What's New for 2000
A new Vehicle Stability Assist system keeps the RL pointed straight, a new navigation system offers a larger screen and more information, and the 3.5-liter V6 now meets low-emission vehicle standards.
Acura has decided to take the road more traveled. After suffering at the hands of Lexus for several years, Acura has what can truly be described as a flagship sedan. Sporting an extremely solid feel, the 3.5RL carries itself athletically and is a serious entry in the luxury sedan market.
Acura engineers have worked overtime figuring out how to make this car quiet and vibration-free. Innovations like low-friction ball joints in the suspension, Teflon seals on the valves, a liquid-filled rear-trailing arm, foam-filled B- and C-pillars, honeycomb floor panels and vibration absorbing seats are just a few of the things the 3.5RL serves up to make you forget that you are in a car. Indeed, the entire purpose of the 3.5RL is to deliver passengers from point A to point B with minimal fuss and intrusion from the outside world.
Of course, to accomplish that goal, Acura had to make things nice on the inside. The instrumentation and controls are first-rate, nothing new for Acura. The effective climate-control system even offers rear passengers control over their environment. Seats are not just comfortable; they're feather bed-like. The driver's seat has an eight-way power adjustment that makes finding an exact fit easy. Supple leather and firm but comfortable padding makes long trips a breeze.
The RL is available in a single trim level and includes everything you'd expect in a top-notch luxury sedan at a lower-than-top-notch price. Add to the value equation safety equipment such as high-intensity headlights, side airbags and a new, highly advanced handling control system called Vehicle Stability Assist, and the RL looks even more competent. Then spruce things up with a functional interior and an aerodynamic exterior, tune the suspension for sublime handling and a stable ride, and you're looking at the best value in the luxury segment this side of $45,000.
If all of this doesn't have you reaching for your checkbook, consider Acura's optional navigation system. This system was redesigned for 2000 and now covers the entire continental United States on a single DVD while simultaneously offering even more detailed information than last year's system. Unlike similar designs, the Acura navigation system can supply verbal instructions that allow drivers to keep their eyes on the road. We may never get lost again.
With so many advancements over the last few years, we wonder why the 3.5RL still doesn't offer a V8 engine. Every entrant in the luxo-barge segment has eight-cylinder power except for the 3.5RL. The 210-horsepower V6 is far from anemic, but buyers in this segment often look at the RL and ask, "Why can't I have a V8?"