In 1986, the Honda Motor Company introduced Acura to the United States as its luxury vehicle lineup. The Acura TL is an entry-level, compact executive sedan. In the world of luxury sedans, a compact executive is smaller than an executive but larger than a premium compact. The Acura TL remained popular despite suffering several sporadic years of consumer complaints, particularly when it came to the 2003 Acura TL.
The 2008 Acura TL belongs to the third generation, debuting in the United States in October 2003 for the 2004 model year. It was succeeded by the fourth-generation model which debuted in September 2008 for the 2009 incoming model year. Most of its trim updates occurred in 2004 and 2007. A Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) and an improved new immobilizer system were the most significant additions to the 2008 model. Sales started to go downhill after CarComplaints.com reported the 2010 Acura TL the worst year ever.
A general overview of the Acura TL
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In 2008, Car and Driver gave the Acura TL fairly decent reviews. In previous years, it was common for people to joke that an Acura TL was merely an overpriced Honda Accord.
When the 2008 model hit the showrooms and then the streets in mid to late 2007, it shed that image. Review articles started to take notice. Back then, the Acura TL was considered to be a good contender against the Infiniti G35 and Audi A4. The latter two were both critically acclaimed models, so the Acura TL did well.
However, it never got a chance to eventually overtake its closest rival, the G35 — it got discontinued in 2014, presumably because its reputation seemed irreparable. The Acura TLX replaced the Acura TL the same year it got axed. Ironically enough, Consumer Reports didn’t seem all that impressed by the 2015 TLX. It received its fair share of owner complaints as well.
Its V6 engine was awesome for the times
One aspect about the 2008 Acura TL almost everyone unanimously agreed on was its 286 horsepower 3.5-liter V6. Offering 256 foot-pounds (ft-lb) of torque, its capable of zero to 60 miles per hour in around six seconds.
But even that good quality wound up overshadowed by the fact that Acura made it a front-wheel drive. Since weight is shifted toward the rear end, high-torque vehicles perform better as rear-wheel drives.
That’s why the majority of muscle cars and hot rods are rear-wheel drives with larger rear tires. And it’s also why — though many believed the Acura was technically faster — it could keep up with competitors like the G35, A4, and BMW 328i but never beat them.
Today, the 2008 Acura TL remains extremely popular among car enthusiasts and even street racers because of its powerful V6.
Car Complaints’ Seal of Awesome award
Reading enough on the topic teaches car buffs one thing: people seem topsy-turvy when it comes to whether they love or hate the Acura TL. It’s considered the “oddball” of its class because there is so much to love and hate.
While other models didn’t do too well, the Acura TL is probably the best model produced. That’s why Car Complaint awarded it “The Seal of Awesome.” According to the site, earning The Seal of Awesome means it has no apparent serious defects.
Then there are the complaints
Among the complaints about the 2008 Acura TL, “interior and accessories” are on top of the list. “Awful, cheap, perforated leather” is how one owner’s complaint began. On top of being “awful” and “cheap,” the $750 price tag is the next complaint to follow. Car Complaints gave this issue a severity rating of 7.3 or “pretty bad.”
Cracked dashboards are next on the list of interior complaints. However, this usually begins to occur at around 117,000 miles — which is why Edmunds suggests selling a car before 36,000 miles.
Another common issue — likely the most annoying and inconvenient — are electrical problems. At the top of electrical problems is the battery draining too fast. Considering the 2003 and 2004 models suffered transmission failures with 2010 guzzling oil, 2008 did better.