2011 RL New Car Test Drive
The Acura RL is among the best of the luxury sedans for commuting through heavy traffic. Acura's top luxury car, the RL is smooth and comfortable, firm enough to contribute to agile handling yet the ride is not so hard it sloshes your cappuccino. It rides comfortably on rough, neglected highways, the sort found around every heavily traveled metro area in America. The brakes and throttle are super smooth for comfortable driving in stop-and-go traffic, while crisp acceleration performance from its V6 engine means the RL is ready when the on-ramp is empty.
The RL comes standard with all wheel drive, giving the RL excellent stability and traction in all conditions. With all-wheel drive and electronic stability control, the RL delivers surefooted handling with little chance of a spinout in a slippery turn. This is an easy car to drive well.
Acura's latest Collision Mitigating Braking System warns the RL driver of an impending pileup with audible tones and flashing indicators, then jerks the seat belt, then hits the brakes. This is useful when everyone slams on the brakes at the very moment you're adjusting the radio. The system can reduce the severity of the collision or help the skilled driver avoid it altogether.
Real time traffic reporting is available in major metropolitan areas, providing the driver with traffic conditions and suggesting alternative routes to avoid jams. The system provides weather reports and forecasts for a planned driving route and is integrated into the navigation system.
The 2010 Acura RL boasts significant power increases over pre-2009 models. The RL comes with a 3.7-liter V6, not a V8, and we found its 300 horsepower delivered strong, smooth thrust on the freeway. We found the brakes to be excellent, with a good, firm pedal.
The interior is comfortable and functional, with controls that are easy to operate. Build quality, fit and finish put the Acura RL near the top of its class. Creature comforts abound, including cooling for the front seats and an impressively comprehensive navigation system.
Simply put, anyone shopping for a four-door, five-passenger luxury sedan in this price range should have the Acura RL on the shopping list.
The 2010 Acura RL ($46,830) comes standard with leather trimmed seats; dual-zone climate control with GPS solar-sensing system; 10-speaker, surround-sound, AM/FM/6CD stereo with USB port, MP3 jack, Bluetooth capability, XM satellite radio with three-month trial subscription; power rear sunshade; memory system; information display; keyless engine start/stop system.
The Technology Package ($3,620) adds a satellite-linked navigation system with voice recognition, rearview camera and Zagat ratings for listed restaurants; three-month trial subscription to real-time traffic and traffic re-routing information for 76 metropolitan areas in the 48-contiguous states and current weather conditions and forecasts not only locally, but also for an intended destination and the selected driving route; active front lighting system; heated and cooled front seats; and upgraded genuine wood interior trim.
Acura-approved accessories include back-up sensors ($530), deck lid spoiler ($485), car cover ($254), nose mask ($162), engine block heater ($66), wheel locks ($81), door edge trim ($39), first aid kit ($30). The All-Season Package ($334) includes floor mats, trunk tray and wheel locks. The Protection Package ($342) includes splash guards, trunk tray and wheel locks.
Safety features include frontal, side impact and curtain airbags; electronic stability system with traction control; antilock brakes, electronic brake-force distribution and brake assist; front seat active head restraints; and tire pressure monitoring system.
The optional Collision Mitigation Braking System Package includes adaptive cruise control and a crash-anticipating system that, depending on a computer's evaluation of the likelihood of the RL colliding with a car ahead, activates one of three levels of visual and audible warnings, automatic pretensioning of the driver's or the driver's and front seat passenger's seatbelts and light or hard braking. The system, which can be turned off, operates only at speeds in excess of 10 miles per hour and only when the speed differential between the RL and the other car is at least 10 miles per hour.