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Acura RL



  • jwilson1jwilson1 Posts: 956
    The RL is still a Legend outside of America.

  • diploiddiploid Posts: 2,286
    hunter - Do you own an RL? I don't, and I think I would be insulting many of the actual RL owners who frequent this forum by telling them how decontented and overpriced their cars are.
  • I almost bought an RL when I purchased my TL in 2000. I am not telling the owners how decontented their car is - they know that themselves...I am telling Honda to put its house in order. I am a Honda fan and would not want their products to be looked down upon, in the marketplace.

  • l943973l943973 Posts: 197
    As an RL owner, I have no regrets on getting the RL over a TL. I occasionally drive his 2000 TL and would still get the RL even now.

    Some things I don't like about the TL.

    - seats too narrow/headrest doesn't tilt
    - driver side door arm rests are uncomfortable
    - center armrest is too low. Can't put your arm there.
    - rear seating feels cramped (not enough knee room)
    - windshield is too steeply raked. Generates glare sometimes (similar to my NSX)
    - no power tilt away steering
    - throttle response is only good a higher rpms
    (3000+). I like to keep rpms below 3000.
    - looks are subjective, but I love the looks of the RL and don't really like the TL styling that much.
    - stereo has too much treble and not enough bass
    (The RL stereo system is excellent). I had to turn the treble down to 1/4.

    Things that I like the TL over the RL
    - steering is more responsive
    - as quiet as the RL even with stock Michelins
    - had umbrella holders in the armrest
    - climate control is excellent

    thats about it.

    If you just look at content, its hard to justify an RL over an TL. The RL ride is much better the TL. My dad is thinking about trading in his 2000 TL (Ruby Red-15k miles) for an RL.

    The RL is an awesome car. I love it.
  • Response to fredvh's question: I Would like some real-world opinions on comparisons of the RL, TL, and ES300. In many articles they say the TL is the better bargain. Do you owners agree? I believe that you can get a new non Type-S for around 27,500.

    6 weeks ago I turned in my leased '99 RL and bought a '03 TL-S (for $30k, with spoiler). While I really liked the RL, it wasn't "fun". Great interior, liked the exterior styling, but it felt slow, engine was noisy, downshifts were often abrupt, etc. Drove the TL-S and found the interior very nice (not equal to RL, but sufficiently luxurious). Liked the styling, but the biggest improvement was the power and refinement of the engine/tranny. Silky smooth and MUCH more fun. The five speed Sportstick is fun too. The engine is much more quiet, the downshifts are seamless. Interior is slightly smaller, but close.

    Considered the ES300 - the interior has to be the richest in this class. But the performance was about the same as the RL, and that was my biggest frustration. Also, there was $6-8k difference in price.
  • I am considering buying a used RL '96 with 96000 miles. Any comment on reliability or expected mileage out of a well care RL will be greatly appreciated.
  • mike734mike734 Posts: 128
    Never buy the first year of any model car. Especially a Honda
  • lenscaplenscap Posts: 854
    I owned a first year 1988 Honda Prelude that I bought new. I got it the first month they went on sale, and everything about the car was a new design including the engine. I got rid of it eight years later with almost 100,000 miles and never had anything go wrong, ever.

    My family also had the original 1990 Lexus LS 400, bought three months after the cars came out. As with the Honda, it was flawless.

    Perhaps I was just lucky, I don't know.
  • mike734mike734 Posts: 128
    Yes you were lucky. Actually, you were probably the norm. However, It has been my experience that the new models experience more problems than the next models. Of course that only means that maybe 3 in a 100 have a problem instead of 1 in a 100. Anyway, Honda often make quite a few changes in the second and third years after a major change. I think the best year to buy is the last year of a model line. That is the year they come out with the SE models. They are a good value.
  • purchased a 98 Rl today, although I was planning on getting a 00/01 cl or tl (I test drove them both, but just didnt feel comfortable in them). Then I took the rl out for a spin... whooooooo niiiiiiiice. the comfort is outstanding. its like night and day compared to the cl/tl. even for a freakin' 98!

    Got a pretty good deal on it at a dealers auto auction. (having hookups is great)

    anyhow, just thought i share my joy of owning an rl.
  • goralgoral Posts: 138
    ...with 112K miles and it's running strong. Yes, there were couple problems along the way (window regulators, AC compressor, alternator, couple sensors, etc..), but we can easily live with those. We only want to get another 112K out of it... :)
  • Re: "I am considering buying a used RL '96 with 96000 miles. Any comment on reliability or expected mileage out of a well care RL will be greatly appreciated".

    I purchased a '96 RL Premium in September with 65,000 miles. I love the car. It's in great condition. I've already had two rear window regulators replaced under warranty. It could happen to any car. The car runs great. Has a great Bose sound system and chicks dig it.

  • jmw4jmw4 Posts: 67
    Although car opinions are highly subjective, I have owned each of the above; the 99 TL, an 01 ES300(old style) and currently a 2000 RL. I had the tL for 3 years and enjoyed it very much for it's combination of good ride yet decent handling. The ES which I traded the TL in for was not enjoyable. It drove too much like a Camry, was not particularly fast, and did not handle that well. Most of all, the seat bottoms were too short, which I understand is a common complaint on the ES. The new model ES seats are also a tad short. The RL is an excellent ride, with a heavier feel, yet decent handling, decent speed and quiet on the highway. I recently drove a friend's new accord and although nice, it in my view does not compare to the ride of the RL.
  • satiresatire Posts: 71
    Had a '97 CL. Then a '99 TL. Both first year new models. Neither a problem. Granted each new year brings a host of goodies. But if you wait until "next year" to ensure you'll get more, then you'll never buy a new car.

    '99 TL-
    Speaking of which I drove my old TL again recently and after having my 2002 RL now for 5 months I'm amazed at the difference. While I still think Honda needs to get their act together on options and extras, the RL is much smoother than the TL. Rides better. Feels more substantial. Personally I think the 2002 RL handles as well as the TL if not better. "Smooth" is the only word to describe it. You can find more speed elsewhere. You can find more sport elsewhere. But if you want comfort and a smooth ride, then the RL is just fine thank you very much. However, I still hate the two pushes on the button to close the moonroof.

  • Having owned two Legends, ('89 LS '94 GS). I can't wait for the introduction of the '04 RL (possibly Legend). I was the Sales Manager of an Acura store until just before the RL came out. Those '91 - '95 Legends were absolutely outstanding. I still own the '94 GS and with 230HP mated to superb handling, I hate to give it up, even at 120,000 miles. It's the best vehicle I have ever owned. It's been a problem free vehicle always serviced at the dealer. I could never warm up to the current RL with less power and a soft ride compared to the '94.

    I still have some contacts at Acura and here's what I was told by a factory rep about three months ago. The "03" will have minimum changes (which it does as outlined earlier in this section) and the NEW '04 will be an "early introduction" in the spring of '03. Dealers will receive very few '03 models of the RL as the factory tools up for the new model. Acura was ready to introduce a new model as an '03 but after further market research and firing of the RL Division Head in Japan, it was back to the drawing board to make some changes. Acura has always touted performance and luxury and that's what we customers want and expect from them. My contact could not be specific about content of the new car but I personally can't wait for the April/May '03 timeframe to find out what they have come up with. The rep did say to expect close to $50K for an MSRP. If it has what I think it will have, I'll say a fond farewell to the best car I've ever had. (If they still built it, I'd buy another '94 or '95 right now.)
  • jwilson1jwilson1 Posts: 956
    What you're saying concurs with what was published in a couple of mags a month or two ago. They had a little more (reliable???) detail, suggesting it may be a hybrid with -- as I recall -- about 200 hp internal combustion and 160 electric. You might do a search back in the posts here.

  • diploiddiploid Posts: 2,286
    As much as we want, we're stuck with the RL name. Perhaps when Acura decides to revert back to names for their cars (instead of alpha-numerics) we'll see it again.
  • I sure hope the new '04 RL is not JUST a hybrid. It's way too late now but my advice to the manufacturer would be to look at what they did with the Civic. They provided the hybrid for those who wanted it but retained the gas models for the rest of the more performance oriented customers. So why not do the same for the RL? Go ahead, make the hybrid if the market warrants it, but retain the luxury/performance model as well. And why not also provide a "S-type" high performance model for those of us who yearn for it. I personally find it embarrassing that the TL S-type has forty more ponies than the current RL. Just take a look at the E class Mercedes sedans. Up to 305 hp in the E500 and they're selling like hotcakes. So c'mon Acura. You have a lot of very loyal customers out there and a bunch more who jumped to Lexus, Mercedes, and Infiniti just waiting for you to deliver the goods. Anybody else agree??
  • jwilson1jwilson1 Posts: 956
    The point's moot. Honda has no desire to compete in a contest it can't win. It has not V8, and has scratched all notion of a V8 project. The Honda technology may progress -- that is where they excel, as you know -- but they will do something to carve a new luxury niche and they'll have to define performance in their own terms. Its styling may be derivative -- as it is now of the LS 400 and Benz -- and invite comparison but when you scratch the surface there will have to be something different, as it is now with the V6 that some feel is disappointing. Note that when I say different, I don't say better, only different and offering real value. This is why the hybrid and maybe awd offer possibility for Honda; these things are not available at this p ricing or in a true luxury car. Mercedes offers awd of course, with Audi, but only on a traditional platform. Honda may do something different.

    Like you, I'd prefer a power model ... but I think they're looking for another road. The performance road is too expensive for R&D and uncertain cometitiveness in the marketplace.

  • diploiddiploid Posts: 2,286
    Yeah. Just look at the new Infiniti Q45- an expensive V-8, RWD sedan that very few are buying (the RL actually sells better). That's Honda's worst nightmare.
  • First off, Merry Christmas to all of you on this board. Secondly, I couldn't agree more with what has been said. I've looked and driven the Mercedes E-class. A great driving car, five speed automatic with a select shift, great suspension, good power even in the E-320. Solid as a rock construction. A little expensive, especially if you load it up with all the high tech stuff that I really wouldn't want. Some of the dash ergonomics suck and would take some time to get used to the complexity. I looked at the Q and found it also a bit overwhelming with all the hi tech. And those headlights they are so proud of, yuk! Who needs all those little lights housed behind plastic. Honda/Acura likes to keep things simple and very reliable. I love that. (As a former pilot in the USAF, I can tell you that hi tech rarely means hi reliability.) But back to cars, I would buy the RL right now if it had more horsepower, a five speed automatic with manual option, and for heaven's sake, put the CD changer in the dash like the TL. The navigation system is the best in the industry as far as I can tell. Easy to use and readable due to it's size and position. Some of the others are a joke. And another very, very small thing ... why does the TL have a nice looking chrome Acura logo in the center of the steering wheel and the RL does not? Trivial I know, but just doesn't make sense to me. And just a bit more wood on the dash would spiff things up. I just hope Acura will provide something this spring for this Acura lover so that I can fall in love all over again. My '94 GS Legend stills runs like a young race horse but she may get tired soon considering the 120K me and the wife have put her through. And as for pricing, my '94 had a MSRP of $40K and was worth every penny I spent. The RL is a bargain now and even if the new one touches $50K, it will probably be a bargain as well. Let's keep our fingers crossed.
  • marsha7marsha7 Posts: 3,703
    I believe...I think the new 03 Accord has a V6 with 240, the lowly Accord gets 20 more HP than the RL (220?), which now really makes it absurd...they can get 260 from the V6 for the TL-S, but cannot figure out what to do with the RL...I am at the point where it is safe to say that they can drop in a 260 HP TL-S engine in there at literally no extra cost to them, as they make them now for the is one thing to plan so you are not stuck with an inventory of extra Q45s, but an engine already paid for will give the RL the stand-out that it needs...BTW, if they can get 260 HP for the TL-S, you know that they could squeeze 10 or 20 more for the RL and it would cost them pennies...nuff said from me

  • It is not easy to "drop in the 260HP TL-s engine into the RL". The RL is designed with a longitudinal engine (with a 90 degree configuration - not ideal for a V6) in mind while the TL-s is a Transversely mountable engine (with a 60 degree configuration - ideal in a V6). Unless they re-design the whole engine bay and a variety of other changes, it would be impossible to accomodate the high-tech TL-s engine in the RL bay (that currently houses the old-tech non-variable valve timing 3.5L engine). And unless they introduce variable valve timing technology (like every other manufacturer including Lexus, BMW etc), I think they have extracted the maximum possible power from this engine.

    Note: The 3.5L 90 degree Longitudinally oriented RL engine has absolutely nothing in common with the 3.5L 60 degree transversely mounted engine in the MDX/Honda Odyssey/Honda Pilot. The 3.5L engine in the MDX etc., is of the J-series of engines that include the 3.0L Accord engine and the 3.2L engines in the TL/CL/TL-s/CL-s.

  • l943973l943973 Posts: 197
    I believe Honda/Acura uses its lower model cars as their testbed. They make sure everything is worked out on those cars before working on their higher end models. Plus it makes good business sense to redo the lower models first because thats where all the money is.

    The RL may only have less hp and a 4-speed auto, but it responds much quicker than a 225 hp TL with a 5-speed just because it has a bigger engine and it downshifts when the TL doesn't because of the extra gear.

    Even my Dad admits this with his 225 hp TL 5-sp auto. He drives my 210hp 99 RL and prefers that over his 00 TL. The only thing keeping him from switching is the parts on the RL are much more expensive than a TL.

    With the transmission problems in the TL, its good they didn't immediately put this in their RLs.
  • matt00matt00 Posts: 32
    Even though the RL will be replaced in 04, I am still interested in purchasing a new 2003 RL. Does anyone know if they added more sound proofing to the car? Also, are there any current dealer incentives on the 2003 RL.
    Appreciate any comments,
  • I think your "testbed" logic seems so lopsided that it tickles one's funny bone... basically what you are saying is that top-end technology should first appear in a Civic and then work its way up to an Accord after a few years and then onward to a TL/RL etc. ?? That is some logic !! If you smell the coffee and look around a bit, you will find that top-notch stuff first appears in the flagship model and then works its way downward, unlike what Honda has done with the RL. No wonder RL is the favorite whipping boy of every Automotive publication/journalist. They have stopped even bringing the RL into any comparison test with any of its supposed peers for the past several years, since it would be portrayed so miserably that it is no longer merely funny.

    The RL may have the same HP as a TL but it is a pure dog. It is ridiculous to say otherwise. The TL with its 225hp is a 6.7secs 0-60 car. The TL-s ups the ante even further. It will whip the RL and draw circles around it as far as acceleration is concerned. The smoothness of the 5-speed transmission is also way better than the RL's 4-speed transmission. Incidentally, the TL had a 4-speed transmission like the RL, years back. There was a minuscule percentage of trans failures due to a defective component in some cars, which Honda has been diligently replacing when needed and have also extended the trans warranty to 7yrs/100K miles for all vehicles regardless of whether they are affected or not. The RL is outdated in its segment, period ! No ifs or buts about it and Honda has really no excuses for maintaining it. Either ramp it up or retire it. When you find side curtain airbags and high-end seats, voice activated Navigation technology etc., in a low-end Accord, when those things are not even available in the flagship RL, it starts to really sink in, "testbed" logic notwithstanding.

    Your dad admits that the RL is great, but refuses to go for an RL making up some excuses about cost of parts etc. ?? I think he is a smart and diplomatic man ! JMHO.

  • jwilson1jwilson1 Posts: 956
    Glad to see you stop by again!

    I've wondered if one of the reasons nothing is "done" about the RL is that enough people continue to like it (value/features, etc.) that Honda is happy with the sales, though very small comparatively. It's a group of buyers who really don't care if the performance folk go for a hike.

    I mean, it's clear they're not interested in a market leader. So with the next one they seem to be headed off in another small-market direction with hybrid engine etc. perhaps with an idea of laying claim to this small, but apparently loyal following ... of which I'm one.

    (Not that you asked, but I also have performance cars, but for a cruiser like this I see no reason to spend the money for some of the big buck hi-profile brands.)

  • kennyg5kennyg5 Posts: 360
    We all recognize that the RL is a "flagship" car lacking in cutting edge technology, but tries to make it up by lowering price and offering just enough features to keep a small and dwindling number of followers.

    Acura now intends to introduce a new RL with a hybrid engine in an effort to create a "niche" in the luxury car market. IMHO, Acura has committed serious marketing flaws. Flagship cars are not only supposed to showcase the technology of the auto maker, they are also supposed to attract as large a segment of the luxury car buyers as possible. Other Japanese nameplates (such as Lexus and Infiniti) are trying their best to compete head on with the Germans;one cannot help but wonder why doesn't Acura want to join in the competition? Acura/Honda has the capacity of making good cars. Just look at the MDX and Accord, which are selling at or close to MSRP. Why does Acura let the RL linger in obscurity for so many years while its lesser brethen are enjoying fame and properity? Acura's management has to take a good look at itself before answering the question.
  • jwilson1jwilson1 Posts: 956
    Technology from the bottom up? That doesn't make sense, imo. Mercedes, BMW, since you mention the Germans, usually work from the top down.

    Speculation has focused on hybrid, now that V8 rwd seems out, but I think it's almost as unlikely. Though I usually disagree with Edmund's I think they're right this time: expect a near-300 hp V6.

  • If I disclosed the source of the following information, I might suddenly disappear from the planet. Listen up. Straight from Japan. The prototypes of the new RL (Maybe Legend again, but probably not) have been spotted on the test track with long range binoculars. Security is very tight. The RL assembly line is about to be shut down if they aren't already and production on the '04 is about to start. All plant workers have been sworn to secrecy (normal for Honda) but a few clues are out there from a couple of workers my source talked to. New engine with a lot more HP (still longitudinal) and now VTEC, mated to a new transmission (5 speed), entirely new body design/shape, standard options galore. Source would not comment on drive train except to say it is different (rear wheel or all wheel? He couldn't, (or wouldn't), say). Everything is very hush, hush but leaks are starting to surface. I have to believe that the above is accurate but it almost sounds too good to be true. You can either accept this info or throw it in the trash basket of your mind. I cannot personally vouch for it but the source lives in Japan right now and has never been known to fib about anything. I just hope his understanding of Japanese is good.
    As for "matt00", no more soundproofing was added to the '03 RL, only a bigger logo in the grill and a minor change to the wheels. I think the current RL is a great car and as far as I know there are no dealer incentives listed. When I spot dealer incentives I'll post it here. But as soon as this new "04" hits our shores, you can bet that Honda will fork over at least $4000 to move out all the remaining "03" inventory. If you can wait until late spring or summer, you should get a great deal on one of them. They are sticker priced about the same as the '02 if not exactly.
    I'll post more as I get it.
    And "Hunter001", it's probably a moot point but my old '94 Legend GS has the 3.2 longitudinally mounted engine and Honda brought it up to 230 HP by merely putting in bigger valves. I believe that if they wanted to, the 3.5 in the current RL could easily put out 250 to 260 HP with some very minor mods. But .... they have been putting all their effort and money into the replacement.
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