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Acura RL



  • I would take consumer ratings with a pinch of salt - any buyer would want to rate their their new car purchase as good even if actual experience, post-purchase, is otherwise. Negative ratings will drive down the resale value of a new model faster than anticipated. I would go with expert ratings.

    BTW, I did attend a launch party for the RL at a nearby dealership. My observations 1. Tight rear seats 2. Poor brakes (drove one) - Hondas generally come out poor in brake tests and quality of pads - Accords, Odysseys and TLs in their respective peer groups. Wonder whay Honda is not paying much attention to this shortcoming.

    Overall, the RL is a good car with plenty of electronics packed into it. However, I expect other manufacturers to follow with these soon. The RL will enjoy sales at or near sticker in its first year - once newer models of the Lexus GS series, the new BMW 3 series (yes 3, not the 5 series) come out, this RL will soon fade away. Honda has not done a good job in assessing the marketplace for this car. Given the TL's 270 hp engine and its torque problems in a FWD, perhaps the TL needed an AWD as an option (a la E 320, BMW 3 series). By building this RL, growth potential for the TL is limited, and the Accord is right behind it in hp and other capabilities. The RL should have been a 8 cylinder with RWD and AWD as an option!
  • After driving the car for a month here are my suggestions to improve the driving experience. These are all minor (hopefully Acura PM’s are reading this):

    1) Ability to turn off the buzzer under the auto mode when the headlights are on and the engine is turned off.
    2) Ability to get the car to automatically lock-up when all the Key FOBs leave the car.
    3) Better integration of HandsFree, Center Console and NAV. Currently there are three input modes (voice only for HandsFree, restricted menus in Center Console and GUI in NAV). All setup should be available from the NAV.
    4) Single voice command interface (now three: HandsFree, NAV and OnStar)
    5) A voice command button accessible to the passenger (for NAV and HandsFree)
    6) Ability to jump from joystick input to voice command when entering an address (from selecting letter by letter to speaking the address)
    7) Use of traffic information in finding the fastest route (add an additional mode)
    8) Ability to add roads and short cuts to the NAV database. A “learning mode” to learn my way to a destination (it always gives an inconvenient route home).
    9) Backup Camera or all around parking sensors on the NAV screen
    10) A better trip computer (with overall information for the history of the car’s life, resettable for a trip, for the current trip and from last gas change)
    11) A HandsFree that will work with more Bluetooth phones (add a few other profiles like the headset profile)
    12) A rain sensing wipers and perhaps a rain sensing auto sunroof closer
    13) 8 way passenger seat
    14) A better cruise control (laser guided, constant distance from the front car)
    15) A listing of XM channels (and current songs) on the NAV display
    16) Ability to program a sequence of XM stations, CD tracks etc. to rotate over with the Mode button on the steering wheel.
  • jrock65jrock65 Posts: 1,371
    The current RL has more room than the current 5, and the new 3 will not have more room than the current 5.

    The 3 is a more sporty, tossable vehicle, while the RL is more of a luxury cruiser with some sporting characteristics. Caters to different markets. A $50k M3 or turbocharged 3 is not in the same class as the RL even though they are similar in price.

    I'm sure there will be SOME people who cross-shop the two vehicles, but not in any numbers to make a significant impact on the sales of either.
  • r2917,

    Perhaps it's me, but I find the exterior of the Acura and Lexus sedans to be too much of a boring, cookie-cutter design (except perhaps for the Lexus GS). I agree that all of the MB models look the same, but it's a look different from any other car manufacturer. The Acura and Lexus models really don't have any unique and interesting exterior characteristics. Is there anyone out there who thinks the exteriors of the Lexus ES330 or Lexus LS430 are unique and interesting? I find them downright boring.

    Let me bring this into perspective. A neighbor of mine (62 years old) decided that she wanted to replace her 6 year old Lexus ES300. She LOVED that car. I can't even begin to tell you how much she loved it. Well, she went to the Lexus dealer last month and said she just couldn't buy the ES330. Too boring and, her exact words, "ugly as sin". This coming from a 62 year old! She ended up with an Infiniti FX. Why? Because it's different from other cars out there. She absolutely loves driving it because it is so different. She said she smiles every time she gets into it because she thinks it's, again in her own words, "adorable". I can't imagine anyone saying that about the ES330 or LS430. It's the same reason I went with the E320. I just love the look of the car. It didn't matter that it was a Mercedes -- I just fell in love with the interior and exterior. From any angle. Period. And no one will mistake the E320 for a Honda Accord or Toyota Camry. The E320 may not be unique within the Mercedes line-up, but it is certainly unique when compared with cars built by other manufacturers. The fact that the E320 looks like an S430 is fine with me! :)

  • larry6larry6 Posts: 26
    Indeed, these consumer ratings could be taken with a grain of salt...asuming a purchaser would provide ratings that were less than an honest appraisal and based primarily on econonic self-interest. While this is certainly possible, this particular flaw holds for all other vehicles that are rated as well. Indeed, even the qualitative contributions by owners to this forum may have this same potential weakness, yet it does not disuade us from reading the posts and participating ourselves. Thus, recognizing this limitation, I would still urge owners to participate in the ratings. At least these provide some aggregated, quantitative summary of their initial impressions. Those who wish to ignore them are free to do so.
  • jjacurajjacura Posts: 808
    >>"She ended up with an Infiniti FX. Why? Because it's different from other cars out there."<<

    I chuckled over your story because your neighbor went to an EXTREME 180 degree direction by selecting an SUV...

    >>"She absolutely loves driving it because it is so different. She said she smiles every time she gets into it because she thinks it's, again in her own words, "adorable"."<<

    I absolutely agree with her decision to follow her heart...that's the bottom line and worked for me with the new RL!
  • r2917r2917 Posts: 67
    I like the styling of the LS430 and think the ES330 styling is fine. I don't see how the MB styling can be seen as exciting. Again, I like the look but I don't get how it is exciting. It's as "boring" to me as pretty much all other sedans.

    I prefer the look of the LS430 to any MB sedan. As for the RL, I think it looks better than the E Class. Just MY OPINION of course.

    Guess we just have different tastes which is expected. I should mention for the most part I don't even care what my car on the outside looks isn't where I will spend most of my time with the car and I have no need or desire to try and impress others who watch me drive by. I much prefer what the car has inside and its reliability. What good is a "hot" looking car if it is over priced and in the shop all the time? Seems like a sucker deal to me. It's like a car company saying

    "hey consumer, pay us more for our cars that have less reliability and less features than our competitors but hey, they look nice!!"

    Don't see why a person would want to do that but I guess many do! I liken it to being with an attractive woman who can gets you looks while in public but has no personality and is an airhead that can't be counted on and is high priced to be with. Sorry but I'll take an avg looking woman who I can count on, has a great personality, is intelligent and is low priced (not needing expensive gifts) to be with
    over that hot looking girl any day of the week.:)

    To each their own. I'll stick with my "boring" looking reliable Lexus and Acura cars.:)
  • r2917r2917 Posts: 67
    Why should the RL have been a V8? I can see having a V8 as an option but don't think it should have been V8 only. I have NO NEED for a V8 in my car other than to maybe "brag" about it.

    People seem to have a hard time grapsing the fact the RL is not supposed to be the be-all, end-all sedan and battle every sedan out there, meaning ultra luxury sedans. Why people complain about the engine of the car is beyond me. Do the same people complain about the engine of the E320 or BMW 530? I doubt it.

    And the TL is not intended to be a E320 competitor. I can only guess that by thinking that you put the RL in the category of ultra luxury sedans with the LS430, S class, 7 series, A8, etc. Give me a break. Why do this? It is clear to me the RL is in the class of the 5 series, E class, GS, etc. Just because it is the Acura flagship does not mean it should be compared to other flagships. If we are doing that should I compare Kia's flagship with an LS430 as well?

    Just boggles my mind why the RL gets some of the criticism (a lot of it I do find just) it does because the car is very impressive if one actually realizes what it is rather than think it should somehow be the world's super sedan.

    Show me a sedan on the market that has the features of the RL, the handling of the RL, and the luxury of the RL all for the same or lower price. The M35 and GS300 might come close but I doubt they'll beat the RL in this all around area.

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    to no avail. HELP!
  • robertsmxrobertsmx Posts: 5,525
    You can use to get the information, but sometimes it doesn't get timely updates (monthly). The RL numbers I posted are from
  • robertsmxrobertsmx Posts: 5,525
    If I had to rank european brands based on cookie cutter styling, MB would rank on top. The only thing that really stands out in a typical Benz is the grill. Audi, would fit at the other end of the spectrum. If I were to pick a car solely based on exterior styling, Audi/VW could be it.

    BMW has tried hard to move away from relatively docile styling but fell face first with the 7-series and to a lesser extent with the 5-series, enough to claim that 3-series will try not to follow its larger siblings.

    Acura has managed to establish a theme with TSX and TL duo, but RL strays away from it. A reason could be that it is supposed to be a flagship and that can also mean a less aggressive style for understated looks. I notice creases and kinks reduce as you move away from cheaper offerings to the higher end of the spectrum.

    The RL, IMO, received an evolutionary style from its own past, with subtle elements taken from other Acuras (of the mid-90s) like the shoulder line that wraps into the tail lamp (think 1996-1998 TL). Otherwise, a more angular/curvy/athletic 1996-2004 RL would look like the 2005 RL.

    Here are two Acuras that have very similar front ends. Take a look at them and see if you notice a difference:

    Hint: Check out the windshield wipers.

    Things like these don&#146;t necessarily stand out, but minor details like these differentiate more expensive cars from others. This is true, inside and out and it often requires a better than normal analysis of styling. I would say, you feel the extra things that cost you a premium, you don&#146;t necessarily see them.

    As for your comment on Lexus ES330, I can agree that it looks like a Camry (shares the profile completely but with different tail lamps and fascia), but LS430 has the &#147;generic&#148; understated look deserving of a luxury sedan. Simplicity is perhaps the key to doing it well. Use Audi as an example that tends to avoid excessive curves and creases, everything is very subtle and flows together.
  • robertsmxrobertsmx Posts: 5,525
    I&#146;m not sure where you&#146;re getting your numbers from but current RL has the largest interior dimensions if you compare it to current 5-series, E-class and A6. A lot of people are talking (only) about rear seat space (which is still measured at 44 cu ft, BTW), but forget completely about the space front seat gets. Acura&#146;s measurements on spec sheet are biased towards front seat measurements. You get the most rear seat legroom in RL (if you care to move the front seat a little).

    And comparing 3-series to RL makes absolutely no sense to me. If you do, you&#146;re making 5-series a redundancy in BMW lineup. As far as the current 3-series goes, it is a sub-compact right now, and increase in interior dimension could make it a compact sedan similar to Acura TSX.
  • cove148cove148 Posts: 117

    Why it should be compared to the Lexus LS430?

    In the states, if you don't need nav, and if you shop it, you can buy a new 2005 LS430 for less than an RL. Why shouldn't the top lexus be compared, when Acura prices the RL in that market?
  • Get real some of you visitors here. Comparing a rinky dink little 3 series to the most advanced car in the mid-luxury class of today. What a joke, lets compare the S2000 to the SL500 while were at it also.

    The E class is dull driving, boring safe car design and not even a sport sedan in the RL's league. Their heavy use of unreliable, inferior to Japan electronics is one big reason why the E class, C class and S class are all on the "poor quality" problem lists as the latest C.R. survey indicates. The once strong german makes are in big trouble quality wise today, the domestic makers all have better quality then them.

    Those who remember the awesome last Legend coupe ad campaign "It's not for everyone. Nor was it meant to be." That's what the RL is.
  • tayl0rdtayl0rd Posts: 1,926
    robertsmx, I beg you to please go and actually sit in the backseat of the E-class and the A6 with the front seats positioned as you would have them when you're driving. You keep talking about the "numbers," but the numbers just don't "add up" when you actually sit in the cars the RL's backseat is being compared to. Regardless of what the numbers say, the RL's backseat doesn't feel as spacious or comfortable as the others; and it doesn't look it either.

    We all know you can move the front seats forward to provide more rearseat room, but who wants to be sitting on top of the steering wheel?? Did you go from driving a compact car to the RL? That's about the only way I can see someone calling it [the RL's backseat] spacious.
  • robertsmxrobertsmx Posts: 5,525
    E-Class had a tight rear seat when I compared it to the old RL. The new RL is better than the old RL. I have to see the new A6 in person, but from the looks of it, I wouldn&#146;t call it having an edge over the RL. That should happen sometime soon. I&#146;m more keen on front seat space and overall feel of the car though, from steering feedback to bolstering on the seats. That&#146;s where I spend 100% of my time in my car.

    As for spec sheets being misleading, we have been through it during our trunk space debate. So, I'm more than aware of the differences. And I'm used to midsize sedan (on the larger side of the spectrum), so RL is large enough for me. But I can see an issue with someone who might be moving from a full size sedan that RL is not.
  • robertsmxrobertsmx Posts: 5,525
    I mentioned a possibility couple of days ago that Acura RL would make it to C&D 10-Best this year, and apparently, it did! TSX and RL represent Acura in the list that I've seen.
  • disaacdisaac Posts: 15
    Given that the 2005 LS430 with the least expensive "required" option package comes in at about 58K as per the lexus website, I think your assertion is simply not true unless your Acura dealer in question is fleecing you for several thousand dollars and your Lexus dealer is giving you a huge deal.
  • igibanigiban Posts: 530
    What's wrong with Accord or Camry? Because they look so bad, or really because they are not exclusive enough? What if there's no Honda or Toyota at all, would those Acura or Lexus cars still be too common? What if MB sells economy A and B classes here like they do in Germany, and since they all look alike, would the E320 still look that good/special?

    I actually think most German luxy cars do have a edge in look department but all three major Japanese lux. lines are catching up. But if looking like Honda or Toyota is a major issue for you, then that's no easy way out other then just going with MB/BMW. See MB and BMW don't have their Honda and Toyota's counterparts to dim your prestige factor, and Acura and Lexus can't really break away from Honda and Toyota.
  • Tony,

    I hate to disagree with you, but one of the Korean car companies now makes a car with headlights that look just like the MB E320. And in my opinion you can't tell the difference between the E320 and the C series from a short distance. This is something that all the car companies seem to share right now.

  • I just passed by Tustin Acura (Orange county, CA) and saw about 12 RL's sitting on the lot! I believe they had 3 Carbon Gray, 2 White, 2 Black, 2 Blue, 2 Celestial Silver, and 1 Lakeshore Silver. I guess the car is not exactly selling as hot cakes as the dealers want us to think. Perhaps there's a deal there waiting to be made ;-)
  • bodble2bodble2 Posts: 4,519
    "but all three major Japanese lux. lines are catching up."

    I'm not sure I would agree with that. Honda is still very conservative. Aside from the TL, and S2000, I think the rest of the models are rather forgettable, styling-wise. Nissan tries to be cutting-edge, if you're the "glass half full" type. But I know people who think most Nissans are ugly. Toyota, I think, is just totally clueless when it comes to styling. They don't have any particular corporate theme. Their models are either deathly boring, or just awkward-looking. I can't think of one Toyota model that can sell on styling alone. I think most sell inspite of the styling. I think their best work is the Echo hatchback, especially in 5-door, with the boy-racer RS package.

    For sure, there is nothing from Japan that can touch German models such as the SL, SLK, X5, M3, Heidi Klum, in terms of looks!
  • prophet2prophet2 Posts: 372
    They possess that undefinable "quality" called CACHET, which their loyalists are apparently willing to pay thousands of extra dollars for. The essence of which, in their minds, Acura, Infiniti, and Lexus can never capture.

    During my callow youth, I was also caught up with this, having owned a Porsche 914, 911E, and BMW 320i, in succession. For awhile, I could have bought my future brother-in-law's 260Z, which I declined because it was a two-seater. I sold it for him while he was away at medical school. I finally grew up in my late 30s after expending thousands for repairs and enduring the indignity of my Beemer spending 5-1/2 months in the body shop because of the "unavailability of crash parts" and haughty dealer attitudes.

    Acura arrived on the scene in 1986 - I wised-up and traded the 320i for the Legend sedan, followed a year later with an Integra LS 4-door and a Legend L coupe to replace the '86 Legend sedan. The Integra was later traded for a second-generation '91 Legend LS sedan.

    My current '96 RL is running fine at almost 103K miles. Its ride far outclasses the current Accord EX, so I don't get the claims that the RL is just an uograded Accord at twice the price.

    So, if you need the "three-point star," "kidney grille," or "four interlocking rings," my best wishes to you in attaining the satisfaction and happiness you're seeking.
  • jrock65jrock65 Posts: 1,371
    Well, I guess car styling is just one of those areas that's purely subjective (unless it's something really egregious like the Aztec :0). My wife feels that all BMWs (old and new) are the ugliest things on earth.

    Personally, I don't really have a "German" or "Japanese" preference in looks. I like both the S class and FX, although the styling philosophy is very different.
  • bodble2bodble2 Posts: 4,519
    You are absolutely right, my friend, about styling being subjective. Aside from a few no-brainers at either extreme -- ie. SL being on the positive end, and Aztec on the negative end -- everything in the middle is subject to endless debates.

    BTW, I can't believe your wife does not see the beauty in the M3, or the previous M5!
  • >>so I don't get the claims that the RL is just an upgraded Accord at twice the price.

    I agree totally. My best friend has a 2004 Accord. I rode in it several times before I bought my new RL. I didn't think too much about it, but definitely ranked it below my 1999 RL. Then, two weeks ago, I rode with him for about 2 hours and really compared it to my 2005 RL. Even though his car is nice, there is absolutely no comparison to the RL. The materials are far cheaper looking and feeling, it doesn't ride as nice, and it's not nearly as quiet. I haven't driven it, but I can't imagine it comes close to comparing with the RL. Sure, he paid about 1/2 of what I paid, but I definitely feel I got better value.
  • jrock65jrock65 Posts: 1,371
    It's pretty rare to hear anyone say that they got better value on a luxury car than an Accord, no matter how nice the luxury car.
  • Hi Gang,
    got my RL in mid October, first one delivered in Idaho. After the battery died 10 days later, i was most unhappy. Honda USA called 3 times to make me feel better. Seems that there is a deal with General Motors and the RL has delco batteries, one short trip to Interstate and I have one that works just fine.

    Off to southern California, just short of 1000 miles one way. Results: top speed is well over 140 MPH, seats are almost as good as my 740, no backaches. This is not a Lexus, you can feel the road, quiet except in the wind. Winds of 50 MPH and the RL stayed put right where I aimed it. The SHAWD did 2x the posted speed on the curves and the sensation is just like a ZR-1 I had 12 years ago. 0 to 60 is not a strength. Just over 24 miles per gallon and we did not baby it.

    Overall impressions: if you are over 6 feet tall, look somewhere else. Great road car, just about as good as a BMW, but I expect far fewer visits to the mechanic. Will never own another car without Satellite radio, fantastic sound system. The blue foot lights are gorgeous. Mine is silver, so with snow and mud up to the windows it looked ok. If I had to do it over again, I would get dark blue or black, I have seen both and it is a completely different car.

    cheers, will report back after 4 months in the ice and snow
  • igibanigiban Posts: 530
    If you compare Japanese luxy cars now and those from some 15 years back, they are much better now. About the only thing they could sell was reliability and MPG. MB/BMW/Audi have been in this business class for much longer and already established their 'scheme'. Japanese ones seem to still search for that scheme but it's improving. New TL and RL are much better than last generation's, and RX and FX look better than ML actually.
  • >>so I don't get the claims that the RL is just an upgraded Accord at twice the price.

    I agree totally. My best friend has a 2004 Accord. I rode in it several times before I bought my new RL. I didn't think too much about it, but definitely ranked it below my 1999 RL. Then, two weeks ago, I rode with him for about 2 hours and really compared it to my 2005 RL. Even though his car is nice, there is absolutely no comparison to the RL. The materials are far cheaper looking and feeling, it doesn't ride as nice, and it's not nearly as quiet. I haven't driven it, but I can't imagine it comes close to comparing with the RL. Sure, he paid about 1/2 of what I paid, but I definitely feel I got better value.
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