$15,523 - $17,844

2012 Acura RL Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2012 Acura RL was new.


Performance: 8.2

Reviewers love the 2012 Acura RL’s Super Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD), which makes the RL surprisingly nimble.

While the RL lacks the sporty aspirations of cars like the BMW 5-Series, it’s just as powerful as many of its six-cylinder rivals. Still, the lack of a V8 option means that power-hungry shoppers will probably want to look elsewhere.

  • "RL's ride is comfortable and composed, without float or wallow." -- Consumer Guide 
  • "Thanks to the SH-AWD system, the RL is one of the more entertaining choices in the segment." -- Edmunds 
  • "For everyday driving, the … 300-horsepower V6 performs admirably, matches the EPA's fuel economy estimates, and delivers plenty of refined momentum for mingling with lead-footed commuters." -- Kelley Blue Book

Acceleration and Power

The RL is not the quickest luxury large car, but reviewers generally note that its 300-horsepower, 3.7-liter V6 provides enough power to remain competitive with V6-powered rivals. Power delivery is smooth, and reviewers love the RL’s standard all-wheel drive system. Still, rivals like the Mercedes-Benz E-Class, BMW 5-Series and Infiniti M all offer V8 engines if you want more power.

While some competitors have more gears, critics don’t complain about the RL’s six-speed automatic transmission. According to the EPA, the 2012 Acura RL gets 17/24 mpg city/highway.

  • "Could use more power." -- Car and Driver 
  • "From a stop, and under way, RL is acceptably eager, but never thrilling. The available power is augmented by excellent throttle response and a smooth, responsive transmission." -- Consumer Guide 
  • "The RL's V6 engine revs smoothly and provides respectably quick acceleration." -- Edmunds 
  • "Power is on par with cars such as the Lexus GS 350 but arrives at higher rpm and, as a result, makes the RL feel relatively sluggish when starting from a standstill. ... Serving to offset any engine and transmission deficiencies is Super Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD), technology that makes the RL sure-footed in inclement conditions and a delight on twisty roads.” -- Kelley Blue Book 

Handling and Braking

The Acura RL’s all-wheel drive system gives it impressive road grip, which reviewers appreciate. Many say that the RL strikes a nice balance between comfortable and sporty handling, but if you’re looking for a four-door sports car, the RL may come up a bit short. Additionally, a handful of reviewers dislike the RL’s speed-sensitive steering, which gets mixed reviews for its lack of road feel. Its wide turning circle can also make the RL tricky to maneuver in tight places like parking lots.

  • "The strong, fade-free brakes offer controlled stops." -- Consumer Guide 
  • "The ride quality is balanced between luxurious compliance and sporty agility." -- Edmunds 
  • "SH-AWD vectors torque front-to-back and side-to-side when throttle is applied, providing a sporty feel and confident handling, particularly in bad weather.” -- Motor Trend 
  • "Braking is usually a worry-free endeavor, though we did notice a slight loss in effectiveness after an afternoon of spirited driving.” -- Kelley Blue Book 

Find the Best Price

Enter your zip code to get local pricing.

Get Dealer Quotes

To get dealer quotes, enter your zip code.

Search Used Listings

To search used listings, enter your zip code.

Change Location

Enter your zip code to see listings near you.

Please enter a valid zipcode

Best Price Program

Interested in a New?

Use the U.S. News Best Price Program to find great deals and get upfront pricing on the.