2000 RL New Car Test Drive
World-class stature is hard to define, hard to come by, and hard to lose once it is earned. Acura, Honda's luxury division, makes no bones about its lofty mission for the 3.5RL flagship sedan. It aims to deliver everything a luxury buyer would expect from the best of the traditional luxury marques at a price that's more than $10,000 less than a Lexus LS 400, the car often cited as the benchmark for Japanese luxury sedans. After spending considerable time behind the wheel, we'd say the 3.5RL hits its mark squarely.
This sedan does a lot of things well, and appears completely devoid of shortcomings. The 3.5RL is well rounded, well equipped and reasonably priced. Like so many Honda products, its strength is balance. There are expensive sedans that are smoother, more powerful, more agile or faster. Yet the RL offers poise and grace, and it's fast enough to more than satisfy most luxury car buyers.
Little was changed for the 2000 model, as more than 300 separate improvements were made last year to enhance safety, comfort and performance. The exterior was restyled last year as well.
Only one model is offered, the $42,000 3.5RL with a 210-horsepower V6 and a four-speed automatic transmission. In Acura's wonderfully simple pricing structure, the 2000 RL's long list of features comes standard in the base price. Full leather, full power, heated seats, moonroof, and a six-CD changer are all standard. RL offers just one option - a $2,000 satellite navigation system.