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Acura RL



  • l943973l943973 Posts: 197
    I purchased an RL back in 99 and have already put almost 45k miles on it. I got the non-Navi system because that year it was offered only as a CD-ROM and not a DVD system. So far, the problems I've had are:

    1 oxygen sensor replaced at 30k (free under warranty)
    1 Seat belt recall (did it during an oil service)
    1 Steering nut recall (did it during an oil service)

    I've owned an Acura before so to me this list was kinda of long. :-) Reliablity was first on my list which kept me from getting the Lexus GS and Audi A6. (A6 was my second choice)

    Thats about it. I drive the car pretty hard and handles fairly well for a big car. The tires seem to squeal when pulling corners hard but overall quiet on most surfaces.

    The brakes are excellent pulling the car to a stop very quickly.

    (As a comparison, my dad has a '00 TL and its brakes take more time to stop the car. When you press TL brakes, there isn't a dead pedal stop feel to it.)

    The stereo system is pretty good. Most of the time I listen to only news but when I listen to classical music, all instruments can be heard clearly.

    Initially the seats were a bit stiff, but they have broken nicely and I can drive 1hr+ without having to re-adjust the seats.

    The arm rest is great! It pops up so you can rest against it and the left car door rest is very soft and comfortable. Also like the auto head lights. If you forget to turn on lights in a parking garage, it does it for you.

    The seats must be comfortable. Everyone who sits in the front passenger seat and rear seats fall asleep. When I'm in those seats, I sleep too. :-)

    The back seat headrests adjust and are a nice touch but no one really plays with it.

    I noticed that people mention that the RL has no dual climate controls. Not having experienced dual zone systems, I'm not sure what I'm missing so its not an issue for me.

    Now the nitpicks.

    I can't hook my cell phone adapter in the center armrest outlet because the adapter is too big causing the armrest to not close. This was fixed in the '00 model when the outlet is tilted horizontally instead of vertically.

    When you tilt the steering wheel too low, it blocks the top part of the odometer. This can be a real annoyance so I adjust it as low as possible without blocking it.

    Would have liked the 6-disc changer to be in the car and not in the trunk. At least its covered nicely in the trunk. Friend of mine just purchased a 2000 BMW 5-Series and the trunk changer is behind the panel with the wires! (very nice).

    Thats about it. I really like the conservative styling. Initially I didn't purchase the TL because I didn't like the styling but its growing on me.

    Oh one more thing, parts are more expensive than in a TL. $90 just to purchase AC filters for the car (not including labor). It looks like 2 sponges for crying out loud.

  • Does anyone know a good site that discussed
    problems / solutions specific to the RL?
    User "jccssc" (Posting in #592 in Acura 3.5
    RL Part I), I'd like to hear more about your
    transmission symtoms. The dealer just ordered
    a new transmission for me. I would like to
    avoid getting 6 new transmissions like your
    dealer choose to do in attemp to solve your knocking transmission.
  • jccsscjccssc Posts: 44
    I did not hear much about other people experiencing the same transmission problem as I did before. It all started when I heard (and felt - I am pretty picky about those "adnormal stuff") a "click/clunk" noise when the engine engaged from 1st to 2nd gear starting from stop. It never misses. After going into a local Acura Service Center 6 times (each time they have different explanation, and each time they installed a new tranny), finally they got an answer from Acura mfg rep. and determined it was a design flaw of this kind of transmission (being the first year model) in the early production units of RL's. The mfg figured a way to fix the problem permanently - make some adjustment to the tranmission assembly (I forget what it was called offically - they did it almost 2 years ago), then flush the transmission twice. They did want to check on it 500 miles afterwards. My 96'RL was fine after that "treatment". The tranny performed perfectly since then. Up to even the day I sold the car 2 months ago, the car was perfect. Hope this helps - good luck!
  • Just gave up my 98 Lexus ES 300 for a 2000 RL with
    Navi. Loved my Lexus but was looking for
    something different and little larger and I loved
    the DVD navigational system since I hate driving
    and reading a map at the same time! The Lexus
    experience was excellent and the technicians on
    duty with their roadside assurance was great.
    Acura's roadside assistance is really nothing more
    than a built in AAA. They do not have technicians
    on duty.

    The Acura RL is not fun to drive and is also a bit
    of gas pig. However, it's extremely luxurious,
    very comfortable for back seat riders, has a
    wonderful sound system and for long drives, it's a
    pleasure. I think there's way to much roll on the
    curves which takes a little getting used to after
    the road hugging ES 300.

    The price, however, was really right. I used to research the car. I
    couldn't afford a Lexus LS400 and after doing my
    research, I got a $44,500 demo car with 3,000 miles
    for $39,000 which included some extras (floor
    mats, burled shift knob) Acura is begging you to
    take this car off their lot. I leased the car for
    39 months. Honda is offering exceptional leasing
    deals on this vehicle with extraordinary subsized
    leasing (the only reason to do a lease). Again, do
    your homework. I made sure I understood every
    aspect of leasing. The book Look Before You Lease
    helped me immeasurably in this regard. I'm hoping
    that Honda reliability will hold for this car.
    Otherwise, in 3 years, I'll try something new.

    UPDATE: I first posted this message about a month ago. Still love my RL, but have two problems:

    1. It stalled at an intersection after moving in stop and go traffic. Haven't had a chance to check with dealership and it only happened once but would like to know if anyone has had the same problem.

    2. The rear window de-icer doesn't seem to work on mist. I had it on for over 10 minutes in the mornings and got no de-misting. The dealer said it works as designed. Haven't had ice yet, but has anyone had this problem?

    I'm falling in love with this car more each day. It's really grown on me. The sound system is awesome and the navigational system a huge help. I love the fact that it includes telephone numbers of places so I can call to check addresses and make reservations.
  • jeff88jeff88 Posts: 94
    and it looks really good! seems a bit wider than the rl which could be a problem for my garage opening.

    BTW, to get rid of tire squeal and enhance handling on the rl - get rid of the michelins and put dunlop sp 5000's on. Have 5k miles on the dunlops and the handling is much improved on my '96.
  • I've had a 1999 RL for 1 1/2 years. The car is a gas pig (PS: You'll get better mileage if you keep the auto temperature system off). 15 MPG.

    Steering is loose compared to Lexus, Volvo. It's actually a little tighter when you turn off the traction control.

    Sound system is inferior compared to other luxury cars. I just replaced rear speakers. They have no tweeters.

    Engine trouble light comes on if you don't tightly screw on the gas cap.

    On the positive side, it looks nice and it's comfortable on long drives which I do a lot of.

    It's cheaper than a Lexus. You get what you pay for, and frankly, driving this car makes me miss my Camry.
  • prophet2prophet2 Posts: 372
    On the other hand, I've had my pre-owned '96 for only 2-1/2 weeks. I'm getting 18.5 mpg, not bad since our freeways here gets jammed both AM & PM. No traction control, so the steering feels fine. I'll try not using the climate control, though.

    Don't need a V-8 on a 604 sq. mile island; the two extra cylinders really burn the petrol. Premium is over $2.00/gallon at most places, although I pump my own at Costco for $1.919.

    Driving the 3.5RL makes me glad I didn't get a new 2000 Camry XLE V-6 at $26.8K OTD. Saved myself $4.6K, which is now safely invested.

    I'd love to have a Lexus LS400/430. But, it's a case of diminishing returns!
  • Sounds like post #67 may have a lemon, I have bought 58 new cars & trucks in my life & the RL exceeds my expectations in all areas, I have owned new Cadillacs & Lincolns which pale in comparison. As for the gas mileage, town & highway I average 20 MPG & highway the average is 23 MPG on 87 Octane fuel, it gives me plenty of power, I would not want a V-8 or RWD in an RL.
    Maybe joelraab should avoid jack rabbit starts & heavy braking at traffic lights, also, run the air conditioning on economy mode!!
  • rumorrumor Posts: 13
    yep, the RL is cheaper than LS400-to the tune of about $15 grand cheaper! The LS is a great car,
    trust me, I've owned one, but this car was not
    made with real winter driving in mind. Add the
    fact most, not all, Toyota/Lexus dealerships are
    cheesier than kraft macaroni and cheese converted me to Acura, and I haven't looked back yet. Oh yeah, also, the $15 grand I saved buying the RL
    in about 5 years will have made enough money with good investments to pay for my next RL.
  • Just thought I'd pass along a deal our local dealer has going. The salesman I bought my Accord, TL and S2000 from called today and said they are selling non-nav RL's for $35,800. I thought that was a steal. If anyone is interested, let me know and I can get more info about it. We're looking at the MDX now, but thought some of you might be interested.

  • Picked up a new 2000 RL with NAVI over the weekend for 37,800 - 7k off MSRP. Love the car. Been shopping for a while, and couldn't pass up this car at this price. Tremendous value for a great car!
  • prophet2prophet2 Posts: 372
    We don't need the NAVI here in Hawaii (they bring in few of those models) and $37.8K for a non-NAVI unit would be still be a bargain. Undoubtedly, you could get another $2K off for one in your locale.

    Great to hear you're enjoying yours. Probably as much as I enjoy cruising around in my '96.
  • Just wanted to let you know (and anyone else if they experience this), that the vibration in the passenger dash has been eliminated. I located the vibration driving on an unfinished road and then told the mechanic exactly where it was occurring. He then added EPT sealer tape between the passenger airbag cover & dash and dash & molding strip above the glovebox. This tightened up any loose spots where the vibration was coming from. It was a tricky problem, but once I located exactly where it was coming from Acura was very helpful in trying to fix it. No more gremlins!
  • jwilson1jwilson1 Posts: 956
    Considering invoice plus transport is $37450, I'd say $35,800 is remarkable. What do you think the problem is? (Even eliminating holdback only gets down to 37200.)

    Take care.
    Joe W.
  • Just my opinion, but when Acura subsidized the lease of the RL to $499 w/o nav, there was a great disparity between financing and leasing costs. Many, including myself, cannot lease due to mileage restrictions, etc. and are unwilling to pay $38K or so for a car that CAN be had for $499 / mo.

    Does that even make sense? Maybe not, but coupled with the rumors of the new RL, I think Acura had to soften up a bit.

    Any thoughts?
  • Just checked the incentives and rebates at Edmunds. Looks like there's a $3000 incentive on the 2000 RL. That's where the low price is coming from. This puts invoice at about $34,500 with destination. $35,000 and some change might just buy one.
  • The $3,000 rebate is real. I am currently negotiating with two dealers for an RL. The latest bids are $35,253 for an RL w/o Nav and $36,999 with Nav. Both bids include mats.

    I currently own a 1995 Acura Legend Coupe with a six speed manual transmission. I intend to keep this car forever. Everyone who has been complaining about Acura not providing an 8 cylinder engine is missing the real point: Acura engines demand the freedom from a stick shift. Since 1986, I have owned three Honda Preludes prior to my Legend, all sticks. Every engine has a magnificent ability to climb RPMs in any gear without fatigue. When I am pushing the legend, I have to be careful or I will redline in first and second gears (6600 RPm).

    You can imagine my disappointment when the new versions of the Acura lineup debuted in 1996. The suspensions were soft, engines weak and the only stick model was a rollover prone CL. Not what you expected from a company that won the manufacturer's championship in 6 years out of 10 in Formula 1 racing.

    Thus, my hope is that Acura will return to offering sticks in their premier models so that enthusiasts like myself can drive the engines as they were meant to be driven.
  • I forgot the obvious: soft suspensions contribute to the perception of weak engines. What i like most about the discussion regarding 6 cyls vs 8 cyls and horsepower is the absolute disregard for every other element that contributes to performance or the lack thereof: overall weight, weight distribution, transmission gear ratios, quickness of torque delivery, suspension tuning, tire size and type, etc. Honda learned in Formula 1 racing that the biggest engine is not necessarily a winner: it is the ability to survive the race. Success depends upon reliability, fuel management and the ability to get power to the wheels quickly. Honda's success resulted in honda placing third or fourth in the history of F1 races in terms of victories. honda was ahead of MB, BMW, Porsche, Ferrari and many others with "racing" heritage. Honda did it during 10 years of racing from 1983 to 1992. The company won the manufacturer's world championships 6 years in a row and stopped winning because it withdrew from F1 racing. It is now dominating CART/Indy car racing (4 championships in 7 years of racing.)

    When you read the brochures on honda automobiles about racing innovations in their automobiles, keep in mind that the racing innovations are winning innovations.

    No, i do not sell Hondas for a living.
  • i agree with what you said, but i disagree with what honda is thinking...yes, bigger is not always better, but to sell cars, most people think it is.

    anyone know if the new rl (pretty sure rwd/awd, v8) is competing with the larger crowd (ls, s-series, 7 series) or the one down from that (e-class, gs series, etc.)?
  • retnavretnav Posts: 25
    For (Phil4vers4). Bravo, Glad you were able to locate the problem and get it repaired.
    For the folks with 3.5RL problems. Take these cars back to your dealers, push them to make them right. These vehicles are cars after all and problems seem to be endemic, but my experience has been that Acura dealers are pretty good in trying to make things right. I have driven nothing but Hondas and Acuras since 1979 and have had tremendous performance. My wife drives a 1989 Toyota wagon LE, which she loves and doesn't want to give up. We have had good service from Toyota people, but it doesn't match Acura. Best of luck.
  • jccsscjccssc Posts: 44
    Congrats - you really hit a good deal. this is a GREAT price!! Now, enjoy the car..... Keep us posted on what your driving impressions are.
  • And I thought I got a good deal last December on my 2000 RL Navi at $39,700, Congratulations!!
  • Thank you. Although i am lucky that Acura is offering the $3,000 incentive to dealers. otherwise my deal is as good as retiredagent's: $1,200 over invoice.

    Anyone have experience with these "new" 5 year paint sealant/waxes? Is there anything to their claims for a 5 year finish which is perfect?

    Acura has succeeded and survived with 6 cylinders. i bet that the next RL will have a 6 cylinder with plenty of torque and horsepower. They created the econo-luxury marquee in 1986 with a V-6 and there is no reason to leave.
  • prophet2prophet2 Posts: 372
    I take these claims like those for the 100K miles between tune-ups: definitely with just a grain. They may last that long, assuming that you keep it garaged and use a car cover whenever parked out in the open. Same with the "seven-year warranty" on car batteries. Anyone remember J.C. Penney's "lifetime" battery?

    The V-6 has served Acura well, but I'm surprised that a V-8 hasn't made an appearance after nearly 15 years. Particularly since Lexus and Infiniti had them coming out of the blocks in 1990.
  • jwilson1jwilson1 Posts: 956
    last that long, imo, not because of the sealant but because it takes that long for the clearcoat to wear through.

    Take care.
    Joe W>
  • jeff88jeff88 Posts: 94
    Not only do I think this may be a waste of money, I don't think it wil last even 2 years. A good wax, 2 times/year should protect the paint and keep it looking good.

    Hey JPOG!
  • Undercoating, lifetime interior "protection", 100,000 mile oil, lifetime batteries, etc. are all high profit scams, based on the projection that you will sell the car or lose the warranty skip before they need to make good on it!

    The BEST thing you can do for your new car is to order a set of Zaino polymer products to maintain it. It can look fantastic in normal use with twice a year polishing! Check out the Zaino forum here and go to for the details. I was a wax fanatic for the last 40 years, and was convinced to try it by the active forum here. I will never go back, and neither will anyone else that has tried it. Have Fun!
  • I was told recently by a writer for a major auto magazine that he would be test driving the 2002RL in a few weeks. He wouldn't reveal any more info. Anyone hear anything solid about the 2002??
  • There are two conflicting infos. Latest AutoWeek still says that a V8 RWD is coming for MY 2002.

    My local salesman said that the 2002 RL won't be a V8 nor RWD. This info somewhat confirmed the Automotive News article a couple months back about Honda making decision about whether the next RL will be FWD or RWD this year.

    I am really confused too. Temple of VTEC web site won't reply to my e-mail. So, I guess they don't know either.

    Another source mentioned that it will be based on a stretched TL.
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