The foundation of every good relationship is the ability to listen and understand one other. How fitting then, that our Valentine's Day delivery to the CNET Car Tech garage should be the Acura TL-S, one of the most understanding cars in the world. We climbed into the cabin of this souped-up version of Acura's midsized technosedan, and in no time we already were making ourselves understood with perfect clarity.
"Driver temperature, 65 degrees," we ventured after a press of the Voice button on the steering wheel. "Driver temperature, 65 degrees," responded TL's empathetic voice-recognition system as a cool, gentle breeze wafted over us. "XM channel 26," we suggested. "XM channel 26," said the TL as the XM Satellite Radio station changed itself over to our preferred station. If only all conversations were so straightforward.
"Navigation," we called out next. "How would you like to set your destination?" asked the TL. "Address," we replied and proceeded to program in our desired location verbally without taking our hands from the wheel. With all the relevant information entered, the TL-S proceeded to lead us to our destination with high-resolution maps on its huge in-dash display, complete with real-time traffic information. No arguments, no misconstrued directions, just healthy communication and consummate understanding. The TL-S voice-command system also can be used to control its as-standard Bluetooth hands-free phone interface and to navigate music playing on its surround-sound audio system.
The TL-S's responsiveness doesn't end with the cabin tech either. Steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters gave us the opportunity to translate our intentions very clearly to the car's 286 horsepower V6 engine as we took it out for a preliminary spin around the Presidio National Park in San Francisco.
We'll be spending a lot of time in the TL-S over the next couple of days researching our full review for CNET Car Tech. If our first impressions are anything to go by, it looks like the beginning of a beautiful friendship.