2002 Acura 3.2 TL -- Body

The Acura TL, designed and engineered by Honda R&D in Torrance, California, and Raymond, Ohio, moves into 2002 with a host of revisions that enhance the car's already sleek appearance while also adding a measure of sporty flair.

In keeping with its enthusiast-car spirit, the 2002 TL wears a completely redesigned front end with a more aggressive grille, new headlights, new badging, and standard fog lights. At the rear, new taillights provide a cleaner look.

Inside, the TL cabin continues to offer an oasis of luxury and refinement. A total of 110.8 cubic feet of interior volume provides midsize-car spaciousness. Leather seating and wood-patterned trim add to the rich, warm ambiance, while abundant standard features -- including an in-dash, 6-disc CD changer; memory driver's seat and mirrors; adjustable headrests; and an auto up/down driver's window with auto-reverse feature -- provide exceptional ease and convenience.

The Type-S sports a unique cockpit treatment that matches its high-powered personality, including perforated leather seating with deeply sculptured front buckets, a perforated-leather steering wheel, a Type-S shift knob, ebony wood-patterned trim, and metallic-face gauges.

Noise, Vibration, and Harshness (NVH) have been improved for 2002 with new insulation materials in the doors and an improved door seal. The outside rearview mirrors have been redesigned to cut through the air more cleanly, reducing wind noise to ultra-low levels.

Body and Interior at a Glance


  • Redesigned front end with new grille, hood, fenders, bumper, headlights, and badging for a more aggressive appearance
  • Standard fog lights
  • Redesigned taillights for a cleaner look


  • New in-dash, 6-disc CD changer standard on both TL models
  • Comprehensive standard amenities, including leather seating, wood-patterned trim, Automatic Climate Control System, and Acura/Bose Music System
  • Type-S cockpit includes perforated leather, ebony wood-grained trim (on ebony interior), and metallic-face instruments
  • Standard memory driver's seat with memory mirrors
  • Passenger side auto mirror tilt-down when reverse gear is engaged
  • Available DVD-based Acura Satellite-Linked Navigation System

Quality and Refinement

  • Heat-rejecting green glass
  • Full frame windows for improved sealing and reduced wind noise
  • Gas spring hood supports and low-effort multi-link trunk hinges provide easy operation
  • Rigid door structures
  • Jointless front and rear windshield molding

NVH Control

  • Improved insulation in doors
  • Gap-filling foam seals roof-pillar cavities
  • Triple door seals
  • Extensive melt sheet insulation used in rear wheel-house regions
  • Rigid steering-hangar beam, steering-column shaft, and accelerator cable bracket for reduced vibration in steering wheel and throttle pedal


  • Midsize car total interior volume (110.8 cubic feet)
  • Generous 14.3 cubic-feet trunk
  • Abundant interior head, leg, shoulder, and hip room
  • Easy step-in for rear passengers

 Corrosion Resistance

  • Double-sided galvanized steel panels in all high-corrosion areas
  • Anti-chipping primer applied to leading edges of hood and fenders
  • PVC and wax sealer applied to underbody
  • Anti-acid-etch clear coat on dark colors helps protect paint from acid rain

For 2002, a host of styling revisions enhance the look of the TL while also giving it a leaner, sportier appearance that reflects its athletic handling and power.

To create an intimate, personal feel, the greenhouse of the TL is visually distinct from the body's muscular lines. A strong shoulder to the upper body accentuates this feeling. High-gloss black accents on the B-pillars add a subtle upscale flair.

The completely restyled front end of the 2002 TL sports a more aggressive grille, a new hood, fenders and bumpers, newly shaped High Intensity Discharge (HID) headlights, revised badging, and integrated fog lights as standard. The taillights have also been revised for a cleaner, more unified appearance.

For 2002, the TL is available in an array of colors including Noble Green Pearl, Firepepper Red Pearl, Laguna Green Metallic, Monterey Blue Pearl, Naples Gold Metallic, Nighthawk Black Pearl, Satin Silver Metallic, Taffeta White, White Diamond Pearl, Anthracite Metallic, Aegean Blue Pearl, and Eternal Blue Pearl.

The world-class fit and finish of the TL is readily apparent at a brief glance or under the closest scrutiny. The TL's doors, for instance, are tuned with stiff structures, laser-welded blank door panels, special plastic-encapsulated door checkers and latches, and generous sound damping materials -- all of which combine to deliver a high-quality "thunk" when the doors are closed. Special power-window motors increase window speed and reduce noise, while the windows themselves are sealed with reliable sash-type door structures.

For the best-possible ride, handling, and NVH control, the TL unit body was designed to provide maximum torsional and bending rigidity without adding excess weight.

Exceptional rigidity is achieved through the use of a high-strength cabin and ladder-type-subframe with large box-section rails and strategically placed reinforcements. This rigid structure allows the suspensional mounting points to maintain a consistent position, resulting in improved handling precision, ride comfort and safety.

For enhanced weather sealing and reduced wind noise, the highly rigid door structures of the TL are designed with full-frame windows. By laser welding the door panels, steels of different thickness can be used in the door -- allowing the designers to use the optimum steel thickness in each area for a strong yet lightweight door.

For 2002, improved insulation materials have been incorporated into the doors. The outside rearview mirrors have also been reshaped to pass more cleanly through the air, reducing wind noise and contributing to an exceptionally quiet cabin environment.

For exceptionally clear visibility when driving at night, the TL Type-S is equipped with reflector-type xenon high intensity discharge (HID) headlights. These premium headlights are three times as efficient as conventional halogen lamps (using less electrical energy) and produce nearly double the illumination and bulb life. The brilliant beam delivered by the xenon headlights improves illumination by 45 percent on low beam (the TL uses conventional halogen high beams).

To prevent the battery drain that can occur if the headlights are accidentally left on, the TL is equipped with an auto-off feature that turns off the headlights 15 seconds after the driver's door is closed or the doors are locked.

The TL is crafted using an impressive array of sophisticated technologies and advanced materials, including:

  • Laser-welded inner door panel blanks for increased strength and minimized weight
  • High-gloss B-pillars with high scratch resistance
  • High-strength, dent-resistant steel doors
  • Side-door protectors and side-sill garnishes use a durable body-color film for greater chip and scratch resistance
  • Body-color roof molding
  • Lightweight, fiberglass hood insulator
  • Anti-acid-etch clear coat (dark colors)
  • Chrome-plated, injection-molded door handles
  • Rugged material applied to front spoiler for improved curb-impact resistance
  • Two-thirds of plastic materials are polypropylene or polyethylene and are easily recyclable

To achieve their extremely low wind noise targets, the designers of the TL relied upon extensive wind-tunnel development and computer simulations. The TL's body-panel shapes were carefully engineered to minimize wind noise, and the folding side-mirror shapes have been extensively refined to bring wind noise in the cockpit to ultra-low levels.

The spacious interior of the TL has been designed to be attentive to the needs of enthusiast drivers while also delivering maximum comfort and convenience. From rich leather seating to fine wood-patterned trim, the cabin exudes an ambiance of warmth and luxury. The instrument panel is outfitted with large, analog gauges and all essential controls are grouped within easy reach of the driver -- making the TL cockpit an ideal environment for spirited driving.

The TL Type-S features its own cockpit theme with special trim materials for an enhanced feel of sportiness.

In designing the TL cabin, the interior designers looked to Pacific Coast powerboats for their inspiration. Their muse can be readily seen in the sweeping, wraparound cockpit design and the purposeful instrument panel configuration. At the same time, the TL cabin offers a highly personalized flavor, with controls designed for rewarding tactile feedback and fine materials selected to enhance the inviting ambiance.

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