Acura RL Tech Package

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Description: 2012 Acura RL review and ratings by Motor Trend. Find RL prices, real MPG, specs, photos, and videos.

Acura’s flagship sedan, the RL, is often overlooked by many consumers, but the luxury sedan offers a pleasant, competent driving experience with upscale features. Since the TL moved upscale a few years ago, the 2012 RL got lost in the shadow of its sharper, more athletic little brother. But Acura has not completely neglected its stately flagship. A six-speed automatic transmission was added for 2011, and its luxurious interior also continues to be one of its stronger suits.

Powered by a 3.7-liter V-6 rated at 300 hp, the RL is offered in three trim levels: the RL, RL with Technology Package, and the RL with Advanced Package. The base RL comes packed with comfort and features, like heated front seats, leather-wrapped steering wheel, multi-information display, and Bluetooth. The Technology Package throws in navigation with voice controls, real-time traffic, a rear view camera, back up sensors, and ventilated front seats. Taking a step further is the Advanced Package, which, in addition to the Technology Package, adds maple wood trim, power folding side mirrors, and adaptive cruise control. SH-AWD comes standard in all trims.

Apart from its German rivals, the RL’s strongest competitor may be its better-looking younger sibling. The redesigned Acura TL is cheaper and shorter by just a half inch, and can be had with the same technology package and all-wheel-drive system.

After the 2011 RL received a significant refresh for 2011, the 2012 RL doesn’t change much. The six-speed automatic that was new last year is still mated to a 3.7-liter V-6 engine producing 300 hp, but the navigation system has been updated to include continuously updated traffic maps. Built on an aging platform, and with no V-8 planned, the RL currently has little to offer against its competition aside from Acura’s Super Handling All-Wheel Drive standard.

Although the Acura RL may look quirky to some, it was designed with aerodynamics in mind. It still wears Acura’s signature “rhinoceros nose” on the front grille, and the trunk lid (which seems to have incorporated styling cues from the last-generation Honda Accord and its bulbous rear end) reduces rear lift at high speeds. RLs with the Technology Package come with an Active Front Lighting System (AFS), in which HID headlights swivel up to 12 degrees. 18-inch wheels come standard.

Known for its luxurious interior, the RL features a host of high-tech gadgetry. Standard equipment includes a Bose 10-speaker Surround Sound System with DVD-Audio, AM/FM radio, Bluetooth, XM radio, and USB and auxiliary jack outlets, steering wheel-mounted controls, multi-information display, moonroof, keyless entry, and rear power sunshades. Both the driver and front passenger have a 10-way adjustable seat with six levels of heating and cooling as part of the Technology Package, which also includes navigation and voice controls.

RL has one engine on tap: a 3.7-liter V-6 engine that produces 300 horsepower, 271 lb-ft of torque, and a deep exhaust note. New for 2011 was the six-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters. The RL feels light and nimble, and Acura’s exclusive SH-AWD provides a sportier feel and more confident handling. Steering feels a bit vague and disconnected to the wheels. A revised subframe and transmission mounts improve smoothness.

Six airbags come standard, as does stability control and a host of braking and traction control aides: anti-lock brakes (ABS), electronic brake distribution (EBD), and brake assist (BA). Active headrests in the front seats enhance front passenger protection in the event of a rear end collision, and the RL also utilizes Acura’s Advanced Compatibility Engineering (ACE) body structure, which further enhances passengers in frontal crashes. Daytime running lights are also standard, along with an Occupant Position Detection System (OPDS) which deactivates airbags when it senses a small-stature person in the front passenger seat.

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