Certified Benz & Beemer Compares 2012 Acura TL VS 2012 Chevrolet Impala Near Scottsdale, AZ

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2012 Acura TL

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2012 Chevrolet Impala

Safety Comparison

Using vehicle speed sensors and seat sensors, smart airbags in the TL deploy with different levels of force or don’t deploy at all to help better protect passengers of all sizes in different collisions. The TL’s side airbags will shut off if a child is leaning against the door. The Impala’s side airbags don’t have smart features and will always deploy full force.

The TL has standard Active Head Restraints, which use a specially designed headrest to protect the driver and front passenger from whiplash. During a rear-end collision, the Active Head Restraints system moves the headrests forward to prevent neck and spine injuries. The Impala doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.

The TL has all wheel drive to maximize traction under poor conditions, especially in ice and snow. The Impala doesn’t offer all wheel drive.

The TL offers available parking sensors to help warn drivers about vehicles, pedestrians or other obstacles behind their vehicle. The TL also offers an optional backup monitor to help drivers see any and all obstacles behind their vehicle. The Impala doesn’t offer any parking assist system.

The TL’s optional blind spot warning system uses digital cameras monitored by computer to alert the driver to moving objects in the vehicle’s blind spots where the side view mirrors don’t reveal them. The Impala doesn’t offer a system to reveal objects in the driver's blind spots.

Both the TL and the Impala have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, front wheel drive, height adjustable front shoulder belts, plastic fuel tanks, four wheel antilock brakes, traction control and electronic stability systems to prevent skidding.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does 38.5 MPH side impact tests on new cars. In this test, results indicate that the TL is safer than the Impala:



Front Seat


5 Stars

5 Stars

Head Injury Criteria



Pelvis Deceleration

67 G’s

99 G’s

Rear Seat


5 Stars

4 Stars

Head Injury Criteria



Thoracic Trauma



Pelvis Deceleration

56 G’s

65 G’s

More stars indicate a better chance of avoiding serious injuries. Lower numbers indicate better actual numeric test results.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety ( IIHS) performs roof strength tests. In that test the TL earned the top rating of “Good” because its roof supported over four times the TL’s weight before being crushed five inches. The Impala was rated lower at “Acceptable.”

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety rates the general design of front seat head restraints for their ability to protect front seat occupants from whiplash injuries. The IIHS also performs a dynamic test on those seats with “good” or “acceptable” geometry. In these ratings, the TL is safer then the Impala:



Overall Evaluation



Head Restraint Design



Distance from Back of Head

36 mm

42 mm

Distance Below Top of Head

31 mm

46 mm

Dynamic Test Rating



Seat Design



Neck Force Rating



Max Neck Shearing Force



Max Neck Tension



(Lower numerical results are better in all tests.)

Instrumented handling tests conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and analysis of its dimensions indicate that the TL, with its five-star roll-over rating, is 2.3% less likely to roll over than the Impala, which received a four-star rating.

For its top level performance in frontal, side, rear impact and roof-crush tests, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety rates the TL as a “Top Pick” for 2012, a rating only granted to 120 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The Impala was not a “Top Pick.”

Warranty Comparison

The TL comes with a full 4 year/50,000 mile basic warranty, which covers the entire car and includes 24 hour roadside assistance. The Impala’s 3 year/36,000 mile basic warranty expires 1 year and 14,000 miles sooner.

Acura’s powertrain warranty covers the TL 1 year longer than Chevrolet covers the Impala. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 6 years or 70,000 miles. Coverage on the Impala ends after only 5 years.

The TL’s corrosion warranty is unlimited miles longer than the Impala’s (unlimited vs. 100,000 miles).

Reliability Comparison

The engines in the TL have a single overhead cam for simplicity. The engine in the Impala has dual overhead cams, which add to the number of moving parts and the complexity of the cylinder heads.

To reliably power the ignition and other systems and to recharge the battery, the TL has a standard 130 amp alternator. The Impala’s 125 amp alternator isn’t as powerful.

A reliable vehicle saves its owner time, money and trouble. Nobody wants to be stranded or have to be without their vehicle while it’s being repaired. Consumer Reports predicts that the Acura TL SH-AWD ®’s reliability will be 34% better than the Impala and the Acura TL 2WD will be 56% better than the Impala.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2011 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Acura vehicles are better in initial quality than Chevrolet vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Acura third in initial quality, above the industry average. With 20 more problems per 100 vehicles, Chevrolet is ranked 13th, below the industry average.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2011 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Acura vehicles are more reliable than Chevrolet vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Acura 6th in reliability, above the industry average. With 33 more problems per 100 vehicles, Chevrolet is ranked 16th.

Engine Comparison

The TL’s optional 3.7 SOHC V6 produces 5 more horsepower (305 vs. 300) and 11 lbs.-ft. more torque (273 vs. 262) than the Impala’s 3.6 DOHC V6.

Fuel Economy and Range Comparison

On the EPA test cycle the TL FWD gets better fuel mileage than the Impala (20 city/29 hwy vs. 18 city/30 hwy).

The TL has 1.5 gallons more fuel capacity than the Impala (18.5 vs. 17 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

Brakes and Stopping Comparison

For better stopping power the TL’s brake rotors are larger than those on the Impala:



Front Rotors

12.6 inches

11.93 inches

Rear Rotors

13.1 inches

10.95 inches

In an emergency stopping situation, many drivers don’t press the brakes with enough force to stop the vehicle in the shortest distance. The TL has a standard brake assist system to detect emergency braking situations (by how hard and how quickly the brake pedal is pressed) and then automatically apply maximum braking immediately in order to help prevent a collision. The Impala doesn’t offer a brake assist feature.

The TL stops much shorter than the Impala:



60 to 0 MPH

131 feet

141 feet

Consumer Reports

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

148 feet

155 feet

Consumer Reports

Tires and Wheels Comparison

For better traction, the TL has larger tires than the Impala (245/50R17 vs. 225/55R17). The TL’s tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Impala (245/50R17 vs. 235/50R18).

The TL’s standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 50 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Impala LS’ standard 60 series tires. The TL SH-AWD ®’s optional tires have a lower 40 series profile than the Impala LTZ’s 50 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the TL has standard 17 inch wheels. Smaller 16 inch wheels are standard on the Impala LS. The TL SH-AWD ®’s optional 19 inch wheels are larger than the 18 inch wheels on the Impala LTZ.

Suspension and Handling Comparison

The TL has vehicle speed sensitive variable-assist power steering, for low-effort parking, better control at highway speeds and during hard cornering, and a better feel of the road. The Impala doesn’t offer variable-assist power steering.

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the TL is .8 inches wider in the front and 2.3 inches wider in the rear than on the Impala.

Chassis Comparison

The TL is 6.4 inches shorter than the Impala, making the TL easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

To almost totally eliminate engine vibration in the passenger area, the TL has an electronically controlled liquid-filled engine mounts. A computer controlled electric current in the liquid changes its viscosity, allowing the mount to dampen the engine completely at all RPMs. The Impala uses conventional solid rubber engine mounts.

Cargo Capacity Comparison

With its sedan body style, valet key and remote trunk release lockout, the TL offers cargo security. The Impala’s non-lockable folding seat and non-lockable remote release defeat cargo security.

A standard locking glovebox (which can’t be accessed with the valet key) keeps your small valuables safer in the TL. The Impala doesn’t offer locking storage for small valuables.

Ergonomics Comparison

To help each driver find a more comfortable driving position, the TL has a telescoping steering wheel. Much better than just a tilt steering wheel or adjustable seat, this allows a short driver to sit further from the steering wheel while maintaining contact with the pedals. The Impala doesn’t offer a telescoping steering wheel.

When two different drivers share the TL, the memory system makes it convenient for both. Each setting activates different, customized memories for the driver’s seat position, outside mirror angle, climate settings and radio stations. The Impala doesn’t offer a memory system.

The TL’s front power windows open or close fully with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside the car. The Impala’s power window switches have to be held the entire time to close them fully. Only its driver’s window opens automatically.

If the windows are left down on the TL the driver can raise them all using the key in the outside lock cylinder. On a hot day the driver can lower the windows from outside the vehicle using the key in the outside lock cylinder or the keyless remote. The driver of the Impala can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

The Keyless Access System optional on the TL allows the driver to unlock the doors, trunk and start the engine all without removing a key from pocket or purse. This eliminates searching for keys before loading groceries, getting in the car in bad weather or making a hurried start to your trip. The Chevrolet Impala doesn’t offer an advanced key system.

The TL has a standard locking fuel door with a remote release located convenient to the driver. A locking fuel door helps prevent vandalism, such as sugar in the tank and fuel theft. The Impala doesn’t offer a locking fuel door.

The TL’s speed-sensitive wipers speed up when the vehicle does, so that the driver doesn’t have to continually adjust the speed of the wipers. The Impala’s manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

When the TL is put in reverse, the rearview mirror tilts from its original position. This gives the driver a better view of the curb during parallel parking maneuvers. Shifting out of reverse puts the mirror into its original position. The Impala’s mirror doesn’t automatically adjust for backing.

The TL’s optional air conditioned front seats cool the driver and front passenger and help take the sting out of hot leather in Summer. The Impala doesn’t offer air conditioned front seats.

The TL has a standard dual zone air conditioning allows the driver and front passenger to choose two completely different temperatures so people with different temperature preferences won’t have to compromise. This makes both the driver and front passenger as comfortable as possible. Dual zone air conditioning is only available on the Impala LT/LTZ.

The TL’s standard automatic temperature control maintains the temperature you set, automatically controlling fan speed, vents and temperature to maintain a consistent, comfortable environment. The Impala doesn’t offer automatic air conditioning.

For greater rear passenger comfort, the TL has standard rear a/c vents to keep rear occupants more comfortable. The Impala doesn’t offer rear vents.

The TL’s available GPS navigation system has a real-time traffic update feature that offers alternative routes to automatically bypass traffic problems. (Service available in a limited number of metro areas.) The Impala’s available navigation system doesn’t offer real-time traffic updates.

With optional voice command, the TL offers the driver hands free control of the radio, climate controls, cell phone and the navigation computer by simply speaking. The Impala doesn’t offer a voice control system.

Economic Advantages Comparison

The TL will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. Kiplinger’s estimates that the TL will retain a greater percentage of its original price after two and four years than the Impala.



Four Year


19% to 20%

Two Year


30% to 32%

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the TL is less expensive to operate than the Impala because it costs $469 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the TL than the Impala, including $429 less for an alternator, $93 less for front brake pads, $72 less for a starter, $95 less for fuel injection, $263 less for a fuel pump, $454 less for front struts and $200 less for a timing belt/chain.

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