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Acura RL



  • Here is the entire review from Motor Trend on the 2003 RL:

    "Benefiting from a host of upgrades for '02, Acura's senior sedan gains only new wheels, taillights, and minor trim changes to set off its comprehensively appointed '03 package. The RL's mechanical features include a 3.5L/225-HP SOHC VTEC V-6, electronically controlled four speed automatic transmission, double wishbone suspension, four-wheel dics with ABS, stability control, and front/front-side airbags. On the luxury front are leather upholstery, wood accents, a full complement of power assists, climate-control A/C, Bose audio, and OnStar. A DVD nav system and cargo net are the sole options."

    And yes, Motor Trend lists the price as $28,980-$33,480. Be sure to take this magazine with you when you visit the dealer. Everyone will have a nice laugh over that pricing.

    And I believe this is the first VTEC engine in the RL. doesn't mention the 2002 having a VTEC. Perhaps the RL is sharing the TL's engine? It should have the Type S engine (IMHO).

  • One thing I keep forgetting to ask, does anyone know what platform the RL is build on? As best as I can find out, it isn't shared with anything else Honda sells in this country. Is it used for anything in Japan? Would love to know if anyone has the 411.


  • diploiddiploid Posts: 2,286
    I've always found it odd that the flagship sedan doesn't incorporate the parent company's ubitiquious VTEC system.
  • Most everyone seems to be talking about new cars, but I figured I would post this as an FYI. I bought a 1997 RL in April with 96K on it for 13K. I just spent $2700.00 on it yesterday. The water pump and timing belt were due to be changed, plus the accessory belts and I had to replace the right front strut (as it was sagging) so I did the left one to. Also, my mechanic found that the crank shaft position sensor was about to fail, so another 200 for that. I really like the car, but parts are expensive. I have 103K on it now and I would like to get to 150K with another major outlay (plugs and trans/diff were serviced two months ago). The car is wonderful, but watch out for the maint.
  • mike734mike734 Posts: 128
    It is amazing how expensive the parts are for this RL. My insurance is much more than for my 2000 Odyssey because the parts are so much more. It irks me because they are sometimes identical to Honda parts but with a different part number. A flasher/turn relay is $75, The horns are about $50 each. BTW watch out if your differential pinion seal is leaking ($660). Fix it now or pay much more later if it blows and you need a new tranny.
  • goralgoral Posts: 138
    You paid $2700 for timing belt/water pump + 2 struts??? Ouch!!!! I just had the timing belt/water pump/belts replaced by my mechanic. Charged me $250 for labor and I bought all OEM parts online for just over $300.
  • I own a 1998 Camry, it's been good to me since I purchased it used a little over a year ago, but I don't really like it. I purchased it to have some trouble free transportation while I was in a transition of having a kid, getting a degree, and got a job.

    To make a long story short, I'm thinking of getting a White 1998 RL with 48K miles for 22k. Does this sound like a good deal? I want a car that makes my 1.5 hour a day (65 mi ) commute easier.

    Any input will be greatly appreciated...
  • The MDX has been upgraded to 260hp using the same 3.5L engine.

    The 3.5L engine in the RL is COMPLETELY DIFFERENT from the 3.5L engine present in the MDX/Odyssey. The 3.5L of the MDX/Odyssey is of the J-series of SOHC engines from Honda, which also includes the 3.0L engine of the Accord and the 3.2L engines of the TL/TL-s.

    The J-series engines (3.5L of the MDX etc) are Transversely mountable engines with a 60 degree "V" angle. The 3.5L in the RL is a Longitudinally mountable engine with a 90 degree "V" angle. The 90 degree "V" angle is ideal in a V8 engine, while the 60 degree "V" angle is ideal in a V6. The 90 degree V6 needs bandaids like balancing shafts to quell vibrations.

    Normally Automakers go for a 90 degree V6, ONLY when they need to make a V6 on the same production line as their V8 engines. For example, the Oldsmobile 3.5L DOHC engines have a 90 degree "V" angle, since they are built on the same production line as the Northstar 90 degree V8 engines of Cadillac. Putting balancers to quell vibrations is cheaper than building an entirely new production line. I wonder why Acura put a sub-optimal 90 degree V6 in the RL ? And not even providing it with Variable Valve Timing technology that Honda already employs in almost all other cars of theirs, leaving the RL engine, just a notch above such old school engines as the General Motors Pushrod engines ?? Strange, very strange...

  • jjpcatjjpcat Posts: 122
    I was also puzzled by Honda's decision to use its lowest-tech engine in its more expensive autos except NSX. Same applies to the auto transmission. But I guess Honda believes no matter what kind of engine and transmission they put into RL, the most they can sell is 40k-50k each year and not making a whole lot of profit. The solution? Don't bother with its improvement. This generation of RL came out in 1996 and there won't be a new generation till 2004 at the earliest.

    Trying to keep its environment friendly image, Honda may not want to develop any V8 engines. And without V8 engines, I guess Honda would be extremely lucky if they can sell 40k/year in $40k+ range. I think Honda knows this and thus it isn't too eager to make improvements to RL.
  • I think. It will go on sale in a little over a year.

    2 pictures at:
  • l943973l943973 Posts: 197
    I have a 99 RL and all cell phone adaptors are too big to use in that outlet preventing the armrest from closing. 00 RLs and up fixed this problem by having the outlet point horizontally instead of vertically for bulky adaptors.

    For those with RLs that have an outlet pointing upward in their armrest, Belkin has created a cell phone adaptor with a pivot arm. I bought one at Staples and it works great. It bends so the armrest can close. I no longer have to charge up my phone with the dash outlet.
  • Beware if you decide to upgrade your tires and wheels to 17".

    I just upgraded to 17" wheels and tires on my 2000 RL. Although most charts at tire dealers list 17" compatible wheels and tires for this car, they generally will not fit without slight modifications. (I was told the standard RL Acura wheels have an uncommon offset that is not standard for most aftermarket wheel manufactures.) I went to a 17" chrome wheel with a 225/50-17 tire. The front fit fine, but the rear wheels rubbed on the fender wells going over bumps. I was able to bend over the inside lip on the wheel wells and slightly trim a piece of plastic from where the rear bottom panel connects to the wheel well. This allowed enough clearance to fix the rubbing problem. Most people may not be willing to make any modifications, so be sure to have the tire shop test fit BOTH the front and rear wheels prior to finalizing your purchase. (The tire shop I went to, America's Tire Company, only tested the front. They were however, very accomodating to help fix the problem and let me try several different tires without additional charge.) I would not recommend purchasing these items online, as most online vendors assured me the wheels would fit and your only recourse may be to send them back.

    I was amazed at how much better this new tire and wheel combo handles compared to the stock setup. And it also looks great. It was well worth the slight modifications for the end result.
  • l943973l943973 Posts: 197
    Here is the scoop from Honda corporate:

    "For 2003, Acura's flagship sedan receives subtle refinements that enhance its already distinctive styling. A new interior color, Slate Gray, is available as are three new wood trims: Auburn Camphor, Golden Camphor and Black Camphor. The 3.5 RL also receives three new exterior colors: Carbon Gray Pearl, Polar Blue Metallic and Champagne Mist Pearl. In the rear, a new taillight lens design features a clear turn signal portion. The alloy wheels also receive a new design. The 2003 RL is equipped with the Lower Anchor and Tethers for Children (LATCH) child seat restraint system."

    There is also mention of dual 8-way power front seats. I think the current is 8-way driver, 4-way passenger.
  • l943973l943973 Posts: 197
    There is mention of dual 8-way power seats, but the technical specs still say its a 4-way power passenger seat. I'm likely to believe the latter.
  • Plus 1 wheels, extra tires, clear taillight lenses, "Golden Camphor"..... I'll just take mine with fuzzy dice, please.

    Go Bluejays.
    Joe W.
  • Hi there,

    First time poster, but a grateful reader of recent months.

    I live in Switzerland and am about to buy my first Legend...or RL. I've got two cars under consideration, one a 1995, the other 1996. I'd be grateful for some advice or comments from this group about my best purchase. Here's the details....sorry to say I can't give a trim designation for either vehicle at the moment because they are both sight unseen and known here as Honda, as opposed to Acura Legends:

    1995 (Sept) Honda Legend 3.2i
    54,000 miles
    5 speed
    No CD, original timing belt and water pump

    1996 (Aug) Honda Legend 3.5i
    71,000 miles
    CD, new timing belt and water pump

    Both cars are the sedan models (wife and 2 kids, you know), and according to the sellers are in mint shape with no electronic problems etc.

    Obviously the key choice is between what in the States is called the RL and the last year of the Legend. From what I can make out the '96 has more torque, particularly at lower revs, and benefitted from a number of noise reduction measures. I know detractors argue against the RL series by virtue of it being less sporty than the Legend line, but to be honest I am not as much interested in hard cornering and flat out speed as I am in comfortable cruising on vacations and all round mechanical reliablility.

    A major question for me is whether the '96 RL models had teething problems and whether is it a year to be avoided.

    Basically I'd be very grateful if some of you hear could comment on which of these two cars you would opt for and why?

    Thanks for any help I can get on this,

    Dave Meddings
  • I can't really speak to your question, but you didn't mention being aware that you'll probably want to upgrade to a CD? And in another few miles you'll need to do the maintenance, the belt especially & maybe the water pump. All told, you could have nearly another $1000 tied up in the '95. I dont' see the mileage in either one as a big issue unless the cars aren't as "mint" as the sellers proclaim.

    Good luck.
    Joe W.
  • goralgoral Posts: 138
    We used to have a '91 Legend (first generation of the newer body style) and the car was fantastic. With the exception of couple minor problems, the car ran great. I sold it a year ago (to my cousin) with 125K miles and the car still drives almost like new. The '96 RL my wife currently drives is definitely more luxurious, but both cars are great cruisers. The Legend did have an edge in terms of reliability - the RL has had few more problems. As far as the timing belt/water pump go - should be replaced on both cars at 90K.
    Oh yeah, almost forgot - I will always take a "manual" transmission over "auto", so in this case my vote goes to the Legend.
  • I have been looking at both new and used '02 RLs at both Acura and other dealerships. With the current factory-to-dealer cash back incentive of $4000, the new RLs (w/o Navi) are selling for about $35K. I have looked at a couple of used '02s for which the dealers are asking more than a new car costs. When you explain the reality of the end-of-the-year incentives, like, why should I pay $38K for your used Acura when I can buy a new one for $35K, they look at you like you're from another planet. (The Acura dlrs. know the situation, but they play dumb, too.) How do you deal with these guys? Surely, the pricing of the used cars must "float" along with the prices of the new ones. Or am I missing something here?

    Another pet peeve of mine is the "now you see it, now you don't" lease deals. One week, the lease pmt. is $427/mo. Wait a week and "the plan has changed." Now the monthly pmt. is $503! What's up with that?! It's like shooting at a moving target, and performing due diligence and making an informed decision cannot be prolonged much. Just venting my frustration, and don't expect much help here.

    Also, can anyone confirm that the '03 RLs will have a VTEC engine? Other changes supposedly are minor.
  • kps0311, I share the same amazement at how dealers treat public like idiots. Few days ago I walked in. I only asked them when '03 are coming. And one dealer told me that although '02 price is $43K, he can give me one for $38K. Then we hurried to other clients, while another approached me asked for my phone, and told me that as soon as the announcment about '03 will come from Acura, we can give me a special deal on 02 "left over inventory" as he put it. I asked, hasn't 02 were on "left over" status for few months already? he said, no, it can not be considered left-over even single day before official announcement about '03 comes from the company. So, he promised that sometimes in November he would give me a call about '02. While, I know they have one or two left in stock as we speak.
    Maybe this is just their way fo getting back at public for becoming too informed and smart-assey. Actually, I don't know how to behave when I walk-in into dealership, whether let them know right away, that I know what's the deal, or play dumb and see how they'd treat you. But they invariably treat people like dummies.
    Few weeks ago, I CarsDirect found RL for me for $34,800. I passed only because it was not my color choice, and I wanted to bide my time for '03. But when time comes, I'll go thru CarsDirect, no way I can bring myself to deal wtih dealers directly.
    You either have to let them fool you, or you have to be clear that they lie to you, and you know it. I am not comfortable with either proposition.
    By the way, does anyone know when is the earliest incentives might kick in for '03? Do they have them in Feb/March season?
  • I really wouldn't try to negotiate. Occasionally, and very rarely, you'll find a salesman who not only knows what his product is about but treats you like a person. They will be self-evident if you meet one. Most of them aren't worth the conversation and definitely aren't worth the frustration. I agree with goldkey that a lot of the newer games are played because most new buyers enter the store with a lot of information.

    Try this: Do your homework on current rates, rebates, etc., and enter the dealership with a price in mind: your offer (low), your target (mid), and your max. When they give you a ridiculous song and dance, say "I'm ready to buy today -- here is my card (scribble the offer price on the back). It looks like you need to think about whether you want to sell this car or not. Get back to me if you decide you can sell for my price, unless I buy before I hear from you." And then, walk out.

    Most of the time you won't make it out the driveway without the sales manager coming out. If you've done your homework, don't budge. The worst they can say is 'no.' and then you can always come back and meet their lowest price.

    No need for hassle. They're sellling. Let them use your offer, not MSRP. The price is never marked down -- it's marked up from their true invoice.

    Hope it works out. Good luck.
    Joe W.
  • kennyg5kennyg5 Posts: 360
    I have similar experiences two weeks ago. The dealer had the audacity of asking $43,000 for an RL with nav. and said it was a good price since it was $2,500 off MSRP. When I told him that the internet was selling the car at $37,000 because Acura was giving the incentive, he told me that the internet price was not real and the best he could do was $38,000 ($5k less than his first quote). Clearly, the dealer was not dealing in good faith and was trying to fool uninformed customers. If not for the internet, many customers might be taken for a horrendous ride by unscrupulous dealers.

    Another dealer told me that if he had to trade his stock RL with another dealer (since he did not have my color), he would have to mark up the price by $800. I think this is gouging because my understanding is that dealers typically trade their cars with each other and do not pass the cost to customers. Come on, be fair.

    Overall, my shopping experience with the Acura dealers around me has not been great, which hurts Acura's image of being customer friendly.
  • I'm on my third Acura now. Two different dealers, three different salesmen. You must do your homework (gotta love But one thing you have to do is be prepared to say "no" at least five times. It's worked for me. My second Acura took five "no's" and my walking out of the dealership. Two days later they called and were saying "yes" to what I wanted.

    So to get a great deal, "Just say no". At least until you get what you want. Just my $.02.

  • To get the best deal you need to be willing to do some searching on websites. Most dealers post their new inventory. Dealers with 2 or 3 cars are going to hold on to them for a while to wait for daddy warbucks who has money to burn to pay sticker.

    You need to find a dealer with 10-20 RL's on the lot. They will be willing to move them. Also you can use them to jockey with a local if they have something you want. I am in KS and the area dealer wouldn't give me the time of day. Bought from a dealer in KC, 200 miles and got a great deal. I did the whole deal by e-mail. I was looking in KS, and adjoining states.

    Finally, don't deal with the guy that picks you up at the lot. Use the internet sales person. In general, they are trained to cut through the crap. When I got mine it was the GM. I ended up with one of the usual joes for the delivery which was no big deal.
  • Hello. Does anyone have a full-size spare for their 3.5RL? I know that the space used by the temporary spare is not big enough for a full size tire. A service guy at the dealer said that there would be a bump in the trunk floor if I put a full size down there. I'm just wondering how much of a bump it would be. Thanks.
  • I got my dream car today. A 1996 RL Premium
    with 65,000 miles. I bought it from a dealer in the Los Angeles area after having a bad experience with another dealer in buying a 1998 TL.

    This car is in excellent condition and looks beautiful. Got the car for $15,993 including new floor mats and detail of car inside and out. Also got a full tank of gas.

    I plan to drive the car for ten years. I had an '87 Accord Lxi that I had since new that I just sold with 194,000 miles. It still ran great. I am bored with current Honda styling and wanted Honda reliabilty with more luxury. Hence, the RL.

    Would it be wrong to sleep in it tonight?

  • What year RL came with the beautiful fan type wheels. Can you plese give me info on model number and availabilty?

  • .... on your purchase. I bought my '96 RL two years ago with 36,800 miles for $19,995 + TTL. No problems beyond normal maintenance other than replacing an oxygen sensor under an extended warranty purchased by the previous owner.

    I had considered a 2000 Accord EX V-6 sedan from the same dealership, but got the RL. Saved $3.5K and got a better vehicle with a longer remaining warranty (balance of the 7 yr/100K EW).

    Just had the car detailed last week. It doesn't look like a six-year old vehicle with 70K miles.
  • My previous post about the fan type wheels on an RL has lead me to the fact that they are the ones from a 1998 RL. They are described as having "13 slanted directional spokes". I really like the look of those wheels.

    Where would be a good source for these OEM wheels from a 1998 RL?

  • l943973l943973 Posts: 197
    Based on today's autoweek article, we should be seeing a new Acura badged gas-electric hybrid performance car soon. Honda execs say it will be in the next 12 to 18 months. (Based off the Acura DNX).

    Since the DNX is a 4-door performance sedan, this could be the next generation RL.
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