I own a 2000 TL (NOT TYPE S) and have used the mid grade without any problems whatsoever (27,500 miles).
Interesting comments about the brakes.
My story started with a firm decision to buy the 1999 TL. back in December 1998. After test-driving the car, I was very disappointed with the brakes that felt spongy and required a high pedal-force to stop the car. Next car tried was a Volvo S80T6 where the brakes were just so much better and the engine also noticeable stronger. Of course also much more expensive, but I went with the Volvo.
Now, considering a cheaper, used car, I just wonder if the brakes really improved on later models of the TL and if the TL is really that reliable as many claims.
The 2003 Acura TL is really quite the balanced car. Our criteria was a new car for around $30,000 that was not bland in styling and that had a sunroof or moon roof combination. The looks of the TL got us into the car for a test drive, and the handling clinched it. Engine is quiet, neat and crisp interior, smooth and quick response. The intermediate size is perfect for us, not too small, yet not a large boat either. Downside? Well, you don't have the named status of a Mercedes or BMW etc, so if that bothers you then maybe this car is not for you. But I believe this car is a great value and is certainly at a luxury level.
I own an 00 Acura 3.2 TL. It is my second Acura (5th for the family) - the first being a 90 Legend. In my opinion it is one of the most reliable and the the best value for a car I could find. I compared it to a Lexus, Maxima, BMW, Infinity and Audi, they all want $$ for upgrades and features. Acura has the navi system, period. Excellent car anyway you look at it, interior space, acceleration, looks, handling, bells and whistles, safety features, etc. If I really want to be nit picky, I would want to be able to bump up the stereo for more output at higher volumes and would make the tires a little stickier. Car feels 'light' at high speeds (>95). Rides great at 80. Don't agree with the above brake comments, They're excellent.
I recently purchased the 2003 TL with 66,500 miles. The car drives great!! It handles curves and tight corners great, I was surprised by how long it was as well at first sight it look smaller then it really is. The brakes just saved my life recently so I don't have anything bad to say about those. Overall I give this car a 8.9% out of 10%
I just purchased in Jan, 08 a 03 TL Type S with Navi, it has only 40k miles one owner, and is flawless. I watch this car for a few years looking at BMW, Lexus, and Nissan. For the price and what the type S offers as standard equipment, you can't beat it. Its gives the feel of a sports car, but still keeps it classy. My first Acura was a 88 Integra Special Edition, and it gave the same thing, with very little maintenece, when I was done with the Integra, it had 288k on it and still going strong. I would definatly recommend Acura hands down.