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2009 Acura TL Review

The redesigned 2009 Acura TL is a gorgeous car with all the ingredients to win over buyers. Competent, smart, powerful, sexy and extremely chiseled, it has only one unattractive feature: a puzzling set of teeth. While overall styling is remarkably well executed and in line with the sharper image of the latest Acura products, the front grille is another story.

The TL is superb, but what's up with that disfigurement up front?

The 2009 TL is more stunning than ever and arguably the most beautiful sedan in the company's stable of four. The thing is, it suffers from the same congenital malformation as its siblings. The grille, which is even larger than that of the new TSX, is definitely questionable.

I personally conducted a little survey and people were drawing the same conclusion: the TL is superb, but what's up with that disfigurement up front? With a silver or white bodywork, the grille does not look as prominent and ill-fitting as the one on my tester, a Mayan Bronze Metallic model.

The rest of the car suggests a sophisticated approach to design. Multiple angles and ridges combine to shape an impeccably-sleek silhouette that looks both classy and very aggressive at the same time. The rear three-quarter view, with the pair of dual-outlet tailpipes, is particularly fascinating.

Like an F-117 Night Hawk
Stealth aircraft served as inspiration not only for the exterior but also for the interior, albeit to a lesser extent. The sporty, driver-oriented cockpit features a tight steering wheel offering a nice grip along with a highly-legible, sharply-designed instrument panel.

Similar to other Honda products, the TL boasts an exaggerated number of buttons and controls throughout the cabin, including the dashboard, center stack, roof and door panels. At night, the cool backlighting and clear identification make them rather pleasant to use but still, the TL would gain from a little more simplicity (even though the learning curve isn't very long). In terms of ergonomics, the only real flaw is the proximity between radio and climate controls. This leads to plenty of mistakes and mix-ups.

The design of the dashboard is pretty interesting with two waves flowing into the door panels. The brushed aluminum trim looks as sharp as always, while overall material selection and build quality deliver a nice, solid feel.

Stealth aircraft served as inspiration not only for the exterior but also for the interior.