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Acura RL



  • rubicon52rubicon52 Posts: 191
    Don't think this is a valid comparison. Lexus and Acura models don't exactly equate, but the TL is more comparable to an ES300 and RL is slightly above the GS300. If ES300 is a "gussied up" Camry then TL is a gussied up Accord. Face it, both manufacturers are using platform sharing to control costs on their lower cost models. Test drove the TL - good car, nice performer, but the quality of interior materials was below the Camry (much less the ES300).
  • To all prospective RL shoppers, for your information: An East Coast Acura dealer confirmed to me on 10/25/02 that the '03 RL production run will be very short, ending in March '03. The new model will be introduced in April '03. This is in keeping with the recently adopted Acura practice of introducing their new models in the spring of the year. Hope that this helps with the timing of your new RL purchase.
  • jwilson1jwilson1 Posts: 956
    it is also Honda's tendency to allow the leak of hints about forthcoming cars. Maybe you're right, but my built in crap detector starts to tremor anytime someone mentions "dealer." However, I'd be very open to any significant changes (improvements, I really mean) they'd like to make.

    Thanks for the hope. We'll see.

    Joe W.
  • jwilson1jwilson1 Posts: 956
    After kps' belief the new car would be available in the spring, I checked the Acura web site for the first time in many months.

    Even the '03 pictures are old. Three of them are exactly the same as in last year's web versions and three of the others could be left overs. The only change, even to the setting, is the wheels and since the pix are notably small, even those could have been photoshopped. Talk about treading water!

  • lenscaplenscap Posts: 854
    Your logic on the ES 300/Camry makes no sense. The current Camry is like the old ES 300? You lost me there. Yes, the two cars share a platform. But 99% of all interior and exterior parts are different between the two cars.

    Then you imply the ES 300's power is like a $22,000 car. If that's the case, it doesn't say much for the RL because the RL is actually .1-.2 seconds slower than the ES 300 0-60. Obviously raw power is not that important with ES 300 buyers or else the car would not be having its best sales year ever.

    I'm a big fan of Honda/Acura cars and have had several in my family over the years. All have been great. But the fact is the RL is very outdated. Just look at the RL compared to the ES 300 as an example and you'll see the RL is outclassed. Both are FWD cars with a focus on luxury. Both are nearly identical in inside dimensions and space. Both are Japanese. Yet, the ES 300 costs thousands less than the RL (sticker) but has far more luxury and safety features either standard or optional not even offered on the RL, such as:

    Trip computer
    Dual-zone climate control
    Auto up/down windows at all four positions
    Power driver lumbar support
    In-dash CD changer
    Power rear sun shade
    Wood steering wheel
    Adjustable variable suspension
    10-way power drivers seat
    8-way power passenger seat

    Front and rear curtain side airbags
    Electronic brake force distribution
    Auto-dimming electrochronic outside mirrors
    Daytime running lights
    Rain-sensing wipers
    Dual-stage driver's airbag
    Brake assist
    Rain-repellent glass
    5-star crash rating

    Of course, much of the above does not matter if someone's personal choice is the RL. Car buying is personal and not always based on "numbers."

    Again, I really like the RL. And I hope the next one is a fantastic car. But the current model, while very well built, clearly shows its age of seven years against newer competitors. And explains why the ES 300 outsells the RL by about 5:1.
  • I am currently leasing a 2002 RL which I am considering trading back in for personal reasons. I have so far been very happy with the car, very solid. Like most RL owners, I chose the car because of the value, it certainly can't be beat. I have narrowed my choice down to the 2003 RL or the LS 430. I know there is about a $20,000 difference in the price (this includes the options I want on the LS). What I would like is some feedback from anyone who was considering both and chose one over the other and the reasons they made the choice. Did you feel the significant price difference was worth going for the LS or not? (i.e. Was the performance that much better? Did the car feel that much more luxurious?) I have yet to test drive the LS, but I am looking for anyone who has driven the LS more than just a test drive.

    Thank you!
  • hunter001hunter001 Posts: 851
    I hope you realise that the ES300 and the Camry are based on the same platform. Platform = mechanical components. Everything that you cannot touch or feel, is IDENTICAL beneath the skin. Of course, I am not considering doodads like the variable suspension and such, which are basically add-ons to the platform.

    Except for the sheetmetal differences and the differences in the interior, the Toyota Camry and the ES300 are IDENTICAL beneath the skin. At least the new version has introduced a different transmission when compared to that in the Camry (aping the route taken by Honda in case of the 3.2TL for the past several model years), even though continuing to use the same engine (except employing Variable valve timing heads in the ES300) unlike the route followed by the 3.2TL which has a larger displacement engine when compared to the Accord EX V6.

    You simply cannot compare a spiffed up econo-car (very well spiffed up, mind you !!) like the ES300 with a car like the RL, which is truly a Luxury car, with no platform sharing with any other car anywhere else in the world. The ES300 makes sure that pretty much everything that you touch or feel has a luxury touch to it. But that does not elevate it to the level of a Luxury car. It might share the leather and some materials with the LS430 but people with some amount of comprehension can divine that the similarity ends there. The LS430 is a true Luxury car (comparable to some of the best in the world)...while the ES300 (inspite of leather/material sharing with the LS430) straddles the line between a good econo car like the Camry with some added Luxury touches not generally available in econo-products like the Camry - technically termed in the market place as a "Near-Luxury" car. In other words, the car is based off of the Econo-car but adds doodads generally associated with "Luxury cars" thus conveying a "luxury" image, which is the image that an upwardly mobile person may want to project, even though the car itself (and the person driving it) is not quite there yet ! It would however, fool a lot of common joes on the street into thinking that it is a "Luxury car", thus achieving its "near luxury" purpose.

    The RL has many deficiencies but it certainly is leagues above econo-car platform derived products like the ES300, much as we may want to pretend otherwise.

  • lenscaplenscap Posts: 854
    I do know that most of the things you can't see on the Camry and ES 300 are the same. That being said, I read somewhere once that that total is about 20%. Which means 80% of the cars are different.

    I totally disgaree with you that the Camry is an economy car. That is complete nonsense in my view. The Corolla, yes, but not the Camry. The Camry is a mid-size family sedan.

    Also, the term "near-luxury" does not refer to sharing parts with another car. It refers to a price-point (typically $27,000 - $40,000). Note cars like the Mercedes C240, BMW 325i and Volvo S60 are near-luxury cars yet do not share parts with another car. Also, while you may think of the ES 300 as a dressed-up economy car, you can't argue with the fact that the ES 300 is simply a safer car than the RL. It has more safety features and a better crash rating. That is fact not subject to debate.

    As for your last point, again I disgaree. In my opinion the ES 300 is world's better than the RL. The RL is seriously overpriced sticker-wise and very much outdated. Let's for a moment take the ES 300 comparison away and look at the RL on its own merits. It's difficult to justify a car costing $45,000 and lacking such items as dual-zone climate control, an in-dash CD changer and side curtain airbags. Heck, even the Accord has all these things at $25,000.

    Gettng back to the ES 300 vs. RL. You still offer no evidence as to why the RL is better. The Camry platform is in no way inferior to the RL platform just because it is shared with other vehicles. (If that were true, than the MDX would be inferior to the new Kia SUV since the MDX is on a shared platform.) If anything, the all-new platform for the Camry is better as proven by the crash statistics.

    So, once again, we have an RL that costs more than an ES 300 yet offers far less features and is not as safe.

    Clearly its the RL that is not fooling the average Joe since the car has not been selling well for a few years now as cheaper competitors have passed it by.

    I don't mean to be argumentative (as I said I love Acuras and Hondas). We'll just have to agree to disagree.
  • l943973l943973 Posts: 197
    The ES better competes with an Acura TL. The wheelbase is about the same and the exterior dimensions as well. You get more features in the ES, but you pay for them.

    When I purchased my RL, I didn't even consider the ES just because it wasn't in the same class.

    The Lexus GS 300 and Volvo S80 2.9 compete better with the RL. The RL wheelbase is much longer then the Lexus cars (ES/GS) providing a much smoother ride. Its just a much bigger car than the ES. The ES is listed as a "Compact Car", where the RL is listed as "Midsize".

    I don't believe one should buy a car over another just because it has X more headroom. I'm not that tall to start with so it wouldn't make any difference for me.

    I purchased the RL because its an awesome looking car that has a great engine and all the features that I was looking for. I also like the more defined lines of the RL over the bubblesque styling of Lexus. I like not having to rev my engine past 4000 rpm to get good pickup. Max torque on the RL is under 3000 rpm.

    I had to rev past 4000 rpm in the Lexus GS 300 that I tested for good pickup and it still didn't downshift. More like a slow gradual increase in speed. The RL downshifts quickly.

    A lot of innovation and technology goes into making the RL and Honda proudly puts all that on their corporate website (

    I think it helps explain why the RL is so much more expensive than say a TL. If you just look at the general specs that Edmunds provides, there isn't any clear advantage of the RL over say an ES or TL.

    One example would be that RLs use 4 coats of paint (96-99 models use 5 coats) on their exterior, where the TL uses 2 coats. It wasn't until the new LS430 that Lexus started advertizing that they use 5 coat because they didn't in the past. The 2002 Infiniti Q45 only uses 3 coats. Acura advertized this even back in the early 90's when the Integra 3 coat exteriors.
    The new Acura RSX doesn't advertize this so I figure, they don't do thing anymore because its expensive.

    If you read all the technical specs on the RL and TL, you'll see why they are priced so differently.

    Lenscap, I see you own a Lexus. Its understandable that you should feel the need to defend it. I have no problems with that.

    You seem like you honestly want to know what makes an RL different, so I'm hoping that the hondanews website helps.

    Personally, I would rather have the power tilt/telescoping steering with tilt away feature over a dual zone climate control. 90% of the time, I'm the only person in the car.

    signing off...
  • hunter001hunter001 Posts: 851
    I don't want to belabor this point too much...just enjoy your car. It is a pretty cushy ride, with a lot of "features".

  • satiresatire Posts: 71
    I'm a little late (CONGRATS ON THE PURCHASE!), but I'd still like to share my opinion of the extended warranty issue.

    When I purchased my 2002 RL in July I sold my 1999 TL to my best friend. A condition of his purchase was that he had to buy the Acura extended warranty for used cars (I insisted but I also gave him almost $5K off the actual cash value). For about $1,100 he got 3 more years on the transferable 4 year warranty or 75K miles (you can go to 100K but the TL only had 25K miles on it when I sold it). The warranty pretty much mimics the original factory warranty with one little, small print caveat....there will be a $50 deductible on each warranty repair after the original four year warranty expires. But still, it's from Acura and I strongly recommend it over the other warranties one can buy off the internet or other used car dealers. Stop by an Acura dealer and get the info booklet on it for those who might be interested.

    I agree that Honda products probably don't need the extended warranty. But face it, $1,200 (plus $50K per visit) ain't a bad deal if only one major item went bad. Plus in my case, I don't want my best friend PO'd at me if something goes wrong with the car I sold him. If there's a big problem, Honda will fix it and to keep peace with him, I'd pay the $50. Don't know about him, but it's making me sleep easier at night.

    chilly palmer-
    I've no personal experience with Lexus (never much cared for Toyotas in general so don't get ME started on the ES300 vs. RL debate), I can't help but think that a $20K price difference is like comparing apples to oranges. If you can afford it, then no problem. Otherwise, is the Lexus worth the cost of a new Accord LX over that of the RL? Not IMHO.

    And speaking of which, please allow me a short rant. Honda needs to get their house in order. The 2003 Accord pretty much mimics to current Acura TL. Yes, we could spend days listing the differences, but the same length of time would give us a long list of similar features. And a top of the line EX V-6 is within a few dollars of the TL. With TL sales dropping fast, Honda needs to do something dramatic to the TL to once again separate it from the herd of Accords (and no fair bringing up the's nice but it's nothing more than a bucket full of horses in an aging car platform). Please Honda, get your butts in gear. Did the MDX & Pilot draw your attention away from all else??????

    Stepping down off my soapbox, I'm off to bed now. Good night.


    PS : Update, the more I drive my RL, the more I love it. Still hate that sunroof switch, but this car grows on you.

    PSS : Once read that the TL was 48% Accord. FYI.
  • diploiddiploid Posts: 2,286
    Honda's butt is in gear. The TL is scheduled for a redesign next year. If you think the Accord's interior is top notch, you can only imagine what Honda has in store for the upcoming RL and TL.
  • namroknamrok Posts: 18
    Looking for some input on whether to buy a 99 RL with 16K miles, one owner, Acura certified for $27K, or a new RL for 35K. For an extra $650, the 99 will be warranted bumper to bumper 7yr/100K.

    Are the changes significant to the 2002 vs the 99? The 99 feels and looks new.

    Thanks in advance, D
  • l943973l943973 Posts: 197
    The 02 has OnStar, color molding beneath the door to match the car paint, 15 additional hp with the same engine and slightly more aggresive tire specifications (225/55 16 vs 215/60 16 I believe).

    Also the center armrest now houses a horizontal AC outlet versus a vertical outlet which prevented most cell phone adapters from fitting in the arm rest. This isn't a major problem anymore now that Belkin offers an adapter than bends an L shape which fits in the 99 RL.

    The 99 is the last year of the Naples Gold metallic color which was replaced with a Sandstone color (darker gold).

    Rear seat tethors (sp?) were added after 99 for child seats. Thats all I can remember for now.
  • lenscaplenscap Posts: 854
    Thanks for the info. As I said, a big percentage of car buying is personal. Nobody can be faulted for liking a certain car over another.

    I for one am excited to see what Acura does with the next generation RL.
  • I have not visited this board for a very long time, but my subject was much discussed two years ago. Then, it seemed insane for the RL to continue year after year without offering (at minimum) the engines/transmissions available elsewhere in their lines (e.g. 3.5/240hp, 5sp auto, etc). Now we are entering the 03 model year with still no significant changes (I gave up two years ago and bought a BMW 5 series which I love). What is taking Honda so long to improve the RL? Not that it is a bad car, but it is inadequate vs. nearly all of its competition. Even if they left the body the same and simply raided the parts bin, they could make the car more appealing. Car mags two years ago said that the 03 RL (Legend) would be "all new" with V8, etc. Didn't happen...too bad....
  • maydmayd Posts: 2
    Just a minor correction to the statement, "The 99 is the last year of the Naples Gold metallic color which was replaced with a Sandstone color (darker gold)."
    I have an 00 RL that is Naples Gold that color was offered at least thru 00.
  • satiresatire Posts: 71
    If the additional $8K isn't going to put you in the poor house, go for new. The 2002/3 does handle better and kicks up a little more dirt when you push the pedal (hell, I noticed a ride difference just between 2001 and 2002). And please check carefully who backs that warranty. If it ain't Honda, what guarantee do you have that the warranty company will be around another three years? But the deciding factor is to take a new one for a test drive. Good luck.

    Thanks. I know Honda has plans but IMHO they are simply taking too long to implement them. It's beyond logic that the new Accord is so damn much like the TL. I mean, yes congrats to the new Accord buyers but it almost seems foolish to even look at a new TL unless you really want the Type-S.

    Valid points all but "it is inadequate vs. nearly all of its competition" isn't quite right. The RL is selling for well under $40K. What did that 5 Series cost you? Don't get me wrong, I'm not slamming the 5. It's a great car. But for those of us less demanding, we can save a truck load of money by going with the RL. And we won't get to know our mechanic on a first name basis. But perhaps all the stories I hear are about the new 7 series (am told by several that it spends a lot of time in the shop).

    Recently reported that Honda is likely to bring their European Accord to North America and sell it as an Acura. It was implied there were some significant differences between our Accord and theirs (Europe's being a little smaller). If anyone has details, I'd love to hear 'em. I don't see where a smaller TL/larger RSX would fit in the lineup. But what do I know?

  • Does anyone have any experience with getting the code for the stereo from Acura? I bought a 97 RL used back in April and the code is not in the owners manual that was with the car. Can Acura tell me what it is or am I stuck?
  • diploiddiploid Posts: 2,286
    Lee - it's inevitable for the Accord and TL to overlap at this point. Just wait a few more months until the TL redesign (I hear it's going to be based on a shortened RL platform and no longer on the Accord) comes out and the new TL owners should feel no regret on their purchase when they compare it to an Accord.
  • lenscaplenscap Posts: 854
    Just wanted to correct something you said earlier. The ES 300 is classified as a midsize car, just like the RL. When you referred to the ES 300 as a compact you must have been thinking of the old ES 300 (the new one is bigger).

    96.2 cu ft - Passenger volume RL
    96.4 cu ft - Passenger volume ES 300

    14.8 cu ft - Cargo volume RL
    14.5 cu ft - Cargo volume ES 300
  • lenscap, your numbers are wrong.

    Passenger volume for RL is 111 cu ft. not 96.

    You must have confused it with TL.

    Check the source

    111 compared with ES's 96 is a good difference. And I can tell you it feels this way. I hope you erred in good faith and not to put ES in better light. It is compact and feels like one.

  • lenscaplenscap Posts: 854
    Actually, your figures are wrong.

    I took the volume numbers directly from the 2003 RL brochure. Look it up yourself, it's in there on the specs page. You can't get a more accurate source than Acura itself. If you still don't believe me go to (where the numbers listed are slightly different than the brochure, 96.5 passenger/14.0 cargo). Or take a look at, where the figures are broken out.

    It is obvious the mistake carsdirect made - they added the passenger volume and cargo volume together to get their total figure and mistakenly said it was just passenger volume when in fact it is total volume (96.2 + 14.8 = 111).

    And the 2002-03 ES 300 is classified as a midsize whether you think it feels that way or not.

    I am in no way saying one is better than the other. Just pointing out a previous error (and now your unintended error as well).
  • Yes, the ES300, the 3.5RL and the 3.2TL/TL-s are sized pretty much the same. The specs are almost mirrors of each other. But the devil is in the details.

    The RL is a true luxury car, while the TL/TL-s are more sporty and dynamic, even though both of them share the same high-tech double-wishbone suspension on all 4 ends. Among the Lexus cars, all Lexuses including the GS300/GS430/LS430/SC430 and the IS300 have the exact same high-tech and expensive Double-wishbone suspension setup on all four corners.

    The ES300 on the other hand is basically a cushy ride with absolutely no pretensions about any sporting intentions. Unlike the Acuras and the other Lexus products, it employs MacPherson Struts (the cheapest form of an Independent suspension) on all 4 corners (lifted directly out of the Toyota Camry). It compensates for its lack of suspension/mechanical dynamism, by employing lots of sound-proofing and leather/wood in the interior, which imparts a feel of Luxury. I think it has achieved the purpose that Toyota intended of it.

    Of course, the size of the Acuras are comparable to the ES300. The Acuras have spent their engineering dollars on making highly dynamic and sophisticated mechanical components and the ES300 has spent its amount in spiffing up its interior and adding "features". What one buys is entirely dependent on what one's priorities are .

  • Acura can get you the code. Just contact the service department - they will need certain specific information about your car - and it could take a few days.

    When an independent body shop worked on my RL, they had to remove the stereo After they replaced it, they got the code directly from Acura (& wrote it on a slip of paper for me . . .) to "activate" the stereo
  • diploiddiploid Posts: 2,286
    I think it's worth noting that the new ES300 is a new car...built of a new Camry, which is substantially larger than Camries of the past.

    The RL, meanwhile, was a large (wouldn't call it full size, but it was larger than the other midsizers) sedan back when it first came out and has not been redesigned since, hence it has not grown with the new sizing scheme.
  • The dealer where the car was originally purchased was able to give it to me. Thanks.
  • mike734mike734 Posts: 128
    I bought a used 98 Navi. The previous owner had set a pin number for user 1 in the navi data base. I can access user 2 but does anyone know how to reset the pin for user 1?
  • orkinporkinp Posts: 15
    My TL I leased in 1998 experience was the reverse of that of my new 2002 RL! Not a thing wrong with TL. RL Nav is not fixable. Screen goes black for days at a time. It has been in the shop 3X for 3 weeks, Acura cannot fix it. I brought the car back to verify with my dealer. Customer Service in California does not return our calls! BEWARE of this company. I have called every day for a week with no return. The rep is always busy! Next I will be going to the BBB and the Lemon Law. My car was leased in April 2002, has 3600 miles.
  • l943973l943973 Posts: 197

    Sorry to hear about the crappy service. If the nav system is bad, they should just replace it.

    I remember when I had a flat in my RL, I thought it might be a good time to try out the Customer Service. Initially they sounded nice until they heard that I was past my 4 year/50k mile warranty. After that, customer service pretty much went down the drain. I hung up, replaced my tire and drove off. I'll never contacted Customer service again after that.

    I've never had problems at the dealership. I would try a different dealership since it doesn't matter which dealership you get the car serviced. All dealerships use a centralized database to update your service records.

    good luck,
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