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2011 Acura RL Styling

6.0
On Styling
For some seasoned luxury car buyers, the anonymity might be appreciated, but as Acura's left it for 2011 this sedan looks derivative and lost from the outside.

Stepping around the RL, it just feels flat-out dull for a supposedly glitzy luxury car. Acura calls the RL's exterior styling aggressive, but after hemming and hawing from various angles, we can't see it; it's a very conservative sedan. The snout had been its main talking point, but what replaces it this year is a revised, oddly conservative (and cheap-looking) grille treatment that looks less fluid and integrated than the original (of this generation) 2005 RL.

Inside, it's better, with the familiar Acura instrument panel layout—still close to that used in the TL—which has held up well, even if it's a bit restrained. While stylistically it's pleasing and complex, with a middle belt that wraps across the dash and around into the doors, functionally it's one of the simpler designs among large luxury sedans, with center-stack controls nicely arranged with climate control up top, audio below that, and nav/trip controls beneath that. The setup, which doesn't rely on the touchscreen for climate or music controls as many other vehicles now do, feels refreshingly simple, even though it's a bit cluttered in appearance. 

While the interior of the aging 2011 Acura RL is still reasonably stylish and well designed, the exterior feels too careful and conservative to be noticed in the crowd.

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