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2009 Acura TL SH-AWD Technology Review

Motion Surface. If you’re wondering what the hell happened to the Acura TL during the metamorphosis into its fourth generation, it’s the result of Acura’s new design language, and that’s what they call it.

Whether you like the car’s styling or not, underneath the lumpy skin lurks a brilliant sedan.

Like me, you might think that their Japanese designers inhaled too much wasabi through their nostrils like Jackass’ Steve-O and that their brain cells imploded. But for last few years, Honda’s premium brand is relying on their studio in Torrance, California. Maybe their lunch breaks are showered with too much Ernest and Julio Gallo.

But whether you like the car’s styling or not, underneath the lumpy skin lurks a brilliant sedan.

Controversial styling
No matter how long we look at the car, we can’t quite figure out the styling direction Acura’s designers chose to follow. The TL’s mix of curves and creases have a hard time blending into each other; the term ‘sleek’ doesn’t apply here. And the now-corporate face with the silver painted plastic grille has no chance of feeling integrated to the car’s overall shape.

But that’s a matter of opinion, of course. What the TL’s styling does project is muscle, sophistication and aerodynamics. And some other details help out, such as the magnificent alloy wheels and quad tailpipes on our test car.

Aircraft cockpit
Hop inside the TL and you’ll notice that the sense of sophistication also applies here. An endless count of buttons, switches and rotary knobs dominate the dashboard and centre stack like pimples on a teenage kid that works at McDonald’s.

And although the charcoal and silver scheme doesn’t brighten up the cabin very much, it’s stylish and functional. Even the mass gathering of audio, climate control and navigation switchgear make sense once you spend some time figuring out its layout logic.

An endless count of buttons, switches and rotary knobs dominate the dashboard.