2007 Acura RL Review

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Marty Padgett Marty Padgett Editorial Director
December 19, 2008

The 2007 Acura RL is a top-notch luxury sedan that’s sportier than its conservative exterior might indicate, yet those who want to be seen―or have a V-8 under the hood―should look elsewhere.

At the TheCarConnection.com, the goal is to give you the best, most comprehensive review available on the 2007 Acura RL. The editors have not only driven the car, they've also compiled impressions from across the Web so that you have access to all the info out there about the Acura RL.

The big RL sedan is Acura's flagship vehicle, and the brand pours plenty of R&D into making it among the best of the bunch year after year. Overall, editors at TheCarConnection.com note that covering every Acura vehicle is a veneer of stability and sensibility―and the 2007 Acura RL is the king of this philosophy. In 2006 the RL picked up all-wheel drive and became sportier in flavor, and it hasn’t changed much for 2007.

The 2007 Acura RL has a standard 3.5-liter VTEC V-6 engine that puts out 290 horsepower. The RL performs well with the five-speed Sequential SportShift automatic, and the driver can manipulate the gears manually should they choose.

Handling remains top-notch, and the Acura RL feels a lot like a smaller car on a twisty road or on tight city streets than similar-sized rivals such as the Mercedes-Benz E-Class. Standard all-wheel drive aids traction, along with handling. Plus, performance-minded drivers can add an A-Spec performance package with a lowered, track-tuned suspension.

Review continues below

The exterior of the RL is quite conservative and unremarkable. Inside, a swoopy, ornate instrument panel dazzles the driver and front passenger. There’s more techno-friendliness, at least in appearance, here than on anything from Germany. Fine materials and attractive surfaces are used throughout; most are a clear departure from budget-priced Hondas, which isn’t always the case between Lexus and Toyota models. The backseat is quite spacious, with room for five adults.

Key standard features include a Bose audio system with DVD-Audio, as well as a keyless access and starting system. The 2007 Acura TL also has a couple of interesting option packages. The first is a Technology Package, which tosses in a rearview camera, Active Front Lighting (AFL), an enhanced wood interior, and a satellite navigation system with AcuraLink and real-time traffic info. The second option in the 2007 Acura TL is the CMBS/PAX Package, which supplements the RL’s top-notch crash-test results and includes the so-called Collision Mitigation Braking System (CMBS) and Michelin PAX run-flat tires. The system senses approaching front- or rear-end collisions and warns the driver. If a crash seems likely, the seatbelts automatically tighten and the brakes are applied.

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2007 Acura RL

Styling

The emphasis is class and sophistication. Some may be put off by the lack of overt sportiness on the outside, but there’s a lot to love inside. 

Overall, reviewers consulted by TheCarConnection.com felt that the styling of the 2007 Acura TL was in good form, but some said that it lacked character and excitement.

On the exterior, staid sophistication reigns—even with some upgrades for the Acura TL in 2007. ConsumerGuide notes that the year brings "slightly revised exterior styling," while Cars.com gets a bit more specific. "Compared with earlier models," the editors contend, "the current TL sedan exhibits a wider, more aggressive stance." Cars.com rounds out the analysis, noting that changes include "new fog lights mounted on each side of the front air dam, as well as redesigned taillights. The TL Type-S adds front ground effects, quad exhaust and black chrome trim."

ForbesAutos echoes these thoughts, pointing out that the 2007 Acura TL offers "a mid-product-cycle face-lift added a revised front fascia and new headlamps and taillights." Again, Cars.com goes a step further to describe the 2007 updates, saying, "The TL's body displays a pronounced wedge-shaped cabin-forward profile, led by a shield-shaped grille that incorporates a large logo. Acoustic windshield glass is installed."

Inside, sophistication is again the name of the game. ConsumerGuide sums it up: "The TL's cabin is nicely finished, with high-grade materials and assembly quality, and a vast array of standard luxury and convenience features." Cars.com points out "leather-trimmed seats are standard." Edmunds also praises the interior design of the 2007 Acura TL, spotlighting "an attractive, well-built interior designed with a more sporting intent in mind."

Across the board, there is also much praise for the design of the dashboard area and the instrument panel. Cars.com, for example, pronounces, "the instrument panel's multiple textures not only are pleasing to the eye, but also provide good visual rhythm."

Edmunds offers one caveat: Not everyone will be pleased with the interior redesign. "Aluminum inlays, bright blue electroluminescent gauges and aggressively bolstered seats should appeal to enthusiasts," they note, "but may put off those looking for a more classic luxury look."

Autoblog likes the sporty updates, referring to the 2007 TL's "sportier seating, carbon fiber trim, and racy steel pedals." At Cars.com, the info is much the same, though editors there take particular notice of the "brushed-aluminum trim" accenting the dashboard and the "red lighting, embossed headrests and carbon fiber trim" available on the high-end 2007 Acura TL Type S.

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2007 Acura RL

Performance

Reviewers love the engine and overall power of the 2007 Acura TL, but don’t expect racetrack-ready handling.

Performance results are mixed; reviewers appreciate the power on tap, but there isn't much love for the decision to hang on to front-wheel drive, especially at a time when Acura is giving the TL a sportier look and feel, nor is there much praise for the suspension and handling.

TheCarConnection.com finds reviewers of the 2007 Acura TL generally pleased with the engine and the acceleration it provides. ConsumerGuide sets out the specs: "Base versions have a 258-hp 3.2-liter V6 engine...Type-S models have a 286-hp 3.5-liter V6." The editors of ConsumerGuide have a bit more to say, pointing out "the Base and Type-S have strong acceleration, though they're best above 3500 rpm," and stating the base model would get to 60 mph in 7.0 seconds.

“The standard V-6 worked with either a five-speed automatic or a six-speed manual transmission, the latter has been dropped in the base model but is available in the TL Type-S," explains Cars.com. ConsumerGuide notes that the automatic transmission shifts "more aggressively in Type-S, and “downshifts in both suffer from a slight delay.”

Reports on handling are mixed. Edmunds pretty much sums it up: "In road tests we've always been impressed with the Acura TL's performance and handling abilities, but ultimately find that its front-wheel-drive setup can't compete with rear-drive models like the Infiniti G35, Lexus IS 350 or BMW 335i." Overall, the front-wheel-drive suspension of the 2007 Acura is a disappointment. Kelley Blue Book is the most chipper about the situation, noting that "while rear-wheel-drive and all-wheel-drive vehicles can enjoy some performance advantages, the TL explores the limit of what is possible with front-wheel drive and a torquey V-6."

ConsumerGuide attests that the 2007 Acura TL is still fun to drive, and "the base model is agile and well-controlled, with nicely weighted steering." Reviewers goes on to note that Type-S shows better performance than the base model overall, with "even sharper steering response and less cornering lean—though some testers found the steering artificially heavy at low speeds."

Gas mileage is about as expected—or perhaps a bit better—for a mid-size, V-6 sedan. ConsumerGuide gets 23.0 mpg out of the base model, and Kelley Blue Book reports getting as high as 27 mpg on the highway.

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2007 Acura RL

Comfort & Quality

Some might find the backseat tight, but otherwise the 2007 Acura TL is a well-built and very comfortable luxury sedan.

Riding in the 2007 Acura TL is a comfortable experience. Noise is well controlled and the seats are supportive. Though the TL claims to seat five, that last passenger can be a tight fit if all are adults.

Overall, reviewers are pleased with the cabin of the 2007 Acura TL. The cabin is designed for five passengers, and ConsumerGuide explains, "Seats afford good lateral support for spirited driving, though some of testers say the cushions are firmer than necessary and uncomfortably shaped. There's sufficient overall space for six-footers, but the overall design makes the cabin feel more cozy than it really is." Kelley Blue Book is not bothered by the tight quarters, reporting that "the TL is comfortable [and] roomy." Cars.com feels that "the front seats are extremely comfortable and supportive."

In the rear, ConsumerGuide provides an overview of the 2007 Acura TL passenger experience, pointing out that "headroom is tight for taller riders.” In addition, the reviewers explain that “the seat cushion is low to the floor, oddly shaped, and lacks thigh support,” and “entry and exit require negotiating a narrow lower door frame."

TheCarConnection.com finds that reviewers have no qualms about trunk design or in-cabin storage, and general thoughts on the overall look and feel are positive. Kelley Blue Book calls the experience "fast, fun, comfortable and convenient," and Edmunds lays it all on the line by saying the 2007 Acura TL is "a well-built, high-performing, feature-laden entry-level luxury sport sedan that should please most consumers shopping in this market." The editors at Cars.com feel the "TL's high-quality interior is warm and inviting. The materials are excellent."

ConsumerGuide also praises the quiet ride, saying "wind and road noise are modest. The engine note is sporty but subdued." Plus, the Type-S offers Honda's Active Noise Cancellation, which is "designed to electronically quell mechanical, road, and wind noise."

9

2007 Acura RL

Safety

Electronic stability control, a full roster of airbags, and near-perfect test scores, in a sturdy mid-size sedan, means you can have some peace of mind in choosing the 2007 Acura TL.

The 2007 Acura TL is among the best sedan choices in safety. Reviews consulted by TheCarConnection.com noted no key problem areas.

ConsumerGuide takes care to point out a few key features, such as "ABS, traction control, antiskid system, front side airbags, and curtain side airbags." Cars.com hits many of the same points, adding that "a passenger-side position sensor controls airbag deployment. An electronic stability system is standard."

The IIHS gave the 2007 Acura TL top ratings of "good" for frontal offset tests and side impact tests. The federally funded NHTSA awarded the 2007 Acura TL five stars in all categories.

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2007 Acura RL

Features

An impressive list of standard features helps keep the option game at bay.

In keeping with Acura’s tradition of selling well-equipped vehicles with only a few high-tech options, most features are included as standard, and that’s key for keeping the bottom-line cost on the Acura RL lower than it might be for rivals with a similar base price.

ConsumerGuide points out some of its favorite standard features, noting "leather upholstery with heated front seats, sunroof, wireless cell phone link, and DVD Audio." Edmunds touts the TL's "impressive level of standard equipment," while Kelley Blue Book echoes the sentiment, proclaiming that the car is "packed with a sophisticated lineup of standard equipment."

ForbesAutos is fairly rote in its description of the standard "power driver seat, heated front seats, DVD-Audio," while Cars.com prefers to wax a bit more poetic about the 10-way function of that power driver's seat in the 2007 Acura TL and the "tilt/telescoping steering column." Cars.com also appreciates that some functions can be accessed from the steering wheel.

ConsumerGuide notes that the voice-activated navigation system is standard on Type-S models but optional on the base 2007 Acura TL—though the editors also air a concern. "The available navigation system doesn't absorb primary audio and climate functions but does complicate some adjustments," they note. "Many of its functions take time to master. Its screen brightness often needs to be changed to suit light conditions, which is a hassle."

Nearly everyone is happy with the functionality and the switchgear in the 2007 Acura TL, but ConsumerGuide editors note that the buttons and knobs are a bit cluttered: "major controls are well marked, but minor functions are governed by numerous small controls that are difficult to identify at a glance."

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8.2
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Expert Rating
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Styling 8.0
Performance 7.0
Comfort & Quality 9.0
Safety 9.0
Features 8.0
Fuel Economy N/A
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