The Acura TL probably shouldn't be cross-shopped against BMW, Mercedes-Benz, or Audi. Those cars are bit smaller and sportier, and they're better for those who value chassis dynamics and pizzazz over value and reliability. TL shoppers will find more similarities in the Cadillac CTS or Infiniti G35, two slightly larger, more forgiving vehicles aimed at working more luxury into the sport-sedan recipe. Acura can be applauded for making everything but navigation standard equipment, as this gives shoppers the peace of mind that dealers won't push them into purchasing unnecessary factory options. On the other hand, this standardization of amenities puts the TL's base price thousands of dollars above many competitors', which could scare away some buyers. That's a shame because the luxuries offered in the Acura TL are similar to those found in $40,000-plus sedans, and the TL is more powerful than many of them. If only all that power weren't directed through the front wheels, Acura would have a world-beater on its hands. As it stands, the TL packages an impressive array of engineering and features into its asking price. And the long-term reward is not only reliability, but also an excellent cost of ownership for most configurations.
The TL is a $40,000 luxury sedan soul in a $33,000 sport sedan body.
All new for 2004, the TL carries over without noteworthy changes.
A navigation system, a six-speed manual transmission, and 18-inch wheels are the only options.