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2009 Acura RL

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2009 Acura RL Review

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Though many suggest that the prescription for a genuine luxury sedan must include an available V8 engine and rear-wheel drive, the 2009 Acura RL continues to be built for buyers interested in an alternative approach. Hitting dealer lots with a refreshed appearance and a bright new grille, Acura's top-of-the-line four-door also boasts a more powerful V6 engine, refined all-wheel-drive and suspension systems, a couple extra inches of body length, a quieter cabin, and an available Technology Package stocked with modern conveniences designed to make your time behind the wheel more comfortable and enjoyable. There's plenty to admire in the 2009 Acura RL, especially by those not intent on owning the quickest luxury sedan on the cul-de-sac.

You'll Like This Car If...

Shoppers of luxury sedans will applaud the 2009 Acura RL's long list of standard equipment and its simple pricing structure, while those with a zest for driving may find themselves on curvy roads testing the capabilities of Super Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD).

You May Not Like This Car If...

Despite its powerful V6, shoppers considering the 2009 Acura RL may be turned off by the lack of rear-wheel drive and a V8 engine. Competitors from Audi and Mercedes-Benz promise superior fuel economy, and models like the Hyundai Genesis deliver surprising levels of luxury at a significant discount.

What's New for 2009

Acura has treated its flagship RL sedan to a new look and numerous mechanical and technological advancements for 2009. Situated under the hood is a more powerful V6 engine, while the interior offers features such as Bluetooth audio and up-to-the-minute weather and traffic information.

Driving the RL

Driving Impressions For everyday driving, the 2009 Acura RL's 300-horsepower V6 performs admirably, matches the EPA's fuel economy estimates, and delivers plenty of refined momentum for mingling with lead-footed commuters. Power is...

on par with cars such as the Lexus GS 350 but arrives at higher rpm and, as a result, makes the RL feel relatively sluggish when starting from a standstill. The accompanying five-speed transmission is smooth but can be slow to downshift, a trait that's noticeable when attempting to pass another vehicle; drivers can shift on their own schedule by using paddles on the steering wheel. Serving to offset any engine and transmission deficiencies is Super Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD), technology that makes the RL sure-footed in inclement conditions and a delight on twisty roads. Braking is usually a worry-free endeavor, though we did notice a slight loss in effectiveness after an afternoon of spirited driving.

XM Note
With the touch of a button on the 2009 Acura RL's console, XM Note allows you to capture up to 10 seconds of up to 30 songs heard on XM Satellite Radio, as well as the artist name and song title.

AcuraLink
Falling under the AcuraLink umbrella are real-time traffic information, up-to-date weather forecasts, and a rerouting feature that steers drivers away from heavy congestion. Navigating your way through the chaotic evening rush hour just became more palatable.

2009 Acura RL Details
2009 Acura RL photo Interior

As a flagship model, the 2009 Acura RL's interior disappoints as much as it impresses. Kudos go out for spacious accommodations, the Technology Package's triple-setting heated and cooled front seats, padding in all the right places, and a cabin that's both quiet and easy to enter and exit. We were less enamored by the driver seat's lack of lower support during long drives, perforated leather upholstery that felt like it had been borrowed from a Honda, an utter lack of storage provisions for rear seat passengers, and a sunken cargo floor that made taking heavy items out of the trunk a difficult task.

Exterior

Most obvious among the 2009 Acura RL's exterior revisions is the large, shiny grille that is quickly becoming the marker for every model within the Acura lineup. Also new for 2009 are standard 18-inch alloy wheels, a reshaped rear end with revised taillights, and a more pronounced lip on the trunk lid that helps to make the sedan more aerodynamic. Overall, there's more RL to love, thanks to 70 pounds of added weight and a body that's been stretched by two inches.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

Given the RL's luxury car status, Acura has fitted its largest sedan with not only the usual bits like a Bose sound system and power features tied to a driver-side memory function, but also a USB port located in the center console that offers quick and seamless access to tunes on your iPod, and an Active Sound Control system that does a commendable job of muting engine noise. Safety is addressed by a plethora of airbags, Vehicle Stability Assist, and a strong passenger compartment that helped the 2009 Acura RL achieve five-star ratings in government crash tests.

Optional Equipment

An available Technology Package has been designed to make commuting a bit less stressful in the 2009 Acura RL. At the heart of it all is a voice-activated navigation system that delivers current traffic and weather information, a timesaving traffic rerouting function, xenon headlights that swivel to illuminate the direction of travel, and heated and cooled front seats. The Technology Package can be ordered with Acura's Collision Mitigation Braking System (CMBS). CMBS is paired with adaptive cruise control and prepares the driver in the event of a sudden emergency by tightening the driver's seatbelt and applying brake pressure.

Under the Hood

As part of Acura's redesign of the RL, 2008's 290-horsepower 3.5-liter V6 was replaced by a new 3.7-liter V6 shared with the 2009 Acura MDX. Coinciding with greater displacement are ratings of 300 horsepower and 271 pound-feet of torque. The automaker's five-speed SportShift automatic transmission, complete with paddle shifters, continues to represent the single gearbox offering. In terms of fuel economy, the EPA suggests that the 2009 Acura RL will travel 16 miles per gallon (mpg) in the city and 22 mpg on the highway (down from 24 mpg in 2008) while burning premium fuel. Those figures are very similar to ratings for the Mercedes-Benz E350 4MATIC but are slightly less than figures reported for a V8-equipped Audi A6 quattro.

3.7-liter V6
300 horsepower @ 6300 rpm
271 lb.-ft. of torque @ 5000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 16/22

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2009 Acura RL Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
9.1
Out of 10

Based on 146 Ratings for the 2005 - 2012 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    9.1/10
    Quality
    9.4/10
  • Reliability
    9.4/10
    Performance
    9.1/10
  • Comfort
    9.3/10
    Styling
    9.1/10

Favorite car I ever owned

By on Tuesday, August 11, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 111,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Good riding reliable car"

Cons: "Front carriage is too low"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"Drives well, so comfortable, style of the RL has not changed much so people think it is fairly new because I do keep it up well."

4 people out of 4 found this review helpful

Underrated and overlooked

By on Thursday, July 30, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 55,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Standard features beat the competition hands down"

Cons: "None"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

Nest to Central Park

"This car used was a bargain - because it is overlooked and underrrated. Many publications talk about its bland style and poor performance with the V6. Let me tell you - go the to local Lexus dealer and put an ES 350 and an Acura RL from 2005 bumper to bumper and you tell me which is the 10 year old design. Performance? With the SH AWD it corners as if on rails and when that VTEC kicks in you feel all 290-300 HP. Traction in winter is incomparable. It has every creature comfort imaginable and still today - comparison shop. Ours has leather, adaptive headlights, backup camera, navigation, multi disc CD changer, real wood inlay in the dash and doors, power rear window sunshade, side sunshades, heated seats, - go to an Audi, BMW or Mercedes dealer and see on what models those features are STANDARD as on our 2008 RL? $3000 of options on the Audi A6. Adaptive headlights alone on the BMW 5 series are $1900!"

7 people out of 9 found this review helpful

Nest to Central Park

Confortable, Powerful and good conditions

By on Wednesday, July 29, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 95,500

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "very reliable car"

Cons: "Well kept condition expect some little dens"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8

Looks like new drives like new

"Replaced 4 tires 01/15, Battery 05/15, Engine /Air Conditioning Filters 7/15. Complete record with dealer Maintenances."

1 person out of 1 found this review helpful

Looks like new drives like new

You just can't beat it for the price

By on Monday, July 20, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 175,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "Reliable. Great in snow. Fairly fun to drive."

Cons: "Seats are too "sporty" for larger people."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"Obviously, you will be buying one of these RLs used now since this body style is no longer made. In my opinion, you cannot buy a better used car for the money. Good examples cost less than $10,000. That is Honda Civic money. The SH-AWD system is amazing. I have always driven 4WD and AWD vehicles. This is the best system out there. The car isn't perfect, the seats are a bit tight for "big" people like me. But normal people just rave about the comfort. The stereo is awesome. I get over 30-mpg on the highway at 75-plus. In 175,000 miles, here is what has been done to the car. Oil changes for engine, transmission and rear diff. Brakes - once. Timing belt. Wiper blades. Tires. That is it."

3 people out of 5 found this review helpful

Excellent, dependable, luxurious car

By on Tuesday, June 09, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 73,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Comfortable, looks great, drives well, good gas mi"

Cons: "Clearness of back-up camera; graphics difficult to"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"I love this car. The only reason I am considering getting a new car is because of age. I have had no problems at all with this car."

2 people out of 7 found this review helpful

Purchased new in 2007, have 85K, look to put 200k

By on Saturday, May 16, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 85,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Reliability,Build Quality,Performance"

Cons: "Regular scheduled dealer maintenance can be pricey"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"Purchased new in 2007. The RL came standard with Navigation, SH-AWD, rear camera, surround sound Bose system, 290 HP V6. Test drove the BMW 5-series, Lexus and Acura. MSRP was about the same on all three. The key difference was that the Acura RL had all the options mentioned above as standard, on the BMW and Lexus they were all at an extra cost. There was no discerning difference in performance between the 3. Going into my 9th year with the Acura RL and its still performing as well as when it was new, Great car."

9 people out of 13 found this review helpful

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