2010 Acura RL Review

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The Car Connection Expert Review

Nelson Ireson Nelson Ireson Senior Editor
June 3, 2010

The 2010 Acura RL offers lots of features and strong safety. Performance takes a backseat in the 2010 RL-but technology and durability certainly don't.

We bring you the key facts on the 2010 Acura RL-what expert reviewers liked, disliked, other choices, and buying tips at TheCarConnection.com.

TheCarConnection.com's luxury-car experts drove the Acura RL for this hands-on Bottom Line review. Editors surveyed the rest of the reviews of the 2010 RL to compile this conclusive overview of Acura's biggest sedan. TheCarConnection.com also compares reviews to help you make a better buying decision.

Finding a car loaded with more high-tech gear than the 2010 Acura RL is a tough task. An array of electronics helps it deliver brisk, comfortable transportation for four or five adults. Priced to start at around $47,000, the RL is up against more expensive and more luxurious sedans from BMW, Lexus, Mercedes-Benz, and Audi, but is most fairly pitted against the likes of the Audi A6, Volvo S80, and Infiniti M37x. The Acura isn't the best looker or performer in the bunch, but it's reliable and comfortable according to nearly all sources.

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Last year, the large Acura RL received a front and rear fascia restyling, which carries forward for 2010. Unfortunately, the rest of the body remains rather plain in comparison, leading many to note a mismatched appearance. The large grille and wide, metallic trim with LED tail lamps at the rear contrast sharply with the sides and roofline. Inside, the story is much the same, with a blander interior than the updated face and tail would indicate. It's attractive and well-styled, though restrained. An available wood-trim package improves the appearance further.

The 2010 Acura RL's 3.7-liter V-6 engine, 300-horsepower output, and 271 pound-feet of torque put it right on par with the competition on paper. Peaky power delivery, with max power coming above 5,000 rpm, gives the car a high-strung feel, though off-the-line performance is still brisk. The five-speed paddle-shifted automatic is responsive, but lacks a sixth gear found in many competing cars. Overall performance is less than impressive, however, due to the car's 4,000-pound weight, computer-controlled all-wheel drive, and electronic throttle tuning. Imprecise in response to inputs and ponderous in quick driving, the RL doesn't have the zest for speed you'd expect from a luxury sport sedan. Ride quality, however, is smooth and refined, and fuel economy is on par for the class at 16 mpg city and 22 mpg highway.

There's no shortage of comfort inside the Acura RL, though it's fit for only four adults. Rear-seat space is unimpressive, considering the 2010 Acura RL's 110.2-inch wheelbase and 72.7-inch width. Up front things are much better, with the 10-way power-adjustable front seats providing soft yet supportive seating. Headroom is good, and the controls are all easily within reach, if somewhat confusing to comprehend at first. Cargo capacity in the trunk is a bit on the small side, offering considerably less trunk space than similarly sized cars, such as the 2010 Ford Taurus SHO. The Acura RL's real strong suit is quietness in the cabin, thanks to thicker glass and more insulation than rivals, while high-quality materials, including glossy, rich wood and solid, pleasant-feeling plastics, provide a relaxed, premium feeling.

Safety is a highlight of the 2010 RL's spec sheet, with five stars across the board from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The 2009 model won an Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) Top Safety Pick award, but the 2010 model doesn't manage to follow up with another, despite carrying forward the same safety features. Those standard safety features include a strong body structure, six standard airbags, all-wheel drive, anti-lock brakes with stability and traction control, plus tire pressure monitors, and optional radar-based cruise control and automatic curve-following headlights.

As alluded to earlier, the 2010 Acura RL is a technological bonanza, offering a plethora of features, including a standard navigation system, 10-speaker Bose stereo system with six-disc DVD-Audio changer, AM/FM/XM tuner, MP3 input, USB input, Bluetooth, and keyless entry. A sunroof is also standard equipment, as are xenon headlights. The navigation system features real-time traffic data from XM, but getting the most out of the full-features system is tough due to the knob-based control system. Leather upholstery, power sunshades, and dual-zone climate control further swaddle occupants in luxury.

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