2008 RL New Car Test Drive
The Acura RL is sporty and fun to drive, combining a free-revving, 290-horsepower V6 engine with all-wheel drive, and a nicely balanced suspension for great grip, responsive handling and superior stability. Yet it rides smoothly. The throttle and brakes are smooth and easy to modulate, making the RL a comfortable car in stop-and-go traffic.
Acura's innovative all-wheel-drive system makes the RL easy to drive and helps keep its driver out of trouble. Called Super-Handling All-Wheel Drive, the system overdrives the outside rear wheel when motoring around corners, improving the handling balance and enhancing stability. Indeed, the RL is very stable in corners. We found it smoothes over minor driver errors, making us look and feel skillful. With this setup, the RL handles adverse weather exceptionally well, making it an excellent choice in Seattle, Denver, Chicago, Boston, or anywhere else that gets rain and snow. And while the 24-valve VTEC V6 provides plenty of punch, it's relatively efficient, netting an EPA-estimated 26 mpg Highway.
The RL offers the latest in navigation, communications, and collision-avoidance technology. Acura's navigation system is the best in the business. But the RL also offers AcuraLink traffic information in real time for 44 major cities: Clogged freeways are highlighted in red, flying freeways in green. This system works impressively well. We've put it to good use in avoiding traffic jams in Los Angeles.
The Acura RL can help drivers avoid pile-ups. The optional Collision Mitigation Braking System works with the Adaptive Cruise Control. Using radar, the system will alert the driver, pretension the seatbelts, and slam on the brakes when it senses an imminent impact. We tested this system in a controlled exercise and were very impressed with its ability to warn the driver and help avoid an accident or, in the worst case, reduce the severity of the impact.
For 2007, some of the features that used to be standard have been made optional to reduce the base price. Acura's satellite navigation system and Active Front Lighting, which aims the headlights into turns, are no longer standard.
The 2007 Acura RL is available with three levels of equipment (one more than last year), and with no additional options.
The base RL ($45,780) comes loaded with nearly every luxury and convenience feature imaginable, including leather upholstery.
With the Technology Package, the RL ($49,400) comes with Satellite Navigation, AcuraLink with Real Time Traffic reporting, a rearview camera, Zagat reviews, Active Front Lighting, and wood interior trim.
The RL with Technology Package plus CMBS and PAX ($53,200) adds Acura's Collision Mitigation Braking System and Michelin PAX run-flat tires.
Accessories include a wood steering wheel and shift knob, all-weather floor mats, a trunk net and cargo organizer, and an engine-block heater for cold climates.
Safety features include Super Handling All Wheel Drive, Vehicle Stability Assist with traction control, and anti-lock brakes with electronic brake-force distribution and Brake Assist. Passive safety features include driver's and front-passenger's dual-stage, dual-threshold airbags, side curtain airbags designed to provide head protection for passengers in all outboard seating positions, and side-impact airbags designed to provide torso protection for driver and front passenger; with an occupant position detection system for the front passenger. A tire pressure monitoring system is also standard. The optional rearview camera can help alert the driver to small children behind the vehicle when backing up.
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