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2011 Acura RL

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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
9.1
Out of 10

Based on 149 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

Excellent Car

By on Thursday, December 24, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 143,000

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: "Awesome ride, stable at high speeds."

Cons: "No Ipod jack for all of the technology it has."

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

"I bought this car with 132500 miles and I must say that this car is great. I changed a lot of parts that normally needs changing; however, I love the car."

Great Luxury Sedan

By on Monday, December 07, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 19,500

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
9/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Very attractive pricing, great riding luxury sedan"

Cons: "None."

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

"The Acura RL is a very nice, full-size luxury sedan, with great driving dynamics and acceleration, a wonderful interior and one of the most reliable & safest cars on the road. You cannot go wrong with an Acura RL."

3 people out of 5 found this review helpful

Rock solid value & luxury

By on Monday, September 14, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 132,000

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
7/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "smooth, quiet, luxury, great audio"

Cons: "could be faster"

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

"Bought this 05 4 years ago @ 90k for $10500 privately (admittedly a GREAT price). Have thoroughly enjoyed this RL, outstanding audio, pretty good handling (could be faster), super quiet, and I still love the looks (excellent quality silver paint). Did timing belt, couple engine mounts, then normal oil/filter, tires.. At 132k miles this car looks and drives great!"

10 people out of 17 found this review helpful

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."

6 people out of 10 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!"

11 people out of 13 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."

4 people out of 4 found this review helpful

Looks like new drives like new

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