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2009 Acura RL Review

The 2009 Acura RL offers a handsome interior, standard all-wheel drive and a top-of-the-line safety rating. While the RL doesn't carry the same prestige as some competing luxury cars, it's still an excellent choice in its class.

Pros & Cons

  • Standard all-wheel drive
  • Numerous standard features
  • Outstanding safety score
  • No V8 engine option
  • Small trunk
  • Low fuel economy rating




Critics' Rating: 8.6
Performance: 8.4
Interior: 8.9
Total Cost of Ownership: 8.4
Safety: 10.0
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

2009 Acura RL Overview

The Acura RL received a number of updates for 2009, which helped the RL compete with rival luxury cars. Acura tweaked the RL’s V6 engine to make it more powerful than the 2008 model, but reviewers thought competitors still offered a more exciting driving experience. Test drivers also noted that many other luxury cars were available with a V8, which makes the RL underpowered in comparison with cars like the 2009 BMW 550i and 2009 Mercedes-Benz E550.

The RL’s standard all-wheel drive system was praised by reviewers for its fantastic grip, even when cornering at high speeds. However, a wide turning circle makes the RL less nimble than many competitors. All-wheel drive may be convenient in harsh weather, but it also means that the RL can’t match the fuel economy estimates of two-wheel drive cars.

The 2009 RL features luxurious cabin materials and a technology-packed interior. Standard features include power heated front seats, leather, push-button start, a sunroof, Bluetooth and a 10-speaker stereo with a USB port and satellite radio. Options were bundled into packages when the RL was new, and included features like a backup camera, navigation, ventilated front seats and adaptive cruise control.

Many reviewers preferred Acura’s infotainment system over those found in Mercedes-Benz and BMW sedans, citing the RL’s user-friendliness. When it was new, critics praised the RL’s seating, saying they were especially impressed with the available heated and cooled front seats. At 13.1 cubic feet, the RL has less trunk space than most cars in the class. However, its exceptional safety rating makes it a smart buy among used luxury cars.     

See the full 2009 Acura RL specs »

Other Cars to Consider

The 2009 Volvo S80 boasts excellent safety scores, and is available with front- or all-wheel drive. The S80 does offer similarly high safety ratings, along with a stylish interior, comfortable front seats and a large trunk.

The 2009 Audi A6 also matches the RL’s excellent safety score and provides a luxuriously-appointed interior. The base front-wheel drive A6 uses less fuel than the RL, which may appeal to shoppers who want to go farther between fill-ups. If you want all-wheel drive, look for the A6 3.0T, which also uses less fuel than the RL. 

Compare the RL to the S80 and A6 »


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