• May 5th 2008 at 9:03AM
  • 42
Acura rolled out the 2009 RL at the Chicago Auto Show, so the appearance of the Honda version of the car, badged Legend, isn't the most searingly-hot news. What is frightfully obvious when you set eyes on the Legend is that the Honda version looks about a billion times better without the shield-style grille that afflicts the Acura in the most tacked-on fashion. Equally puzzling – and not a recent development – is why Honda trashed the established and respected Legend name for the anonymous and innocuous RL for Acura's top-tier sedan.

Competition in the RL's segment is brutal, and the same criticisms of the current model apply to its replacement. There's nothing fundamentally wrong with the RL, mind you, it's nicely styled, and well appointed – although when faced with the preponderance of rear-driving V8 competitors, the RL can't claim superiority by chassis layout alone. Packing the 3.5-liter V6 that yanks the Accord around with authority, there's no need for a V8, nor is RWD a necessity with Acura's chassis wizards on the job, but buyers might remain unmoved.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 7 Years Ago
      UGH! worst new Acura yet!
      • 7 Years Ago
      Some joker took older Saab's front and slapped it on Honda Accord. Oh, wait, that is a new design by Honda.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Can anyone say Chrysler Sebring?
      • 7 Years Ago
      Well I suppose in Acura's defense the RL has never really been 'eye-catching'. Which probably explains why it has never set the sales charts on fire.

      What concerns me is the current track record of Acura's recent designs. The MDX and RDX just don't seem to be resonating with most folks (I don't see many of them on the roads in SoCal). The TSX, which was one of the cleanest looking cars on the road, appears to be updated for the sake of being updated.

      I hope the TL, which for its age looks very good, receives a design that builds on what we currently have.
      • 7 Years Ago
      "Equally puzzling – and not a recent development – is why Honda trashed the established and respected Legend name for the anonymous and innocuous RL for Acura's top-tier sedan." This was discussed almost 15 years ago when Acura replaced names like the Legend, Vigor, and [later, the] Integra with designations such as RL, TL, and TSX/RSX. At the time, the general consensus was that Acura was attempting to shift the focus from their individual cars back to the brand as a whole.

      If you recall the Legend from the 80's through the early 90's, the car had become immensely popular with most people simply referring to it as a Legend, not just an Acura. Acura likely killed the name(s) so as not to eclipse the Acura name which the Legend was doing at the time.
        • 7 Years Ago
        "the car had become immensely popular with most people simply referring to it as a Legend, not just an Acura."

        I think Honda should have celebrated that fact to be honest with you.

        Legend, Vigor and Integra were some of the best names for an automobile.

        A work buddy I had while I was in school had a Vigor. Awesome car. It had great charisma. I used to think there was nothing like it, but then the G35/37 coupe came along.

        Infiniti killed Acura.
      • 7 Years Ago

      Acura's styling throughout their line is boring and dated.

      All around, I wish they'd take more chances.

      • 7 Years Ago
      Although Acura came out before Lexus, it's always played a follower role. Trying to match what Lexus/MB/BMW have to offer, including alphanumeric naming. I personally liked the named vehicles, Legend, Vigor, and of course Integra. Just like Accord and Civic, you hear the name and you know exactly what vehicle it is. RL, TL, TSX, NSX, who can remember which is which, unless you specifically know the make and model. Also, why is the TSX a TSX? X usually denotes an AWD platform...
        • 7 Years Ago
        I want regular names back Legend, etc. RL means nothing to me. As for "X" appearing in non-AWD platforms, let's see - RX-7, MX-5 (miata) XR4Ti (Mercur) and no doubt dozens will follow....

        How soon will the JDM grill appear on US RL's?? anybody want to start a pool on this? it would be the first thing i'd change.

        As for Honda sticking with v6 power in their flagship - it all comes back in style. $4-5/gal gas is going to mean the return of smaller displacement, forced injection etc. Honda stuck to their guns on this (too their detriment) but that seems to be the way they roll!!!
        • 7 Years Ago
        I disagree. Acura's looked great at the start. The First and Second Gen Integras are a classic Honda design and still look good. The first gen legends looked great for their time 1986 - 1991 and the Vigor a continuation of that platform still will catch my eye. The second gen Legends are amazing esp the coupes, only really not noticed because of the rarity of the coupes. These looked way better then anything Lexus had at the time, doing a poormans ape of the MB's. And please has the Lexus SC ever looked good?
      • 7 Years Ago
      Acura really needs to make the Legend/RL a Lexus LS/Mercedes S-Class competitor. And yes I do mean to just make it RWD.

      It's kind of a pity since SH-AWD is actually pretty cool, but it's just not the right car to put it in.

      P.S. Please release a new Prelude with SH-AWD and the turbo system you have in the RDX. Thankee.
      • 7 Years Ago
      i think both these versions are not really appealing...the designs dont seem as sleek and proportioned as some of the competition like lexus, BMW, etc. etc.
      • 7 Years Ago
      This new Legend looks like the Hyundai Genesis! Ha ha!
      • 7 Years Ago
      I think a lot of people have it in for RL. The car has reviewed well, but it's without a blood-boiling upper trim. It's also failed to sell in volume, for reasons that have been hashed over many times. For some reason, this gets it more than it's fair share of kicks; rather like anything made by Ford, actually: no matter how decent the product is, there's an automatic annoyance factor that sets people against it.

      It's a pretty good car, especially for the money and certainly when lined up against cars that cost the same as it. Yes, there's no RL that can keep up with the M45, A6 4.2, 545 or E550, let alone the S6/M5/E63. There's also no RL that costs as much as any of those, either, so it's a moot point. Compared to the E320/350, 528 or A6 3.2, the RL is actually quite competitive--again, especially for the price. If I were in this market, I'd certainly consider it.

      The RL is really in the same boat as the STS: a good car, but one that failed to get traction in the market (it's a testament of the kind of astroturfing GM fans seem capable of that the STS doesn't see the same criticism). Both are competitive, well priced and enjoyable to drive, but competely overshadowed by their competition and squeezed by their lesser brethren (TL, CTS).

      Regarding this car: it looks pretty good. It also, unfortunately, looks a lot like the last generation TL (or the current Saab 9-3), rather than the current MDX, which is what Acura probably intended. It's not ugly, but it's also rather anonymous. I'm hoping they do _something_ to get it some notice.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Best solution: rename it a Legend and make it look like the Legend did. The 90's Legends still draw my attention as much as they did when new (which is/was alot). They really had a great look going on that car. The alphabet soup Acuras never got great styling (aside from the Integra replacement) and just look more blah with age.
        • 7 Years Ago
        The difference between STS and RL sales is dramatic. The STS has the third highest YTD volume in the segment, trailing the 5-Series and the E-Class; while the RL is battling the 9-5 for the bottom.

        STS 6463 +3%
        M 6184 -25%
        GS 6138 -14%
        S80 4752 +16%
        A6 3929 +5%
        XF/S-Type 2976 +121%
        RL 1900 -14%
        9-5 998 -26%
      • 7 Years Ago
      17 inch wheels on a big sedan look goofy. The RL/Legend need 18s stock. I think that would help the styling.
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