Acura RL Review

This is a special Acura model, if not only for the fact that Acura RL was Honda’s flagship vehicle, a very expensive one. But, since the vehicle was discontinued in 2012 meaning we are reviewing a used RL that is two years short of a decade, we’ll surely see very attractive offers price-wise. The RL’s top trim models came packed-full with goodies, like the premium sound system, active noise cancellation, a titanium drive-shaft or even handcrafted maple wood accents. So, without further ado, let’s get into our review. 

The Pros

  • Great standard features lineup
  • Exemplary craftsmanship
  • Outstanding standard AWD system
  • Premium sound system
  • Specious interior
  • Sporty handling
  • Blind Spot Information System 

The Cons

  • Dated design
  • Insufficient cargo space
  • Fuel economy could be better
  • Unimpressive exterior design
  • No V8 option 

Acura RL Overview

Acura RL

!First and foremost, since you are looking at purchasing a used RL let’s start with a reminder that a certain number of 2005-2012 Acura RL was part of the vehicles included in a huge Honda recall of cars equipped with potentially defective airbags that could rupture. Honda notified owners of the affected vehicles and replaced the front airbag inflator, free of charge. Always check to see whether your vehicle has an open recall!

Overall, it is a great vehicle that should be given bonus points for the very sophisticated AWD system, a roomy, convenient, comfortable and well-insulated cabin. The RL runs on a very strong V6 engine and offers a sporty agile quality of the ride and crisp confident handling. The 300 hp engine assures a smooth ride and acceleration to impress. 

The last year for the RL was actually a great year for the rivals, just for reference the US sales for the BMW 5 in 2011-12 reached 108 289, for the Mercedes-Benz E-Class – 127907 and total sales for the RL in the last two years hadn’t even reached 1500. So, there is really no need to explain why it was taken off the market before its successor, the Acura RLX, arrived in the following year. 

The 2014 RL comes in three trim levels: Base, Technology and Advanced. 

Exterior

The exterior design of this luxury sedan is widely disputed with some calling it conservative and elegant and others stating it’s quirky at best. But, we have to remember that this was the most expensive Acura model back in 2012 priced at a whopping 56 000 USD. So how bad can design really be? Well, let’s put it this way: Acura has produced a spectacularly comfortable great reliable vehicle that drives well but forgot to hire a designer. It is like a stock-photo sort of vehicle: the RL won’t stand out on the road and can easily be mistaken with any other car with the unassuming bland exterior. 

Interior

The RL is known for its luxurious interior, though it might feel a tad dated in 2020. The cabin features a lot of tech, and the base trim is packed full with impressive gadgets like the Bose 10-speaker Surround Sound System with DVD-Audio, multi-information display or the moonroof. The cabin is roomy, and the legroom is sufficient in the front and back. Generally, everything looks well-built and upscale, plus, the simulated or authentic wood detailing ads extra luxurious feel. The seating is plush and supportive and overall it is the luxury interior we’ve come to expect and enjoy in upscale vehicles. 

Performance

Powering the 2014 RL is the 3.7-liter V6 that produces 300 hp, furthermore every 2012 RL has the “Super-Handling” AWD system that automatically apportions power to the optimum wheels for the best traction and handling, reacting to road conditions to deliver a superior all-weather vehicle. As far as fuel efficiency goes – you can expect an EPA-estimated fuel economy of 20 mpg combined. Most of the automotive expert reviews pointed out that the RL doesn’t feel as sporty as rivals but the strong brakes and very comfortable ride provided by its standard AWD scored high on all charts.   

Technology

All of the tech-necessities are available with the RL standard trim package, you can count on USB and Bluetooth, Cruise Control, Hands-Free Phone, and Remote Keyless Entry. Navigation System, Proximity Sensing Keyless Entry, Real-Time Traffic Information, and Voice Recognition System are also on that standard features list. The Entertainment tech is represented by Bose AM/FM stereo w/6-disc in-dash CD/MP3/DVD changer, WMA player, 10 speaker surround sound system, active sound control as well as Premium and Satellite Radio.

Value

The average price for a used 2012 Acura RL today is somewhere between 5,5 K to 10 K  and pricing will depend on condition, mileage, trim, etc. 

Seats

2014 TL is a five-seater. The seats are luxuriously comfortable and supportive. The genuine leather upholstery is standard on all three trims. The upscale Technology Package offers 10-way adjustable driver and front passenger seats with six levels of heating and cooling. 

Climate control

There’s a dual-zone automatic climate control. 

Infotainment System

Judging from a cutting-edge technologically advanced 2020, we can say that infotainment is non-existent in the RL. But, in actuality, it was the best 2012 tech available with the satellite-linked navigation system w/voice recognition and the w/6-disc in-dash CD/MP3/DVD changer. 

Storage and Space

There is more than enough space in the cabin for personal items, but the trunk is on the smaller side. The trunk space can fit just about 13.1 cubic feet which are not even average within its class. 

Comfort

All in all, the RL is a comfortable and reliable car, it scorers well with the ride comfort, plush seating, good climate control and satisfying features and functions lineup. The RL does feel comfortable and upscale, though, once more, there are much better options available on the market for the same price point. 

Seat comfort

The seats are comfortable. The two seats in the front are highly adjustable with a power lumbar and driver memory. In the back, the comfort is boosted with ample amounts of legroom and power actuated retractable rear headrests and front center armrest. 

Ride comfort

The Acura RL is a very comfortable car to drive, the ride feels smooth and stable on the road. A very competent riding with no surprises along the way. 

Quality

A refined ride. The well-insulated very quiet cabin is achieved with noise reduction tech that literally extends to the wheels. At times it feels like the RL has super-powers to make the noises vanish and smooth out all of the bumpy rough roads. 

Safety & Reliability

The IIHS gave the RL it’s highest rating of “Good” in both the frontal-offset and the side-collision crash tests. Though, the roof-strength tests should be way better for the luxury segment vehicle, the RL scored “Marginal”, which is one step away from failing the test. 

Should I Buy the Acura RL?

It is a good luxury vehicle well under 10 K, you should definitely take it out for a test-drive. 

How Much Does it cost? 

The prices range between 5 -10 000 USD.