Interior / Exterior » 6
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STYLING | 6 out of 10
While the TL offers an edgy, geometric, and perhaps futuristic cabin, the RL's passenger space uses softer, more traditional forms
distinct lack of, well, distinction
Car and Driver
It looks pretty generic
no number of tweaks...can disguise an interior now seven model years old
Kelley Blue Book
button-covered center stack will appeal more to tech aficionados than luxury buyers
The design of the current Acura RL has been around, mostly unchanged, since 2005, and on the outside it's showing its age. Contemporaries like the Mercedes-Benz E Class, Lexus GS 350, or Lincoln MKS all have fresher faces and more fashion-forward exterior details. In fact, the RL now feels flat-out dull for a luxury car. Acura terms the RL's styling 'aggressive,' but we're not seeing it here.
Last year a somewhat blunter (and cheaper-looking) snout included a grille that broke up the fluid look and integrated appearance of the original RL grille. That said, the RL still looks tasteful and sporty, with nice proportions, but the clean-sided, high-shouldered look keeps it far away from the cutting edge.
Inside, the familiar Acura instrument panel has held up well; it's a little restrained, but still feels sporty and cockpit-like. 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. It stands out as unique (or perhaps a little obsolete) in that it doesn't rely on a touchscreen for climate or music controls. The cost, of course, it that there are a few more buttons, and a little more clutter.
The 2012 Acura RL has a pleasing interior design, but the anonymous exterior is a turnoff to luxury shoppers who want to flaunt it—even a little bit.