The 2004 TL rewrote the rule book with its extensive list of standard features, and the 2009 model continues with that tradition; the optional Technology package sports a gadget list that would leave a Gizmodo blogger all choked up. You name it: SH-AWD, DVD-A, Dolby Digital, DTS, Bluetooth, USB, MP3/WMA, XM, VGA; the 2009 TL's likely got you covered.
The feature set is so extensive, it's probably easiest to point out what the 4th generation TL excluded. As far as I can tell, the only noticeable item that missed the cut this time around was the Gen III TL's bi-Xenon headlights - the 2009 TL features a standard Xenon/halogen low/high setup. With that out of the way, let's run down the list of new stuff.
- Solar sensing, dual-zone, dual-mode automatic climate control system, with automatic humidity control system
The 2009 TL's climate control system now features added intelligence which more efficiently cycles the A/C compressor to maintain a comfortable temperature while simultaneously optimizing fuel efficiency, and a new automatic humidity control system aids in passenger comfort as well.
- Acura Navigation System, with rearview camera, real-time traffic and real-time weather
Acura's class-leading Navigation system (included in Technology Package) has received a significant upgrade in the 2009 TL. The 8-inch screen now boasts VGA resolution and basically every single operation is much quicker thanks to the fact that it now reads its data from an onboard 40GB Hard Disk Drive (HDD). The additional capacity of the HDD means that the Navi system offers expanded coverage to include Alaska, Hawaii, Canada and Puerto Rico.
The 2009 TL joins the rest of the Acura lineup by replacing the navi system's touchscreen interface with the corporate multi-function interface dial. Most audio, navi, climate control, and AcuraLink® functions can be performed through this interface, though key electronic functions maintain their own dedicated controls on the instrument panel and/or steering wheel.
Acura and Honda have been inconsistent with which navi models supported voice recognition of city and street names (2009 RL? No. 2008 Accord? No. 2008 Civic? Yes), but the good news is that feature is definitely present and accounted for in the 2009 TL's navi system. Additionally, new search modes include a fuzzy logic POI and address search mode (search term may appear anywhere in the results - not just the first characters), a new zip code search mode, and even a mode that lists registered Scenic Routes by state.
Acura was one of the first automakers to integrate real time traffic information into their navigation system, and the list of supported metropolitan markets has grown to a count of 77. This year, Acura became the first to offer real-time weather forecast and storm warning information with their 2009 RL and TSX models. The 2009 TL takes the real-time weather feature a step further and adds Doppler-style radar maps.
Though the Navi system is HDD-based, navigation system updates are still handled via DVD data discs which are available for purchase online or at Acura service departments.
And for those who would like to add a personal touch to their navigation systems, up to 10 jpeg image files can be uploaded (via USB memory key) and stored as wallpaper for the navi system, for both Driver 1 and Driver 2. These are displayed as a "screensaver" whenever the navi is inactive.
Back that thing up
A rearview camera is standard equipment on the Technology model, and the camera itself is hidden in the rear decklid spoiler. The camera's image is displayed on the navi's LCD screen, and now features overlaid parking guidelines which indicate the vehicle's width as well as marking distances of 1, 2, and 3 meters behind the vehicle.
- 8-speaker audio system with 6-disc CD changer, AM/FM/XM and Bluetooth Audio
The base audio system in the 2009 TL loses the DVD-Audio, cassette, and ELS surround sound abilities of its predecessor, but it retains the basic 8-speaker configuration and 6-disc in-dash changer. The 2009 system gains Bluetooth audio capabilities and USB port connectivity (for iPod®, iPhone®, and other USB mass storage devices) and has been pumped up to a total system power of 276-watts
- Acura/ELS Surround® premium 10-speaker sound system (Technology Package)
The TL's highly acclaimed ELS audio system has been upgraded for 2009 (Technology Package) and now features 10-speakers and 440-watts of power. Like the base stereo, Bluetooth audio and USB audio interface are included with the Acura/ELS sound system.
A 12.7GB partition of the navi system's hard disk drive has been set aside for the ELS audio system, allowing the owner to rip roughly 2500 songs from CD to the HDD in a compressed audio format (using a fixed 128kbit/sec compression). The system utilizes its own internal Gracenote® database to automatically tag songs that are ripped to the internal drive. The system will only permit the ripping of standard CD-Audio material to the HDD, so you cannot take an existing MP3/WMA library and copy it to the vehicle's hard drive.
- Keyless Access System (with Smart Entry and pushbutton ignition)
Another new feature bundled with the Technology Package is Acura's first Keyless Access system with push-button ignition. Apart from the push-button ignition, the system functions identically to the RL's keyless access system. Simply walk up to the driver's door and grasp the door handle and the door (or doors, depending upon your preference) is unlocked. To lock all of the doors, simply touch the outer portion of the driver's door handle after closing the door. The doors may also be locked/unlocked from the front passenger side. The keyfob is tied to the vehicle's 2-driver memory function, which automatically adjusts the driver's seat and exterior mirror positions depending upon which keyfob unlocked the car.
- All-LED interior Lighting
The 2009 TL is Acura's first model to feature 100% LED illumination. The TL's gauges and all interior switchgear features LED backlighting. LEDs are also used for overhead interior and map lighting as well as ceiling and footwell ambient lighting.
While the 2nd and 3rd generation TLs were roughly similar in size, the 4th generation TL has grown a fair amount, stretching the third generation TL's dimensions by more than 6 inches in length and a tad more than an inch in width. Curiously, for all the additional length, the wheelbase has only grown by 1.3". The result is an increase of 0.6 cu. ft. of passenger volume, and another 0.6 cu. ft. of cargo capacity, but what do these numbers really mean? The previous TL's rear seating quarters were a little cozy for average-sized males (such as yours truly). Legroom and headroom were somewhat limited. Every mm of the 2009 TL's wheelbase stretch (34mm) has been put towards increasing legroom for rear seat passengers, but 1/2 inch has been trimmed from the 2009 TL's rear headroom, which means your scalp may become a bit more familiar with the rear headliner if you're taller than average or happen to be long in torso.