2001 RL New Car Test Drive
As you might expect from Honda/Acura, the 3.5 RL represents a decidedly different approach to a world-class luxury sedan. V6-powered and front-wheel driven, the RL nonetheless challenges the top traditional luxury models, many of them boasting more cylinders, more horsepower, and more conservative rear-wheel drive. Yet, after spending considerable time behind the wheel, we'd say the 3.5 RL has hit its mark squarely-at a price just about $10,000 less than the benchmark Lexus LS 430.
This 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, more agile or faster. Yet the RL offers poise and grace at a reasonable price--and it's plenty fast enough to satisfy most luxury car buyers.
The 1999 RL benefited from an exterior restyling and more than 300 engineering improvements; Acura has made few changes since then. For 2001, the RL's long list of standard equipment has expanded to include carpeted floor mats and an emergency inside trunk release.
In Acura's wonderfully simple pricing structure, only one model is offered: the $42,150 3.5 RL, with a 210-horsepower V6, a four-speed automatic transmission, and a long list of standard luxuries, including full leather, full power, heated seats, moonroof, and a six-CD changer.
The 2001 RL offers just one option, a $2,000 DVD-based satellite navigation system.