2000 Acura 3.2 TL -- Safety

The TL is engineered as a total safety package with features designed to help in accident avoidance and to help protect the passengers in the event a collision is unavoidable. The best form of safety engineering is the type that prevents an accident from occurring in the first place. Accident avoidance items include standard Traction Control System (TCS), standard ABS disc brakes, Xenon High Intensity Discharge (HID) headlights for enhanced visibility and 289.3 degrees of outward visibility.

Should an accident prove unavoidable, the TL protects its occupants with carefully orchestrated crash energy attenuation strategies developed on a super computer. Front and rear crumple zones, along with side impact enhancements help protect the passenger compartment. Standard driver and front passenger supplemental restraint system (SRS) air bags with a dual-stage passenger air bag and an advanced driver and front passenger side air bag system supplement the structural engineering in the 2000 3.2TL.

The strength required to meet worldwide safety regulations was designed into the TL from the earliest stages of its development. In frontal impacts, straight-section frame box rails with large cross-sections feed impact energy directly into the main frame structure, without the need for stiffeners at changes in cross section. To exceed new 2002 Federal head-impact safety regulations, the TL's interior has energy absorbing roof-pillar garnishes and roof lining designed to help reduce injury to the occupants. To better deal with offset-impact energy, reinforcements are placed at the roof side rails, side sills, A-pillars, and front and side frame members.

To help protect occupants during side impacts, the B-pillars are stiffened, a substantial cross member runs transversely across the floor pan, a tubular brace connects the two A-pillars inside the instrument panel, a bulkhead is positioned at the back of the passenger cabin and the rear doors have special catcher mechanisms to restrict intrusion into the passenger compartment. The doors have special reinforcements for side impact; twin side impact beams are placed in the front doors, with single beams in the rear doors. All four doors have a stamped steel stiffening structure at the tops of the door panels, as well as impact-absorbing door-lining pads positioned near the occupants.

The TL is equipped with a driver and front passenger air bag Supplemental Restraint System (SRS). The driver's air bag is located in the steering wheel hub, while the passenger's air bag is located on top of the dash. Both air bags are triggered simultaneously by means of three impact sensors located in the passenger compartment. To ensure maximum reliability, the sensors use gold-plated electrical connectors. As in all Acura automobiles, the front passenger air bag is designed to deploy upward along the windshield and then back toward the occupant. This provides a large cushion to help protect the front passenger.

To enhance the protection of the front seat passenger during a variety of frontal impact collisions, varying air bag deployment power is used in the TL. The Honda R&D designed system, which uses a dual-stage inflator, is the first such design ever to be used on an automobile and automatically adjusts the deployment of the front passenger SRS airbag based on the severity of the crash. During a slower speed collision, the dual-stage inflator system for the dash-mounted air bag is triggered in sequence, resulting in slower overall air bag deployment with less initial force. During a higher speed collision, both inflators operate simultaneously for full immediate inflation, to correspond with the greater impact force.

An additional new feature designed into the system also detects whether the passenger's seat belt is fastened. If the passenger seatbelt is not fastened, the air bag deploys at a lower threshold to protect an unbelted occupant.

The TL features seat-mounted side air bags for the driver and front seat passenger. The front passenger seat is equipped with an innovative occupant position detection system designed to disable side air bag deployment and prevent injury to a small child if they lean their head into the side air bag deployment path. A series of seven sensors in the passenger seatback determine the size and position of the occupant to assist the system in determining if it is safe to deploy the side air bag. If the child is in the deployment path of the side air bag, the system will disable the side air bag from inflating. If the child returns to an upright seating position, the side airbag will reactivate so it can deploy and protect the child in a side impact.

To allow a child seat to be securely positioned in any of the back seat positions, seat tether anchors are standard in the TL.

The TL features Xenon High-Intensity Discharge (HID) headlights with double the total illuminating power of conventional halogen headlamps, enhancing visibility and active safety performance. The HID headlight bulbs also last twice as long as halogen bulbs and require less energy to operate.

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