Acura envisions itself as a younger, sportier brand than it was twenty-five years ago, but it’s not quite ready to abandon its older customers, who fell in love with the Legend years ago. As a result, the RL continues to find a home in the company’s portfolio, even though monthly sales volumes struggle to reach the triple-digit mark. Interestingly, the slow-selling RL shares quite a bit with the popular TL, including its engines, driveline, and several key dimensions. Each car has its own unique personality, however. Whereas the TL is unmistakably a sport sedan, the RL serves as a premium cruiser. Although the 3.7-liter V-6 produces more than adequate power and the standard torque-vectoring all-wheel-drive system provides impressive grip in corners, softer suspension tuning inevitably produces a little more body roll when the RL is driven hard. Still, the RL’s edge may lie with comfort — not only does that suspension tuning provide for a comfortable ride, but the car’s cabin also feels more upscale and well arranged than that of its sibling. Acura’s typical barrage of infotainment technologies is available on the RL; the ELS surround-sound system is superb, but the optional navigation system is still hampered by dated graphics and clunky menus. Some competitors may offer similar luxuries and a little more fun behind the wheel, but for those eyeing a sedate sedan with just a hint of sport, the RL may be the ideal formula.
Trim level: RL
Body style: Sedan, 5-passenger
Engine: 3.7L V-6, 300 hp, 271 lb-ft
Transmission: 6-speed automatic
Passenger volume: 99.1 cu ft
Cargo space: 13.8 cu ft
Aside from a few color and trim combinations, there are no substantial changes for the 2012 RL. Acura did substantially face-lift and update the car back in 2010, and last year a six-speed automatic transmission was added.
Dual-stage front, side, and side curtain air bags, ABS, traction and stability control, and active front head restraints are standard. Rear parking sensors and a rearview camera are included with the technology package, while radar-based cruise control and a collision-mitigating automatic braking system are lumped in with the advance package.
All: 17 mpg city/24 mpg highway
- Nicely crafted interior
- Smooth six-speed automatic
- SH-AWD improves handling
- Not as refined as Germans
- Showing its age
- Dated navigation system
Time marches on, and so does the RL.
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