Like Phil Floraday, I was very impressed by the Acura RL's all-wheel-drive system. You can easily detect the torque heading to the rear axle and from side to side. The RL also passed my steep, snow-covered driveway test with flying colors, powering its way to the summit with no problems. I also have no complaints with the 300-hp V-6 and quite honestly didn't miss the sixth forward gear in the automatic transmission.

Phil and I are also in agreement on the RL's looks, which are inoffensive but anodyne. The interior is very well appointed, comfortable, and well crafted, but as Phil says, the HMI (human-machine interface) factors definitely need a re-think. That said, once you get the hang of the Acura interfaces, you'll be pleased by the performance of both the stereo and the navigation system.

Yep, for $55K, there are all-wheel-drive sedans I'd rather have, but, then again, they would be German, and they probably wouldn't have the stellar reliability that I bet this Acura will provide over the long haul. And I think it's wise that Acura makes all-wheel drive standard rather than optional, as Lincoln does with its MKS sedan. Front-wheel-drive luxury sedans are a little too oxymoronic to me.

Joe DeMatio, Executive Editor

New Car Research

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