In the mid-size luxury sedan segment, the Acura TL is one of my favorite models.

It delivers exceptional performance, a great ride and is loaded with premium features that you would expect in a luxury model.

In todayís world of escalating prices for new vehicles in every segment, the TL is also an exceptional value.

With a base price starting below $36,000, the 2013 TL sedan is available in front- or all-wheel drive configurations.

A very impressive 3.5-liter V-6 engine delivering 280 horsepower and 254 lbs.-ft. torque powers the front-wheel drive TL. Mated to a six-speed automatic transmission with manual shift option via steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters, it has an EPA fuel economy rating of 20 mpg city, 29 mpg highway.

TL models equipped with Acuraís Super Handling All Wheel Drive system (base price starting below $40,000) are powered by 3.7-liter V-6 engine delivering 305 horsepower and 273 lbs.-ft. torque. Mated to the six-speed automatic or six-speed manual transmission, it has an EPA fuel economy rating of 18 mpg city, 26 mpg highway for models equipped with automatic transmission (17 mpg/25 mpg respectively for models equipped with manual).

First and foremost, the TL is a fun car to drive. As I mentioned earlier, performance and handling are spot on. It is certainly a driverís car ó designed and manufactured for those who enjoy the pleasure of driving.

With roomy, comfortable seating for five, thereís also not a bad seat in the TLís spacious cabin.

Acura, the luxury division of Honda, made sure the TL is loaded with upscale, premium features and technology.

Pretty much anything you could ever want on a vehicle is available in one of the TL packages ó at a very affordable price, I might add.

Just a few of the standard features include automatic Xenon HID headlights, power moonroof with key-off operation, heated outside mirrors with reverse gear tilt-down feature and integrated turn signals, leather heated sport seats with 10-way adjustable power driverís seat and memory settings, premium audio system with CD-changer/XM Satellite Radio with note function/USB port and auxiliary jack connectivity and HandsFreeLink wireless telephone interface, steering wheel-mounted controls for cruise/audio/telephone and voice recognition system, dual zone adaptive climate control system with air filtration and auto humidity control, and optional keyless access system with pushbutton start ó to name just a few of the features.

The list of safety equipment is equally as long.

For those in the market for a mid-size luxury sedan, the Acura TL is an absolute must for the test drive list.

Neal White has been covering the automotive industry for more than 20 years and is affiliated with the Texas Auto Writers Association.

The Nuts and Bolts

MODEL:

2013 Acura TL

5-seat luxury sedan †

Front-, or all-wheel drive

Trim packages:

TL, TL SH-AWD

PRICE RANGE:

$36,000-$46,000

ENGINE:

3.5L V6 (280 hp/254 T)

3.7L V6 (305 hp/273 T)

TRANSMISSION:

6-speed automatic

6-speed manual

EPA: 20/18/17 mpg city, 29/26/25 mpg highway (3.5/3.7 AT/3.7 MT)

FUEL: Premium unleaded

STABILITY CONTROL:

Vehicle stability assist with traction control

BRAKES: ABS

LENGTH: 194 inches

WHEELBASE: 109.3 in.

WIDTH: 74 inches

HEIGHT: 57.2 inches

WEIGHT: 3726-4001 lbs.

TRACK: 63.2/63.8

(front/rear)

FUEL TANK: 18.5 gallons

TIRES: 17-, 18- or 19-in.

CARGO: 13.1 cubic feet.