2003 RL New Car Test Drive
The 3.5 RL is the ultimate luxury Acura. Like nearly all Honda products, the RL is light on its feet and uses front-wheel drive. With only a 3.5-liter V6 for power, it goes head-to-head with rear-drive, V8-powered competitors.
The RL does a lot of things well, and nothing badly. Like so many Honda products, its strength is its balance. There are expensive sedans that are smoother, more powerful, or more agile. Yet the RL offers poise and grace at a reasonable price. And it's plenty fast enough to satisfy most luxury car buyers.
For 2002, a new exhaust silencer and other refinements have boosted horsepower and torque by 3 and 7 percent, respectively. Wider P225/55R16 Michelin all-season radials and a firmer suspension enhance the RL's already impressive cornering grip. The speed-sensitive power steering has been re-tuned for more road feel.
Acura has kept the RL model lineup commendably simple: There's just one model, the 3.5 RL, listing for $43,150. All are powered by a 3.5-liter V6.
Nearly every conceivable amenity comes with the price of admission, including traction control, stability control, front and side-impact airbags, automatic air conditioning with micro air filtration, full leather upholstery, eight-way power seats with memory and heat, a moonroof, a Bose sound system with a six-disc CD changer, and a power assist for everything that could be power assisted.
The only option offered is a $2,000 DVD-based satellite navigation system.
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