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, including its prominent "buck-tooth" face. 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 by stating that while the beak isn't doing the RL any favors, it perhaps wears the look better than any other Acura.
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." They concluded that the overall look is strong, if somewhat subdued. And from the rear, Automobile Magazine commented that the look was cribbed from Mercury, although the defunct brand wore it better.
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 that the car is no longer a "super Accord" but that it lacked style, which many of its competitors have.