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2011 Acura RL Review

The 2011 Acura RL delivers good agility and high-tech cabin electronics. However, there are better-performing and more refined luxury sedans in the class.

Pros & Cons

  • All-wheel drive is standard
  • High-tech interior features
  • Good safety scores
  • No V8 engine options
  • Small back seat compared to rivals




Critics' Rating: 7.9
Performance: 8.3
Interior: 8.2
Total Cost of Ownership: 8.4
Safety: 9.6
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

2011 Acura RL Overview

The only available engine in the RL is a V6, but that doesn’t mean that the RL isn’t sporty. Its Super-Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD) system lets the RL take corners at high speed while maintaining impressive grip. The RL is more about agility than speed, and it’s also more about a luxurious high-tech cabin than old-school elegance. Under the hood, the RL’s V6 engine is on par with what’s available from much of the six-cylinder competition in the luxury large car class. The Acura RL isn’t the quickest in its class, and although a new six-speed transmission offers slightly improved fuel economy for 2011, it’s not the most fuel-efficient either.

The RL’s interior is a bit of a mixed bag. Auto critics liked the high-grade electronics, including its voice-controlled media system, though they noted that it takes time to learn to use. They also thought that the heated/cooled front seats were supportive and comfortable, but the rear seats are cramped compared to rivals’. In terms of trunk space, the RL lags behind most rivals, but offers standard all-wheel drive, which is a rarity in the class. Other notable standard features on the RL include heated and cooled leather front seats, a Bose 10-speaker sound system with a USB port for iPod connectivity and a noise cancellation system. The RL is pretty well-equipped, but with the technology package, shoppers get Acura’s navigation system with voice recognition and real-time traffic, a rearview camera and a genuine wood steering wheel.

See the full 2011 Acura RL specs »

Other Cars to Consider

The 2011 Lexus GS offers a smooth ride and a luxurious interior. The GS also gets better estimated fuel economy than the RL. Still, the GS isn’t equipped with the same amount of high-tech features as the RL, but the GS has a larger trunk.

If you are considering the RL but want a better driving experience, you should look at the 2011 Infiniti M. Reviewers raved about the sporty performance of the Infiniti M, which also gets slightly better fuel economy.

Compare the RL to the GS and M »


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