enhanced Bluetooth system, capable of downloading call logs and phonebooks and streaming audio. New for 2012 is the Advance Package, which includes everything found in the Technology Package, but adds both ventilated front seats and blind spot detection.

The new features are welcome, but drivers are still presented with a maze of buttons on the center stack, particularly on cars equipped with navigation. Although we wish for an arrangement as elegant as that used in the larger RL, the TL's interface becomes intuitive over time, and a new stand-alone button on cars built with the Technology Package does allow quick access to phone menus and controls.

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