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2008 Acura RL

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2008 Acura RL Review

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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.

Exterior

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

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2008 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."

7 people out of 11 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 7, 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!"

17 people out of 24 found this review helpful

Nest to Central Park

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