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2012 Acura RL

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2012 Acura RL Review

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The 2012 Acura RL’s strong points are a sophisticated all-wheel-drive system, a comfortable and quiet interior and a strong V6 engine. Yet, the RL is often lost amid stiff competition from the likes of the BMW 5 and 7 Series, Mercedes-Benz E-Class and even its own not-so-little brother, the Acura TL, which has many of the same features as the RL and costs less. This marks the final year for the long-running RL before its successor, the Acura RLX, arrives in 2013 with even more advanced and innovative technology.

You'll Like This Car If...

If you want a largish, premium sedan that has a quiet cabin, sophisticated all-wheel drive, Japanese reliability and understated competence, the RL is worth considering. In addition, being an RL owner also means driving a car that’s somewhat out of the ordinary.

You May Not Like This Car If...

If exhilarating V8 performance, stand-out looks or badge recognition are your automotive requirements, look to German and Japanese competitors, or even the Cadillac CTS.

What's New for 2012

With a revised fascia and new, 6-speed transmission introduced in the 2011 model year, the final-year model of the Acura RL carries over mostly unchanged. An upgraded navigation system now features updated traffic maps covering 130 areas within the United States and Canada.

Driving the RL
Driving Impressions

Quiet and competent describe the 2012 RL. The quiet is accomplished with noise reduction technology that literally extends to the wheels, which are specially designed for less resonation. The competence...

... is from a 3.7-liter V6 engine that makes 300 horsepower and moves the comfortable sedan with responsive performance, and from its Super Handling All-Wheel Drive. With all four wheels driving the vehicle through a torque vectoring technology that keeps delivering the power to the wheels that can best use it, the Acura feels supremely planted even on wet, slippery roads. The Acura RL is a very comfortable car to drive, and strongly favors that attribute over the sportier sort of characteristics found with, say, the BMW 5 Series or the Cadillac CTS. When more quickness is desired a sport mode delivers faster acceleration. The RL is very good at soaking up unwanted noise, awkward bumps and road irregularities, and always feels at ease.

SUPER-HANDLING ALL-WHEEL DRIVE
Dubbed “SH-AWD,” this system drives all four wheels, gives the 2012 RL superior traction and is particularly beneficial on slippery surfaces.

FIT AND FINISH
Ease into its posh cabin and the 2012 Acura RL feels even more expensive than its price might suggest. Super-soft leather and available maple wood trim add to the luxury.

2012 Acura RL Details
Interior

The Acura RL’s interior is showing its age. Its vertically-spread dash buttons, a thick steering wheel and flat colors might have worked a few years ago, but not so much today. That said, the RL’s creature comforts are up to par with other luxury vehicles and include ventilated front seats, backup sensors and a Bose 10-speaker audio system that can play USB drives, iPods, DVD audio discs and CDs. The front seats are very comfortable and rear legroom is generous. At just over 13 cubic feet, the RL’s trunk capacity is on the small side among this class.

Exterior
2012 Acura RL photo

The 2012 Acura RL’s understated nature includes its somewhat innocuous appearance. In fact, you’d be forgiven if, at first glance, you mistook it for a Honda Accord. It’s not that the RL is not good-looking; it just doesn’t particularly stand out from the crowd. The RL’s front and rear ends do have some character, but are much more conservative than the recent looks of the Acura TL. Large 18-inch alloy wheels and twin tailpipes convey a hint of performance.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

The 2012 Acura RL has a 3.7-liter V6, all-wheel-drive, a 6-speed automatic transmission, power moonroof, power rear sunshade and manual rear-door sunshades, a 260-watt 10-speaker audio system with voice recognition and six airbags. As with other Acura vehicles, the RL comes with Total Luxury Care, which offers roadside assistance, concierge service and emergency travel assistance.

Optional Equipment

Major options for the Acura RL are bundled into packages. The Technology Package adds satellite navigation with real-time traffic and GPS-linked climate control, rear-view camera, backup sensors and ventilated front seats. The top-of-the-line Advance Package includes a collision-mitigation system, adaptive cruise control and power-folding side mirrors.

Under the Hood

The 2012 Acura RL is powered by a 3.7-liter V6 that makes 300 horsepower and 271 lb-ft of torque, more than enough power to move this comfortable all-wheel drive sedan with easy response. Premium unleaded fuel is recommended. The transmission is a smooth-shifting 6-speed automatic that can be manually shifted via steering wheel-mounted paddles; the transmission contributes to the RL’s EPA highway fuel-economy rating of 24 mpg.

3.7-liter V6
300 horsepower @ 6,300 rpm
271 lb-ft of torque @ 5,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 17/24 mpg

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2012 Acura RL Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
9.1
Out of 10

Based on 150 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

Severely underrated and almost forgotten-about car

By on Tuesday, February 23, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 170,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Design Aged well, handling, feature-content"

Cons: "lacks a gear, trunkspace"

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

"It's good in that you don't see many of these out there. Even with its conservative styling, you get the "What kind of car is that?" vibe from bystanders simply because these are a bit of a hidden gem. It's conservative yes, but these types tend to age well and the RL meets that criteria to the T. It looks as fresh as a brand new car in my opinon minus that hideous Acura beak - subtle, understated but I wouldn't call it bland. Driving-wise it sure is more engaging than the Lexus GS I traded in for which felt cumbersome, big and soul-less. The RL, on the other hand, holds is own. While any Audi with an S, or a BMW with an M in its name will outhandle and outrun the RL handily, the Acura is sure-footed, doesn't drive like the car of its footprint and provides an adequate acceleration when needed. Sometimes it doesn't feel like 300hp but I attribute that to the 5 speed transmission that doesn't seem to be geared for performance. And in typical Honda fashion, most of the power is higher up in the RPM's - fun, but sometimes the low-end grunt is missed. If you're not an emblem-chaser, the RL is a more than competent luxury car. Acuras won't impress your date like a Mercedes or Audi would, but if you can look past that, it's definitely worth cross-shopping with the big guns. My first Acura (not first Honda), won't be my last."

6 people out of 9 found this review helpful

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."

1 person out of 1 found this review helpful

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."

6 people out of 10 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!"

21 people out of 34 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."

9 people out of 14 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!"

16 people out of 23 found this review helpful

Nest to Central Park

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