The current-generation Acura TL's styling has been controversial since its debut a few years ago. In this case, "controversial" is a euphemism for "ugly." It's unfortunate, because the TL is actually a pretty good car, especially TLs with a six-speed manual.

Well, the near-universal derision has finally made it up to the styling department, and Acura has made some changes for 2012.


The 2012 Acura TL still looks a lot like the 2011, but a few tweaks here and there do help improve its appearance. The biggest changes are, obviously, to the beak-like nose, which has been the focus of the criticisms. The distinctive Acura grille remains, but it's significantly toned down. No longer blending up onto the hood area, it's smaller and less snout-like. Now surrounded by body work instead of acres of matte-finish metal, the area below the grille is now occupied by two slots instead of the grate of the previous car. The bumper itself is also reshaped with a character line that runs under the grille, and the lower air intakes now feature a small chrome strip.

The rear bumper also gets a little work, although it's far more subtle. The reflector strips are smaller, the exhaust tips are reworked, the license plate has been moved up to the middle of the bumper, and the bumper itself has been given a bit more shape.

While the engines remain unchanged, the five-speed automatic has been replaced for a new six-speed, which Acura says helps both performance and fuel economy. The only significant interior change is the availability of a new Advance option package, which adds ventilated front seats and blind spot detection.

So is it better? Worse? Did Acura go far enough, or did you like the original design? Sound off in the comments below!