Acura TL SH-AWD (with Technology Package) Review

There must be a car in there somewhere. Darned if I can find it.

Acura has apparently shifted somewhere along the way from being the near-luxury division of Honda (maker of wonderful vehicles like the original Acura Legend) to being the technology division of Honda...a company that already has entirely too much of a fascination with tiny backlit buttons everywhere it can fit them.

On the Hondas, it's just this side of annoying...because, well...because there's a Honda in there...bringing with it value, reliability and generally attractive cars. And the Honda price point keeps the tech from getting out of control.

But the new Acura TL? First, the redesign has taken a lithe, sleek sedan and turned it into a blocky, angular mess. If they could argue that all those angles confound photo radar, that might be an excuse...but they're not.

Second, it performs well...but not memorably.

And third...the tech. Too much stuff. My first clue? The owner's manual is more than 600 pages long. And there's a separate nav system manual (I neglected to count those pages, but I see that you can get it online as a .pdf...in that form, it's 172 pages.

Oh, yeah...and it's $42,995.

I respect Honda and its products (as a Civic owner for 14 years). But Acura's taken a wrong turn...and I hope its corporate nav system can plot a new route.