2005 RL New Car Test Drive
The Acura RL is all new for 2005, and it's sleeker, sportier and more fun to drive than last year's model. The RL still uses a V6 engine, but it's much more powerful than before. And while previous RL models were front-wheel drive, the 2005 RL uses all-wheel drive for improved grip and superior stability and to handle the higher horsepower. The new RL offers the responsive handling of a sports sedan yet it rides smoothly.
While the previous-generation RL had become big, bloated and boring, slinking around in the shadows of the Lexus LS430 and Infiniti Q45, the new RL compares quite favorably to BMW, Mercedes and Audi as well as Lexus and Infiniti. It's more fun to drive than a Mercedes E320. And while it may not offer the sporty rear-wheel-drive dynamics of the new BMW 530i, it's right with it on a race track.
Acura's innovative all-wheel-drive system makes the new 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. It feels solid in corners. It forgives minor driver errors and makes the driver look skilled. And of course it works exceptionally well in adverse weather. Honda's 300-horsepower VTEC V6 provides plenty of power yet the RL is rated 26 mpg on the highway.
The RL is Acura's flagship luxury car. It's more luxurious and slightly larger than the sporty TL. The new 2005 RL is smaller outside but larger inside than last year's previous-generation model.
The 2005 Acura RL ($48,900) is available as one loaded model. No options are available. The navigation system comes standard along with just about every luxury and convenience feature we can think of.
Active safety features include SH-AWD, Vehicle Stability Assist with traction control, anti-lock brakes (ABS) with electronic brake-force distribution (EBD) and Brake Assist.
Passive safety features include a 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. OnStar operators will direct emergency services to your car if the airbags deploy and you don't respond. A tire pressure monitoring system is also standard.