Week-Long Test Drive: 2010 Acura RL Brings Divine Comfort To Affordable Super-Luxury

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Sometimes after a long, hard and invariably stressful day at the office you just want to get into a car that will cosset and calm you on your drive home. Divinely smooth ride comfort is the order of the day and the engine, while powerful, never emits any unseemly sports car like shrieking.

All noise barring the classical concerto coming from the 10-speaker Acura/Bose audio system with XM is kept at bay as you revel in the glorious tactility of the supple leather seats. This is pure, unadulterated luxury in automotive form. And it can be found in the 2010 Acura RL full size luxury sedan.

Starting at $46,830 and maxing out at a little more than $54,000 for a fully loaded model with navigation, Bose audio, adaptive cruise control and most every other luxury gadget possible, the 2010 Acura RL is nothing if not a bargain in the full size luxury sedan universe. It could be said that the Hyundai Genesis is a bigger full-size luxury car bargain but buying that vehicle will also require hours of explanation to your luxury-brand snob friends. The RL never requires such tiresome effort.

Powered by a 3.7 liter 300 horsepower V6 that puts the power down through all four wheels via Acura's clever SH-AWD system, the RL always has plenty of oomph in reserve for passing situations and is estimated to go 0-60 in about 7 seconds. The ride, while highly absorptive, never succumbs to endless undulations after hitting a bump much like old Lincoln and Cadillac sedans of yore did with tiresome repetition.

One way in which the RL in no way resembles any other Acura product, however, is in steering feel.  Steering effort is extremely light and while this set-up isn't preferential for driving enthusiasts (the TSX and TL have much meatier feeling steering racks), it is a boon for shorter or weaker drivers who might feel intimidated by the RL's size. It does make sense that if you have a larger car it should have lighter steering as to feel lighter and less bulky. Those clever Acura engineers always know what they are doing.

The interior is also very airy and spacious with the two-tier dashboard freeing up extra front legroom all the while managing to look both modern and luxurious. All controls fall within easy reach and there really is enough room in this sedan for five adult passengers to sit comfortably.

The trunk of the 2010 RL is also a nice square shape that makes best use of its 13 cubic feet of space. The RL is perfect for a businessperson who regularly drives numerous clients to lunch meetings or anyone who is always the designated driver to the local Golf Course Country Club (the trunk is wide enough for multiple golf bags).

The only complaint levied against this classically styled and solidly built luxury sedan in the press has been the fact that it is only available with a 6-cylinder. There is no optional V8 and this one feature is widely offered in much of the competition from BMW, Mercedes, Audi and Infiniti.

Does no one realize that this is the future of the luxury car what with looming Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards and new emissions laws on the near horizon? The end of the V8 engine is seriously nigh and the 2010 Acura RL is just a harbinger of that fact.

The V6 in the RL is EPA rated at 18 city/22 highway which is not a bad figure when you consider how fast this heavy (over 4,000 pounds) all-wheel drive sedan really is. Certainly a quick improvement in fuel economy could be gained by giving the five speed automatic a few extra gears  but as the RL never seems to be in the wrong gear now, why mess with success? And isn't being so talented that no one ever asks you to change the ultimate luxury?

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