HEADLINES

2008 Acura TL - Safety

OVERVIEW

The 2008 TL and TL Type-S were developed to help protect its occupants with a comprehensive array of safety technologies, high-grade materials, and advanced construction techniques.

Weight sensors are incorporated in the front passenger seat to determine the occupant's total weight on that seat. If weight is less than 65 pounds (such as in the case of a small child or car seat) the front airbag will not deploy and a warning message appears on the instrument panel. For the driver, a position sensor in the seat determines how the airbag will be deployed in the event of a frontal collision. If the seat is close to its forwardmost position, the front airbag is designed to deploy in the dual-stage mode. Otherwise, the airbag deploys in either single or dual-stage mode based on the severity of the collision and seat belt use.

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

FEATURES

The TL offers its occupants the following Acura safety technologies:

  • Front 3-point Emergency Locking Retractors (ELR) with pretensioners
  • Front seat-belt load limiters
  • Front four-way adjustable head restraints
  • Front seat occupant height and position sensors
  • Front driver and passenger seatbelt warning system with chime
  • Rear center three-point seat belt
  • Rear outboard two-way adjustable head restraints
  • Tether anchors
  • Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children (LATCH) car seat mounting system for rear outboard positions
  • Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS)

Airbags

  • Dual-stage, dual-threshold front airbags with driver's seat position sensor and passenger's seat weight sensor
  • Front passenger seat mounted side impact airbags with Occupant Position Detection System (OPDS)
  • Side curtain airbag system

SIDE AIRBAG SYSTEM

The side airbags are located in the outboard seat side bolsters and deploy when sensors detect that a sufficient side impact is occurring. To help prevent injury to a small-stature adult or child, 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 help protect the passenger in a side impact.

SIDE CURTAIN AIRBAGS

The side curtain airbags deploy from a module in the roof rail 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 considerably lower with a side curtain airbag. The airbag module is located in the side of the roof and the gas pressure deployment vessel is positioned in the C-pillar. The vessel 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 deployment.

SIDE IMPACT

The use of high-tensile steel significantly contributes to the side impact performance on both TL models in the government's tough SINCAP (Side Impact New Car Assessment Program) test. The TL's energy-absorbing body structure is built with 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 front seat and 5-Star rear seat rating.

The TL was developed with the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's Side Impact Crashworthiness Evaluation (SICE) in mind, and it received a GOOD rating, the highest possible ranking.

DUAL-STAGE, DUAL-THRESHOLD FRONT AIRBAGS

The TL is equipped with dual-stage, dual-threshold airbags for the driver and front passenger, and this system has been designed to meet federal safety regulations (FMVSS 208). The front airbags are designed to minimize the potential for airbag injury while providing head and chest protection for the front occupants in the event of a sufficient frontal collision. This front airbag system features additional sensors; front passenger seat weight sensors, and a driver's 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 integrated sensors in the driver's seat register if it is at or near the full forward position. During a higher speed collision, if the driver's seat is far enough away 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 the weight of the occupant. 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 with 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 style of deployment provides a large cushion to help protect the front passenger.

FRONT IMPACT

The 2008 TL underwent numerous internal front-impact tests 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. These two standardized tests rate front impact occupant protection performance.

In the NCAP test, the vehicle impacts a rigid barrier at 35 mph. During the IIHS front offset test, the vehicle impacts 40-percent offset deformable barrier at 40 mph. The 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. 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.

Computer simulations determined the critical load paths, allowing the usage of high-strength steel to be strategically placed. Furthermore, the use of high-strength steel helps to reduce overall weight of the vehicle and it reduces the amount of intrusion to a passenger safety cage-the rigid perimeter that envelops the occupant during a collision.

BUMPER SYSTEM

In addition to evaluating injury projections in collisions, the IIHS 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 expressed in an overall repair cost.

The target repair cost for these tests is less than the repair cost for the average TL competitor. The front and rear bumper systems on the TL get high marks. They incorporate high-strength rolled-form bumper beams and highly efficient thermoplastic energy absorbers to disperse low-speed collision energy.

TIRE PRESSURE MONITORING SYSTEM (TPMS)

An onboard Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) is equipped with location and pressure indicators that warn the driver when the air pressure drops considerably in any tire. This information helps reduce the chance of losing control of the vehicle due to low tire pressure. This is important because a slow leak, such as one that might be caused by a nail embedded through the tread, might not be detectable immediately but would, in time, cause significant air loss resulting in the reduction of tire of grip and potentially a blowout.

A sensor mounted on each wheel continually monitors tire pressure and sends a coded signal to an initiator located inboard of the tire on the chassis. The information is then sent to an electronic control unit that compares the values of each tire against an acceptable set of values.

When tire pressure drops significantly below the proper specification, a "CHECK TIRE PRESSURE" alert appears on the MID alert screen. The system can display the air pressure in all four tires simultaneously via the MID, making it simple to locate a low tire. If there is a fault in the system, a "CHECK TPMS SYSTEM" alert appears.

At the driver's preference the display can continually show the air pressure in all four tires. Regardless of whether the driver chooses to monitor the pressures, a warning will still occur if a tire drops below a predetermined threshold.

PEDESTRIAN SAFETY

Acura continues its commitment to safety by extending it to pedestrians. 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, windshield wiper arms and fender mounts allow substantial deformation in an impact, allowing the engineering team to meet its target for pedestrian safety.

ACTIVE SAFETY SYSTEMS

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 technologies include:

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

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

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