While the interior of the 2009 Acura RL meets with general praise, the restyled exterior offends the aesthetic palate of most reviewers.
Edmunds is vociferous in its condemnation of the new RL's exterior appearance: “In the luxury segment, styling more than anything is what moves cars off the showroom floor, and that's where the RL falls on its buck-toothed face. …the whole big-and-bold grille thing has done the new RL no favors. Fang-face is not exactly an endearing descriptor.” Autoblog is just as damning: “Acura has implemented a new front end design for its sedans that has seemingly gone over with pundits like the proverbial lead balloon.”
Automobile Magazine's reviewer offers some perspective on the RL's design woes, stating, “'I'm not crazy on the new corporate face Acura is attaching to the new vehicles, but I think it looks best on the RL.”
The majority of the derision is focused on the RL's front end. From the side, MotherProof says, “It has a strong profile and seems to lean forward due to a couple of chrome strips lining the windows and the lower part of the body. The overall effect is elegant, strong and serious-looking, but not somber.” And from the rear, Automobile Magazine comments, “The taillights look like something from the Mercury parts bin—but I think they'd look better on a Mercury.”
The good news is the 2009 Acura RL's unsightliness ends with the sheetmetal. Edmunds notes, “There's a pleasing symmetry to the 2009 Acura RL's interior. It's plush without being ostentatious and much of it comes off like quality home furnishings.” MotherProof describes the RL's interior as “a subtle blend of neutral colors and textures that creates a peaceful haven.” According to Automobile Magazine, the 2009 RL's interior is “well appointed, comfortable, and well crafted.”
Overall, Edmunds sums up the 2009 Acura RL, saying, “The new RL is a Super Accord no more, yet it still lacks style, which is the very thing its competition does best.”