2003 Acura TL Review

2003 Acura TL Review

When Japanese car maker first entered the American car they were met with resistance as most consumers considered Asian brands inferior due to under-powered motors and boring interiors. It wasn’t until they re-branded to Acura that most Americans started to appreciate their conservative approach to car making. This review will focus on the Acura TL, one of the best selling Honda’s in American history.

When was the Acura TL introduced to the American market?

2003 Acura TL Review

Acura introduced two versions of the Tl, both V6 engines putting out over 200hp, in 1995 with the hope of capturing a slice of the European entry-luxury market. The car was manufactured in Ohio and was heavily advertised as an alternative for family’s looking for an comfortable sedan. This article will focus primarily on the 2003 version of the TL which can now be purchased for about $3000.

What are the 2003 Acura TL’s competitor’s?

The 2003 Acura TL is often listed as near-luxury sedan that aims to dethrone the entry level Bow 3 series as well as other reputable opponents such as the Lexus ES 300, infinity g35 and even the base Mercedes c class. Despite the common narrative that European cars are superior this simple Honda outsold most its rivals and is still in the top five best selling Acura’s alongside the mdx.

Let’s talk about looks.

Compared to its rivals such as the 3 series the Acura TL is quite conservative in terms of look. Most of the exterior design borrows styling queues such as modern sweeping lines from brands such as Lexus while also incorporating a large grill and bold headlights from the Mercedes line-up. Simply put if the 2003 Acura Tl was a person he/she would be an accountant or dentist who makes 6 figures but doesn’t want too much attention.

What about the interior, is it really luxury?

The 2003 Acura TL came out at a time when most luxury car makers were struggling to cut costs. Its all- leather interior was especially a threat to the Bmws and entry level Mercedes while its leg room and cargo space were a class defining achievement. The cabin is surprisingly quiet, giving an early impression of what Japanese luxury is today. I wouldn’t be lying if I admitted that even the instrument cluster and center console looked much more modern compared to the c class of the same era.

How much power will it deliver after nearly two decades?

The 2003 Acura TL initially delivered 225hp while its more sportier version,the type S, had a VTEC infused V6 that could be tuned to reach over 300hp. If you’re lucky you can pick up a type S and map it to give you 250hp at the front wheels.

What should I expect when driving?

The base Acura Tl handles like an accountants car, boring but fast enough, while the sportier type S is a bit more dramatic when going round corners. The front wheel drive doesn’t do the VTEC and 5-speed sequential automatic transmission justice. If this car was rear-wheel drive it would have really given the 3 series a run for its money. In terms of comfort it might one of the best vehicle you can get for your family at $3000.

Are my kids safe?

Yes. This is one of the highest rated sedans in terms of safety that you can get for less than $5000. It comes with fully loaded airbags on the front seats and Honda’s ever-reliable ABS system which was later heavily borrowed by European rivals. I would rather have my kids drive this sedan than an SUV from the same period.

Its time to talk money.

Bow and Mercedes owners from the same year probably spent more in repairs than Acura owners did buying their cars. This is due to Acura having a cross platform sharing system that let them make reliable cars with the same cheap parts. The Acre’s gas mileage was also way better than its thirstier rivals making it as economical as can be.

Final thoughts.

This car was built for people who want a quiet comfortable drive with their kids, pets and groceries without having to break the bank. It really is an accountant’s car in every single aspect. In today’s market the car still serves the same people it did two decades ago, smart shoppers who want a great deal.

You can also read our Subaru Outback review!

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