Premium midsize car; Built in USA
  • 4-door sedan
  • transverse front-engine/front-wheel drive
Good condition price range: $3,300 – $7,600*

2000 Acura 3.2TL

2000 Acura 3.2TL

2001 Acura TL interior w/navigation system

2001 Acura TL

2001 Acura TL

  • Acceleration
  • Build quality
  • Exterior finish
  • Interior materials
  • Refinement
  • Steering/handling
  • Climate controls
  • Navigation-system controls
  • Road noise (Type-S)

Solidly built and impeccably finished, the TL equals or exceeds anything in its class for quality and utility. Its sporty nature should please the most demanding driver, though at risk of turning away entry-luxury buyers who expect Lexus-like isolation. With so many features for the price, the value-packed TL ranked as a Best Buy when new.


For 1999, the slow-selling, Japanese-sourced TL gave way to a slightly larger TL sedan. Built in the U.S., on the same chassis as the Honda Accord and the contemporary Honda Odyssey minivan, the near-luxury, front-drive TL slotted between the entry-level Integra and the luxury RL sedan. Rivals included the Audi A4, BMW 3-Series, Infiniti I30, and Lexus ES 300. A new, more powerful V6 engine replaced the previous five-cylinder, driving a four-speed automatic transmission that incorporated SportShift manual gear selection. Premium fuel was required. Seating five, the new TL came in a single, well-equipped model. Standard equipment included leather upholstery, heated front seats, and a power moonroof. A satellite-based navigation system with a color LCD dashboard screen was the only factory-installed option. All-disc antilock braking and traction control were standard, but side-impact airbags were not available, though they were at least optional on most competitive sedans.

Yearly Updates

2000 TL
Acura tuned the TL’s V6 to deliver more low-speed power this year, and installed high-intensity-discharge headlights. A new five-speed automatic transmission ousted the four-speed, again including a SportShift manual shifting gate.
Side-impact airbags for front seats became standard. Sensors could determine the size and position of the right front passenger, so the airbag would deploy only when necessary, not if a child was present. In that case, the dashboard’s front airbag would deploy with reduced force. The optional navigation system now used a DVD database with full nationwide coverage, and its touch screen got a matte finish for easier reading.
2001 TL
Acura’s best-selling model was unchanged for 2001, except for the addition of an emergency opener inside the trunk and standard carpeted floor mats. The TL was modestly redesigned again as an early 2002 model.
2002 TL
Revised front styling and the addition of a sporty Type-S version were the highlights for TL in 2002. The Type-S had a standard antiskid system, firmer suspension, larger wheels, sport front seats, and metal-look gauges. In-dash CD changer, 2-posistion seat/mirror memory linked to remote keyfob, revised cupholders, and GM’s OnStar assistance system were newly standard for all TL’s.
2003 TL
The availability of On-Star assistance is the only change of note for ’03. TL was redesigned for ’04.


transverse front-engine/front-wheel drive

A new 3.2-liter V6 engine developed 225 horsepower. The initial four-speed automatic transmission has a separate shift gate for manually selected gear changes. A five-speed automatic transmission replaced the four-speed unit for 2000. With the addition of the Type-S in 2002 came a new 260-hp version of the standard V6.

dohc V6
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 3.2/196
Engine HP 225
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 216
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
4-speed automatic
5-speed automatic

dohc V6
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 3.2/196
Engine HP 260
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 232
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
5-speed automatic


Road Test

Quick, quiet, and composed, the TL is a seriously polished performer with a smooth powertrain that takes an athletic approach to luxury. Acceleration is competitive, revealed by a 0-60 time of 8.2 seconds with an early model. Added sportiness stems from the exceptionally quick-shifting automatic/manual transmission. The five-speed automatic introduced for 2000 provides more relaxed cruising than many four-speed units, and also subtly improves acceleration. Impressive road manners include unerring high-speed stability, plus terrific grip and control in turns. The downside is a ride that’s much firmer than such less-nimble competitors as the ES 300 and I30. Tire rumble and slap are more prominent than most rivals, but not objectionable. The Type-S, added in 2002, offers an even firmer ride than base models, but without sacrificing comfort. It’s 260-hp edition of the base TL’s V6 gives it slightly better acceleration and adds only minimally to otherwise low levels of engine noise. Braking is swift and stable, but with more nosedive than expected.

The driving position is low and sporty, but accommodating, in a cabin that feels roomier and more comfortable than before. Adults can stretch out in front. Back-seaters get good head room and ample toe clearance, but only adequate leg space. Seat cushions offer unexceptional thigh support, but the driving position is set-and-forget comfortable. Gauges are large and legible, visibility unobstructed. Climate controls are far from the driver and, with the optional navigation system, inadequately sized and illuminated in an otherwise thoughtful layout. The navigation system is useful, but covers only selected U.S. population centers, and the touch screen is susceptible to fingerprints. Storage space is generous, though the trunklid hinges intrude into the cargo area.


Model Tested: 2000 Acura TL

Ratings values are on a 1-10 scale, with 10 being the best. With the exception of Value, these numbers reflect how the vehicle compares against the universe of vehicles, not just against rivals in its class.


Acceleration - 6
Fuel Economy - 5
Ride Quality - 6
Steering/Handling - 6
Quietness - 6


Controls/Materials - 7
Room/Comfort Front - 5
Room/Comfort Rear - 4
Cargo Room - 4


Value - 7

Total: 56


4-door sedan
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
108.1 192.9 70.3 55.7
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
14.3 17.2 5
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
39.9 36.8 42.4 35.0
Safety Ratings

Model Tested: 1999 TL 4-door sedan


(5 is the highest rating)

Front Impact Test

Driver Injury - 4
Front Passenger Injury - 4

Side Impact Test

Driver Injury - 4
Rear Passenger Injury - 5


(A score of 100 is average. Lower is better)

Collision 95
Injury 76
Theft 28

Trouble Spots

Automatic transmission
Description: Transmissions may fail due to lack of thread-locking compound on nut for low clutch. Honda/Acura has extended warranty on affected vehicles to 7 years or 100,000 miles. (1999-2003)
Fuel gauge
Description: Some higher-sulfur gasolines can damage the fuel-gauge sending unit causing the gauge to display inaccurate readings. (1999)
Description: If vehicle alarm sounds weak, shimming two horns assemblies might solve problem. (1999)
Keyless entry
Description: Certain broadcast towers interfere with the keyless entry transmitter rendering it inoperative. (1999)
Steering noise
Description: If power steering pump grows noisy, replacement of pump bearing might be required. (1999)
Description: The wipers streak/smear because washer fluid deteriorates the hoses. Replacement of the hoses and wiper blades is required. (1999-2001)
Transmission problems
Description: Failure of manual and automatic transmissions may be covered under extended warranty up to 7/100,000. (2000-03)

Recall History

Description: May be possible to turn the ignition key to off position and remove the key, without shifting the transmission to park; an unengaged parking brake could allow to vehicle to roll.
Description: Airbags may not deploy correctly, due to improper welding.
Description: Damaged vehicles may not have been repaired with the correct seatbelt buckles.
Description: Gear failure due to heat build-up may result in transmission lockup, which could result in a crash.
Description: Certain driver and passenger seatbelt buckles were improperly manufactured.
Description: Driver-side power window with “Auto Up” feature may become inoperative, operate independently of switch activation, or the auto-reverse system may not operate.
2002-03 3.2 models
Description: The driver’s airbag inflator could produce excessive internal pressure. If an affected airbag deploys, the increased internal pressure may cause the inflator to rupture. Metal fragments could pass through the airbag cushion material, possibly causing injury or fatality to vehicle occupants. Dealers will replace the airbag inflator free of charge.
2002-2003 TL
Description: This recall is related to a series of recalls on these vehicles in which Honda is replacing the inflators within the driver’s side air bag to address a defective condition. In the event of a crash necessitating deployment of the driver’s air bag, the inflator could produce excessive internal pressure that could cause the inflator to rupture with metal fragments striking and injuring the driver or other occupants. Owners of all vehicles on which a replacement service air bag may have been installed will be notified. Dealers will inspect vehicles, and where a defective air bag inflator is identified, the inflator will be replaced, free of charge.

Equipment Lists

Equipment lists are only viewable on larger screen sizes.


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