2005 Acura TL Safety



The 2005 TL was developed to perform at the "top of its class" in protecting its occupants with a comprehensive array of safety technologies, high-grade materials and advanced construction techniques.

For 2005, the front airbag system has been enhanced to meet newly implemented Federal safety regulations. To accomplish this, weight sensors have been incorporated in the front passenger seat to determine the total weight on that seat. If it is less than 65 pounds (as if occupied by a small child or car seat) the airbag will not deploy. For the driver, a position sensor in the seat has been added to determine how the airbag will be deployed in the event of a collision. If the seat is within half an inch of the most forward position, the front airbag will only deploy in the dual-stage mode. If the seat is farther than a half inch from the forward position, the airbag deploys in either single or dual-stage mode based on the severity of the collision.

The TL also features adjustable rear outboard head restraints, and standard side curtain airbags. These technologies, and the use of high-tensile steel in critical areas and computer-modeled crush zones, help ensure the highest possible level of passenger protection for its class. The TL passed the toughest government safety tests with a 5-star frontal rating in addition to achieving a "GOOD" rating in all categories evaluated during the IIHS offset collision. The TL safety equation even extends to pedestrians with structural elements designed to reduce the likelihood of serious injury in a collision.


The TL offers its occupants the latest Acura safety technologies. These include:

Passenger Seating

  • Front 3-point Emergency Locking Retractors (ELR) with pretensioners
  • Front seat-belt load limiters
  • Front neck injury reduction seats
  • Front four-way adjustable head restraints
  • Front height and position sensors
  • Rear center three-point seat belt
  • Rear outboard two-way adjustable head restraints

Child Seating

  • Automatic Locking Retractors/Emergency Locking Retractors (ALR/ELR)
  • Tether anchors (all rear positions)
  • Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children (LATCH) system for rear outboard positions


  • Dual-stage, dual-threshold front airbags with driver's seat position sensor and passenger's seat weight sensor
  • Seamless airbag lid for the passenger airbag
  • Front seat mounted side impact airbags with occupant position sensors
  • Side curtain airbag system


The airbags are located in the outboard seat side bolsters and deploy when sensors detect that a side impact is occurring. To prevent injury to a small child or small-stature adult, an innovative passenger position sensing system prevents side airbag deployment if the passenger is leaning into the side airbag deployment path. A total of seven sensors in the passenger seatback determine the height and position of the occupant; this helps the system determine if it is safe to deploy the side airbag. When the passenger returns to an upright seating position, the side airbag will reactivate so it can deploy and protect the passenger in a side impact.


The side curtain airbags deploy from a module in the roof in the event of a sufficient side impact. They provide an important and significant level of head protection in the window area from the A-pillar back to the C-pillar. Research shows that the g forces affecting an occupant's head are vastly lower with a side curtain airbag.

The airbag module is located in the side of the roof and the gas generator is positioned in the C-pillar. It supplies gas to the airbag through a channel in the roof side. Front and rear "satellite" sensors (one located at the base of the B-pillar and another located near the rear seat back) detect side impacts and signal the gas generator.

In addition to the side curtain airbags, a side airbag located in each front outboard seat bolster provides protection to the thorax in the event of a sufficient side impact.


The use of high-tensile steel significantly contributes to the side impact performance on the TL and a reduction in injury for occupants. The government SINCAP (Side Impact New Car Assessment Program) test is one of the toughest to pass. In this test, a 1,360 kg (2,992 pounds) sled impacts the side of the stationary vehicle at 38.5 mph.

The best defense against this impact is a strong energy-absorbing body structure built with high-tensile steel. The TL uses high-strength steel in key areas to provide the required strength without excessive weight.

During a side impact collision, forces are distributed across the computer-engineered body structure, lessening forces that affect the occupants. Dual steel door beams in each front door and a single door beam in each rear door team with energy-absorbing padding to further absorb crash energy.

The TL passed the government SINCAP test with a 4-Star/5-Star rating.

The 2005 TL was developed with the IIHS Side Impact Crashworthiness Evaluation (SICE) in mind, and is expected to receive an "Acceptable" rating.


The TL is equipped with dual-stage, dual-threshold airbags for the driver and front passenger, and this system has been enhanced to meet newly implemented Federal safety regulations (FMVSS 208) for 2005. The front airbags are designed to minimize the potential for airbag injury while providing head and chest protection for the occupants in the event of a sufficient collision. This front airbag system features additional sensors; front passenger seat weight sensors, and a driver seat position sensor designed to enhance occupant protection.

The TL's front airbags can deploy at one of two rates. Deployment of the driver's side airbag takes into account the severity of the crash, whether or not the driver's seat belt is fastened and the position of the driver's seat. During a lower speed collision, the airbag inflators are triggered in sequence, resulting in slower overall airbag deployment with less initial force. The same sequence is also utilized regardless of collision speed if newly integrated sensors in the driver's seat register that the driver's seat is within a half inch of the full forward position. During a higher speed collision, if the driver's seat is more than a half inch from the full frontal position, both inflators operate simultaneously for full, immediate inflation. Airbag deployment on the front passenger's side is regulated by crash severity, seatbelt usage and, new for 2005, the weight of the occupant. Newly integrated sensors under the seat gauge occupant weight and if the total weight on the passenger seat is less than 65 lbs, the airbag system will not deploy, minimizing the potential for injury to children. Just as the driver's side, the airbags are deployed at the speed appropriate to the speed and severity of the collision - slower for lower speed collisions, more quickly for higher speeds.

The driver's airbag is located in the steering wheel hub and the passenger's airbag is located on top of the dash. As in all Acura vehicles, the front passenger's airbag is designed to deploy upward toward the windshield and then back toward the occupant. This provides a large cushion to help protect the front passenger.


The Acura TL underwent a barrage of internal front-impact testing to verify the vehicle structure and occupant-protection performance. Two of these tests include the government's New Car Assessment Program (NCAP) test and the Front Offset test conducted by the IIHS (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety). These two standardized tests rate front impact performance.

In the NCAP test the vehicle impacts a rigid barrier at 35 mph. During the IIHS offset test the vehicle impacts a deformable barrier at 40 mph with a 40-percent offset. During internal testing, the 2005 TL achieves a 5-Star rating for driver and passenger in the NCAP test and a GOOD rating for all points in the IIHS test mode. Both are the highest rankings achievable. Acura achieved these outstanding results with the implementation of pretensioners and load- limiting seat belts in conjunction with an energy-absorbing body structure that uses high-strength steel in critical locations.

Using computer simulations allowed determining the critical load paths to help determine where to use high-strength steel. The use of high-strength steel helps to reduce the overall weight of the vehicle and reduces the amount of intrusion to a passenger safety cage-the rigid perimeter that envelops the occupant during a collision.


In addition to evaluating injury projections in collisions, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety also evaluates vehicles for damage resistance in low-speed collisions. IIHS conducts four tests at 5 mph-front flat impact, front 30-degree impact, rear flat impact, and rear pole impact. The combined damage sustained during these four tests is the overall repair cost.
The target repair cost for these tests are less than the repair cost for the average TL competitor. The front and rear bumper systems on the TL get the credit. They incorporate high-strength rolled-form bumper beams and highly efficient thermoplastic energy absorbers to disperse low-speed collision energy.


Acura's interest in safety extends to pedestrians as well as vehicle occupants. To help reduce pedestrian injuries in the event of a collision, the TL hood and fender areas were designed to deform if contacted by the head of an adult or child pedestrian. Energy-absorbing collapsible hood supports, wiper arms and fender mounts allow substantial deformation in an impact, allowing the engineering team to meet its target for pedestrian safety.


The driver and passenger seats are designed to reduce neck injuries.


Besides its passive safety features, the TL has a full complement of technologies designed to aid in driver control and in challenging driving conditions and circumstances.

These include:

  • Electronic Brake Distribution (EBD)
  • Brake Assist
  • Anti-lock braking system (ABS)
  • Vehicle Stability Assist (VSA)
  • Expansive outside visibility
  • Bi-function Xenon High-Intensity Discharge (HID) projector headlamps

Please refer to the Body & Chassis section for information on these technologies.

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