2008 Acura RL

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2008 Acura RL Review

By KBB.com Editors

In the constantly-changing world of design, what's new today can quickly become old news. This axiom can be applied to the Acura RL's styling, which has gone from cutting edge to fairly common in just a few years. Despite its relatively tame exterior, the RL has enough high-tech gadgetry and premium luxury features to satisfy most customers, not to mention an excellent repair history and attractive window sticker. The RL's lack of a powerful V8 limits its ability to compete with newer models from Audi, Infiniti and Lexus, but Acura's road-hugging Super Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD) drivetrain is nothing to sneer at, giving the RL an impressive ability to get around corners and instill driver confidence.

You'll Like This Car If...

If you're a technology junkie, the 2008 Acura RL showcases the latest automotive high-tech gadgetry in an attractive package that is both user-friendly and semi-intuitive. Drivers who prefer razor-sharp handling to straight-line performance will love the RL's Super Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD).

You May Not Like This Car If...

If you're expecting neck-snapping starts from a standstill, the 2008 Acura RL's 256 pound-feet of torque will not impress. And for those with a full-on performance bent, the RL does not offer a manual transmission.

What's New for 2008

No major changes for 2008.

Driving the RL
Driving Impressions

On the racetrack, the 2008 Acura RL's Super Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD) system had an obvious effect on handling, ensuring crisp steering response and precise control and direction through the...

... corners. The car felt taut enough even if the steering was light and a little vague. Its 3.5-liter VTEC V6 produces 290 horsepower and 256 pound-feet of torque, impressive figures for a normally-aspirated six-cylinder engine, but with those peak figures waiting at the high-end of the rev range the RL can take a few seconds to gain momentum. Given room to run and a firm right foot, however, the RL gets stronger and stronger.

Real-Time Traffic Data
While service availability is still limited, the ability to access current traffic information en route and avoid unexpected traffic delays can easily save a commuter several hours of driving.

Voice-Activated Navigation
Paging through menus and typing in city and street names can delay your departure. With voice-recognition capability, the RL lets you dictate your destination on the way to the highway.

2008 Acura RL Details
2008 Acura RL photo Interior

Inside the 2008 Acura RL, wood trim combines with perforated leather to create an interior befitting the car's sport-luxury disposition. The "industrial" door handles at first seem out of place, but soon make sense for the car's design and functionality. While this RL is three noticeable inches shorter than the previous RL, the surprisingly roomy back seat offers more passenger volume. A towering center console topped by an eight-inch LCD serves as the nerve center for the RL's long list of high-tech goodies.


From the front and side, the RL is unmistakably Acura. A steep hood and angled beltline accent a now-familiar wedge shape, accompanied by angular headlamps and Acura's signature five-sided grille. Seventeen-inch alloy wheels fill the wheel wells and enhance the RL's aggressive image. In back, the RL distinguishes itself with a mildly-pronounced trunk line and some slightly softer contours.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

The 2008 Acura RL's standard-equipment list is packed with sophisticated technology. This includes Bluetooth hands-free phone interface, an Acura/BOSE Surround Sound system with six-disc DVD-Audio/MP3 and DTS changer, cabin-quieting Active Noise Cancellation, keyless entry and start and a power rear-window shade.

Optional Equipment

The 2008 Acura RL offers only two options. The first is the Technology Package that includes Voice-Activated Navigation, Active Front Lighting, AcuraLink satellite communication system with real-time traffic information, rear-view camera, upgraded wood interior and GPS-linked, solar-sensing, dual-zone, dual-mode automatic climate control. The second is the Technology Package plus the Collision Mitigation Braking System, Adaptive Cruise Control and Michelin PAX Run-Flat tires.

Under the Hood

The 2008 Acura RL's V6 looks impressive on paper, but the strongest part of the torque curve is high in the rpm band. Because of this, some will find passing maneuvers are best performed using the manual-shift mode.

3.5-liter V6
290 horsepower @ 6200 rpm
256 lb.-ft. of torque @ 5000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 16/24

Trading in or Selling? Know where you stand with the most up-to-date Kelley Blue Book Value at your fingertips. See your car's value

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