Patrick McIntyre: The 2012 Acura TL looks a lot like last year's model, but with a new front grille and front fascia.

Shawntey Hinton:  And this is important because a lot of people thought that the model from last year looked a little beaky.

Patrick:  Yeah, I couldn?t agree more. But the TL does get top marks from J.D. Power and Consumer Reports for initial quality and reliability. Plus, it?s the Auto Lease Guide winner for residual value.

Shawntey:  Meaning it?ll most likely get more money when it?s time to trade it in or sell it.

Patrick:  Exactly.

Shawntey:  The 2012 version of the TL looks fantastic. Just check out the 17-inch alloys.

Patrick:  Yeah, those come standard, along with a 280-horsepower 3.5-liter V6 engine.

Shawntey:  There's an optional 3.7-liter that gives 25 more horsepower, has all-wheel drive and a six-speed manual transmission.

Patrick:  Yeah! Both engines give decent fuel economy: you get 20 in the city and 29 on the highway for the 3.5-liter.

Shawntey:  You get 18 and 26 for the 3.7-liter.

Patrick: This roomy interior has leather-trimmed seats for five adults, it?s got 13.1 cubic feet of storage space, and lots of standard features like dual-zone air conditioning with humidity control, air filtration...

Shawntey: Bluetooth hands-free telephone connection, AM/FM stereo, six-CD changer and XM radio.

Patrick:  Some options are available, of course, things like a blind spot warning system, heated and ventilated front seats, and if you want to go all the way, there?s the improved infotainment and navigation system.

Shawntey: The new six-speed automatic transmission is replacing the old five-speed.  It has paddle shifters, which let you choose when to shift gears.

Patrick:  And the noise-canceling system is really high-tech.  It cancels out most road and engine noise but lets you hear horns and sirens in case you need to get out of the way.

Shawntey:  You know, I?d pay a lot of money for this car. How much does the TL cost?  

Patrick: Well, the TL starts off at $35,605. That?s for the base model front-wheel-drive version.

Shawntey:  That?s actually not bad for an entry-level luxury car.

Patrick: Not at all. And just over $45,000 for the 3.7-liter engine. Now that has all-wheel drive, and it?s got the Advance options package.

Shawntey:  So, how does it compare to the competition?

Patrick:  Well, the closest would be the Audi S4. It does have more horsepower than the TL, but it?s about $2,000 more than the most expensive version of the TL. Now the Quattro does have four-wheel drive, and the braking and handling are very good.

Shawntey: The all-wheel drive and the larger engine are fun to drive. But for $10,000 less, AutoTrader thinks the front-wheel-drive Acura TL with the 280-horsepower 3.5-liter engine will suit most people's needs and still provide plenty of fun.

So that's our recommendation.

Patrick:  Thanks for watching AutoTrader's new-car test of the 2012 Acura TL sedan right here on AutoTrader, The Ultimate Automotive Marketplace.

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