As a result of Acura's "Safety Through Innovation" initiative, the TL prioritizes safety for everyone— from the driver and passengers, to the occupants of other vehicles as well as pedestrians. The 2011 Acura TL provides an extremely high level of standard safety equipment. Key safety technologies include the Advanced Compatibility Engineering™ (ACE™) body structure, a total of six airbags, the use of active front head restraints and front seatbelts with an automatic tensioning system. This commitment to targeting a high level of safety means that both the TL and TL SH-AWD® offer the same range of safety technologies as standard equipment.
ADVANCED SAFETY TECHNOLOGY
As described in detail below, the TL offers Acura's entire array of currently available passive safety technologies. The list starts with the revolutionary Advanced Compatibility Engineering™ (ACE™) body structure, which enhances occupant protection and crash compatibility in frontal crashes. The ACE™ design utilizes a network of connected structural elements to distribute crash energy more evenly throughout the front of the vehicle. This enhanced frontal crash energy management helps to reduce the forces transferred to the passenger compartment and can help to more evenly disperse the forces transferred to other vehicles in a crash. ACE™ also increases the likelihood of two vehicles properly connecting during a collision— including larger and smaller vehicles and those with differing bumper heights.
The TL also include dual-stage, multiple-threshold front airbags, side-curtain airbags and dual-chamber front side airbags with a passenger-side Occupant Position Detection System (OPDS). The safety list continues with front seatbelts with an automatic tensioning system and load limiters, and active head restraints for the front seats that are designed to reduce the likelihood of neck injuries for the driver and front passenger in the event of a sufficient rear collision. Daytime running lights (DRL), Anti-lock Brake System (ABS) with Electronic Brake Distribution (EBD), Brake Assist and Vehicle Stability Assist™ (VSA®) with traction control (Electronic Stability Control) are also standard equipment.
The 2011 Acura TL safety features include:
Standard active safety systems
- 4-wheel disc Anti-lock Brake System (ABS), Electronic Brake Distribution (EBD) and Brake Assist
- Vehicle Stability Assist™ (VSA®) with traction control (Electronic Stability Control)
- Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS)
Standard passive safety systems
- Advanced Compatibility Engineering™ (ACE™) body structure
- 3-point seatbelts for all seating positions
- Front seatbelts with an automatic tensioning system and load limiters
- Dual-stage, multiple-threshold front airbags
- Dual-chamber front seat side airbags
- Side curtain airbags for front and outboard rear occupant positions
- Active head restraints for front seats
- Lower Anchors and Tethers for CHildren (LATCH) child car seat mounting system for the two outboard rear seats
- Child car seat upper tether mount in center rear seat
ADVANCED COMPATIBILITY ENGINEERING™ (ACE™) BODY STRUCTURE
Like all other Acura vehicles, the TL utilizes the Advanced Compatibility Engineering™ (ACE™) body structure technology. ACE™ is an exclusive body design that enhances occupant protection and crash compatibility in frontal crashes. The ACE™ design utilizes a network of connected structural elements to distribute crash energy more evenly throughout the front of the vehicle. This enhanced frontal crash energy management helps to reduce the forces transferred to the passenger compartment and can help to more evenly disperse the forces transferred to other vehicles in a crash.
ACE™ also helps to minimize the potential for an "under-ride" or "over-ride" phenomenon that can occur during a head-on or offset frontal impact with a significantly larger, smaller, higher or lower vehicle.
ACE™ significantly differentiates the TL from most conventional body designs that direct frontal crash energy only to the lower load-bearing structures in the front end.
The Acura TL's unit body features significant structural advancements and contains 47.6-percent high-strength steel. The main longitudinal frame rails have been designed and positioned above (rather than below) the floor panel to improve the vehicle's ability to withstand severe side-impacts, while also helping to improve aerodynamics.
In addition, special rear structural elements add rigidity and help control energy absorption to enable the TL to meet the stringent FMVSS 301 high speed rear-collision standard (detailed below). A gusseted rear bulkhead ties directly into the car's exceptional performance in this demanding rear-collision standard by accurately channeling collision forces. Its rigidity also helps protect the fuel-filler area during a collision.
DRIVELINE SAFETY FEATURES
The TL SH-AWD® employs a 3-piece driveshaft system and plastic front mounts for the rear differential that are designed to break when a specific impact force is experienced— such as during a serious frontal collision. This orchestrated "breakage" of driveshaft and/or rear suspension mounts helps prevent crash energy from being transferred into the TL's passenger cabin.
OFFSET REAR COLLISION
The 2011 Acura TL meets the government FMVSS 301 regulation for fuel system integrity in an offset rear collision. More severe than the previous standard, within the FMVSS 301 requirements a 1,360 kg (2,992 lb.) deformable barrier strikes 70-percent of the vehicle's width at 50 mph. In contrast, the previous FMVSS 301 used a 1,814 kg (3,991 lbs.) flat rigid barrier that struck the full width of the vehicle at 30 mph. The new standard requires more body energy absorption than before to protect critical fuel system components.
PEDESTRIAN INJURY MITIGATION
Acura's safety interests extend beyond care for vehicle occupants. The TL hood area is specially designed to deform if contact is made with a pedestrian. Underneath the hood are energy-absorbing supports and hood hinges, and the windshield-wiper pivots are also deformable in the event that a pedestrian contacts these areas. Research shows that features such as these dramatically improve a pedestrian's chance of survival if struck by a moving vehicle.
STANDARD VEHICLE STABILITY ASSIST™ (VSA®) WITH TRACTION CONTROL AND BRAKE ASSIST
Standard equipment on the Acura TL is Vehicle Stability Assist™ (VSA®), an Electronic Stability Control system that enhances controllability while the vehicle is accelerating, braking, cornering, or when the driver makes a sudden maneuver. VSA® works in conjunction with the vehicle's Drive-by-Wire™ throttle system and its 4-channel ABS system to help the vehicle maintain the driver's intended path of travel. It functions by applying brake force to one or more wheels independently while also managing the throttle, ignition and fuel systems to reduce engine power output.
Vehicle Stability Assist™ constantly analyzes data from seven sensors that monitor wheel and vehicle speed, steering input, lateral g-forces and yaw rate, and compares the driver's control inputs with the vehicle's actual response. Whenever the vehicle's actual response falls outside of a predetermined acceptable range, VSA® intervenes with corrective action. If VSA® detects an oversteer condition, the system may apply braking force to the outside front and rear wheels to counteract the unintended yawing effect. Or in the event of understeer, VSA® may apply braking to the inside rear wheel while reducing engine power to help return the car to its intended course. For the front-wheel-drive Acura TL, VSA® also provides a limited-slip differential effect for the front wheels by applying braking force to a slipping wheel, thereby redirecting driving force to the wheel with more traction.
Brake Assist recognizes emergency braking situations and almost instantly applies additional braking force to help the driver slow the vehicle more quickly. This important collision-avoidance system is controlled by special computer logic that determines when the speed and stroke of the brake pedal exceed a typical range— as they would in a panic stop. At this point the VSA® modulator pump increases braking pressure to ensure maximum stopping force and help shorten braking distance. Brake Assist functions only when the driver is pressing the brake pedal and the additional braking force provided by the system ceases when the driver releases pressure on the brake pedal.
Vehicle Stability Assist™ (including the Brake Assist function) is calibrated to work in a nearly transparent manner, meaning that the driver may not even be aware of its operation. Therefore, to keep the driver informed, an indicator light flashes on the instrument panel anytime the system is enhancing vehicle stability. While the driver may deactivate the VSA® and traction-control functions via a switch on the instrument panel, ABS and Brake Assist remain fully operational at all times.
ADVANCED 4-CHANNEL ABS WITH ELECTRONIC BRAKE DISTRIBUTION
The Acura TL is equipped with 4-wheel disc brakes and a sophisticated 4-channel/4-sensor anti-lock braking system. The system helps improve active safety by offering a firm brake-pedal feel and a short activation stroke, as well as Electronic Brake Distribution (EBD) circuitry that automatically proportions braking force between the front and rear wheels based on the vehicle's weight distribution. EBD helps maximize braking effectiveness whether the TL is transporting only the driver, or is fully loaded with passengers and/or luggage.
DUAL-STAGE, MULTIPLE-THRESHOLD FRONT AIRBAGS
The 2011 Acura TL is equipped with dual-stage, multiple threshold front airbags (SRS) for the driver and front passenger. One or both of these airbags will be deployed only in the event of a sufficient frontal impact. If deployed, these airbags are capable of being inflated at different rates depending on crash severity, seatbelt usage and/or other factors. Frontal airbags are designed to supplement the seatbelts to help reduce the likelihood of head and upper body injuries in frontal crashes.
The driver's front airbag is located within the steering wheel and the passenger airbag is located on the top of the instrument panel, beneath a thin seamless membrane. To maximize its protective potential while reducing the likelihood of injuries being caused by the activation process, the passenger airbag inflates first upward and then rearward.
DUAL-CHAMBER FRONT SEAT SIDE AIRBAGS
The TL has standard dual-chamber front seat side airbags offering protection for the torso and pelvis in a severe side impact. Replacing the single-chamber airbags of the previous-generation TL, these dual-chamber units include a larger upper chamber for enhanced protection of the chest area along with a smaller lower chamber covering the lower back and hip area. A single inflator unit fills both chambers and the airbags stay inflated longer than before which helps provide added protection in longer lasting crash situations.
Side-curtain airbags provide head protection for the driver and front passenger as well as for the occupants of the outboard rear seats. Mounted in the ceiling above the side windows, the side-curtain airbags are activated by a central sensor and sensors in the side of the vehicle. An electronic processor interprets collision information from the sensors and determines the appropriate timing and deployment rates based on the severity of the side impact. The side-curtain airbags may also deploy in other collisions if the sensors indicate there is a likelihood of side forces posing a risk to vehicle passengers.
Acura TL front seatbelts are equipped with an automatic tensioning system and load limiter to help minimize injury potential in a frontal collision. In the event of such a collision, the automatic tensioner tightens the seatbelt (both shoulder and lap belts) to help hold the seat occupant firmly in position. In addition, each front seatbelt retractor incorporates a load limiter that works in conjunction with the automatic tensioner. After the automatic tensioner tightens the seatbelt, the load limiter introduces a small amount of controlled seatbelt slack to limit the peak restraining forces, thereby reducing the potential for serious injury. The front seatbelts also feature adjustable height shoulder anchors, and 3-point seatbelts are standard in all three rear seating positions.
ACTIVE FRONT HEAD RESTRAINTS
The TL is fitted with active head restraints for the front seats that are designed to help minimize the risk of neck injuries in the event of a sufficient rear impact. The head restraint is mechanically linked to a lumbar plate located inside of the front seatback. In a rear impact, the passenger's body pushes against the seatback, causing the head restraint to move forward and upward in a carefully prescribed arc.
LOWER ANCHORS AND TETHERS FOR CHILDREN (LATCH)
Lower Anchors and Tethers for CHildren (LATCH) provide a simple and convenient method of installing up to two compatible child safety seats in the TL's outboard rear seating positions. Alternately, an upper tether mount makes it possible to fit a single child safety seat in the rear center seating position. When a child seat is in the center position, additional child seats may not be used in the outboard positions.
TIRE PRESSURE MONITORING SYSTEM (TPMS)
The Acura TL has a Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) that alerts the driver whenever the air pressure in one or more of the tires decreases below the recommended level. Using four sensors (one in each tire), TPMS transmits information on tire air pressure to the vehicle's ECU. A low tire pressure indicator located on the instrument panel illuminates when tire pressure drops to a significantly low level.