Drivers have more stress during holidays, alcohol consumption increases and patience in busy traffic can quickly wane.
A 200-mile roundtrip, therefore, is a less-than-ideal way to spent part of Thanksgiving. It's potentially more problematic knowing crowded, late-night return trip could include a stretch of interstate infamous for its thick, late-night fog.
But visiting family outweighs inconveniences of potential driving hassles. And if journey is made in a vehicle with a commanding and secure road presence, such concerns are sufficiently eased.
So it was during my weekly test drive of 2005 Acura TL. The vehicle was successful for several years, but Acura redesigned it and added more features in 2004 to offer BMW and Audi drivers another choice for a luxury sports sedan that combines performance with value.
There's little change in TL from last year. The vehicle is based on Honda Accord platform but has different styling, a different powertrain and more upscale features.
Performance to ride quality to instrumentation, there's a lot to like about TL, which is why it's a recommended best buy in premium midsize category by Consumer Guide, among other publications.
The car's performance begins with a 270-horsepower, 3.2-liter, 24-valve V6 engine with a five-speed automatic or six-speed manual transmission. My vehicle had an automatic transmission. It shifts smoothly into all positions and was tested at 0-60 mph in 7.0 seconds. The manual transmission was tested at 6.2 seconds.
Among many standard features are 17-inch wheels and antilock four-wheel disc brakes and an anti-skid system. They all further add to an impressive driving experience. The car handles and steers admirably, and it maneuvers confidentially through traffic with a strong feel on road, particularly with its 17-inch wheels.