Flash Drive: 2009 Acura RL
This 2009 review is representative of model years 2009 to 2012.
By Staff of MSN Autos
Acura designers have drawn too much attention to the iron-clad grille on the Acura RL. I guess the look can grow on you, but it wasn't love at first sight for this journalist. But once inside the car, however, the exterior was quickly forgotten. The RL possesses one of the best interiors in the business. The cooled seats are among the more notable bells and whistles and will be much appreciated on hot summer afternoons. The latest 6-cylinder engine is the most powerful engine ever produced by Acura, though the car's 2-ton weight seems to offset some of that power. The new all-wheel-drive system worked well when driving in low-traction areas. This could be the perfect car for those who value comfort and gadgetry over design. – Joe Chulick
The Acura RL grows on you. Like all Honda Motor Co. products, the RL can feel a little clinical and uninspired at first. But after spending some time behind the wheel, one comes to appreciate the vigorous acceleration and smooth power delivery. The lighting in the foot wells provides an elegant touch to the interior that pushes the obligatory leather interior and elegant dashboard into the "something special" category. The primary gauges are also stylish and noteworthy. But Acura would be wise to replace the irritating copy of BMW's much maligned i-drive with something easier to use. As long as 18 mpg is enough for you, I'm sure you could be happy owning an Acura RL for many years. – Paul Hagger
The redesigned 2009 Acura RL feels like the ultimate Honda Accord — the accountant's dream car. It is totally competent in every way, yet does not transcend the sum of its parts. It's as if the RL is the perfect car for a person who doesn't like cars, because it does everything a car should to do and, in most cases, in an exemplary way. Sadly, it fails to stir any emotion — it simply lacks soul. Make no mistake, the new RL has all of the latest high-tech features, such as Acura Link Real-Time Traffic and Weather, Navigation with Voice Recognition and rear-view camera and it is powered by a sweet, 300-horsepower 3.7-liter V6 engine with Sequential SportShift automatic transmission and paddle shifters. But the steering feels as if it's not even connected to the front wheels. – Mike Meredith