Road Test: 2010 Acura RL Elite

Road Test: 2010 Acura RL Elite

05.05.2010: Text: Iain Shankland / Images: Acura/Honda When I last drove the Acura RL several years ago, I absolutely loved the styling, however, while I liked it, there were too many niggly things that left me somewhat disappointed. With an All-new RL for 2010 I ju

Text: Iain Shankland / Images: Acura/Honda

 

When I last drove the Acura RL several years ago, I absolutely loved the styling, however, while I liked it, there were too many niggly things that left me somewhat disappointed. With an All-new RL for 2010 I just had to take a second look at Acura’s flagship sedan. What would be the final result? Let’s just say that it’s my new favourite car! Read on….

First Impressions


I’ve had the opportunity to drive Acura’s before with the SH-AWD system, but until this week I’ve never been fortunate enough to actually feel it in action on very wet and snow-covered roads. It’s very impressive!  On one occasion we had the good fortune to be going up a very steep hill that had yet to be plowed - the system kicked in and you could just feel the tires grab the road and haul us up the hill effortlessly.

I was following (actually I caught up to) a pickup truck that was struggling to get grip and getting slower by the second, as his rear end swung wildly trying to get a grip of the road. I could easily have overtaken him. All week we had horrible weather and the RL proved to be the ultimate car for our winter excursions.


So what is SH-AWD?


According to Acura, the system offers dramatically enhanced traction, control and acceleration in all weather conditions. Accelerate and the system directs up to 40% of the engine's torque to the rear wheels to, in turn, deliver full power to the ground. During a moderate corner the rear wheels help generate cornering power. Electronic sensors monitor the speed and tightness of the turn, and automatically vary torque to the outside cornering rear wheel, resulting in enhanced stability and driver control.

During Acceleration through a corner, the outside cornering wheel gets up to 100% of the available rear wheel torque and is accelerated to rotate 5% faster than the inside cornering wheel, providing greater turning force and an incredibly stable corner line. During straight-line cruising, the SH-AWD's sophisticated electronic controls automatically monitor road conditions and alternate torque from front to rear, as well as splitting rear wheel torque from left to right. The end result is a continuously smooth, stable ride in poor weather or road conditions.

 

The drive-by-wire throttle has to be the best of its kind that I’ve experienced to date. Usually I’m indifferent to them, but the RL had instant response from just the slightest of prodding on the accelerator pedal. Combined with the terrific 5-speed automatic transmission, this car is an absolute blast to drive. The transmission can be operated in two modes while using the paddle-shifters…

I had the perfect opportunity to try it out one day when we were entering the highway, gearing down to second while stomping on the throttle, off we went blasting past all the slower moving vehicles in front of us while the transmission stayed on second gear right up to the rev limiter.

Once I’d reached my desired “altitude” I eased off the gas and the transmission shifted seamlessly to fifth. Under normal driving conditions, had I not been flooring the throttle it would have just gone up through the gears by itself. I loved the fact that it held my chosen gear for as long as I needed/wanted it to. Shifting into the “S” (Sport) mode, gives you full control as if it were a manual transmission – don’t change gears and the engine bounces off the rev-limiter!

Rear seat accommodation was good, but not fantastic. The rear seats are very comfortable and getting in and out is definitely aided by the doors that open almost 90 degrees. Knee and hip room is very good, while foot space is somewhat limited and headroom is tight for taller people. The rear seats are more in keeping with a sports sedan than a luxury sedan. I certainly wouldn’t want to be the third person in the middle position of the back seat even on short journeys!

Trunk space is good for a car of this size with the suspension keeping well out of the way to maximize cargo capacity. The rear seats don’t fold, but there is a lockable ski pass-through in the folding armrest.

The Acura RL comes with plenty of standard features – just as you’d expect from a car in this segment of the market. Some of the standard features include: Acura Navigation System with bilingual Voice Recognition™ & rearview camera; Electronic tilt and telescoping steering column with driver recognition; Keyless Access System (with driver recognition for driver’s seat, steering wheel, outside mirrors, climate control and select audio and navigation settings); Both front seats get 8-way power adjustment with power lumbar support; Perforated leather-trimmed Heated front and rear seats; Power rear-seat headrest retractor; Power rear sunshade; Rear side sunshades (manual); Maintenance Minder system.

The audio system is nothing short of spectacular, featuring an Acura/Bose® 10-speaker Surround Sound System with 6-disc CD, DVD-Audio/DTS® changer, AM/FM/XM tuner with MP3/WMA compatibility, Auxiliary input jack and a USB connector.


Safety Highlights include:
High-Intensity Discharge (HID) headlights with headlight washer system; Heated side mirrors, reverse gear tilt-down and integrated turn indicators; 4-wheel anti-lock braking system (ABS) with Electronic Brake Distribution (EBD) and brake assist; Super Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD); Theft deterrent system with electronic immobilizer; Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) with location and pressure indicators; Vehicle Stability Assist (VSA®) with traction control; HandsFreeLink Bluetooth wireless telephone;
 
The Elite Package adds:
Active Front Lighting System (AFS); Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC); Collision Mitigation Braking System™ (CMBS®); Ventilated, heating and cooling front seats. 
ITE PACKAGE Adds to the RL


The Conclusion

I didn’t like the RL.. I LOVED it!!! The last time I felt this exhilarated driving a car was when I had the Mitsubishi Evo X for a week. It’s a perfect-sized four door car that is extremely comfortable, while being a blast to drive.

It’s one of the very few cars I’ve ever driven that really justifies having the paddle shifters – they aren’t just a marketing gimmick. With the incredible safety features and SH-AWD, the Acura RL has to be making the BMW, Audi and Mercedes people a little nervous.


+ PLUSES:


Terrific engine/transmission combination
Acura’s Super Handling All-Wheel Drive system
Incredibly Fun-To-Drive



- MINUSES:


Bum warmers/coolers have to be re-set every time the car is turned off



Immediate Competition:


Audi A6, BMW 535xi, Ford Taurus SHO, Lexus GS 460, Mercedes E-Class



By The Numbers…



Please visit your local dealer for the latest prices and incentives.
 
Powertrain:            3.7L 24-valve SOHC VTEC V-6; Multi-Point Programmed Fuel Injection (PGM-FI®) system; 5-speed automatic transmission with Sequential SportShift paddle shifters; SH-AWD
Horsepower (Kw):     300 (224) @ 6,300 rpm
Torque (N.m.):         271 (367) @ 5,000 rpm
0-100 km/h:         6.1 seconds

Curb Weight:         1,863 kg
Cargo Capacity:     371 liters

Fuel Consumption: (Premium Unleaded Fuel)

City: 13.1 L/100 kms  //  Highway: 9.0 L/100 kms
I averaged 12.2 L/100 kms during combined driving and 9.5 L/100 kms at 100% highway driving and a steady 120 km/h.




Copyright © 2010 by Iain Shankland – www.twitter.com/Road_Test  

This original, copyrighted material may NOT be copied, used in whole or in part in any way, cut and pasted, published or otherwise reproduced in any form or in any medium - which means DO NOT post this on another website or BBS. If you want somebody else to see this, send them a link or post a link to this page.

Permanent-URL: http://www.automobilsport.com/raod-test-acura-rl-elite-honda-pluses-minuses-consumption---79871.html

05.05.2010 / MaP

More News

Honda Accord Crosstour 4WD - Road Test: 2010
13.04.2010
Text: Iain Shankland / Images: Honda   The Honda Crosstour is the first of several new vehicles that will be popping up in the coming months that are all quite similar. There’s the BMW 5 Series Grand Turismo, the Acura ZDX, one from Audi, and a couple of more >>
Volvo XC60 3.2 AWD
09.04.2010
Road Test: 2010 Text: Iain Shankland / Images: Iain Shankland & VolvoIt’s been a while since I’ve driven a Volvo CUV, so when the opportunity came up to take the all-new XC60 for a week I jumped at the chance. I’d eyeballed the more >>
2010 Dodge Ram 1500 Laramie 4x4 Crew Cab
03.04.2010
Road Test: Text / Images: Iain Shankland   The last time I drove the full-size Dodge Ram, I had a hard time climbing into the cab because it was so far off the ground. Since the Dodge Ram 1500 was completely re-designed for the 2009 model year more >>
Lexus RX 450h Road test
24.03.2010
Road Test: Text / Images: Iain Shankland It’s been a couple of years since I last drove the Lexus RX hybrid. It was so outstanding my wife and I wanted to trade our first-born for one.. too bad we only had a chinchilla to trade.For the more >>
BMW 335d Road test
18.03.2010
Road Test Text: Iain Shankland / Images: Iain & Gail Shankland (BMW - car pictures) This week’s road test is actually a holiday test… we spent a week in Germany and what better vehicle could there be to drive around in than a BMW? The road t more >>
2010 Toyota Venza AWD
09.03.2010
Road Test: Text / Images: Iain ShanklandThe Toyota Venza appears at a time when we’re inundated by CUV’s (Crossover Utility Vehicles) of all shapes and sizes. So it begs the question: Do w more >>
Road Test: 2010 Kia Soul 4u+
04.03.2010
Text & Images: Iain Shankland When my wife first laid her eyes on the Kia Soul at the auto show, right then and there she wanted one. I was intrigued, but not overly thrilled at owning one (I don’t have a vehicle of my own – more >>
Road Test: 2010 Toyota Prius
28.02.2010
Text & Images: Iain Shankland Well it had to happen… sooner or later I had to get a Prius to test drive for a week. I’ve driven all kinds of hybrids over the years, but I’ve always managed to avoid the mother of all pretentious-tree-huggi more >>
Ford Edge Sport AWD Road Test: 2010
10.02.2010
Text & Images: Iain Shankland   I last drove the Edge back in April of 2007 and I quite liked it. I wasn’t really setting out to request another road test with it, but Ford suggested I give the Edge Sport a try. It had that one thing going for it … the designation &l more >>
Road Test: 2010 Ford F-150 4x4 SuperCrew Lariat
04.02.2010
Text & Images: Iain Shankland  It’s been a year or two since I’ve taken a full-size pickup truck for a road test. With the Ford F-150 being all-new in 2009 and having major improvements over the 2008, I thought it would be a good time to test one. S more >>
2010 Mitsubishi Evolution X (MR)
21.01.2010
Road Tes by Iain Shankland / Images: Mitsubishi / Iain Shankland Sweaty palms, shortness of breath and a racing heartbeat. I didn’t know it yet but I had fallen in love.  That was the first few seconds of my experience behind the wheel of the 20 more >>
Mitsubishi Lancer GTS Road Test
13.01.2010
Road Test: 2010 by Iain Shankland / Images: Mitsubishi & Iain Shankland While the base Lancer without the lower body kit and rear wing is no dog, the GTS adds enough looks and pizzazz to make it a far more attractive car. But it’s not just different in the looks department - for 2009 the GTS got a bigger engine and therefore becomes a completely differen more >>
Ford Flex SEL AWD
06.01.2010
Road Test 2010 Text & Images: Iain Shankland The first time I actually got to see the Flex in person was at the 2008 Canadian International Auto Show. Superstar designer Chip Foose was introducing his version of the Flex along with the Foose F-150 more >>
Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Sahara
29.12.2009
Road Test: 2009 Text & Images: Iain ShanklandThe last time I drove a Jeep Wrangler was many years ago – back when they were called either a TJ or a YJ. They were bouncy and a little primitive to say the least. Other adjectives you could use to describe the more >>
2009 Mitsubishi iCar
22.12.2009
Road Test by Iain Shankland / Images: Mitsubishi / Gail & Iain Shankland I first saw the iCar at the Toronto Auto Show in February 2009. At the time the president of Mitsubishi Canada was telling the auto journalist crowd that he was rooting f more >>
FORD Makes Parallel Parking A Breeze & Shows Us Some Very Useful Safety Features
17.12.2009
Road Test Special: Text: Iain Shankland / Images: Iain Shankland & Ford While Ford was encouraging us to put the Fiesta through its paces, they took the opportunity to showcase a couple of their new safety items.  Last week we covered the ingenio more >>
FORD Shows Us Some Very Useful Safety Features MyKey And Other Safety Innovations
09.12.2009
Road Test Special by Iain Shankland / Images: Ford While Ford were encouraging us to put the Fiesta through its paces, they also took the opportunity to demonstrate a couple of their “exciting” new features that when I first heard abou more >>
2009 Dodge Nitro R/T
02.12.2009
Road Test Text & Images: Iain Shankland This review is almost a part 2, and more of an up-date - as opposed to a full-blown Road Test. Last week I covered the mid-range Nitro SLT and I loved it. This review is based on the top level R/T which has a bigg more >>
2009 Dodge Nitro SLT
26.11.2009
Road Test Text Iain Shankland / Images: Iain & Gail Shankland When I saw the Dodge Nitro at the Toronto International Auto Show a couple of years ago, and I thought it was a great-looking truck in a manly sort of way. I knew right away it would be the kind of more >>
We Drive The European Ford Fiesta A Year Before Arriving In North America
19.11.2009
Road Test Special by Iain Shankland / Images: Iain & Gail Shankland and Ford Ford is the only one of the “Big Three” that didn’t declare bankruptcy and they didn’t go crawling to the U.S. and Cana more >>
2009 Toyota Tacoma Access Cab
12.11.2009
Road Test:  Text / Images: Iain Shankland Toyota trucks have been known worldwide for years as being indestructible. If you’ve ever seen the BBC TV show Top Gear, then you’ll know how much abuse the Toyota can take and still live to drive home. They& more >>
Road Test Special Report: Is It Worth Buying A Hybrid To Save Money On Fuel?
05.11.2009
We Take the 2009 Toyota Camry Hybrid On A Summer Holiday To Get The AnswerText & Images: Iain Shankland A couple of years ago I drove a Toyota Camry hybrid on an extended run of a whirl-wind trip from Niagara Falls to the Road America Racetrack  in more >>
Volvo C30 VER 2.0 / T5 Automatic
29.10.2009
Road Test:Text & Images: Iain ShanklandHaving driven the C30 T5 a couple of years ago and loved it, I couldn’t pass up the unique opportunity to drive another while on a business trip/vacation in California. The manual transmission in the C30 T5 is one of the sweetest and slickest gearboxes available; however, since probably 90% of these car more >>
2009 Dodge Charger SRT8
22.10.2009
Road Test Text & Images: Iain Shankland A couple of years  ago I had the opportunity to drive the Daytona Charger. It was bright Orange and turned out to be a head-turner for people of all ages – men and women, kids and dogs. When Chrys more >>
Road Test & Beyond: Dream Garage
17.10.2009
Transform a Dingy Garage into Dual-Purpose Space - For a Car and a Portrait StudioRecently my wife and I faced the daunting task of finding a more appropriate space to call home for our portrait photography business.  Needing to keep overhead to a minim more >>
2009 MINI Cooper S Clubman
16.10.2009
Road Test: 2009 MINI Cooper S ClubmanText & Images: Iain ShanklandHaving grown up in the UK, the Mini has always been an integral part of the roadscape to me. From the familiar and traditional 2-door version to a station wagon (Clubm more >>
2001-2021 copyright automobilsport.com