Elegant yet conservative, mid-size yet larger than average, and packing a powerful, ready-to-rev V-6 engine, the 2011 Acura RL delivers sophistication and technology in a well-controlled package, yet it somehow ends up unsatisfying despite its strengths. MotorAuthority rates the 2011 RL a 6, as these shortcomings hamstring what matters most to us: the sense of speed and capability a luxury sedan should bring.
Those strengths are muted by staid, uninspired styling, lackluster driver feedback despite a by-the-numbers approach to performance, and somewhat stale technology in what is clearly meant to be a cutting-edge sedan.
It's not that the 2011 RL isn't fast; in fact, you'll find it easy to break the speed limit without even meaning to. It's quiet, body motion is controlled, and eminently comfortable, even over broken roads. but it doesn't deliver the intuitive feeling you want from a sports sedan; the six-speed automatic is detached, the SH-AWD system provides grip but not gusto, and the steering lacks feedback.
There's not much inside the RL, either, despite its exterior proportions. In fact, it is toward the back of its class in terms of passenger space, only offering comfort for four adults. The seats themselves are nice enough, with firm cushions and moderate bolstering, but rear-seat passengers will find both head and foot room a problem. Even with compromised quarters, passengers will appreciate the active noise cancelling system that keeps the cabin hushed.
The RL, as you might expect from Acura, offers a lot of high-tech options, including active headlights, adaptive cruise control, Bluetooth and USB connectivity, heated and ventilated seats, and navigation with real-time weather and traffic. The navigation system is showing its age, though, with sluggish responses and an appearance that lags behind its key competition.
A new Acura RL is expected to replace the current model in the short term, though the company hasn't yet made any official announcements. For the full details on the current 2011 Acura RL, visit TheCarConnection's review.