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2011 Acura RL

Overview
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2011 Acura RL Review

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KBB Expert Rating: 6.8

As the successor - in both market position and nomenclature - to Acura's Legend, the RL has large (albeit not legendary) shoes to fill. And with this current design iteration (at least at its 2005 model year launch) the RL did just that, providing a uniquely Honda take in its mid-premium segment. Sticking with a V6 powertrain may seem conservative, but in the context of today's Mideast unrest and $100/barrel oil, it has proven to look strategic. And while there are a host of all-wheel drive options now on the market, in its luxury niche' Acura was among the first - and certainly among the first to popularize the benefits of all-season traction with the promise of improved handling. What we have for this model year is a continuously improved platform and updated sheetmetal in almost (but not quite) desperate need of a thorough redesign.

You'll Like This Car If...

If, because of region or driving patterns, all-wheel drive proves to be a benefit, Acura's RL is a credible luxury take on that particular drivetrain. Audi has quattro, and both BMW and Mercedes employ some variant of all-wheel drive in most of their respective lineups, but Acura offers a simple way to buy and - equally important - a comparatively hassle-free ownership experience once you've written the check.

You May Not Like This Car If...

Without the availability of a V8/rear-wheel drive platform, Acura may never fully scale the top of the luxury automotive heap. However, with the escalating cost of fuel the world may be coming to Acura. Regardless of fuel prices, if you prefer to take your luxury in expressive doses, today's RL may go about its business entirely too quietly.

What's Significant About This Car?

Outside, the 2011 Acura RL enjoys a revised front grille, power folding side mirrors and available back-up sensors. Inside, interior tweaks include a new interior color, Dark Burlwood textured trim and more noise damping insulation. A more substantive mod is the addition of an all-new 6-speed automatic backing up the RL's 3.7-liter V6.

Driving the RL

Driving Impressions A look at the RL spec sheet suggests a vehicle well-equipped to compete in the mid-luxury, mid-sized segment, despite the lack of an available V8. Its Super Handling All-Wheel Drive...

offers a distinct advantage in inclement weather and aggressive driving, its 3.7-liter V6 - at 300 horsepower - doesn't lack for power or usable torque, and its all-independent suspension provides a viable balance between responsive and comfortable. Again, the emphasis here is on smooth sedan rather than sport sedan; those with fantasies of racing a Touring Car - rather than simply touring in a car - will be happier elsewhere.

Resonator Wheel Technology
A modification of the Acura wheel assembly - via a polypropylene Helmholtz resonator - significantly lowers middle frequency noise, allowing for a quieter cabin.

AcuraLink
Within the AcuraLink umbrella are real-time traffic updates, weather forecasting and up-to-the-minute info on traffic congestion. It's but one of several amenities that underscore Acura's commitment to useful - rather than superfluous - technology.

2011 Acura RL Details
Interior

Again, in the absence of a complete redesign no number of tweaks - and no amount of added technology - can disguise an interior now seven model years old. The tech, of course, is as new as tomorrow, with an Acura/Bose 10-speaker Surround Sound system, XM Radio, USB port connectivity, Active Sound noise cancellation and a GPS-linked, solar sensing automatic climate control system. Available packages - Technology and Advanced - add even more tech to the RL's almost nostalgic ambience.

Exterior
2011 Acura RL photo

Despite various updates over successive model years - including this one - there's no disguising one irrefutable fact: The basic architecture for this luxury sedan dates back to 2005. To its credit, the updates have been carefully integrated into what had gone before, but in model year 2011 an argument could be successfully made that - after 6+ years - it should all be gone. New 18-inch wheels help to keep the platform visually planted, and tweaks to the RL grille may temporarily quiet the blogs, but the overall impact is one of little impact. That is, of course, until you take note of the "blow-formed" aluminum hood, which we just did...

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

Acura's marketing team is to be commended for its take on merchandising; they keep it simple. Unlike the Germans, where the MSRP can - in a heartbeat - be increased by some 20 percent, Acura prefers to build in a comprehensive list of standard equipment, supplemented by a thankfully short list of factory packages. Among the notable standard items are a Bose 10-speaker sound system, a comprehensive menu of airbags and - not incidentally - Super Handling All-Wheel Drive.

Optional Equipment

As noted, the standard equipment menu is comprehensive. Above and beyond that is the Technology Package, which includes Acura Navigation, AcuraLink Real-Time Traffic and Real-Time Weather, rearview camera system, rear parking sensors and Active Front Lighting System (AFS). The Advance Package takes all of Technology and adds Collison Mitigation Braking, Adaptive Cruise, a genuine wood instrument panel and power-folding side mirrors.

Under the Hood

The bump in displacement - from 3.5 to 3.7 liters - resulted in a bump in both horsepower (300) and torque (271). New for 2011 is a 6-speed Sequential SportShift automatic with paddle shifters, making it easy to wring out every one of the RL's 300 horses. Not only is the RL more responsive, but also more efficient, with EPA ratings of 17 (City) and 24 (Highway), roughly five percent better (city) and 10 percent better (hwy) than in 2010. Beyond the improved functionality is an under-the-hood cover which minimizes the visual distraction of plumbing and wiring, while allowing the aesthetically pleasing V6 to effectively hold center stage. This is a nice contrast to the propensity of other manufacturers to simply cover the whole engine area with generic plastic.

3.7-liter V6
300 horsepower @ 6300 rpm
271 lb.-ft. of torque @ 5000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 17/24

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2011 Acura RL Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
9.0
Out of 10

Based on 135 Ratings for the 2005 - 2012 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    9.0/10
    Quality
    9.3/10
  • Reliability
    9.3/10
    Performance
    9.1/10
  • Comfort
    9.3/10
    Styling
    9.1/10

Perfect car. Dealer maintained. Beautiful

By on Friday, September 05, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 80,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Best car I have ever owned. Drives perfect"

Cons: "No cons other than one small scratch"

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

"One little scratch. Garaged dealer maintained Records of new tires brakes. Even changed timing belt ahead of dealer recommended guidelines Heartbroken to sell. Now in manhattan cannot afford to pay $400 a month for parking when it's hardly used"

6 people out of 12 found this review helpful

Best car I'd EVER owned thus far--& I've owned 16

By on Tuesday, August 19, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 60,000

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
Not Rated

Pros: "Fun to drive, reliable to maintain."

Cons: "Can't get enough driving time in it! No used ones"

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

"Powerful V-6, smooth, quiet, comfortable, the swift AWD gets you anywhere, wet/dry pavement! You marvel at its reliability & comfort for a Honda-built car. A sweet machine! Sorry, but nothing like it comes close to being built in the US, and I LOVE the USA !!!"

2 people out of 4 found this review helpful

Best automobile ever owned & I've owned 20 so far!

By on Thursday, August 14, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 59,975

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: "Reliability, very comfortable, very quick, fun"

Cons: "n/a"

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

"Dependable, comfortable, peppy & sporty for a sedan. The all-wheel drive gives this car remarkable control on slippery/wet pavement, although this feature does take away from its overall mileage (avg: 18.5 city, 29-30.5 hiway)."

Best car I have ever owned

By on Thursday, June 05, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 112,000

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: "Cannot be beat for the money"

Cons: "None"

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

"I have owned many cars over the decades and this is absolutely the best. It has the SH-AWD system which provided fantastic traction and response. Will get you "there" in any weather - rain, snow, etc. Comfort is amazing. My wife prefers it over her Mercedes for any road trips. Have owned 3+ years and no problems, weaknesses, etc to report. Well-designed, engineered and built. Probably the best-dept secret on the road. Will look seriously at Acura for any future car purchases."

10 people out of 16 found this review helpful

Very, very nice sedan!

By on Friday, May 30, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 11,800

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "AWD Strong V6 great handling great ride & looks"

Cons: "Rear view camera optics could be better"

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

"Purchased fully-loaded Acura Certified 2011 RL with Technology & Advanced packages. The RL had only 10K miles on it at just under 3 years - and got an amazing deal on what is a very nice AWD luxury sedan. Owned Acuras previously and know they are exceptionaly well-built. Had it 3 months now and have a combination of city and highway driving. I am very pleased with my purchase."

1 person out of 1 found this review helpful

Great Car

By on Friday, February 14, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 69,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "fun to drive, great ammenities standard"

Cons: "gas mileage"

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

"I have had my RL for almost 3 years and it has been a fantastic car. I bought it used with 30K miles on it and added an extended warranty. I had to replace the A/C system but other than that it has been very reliable. I wish gas mileage was a little better (I average around 20mpg), but I love the way it handles. The AWD is awesome and the car really sticks to the road in all weather conditions (we don't really get snow in San Antonio). I plan to keep this car and pass it on to my daughter in a couple years when she starts to drive...."

6 people out of 6 found this review helpful

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