It’s not hard to fall into a state of despair if you’re in need of a fun, reliable, daily driver but don’t have that much money to spend. The distress might make you want to crawl under the covers, eat ice cream all day while watching the second season of Fuller House. But, don’t worry, cheer up and turn off Fuller House!
What if I told you that you’re not destined to a life of putting up with a dreadful driving experience in a Corolla or a Civic? A daily driver doesn’t have be a car that you loathe so much that you’d rather Uber it every day. It’s got power, excitement, won’t cost you an arm and a leg to maintain and can haul around all the assemble-yourself furniture and babies you need until the end of time.
It’s a Toyota Camry with a V8 swap, of course! No, I’m joking, although I would want one of those.
What I’m talking about is a much more reasonable 2007-08 Acura TL Type S. At this point, I’m sure you have many questions on what is so great about the Type S and how it will solve all of your problems, so let me try to explain.
How cheap is the Type S exactly?
Let me put it this way. You could buy four used Acura Type S-es for the price of one brand new Lexus ES350.
For about $10,000, you can get your hands on a Type S that is much more interesting than your garden variety monotonous commuter car. If you’re thinking that you have better options for $10,000, like a 2007 BMW 328i, let me stop you right there. Within an hour of making that purchase, your BMW is sure to be in the shop and you’ll instantly start shedding tears as you watch your credit card balance skyrocket to pay for all those exorbitantly expensive, unreliable German parts.
Ok, fine, so it’s cheap, but will it last a long time?
Absolutely. Normally, I wouldn’t want to buy a used car with so many miles on it, but it’s different with the Acura TL Type S. You will have to take a sledgehammer to the engine to kill it, but even then, it might find a way to keep going. If you read this, then you know that 200,000 miles for an Acura TL is no big deal.
Acuras, and Hondas, are known for their legendary reliability and so you can rest assured knowing that an Acura with 100,000 miles under its hood is just getting warmed up. My good friend Scott has a 2007 Type S that has just crossed the 100,000 mile marker but feels like it has barely been driven.
Does everyone have one?
No, and that’s the beauty of the Type S. You see way more Lexus IS350s and Infiniti G35s around which are comparable cars obtainable for a similar price range. You could argue that the G35 is a better handling car, but it’s not nearly as reliable or cheap to maintain as an Acura and every other person has one. And the Lexus, well, it’s just boring and every other person has one.
Also, I think the Acura TL looks the best out of the three. In fact, the 2008 model is the last good looking TL Acura has built since starting the year after, the TL appears to have been designed by someone who has been obsessed with our feathered friends. That person was either a parrot in their previous life or loves parrots so much that they felt compelled to incorporate its beak into the Acura’s front end. The latest generations of Acura are so blindingly hideous that it makes the 2004-2008 Acura TL look like an exquisitely designed Maserati Gran Turismo in comparison.
The Type S exterior is not dramatically different from the regular TL, but the subtle styling differences are executed perfectly. The Type S accomplishes this through its more aggressive front end, quad exhaust and 10-spoke wheels. It still blends in with traffic with a tad bit of edginess but doesn’t stand out like a Fast and the Furious Japanese hotrod.
How quick is it?
It’s much easier to put up with your kids demanding M&Ms for breakfast as you drop them off at daycare if you’re driving a car with a 3.5-liter V6 pumping out 286 horsepower. The Type S also comes with Brembo brakes and a performance-tuned suspension which makes curvy road driving much more preferable than taking the usual dull highway to work. Your coworkers will be wondering why you show up to work every day with that stupid smile on your face.
The Type S also comes with a smooth shifting manual six-speed transmission that will only make the weekend trips to Home Depot a lot less agonizing.
Is it luxurious?
Almost. The ride is on the firmer side, but the Type S does have one of the best interiors out of any car made during that time. It looks and feels much better than what I had in my previously owned 2008 Lexus IS-F.
The dash in my car was sticky like someone had spilled orange juice all over it the day before and the door paneling was peeling off along with an inordinate amount of rattling. The Type S, on the other hand, is much more solid.
The car also has a nice-sounding DVD-based audio system designed by a Grammy-winning producer, Elliott Scheiner (associated with Beyonce, Foo Fighters, Eric Clapton and various other superstars). This is good because there’s not much of an exhaust note to listen to anyway and you’ll want to crank it up to sing along to Demi Lovato lyrics: “What’s wrong with being... what’s wrong with being... what’s wrong with being confident?”
Nothing, when you are in this fine machine.
There’s also a cassette tape player in case you have your parents in the car who are bound to appreciate your good taste in automobiles while jamming to David Bowie tapes.
Are you saying this car is perfect?
No. There is one drawback: torque steer. Because the Type S is a front-wheel drive car, the steering is heavy and can pull under a hard launch. Now, you might want to write this car off immediately if you’re hell-bent on rear-wheel-drive vehicles, but before you do, first think about why you’d want to get this car in the first place. Not to go to the drag strip, or to the track or to show Honda Accords who’s boss.
You’d want this car so that you can stuff it full of items from Whole Foods where you just spent your whole paycheck and enjoy a fun drive on the way home. This car is mainly about practicality with a touch of performance that’s just icing on the cake.
No, but I want icing only, screw the cake.
Well, now you’re starting to sound more like me. I only want the sugary goodness of icing too—more horsepower, more torque and some more horsepower, no matter what it costs. Who cares about the cake!
But if I ever needed the cake, I’d want the TL Type S. No questions asked.