2008 Acura RL Sedan Review | Edmunds.com

2008 Acura RL Sedan

We didn't find any results. You can try changing your zip code, or check another model year.

We found matches for you!

Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) is a category of used car. Often late-model vehicles, they have been inspected, refurbished, if necessary, and are under warranty by the manufacturer.
Acura RL Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 3.5 L V 6-cylinder
  • Drivetrain All Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 5-speed Automatic
  • Horse Power 290 hp @ 6200 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 16/24 mpg
  • Bluetooth Yes
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats Yes

Review of the 2008 Acura RL

  • The 2008 Acura RL is neither fast nor flashy, but this luxurious and technology-packed sedan is a smart choice for value-conscious luxury sedan shoppers interested in maximum all-weather handling and safety.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Outstanding all-weather handling, long list of standard features, attractive interior, superb stereo, seamless integration of multiple complex technologies, high crash test scores.

  • Cons

    Modest V6 power in a class that often offers V8 grunt, anonymous styling, somewhat numb steering.

  • What's New for 2008

    There are no significant changes for the 2008 Acura RL.

Full 2008 Acura RL Review

What's New for 2008

There are no significant changes for the 2008 Acura RL.


Ever since the Acura RL replaced its Legend forbear, it has been saddled with the sort of anonymous image shared with pan flute artists and Delaware. It's a pity, because this second-generation 2008 RL is a great luxury sedan with athletic handling, premium build quality and high levels of user-friendly technology.

With horsepower ratings in its category soaring higher and higher, though, the RL's 290-horsepower V6 is underwhelming considering smaller sport sedans offer V6s that produce 300 horses or more. Furthermore, although six-cylinders are perfectly adequate in this segment, other cars like the Infiniti M and Lexus GS also offer V8s. The RL's five-speed automatic also stands in contrast to the six-speed units of its competitors. Still, the flagship Acura sets itself apart with its standard Super-Handling All-Wheel-Drive system that not only aids wet-weather traction, but provides tenacious grip in corners by sending more power to the outside rear wheel to push the car through a turn.

The 2008 Acura RL also offers a tremendous number of high-tech features. Items like Bluetooth and keyless entry/ignition are standard, along with a 10-speaker surround sound system so superb that you'd swear Gladys Knight was riding shotgun with the Pips crammed in back. The Technology package adds adaptive headlights that illuminate where the car is going instead of where it's pointing, and a GPS-linked climate control system that observes where the sun is shining into the car and adjusts the temperature in those areas. That package also includes Acura's excellent navigation system with real-time traffic, which can be programmed easily using voice commands. Another package adds adaptive cruise control and accident-sensing emergency braking technology.

If you can survive with rather anonymous styling and average acceleration, the 2008 Acura RL is a very smart buy considering its relatively low price. Similarly equipped competitors from Audi, BMW, Lexus and Mercedes can cost upwards of $10,000 more than the Acura. The Infiniti M series offers the same type of value, but with more visual excitement and a V8 engine in the M45. Shoppers in this class should make sure to check out both of these excellent Japanese luxury sedans before signing on the dotted line.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2008 Acura RL is a large luxury sedan available in three trim levels: RL, RL with Technology package and the eloquently named RL with Technology package plus CMBS and PAX run-flat tires. The base RL comes very well stocked with 17-inch alloy wheels, power and heated front seats, leather upholstery, real wood trim, a sunroof, keyless ignition, Bluetooth connectivity, steering-wheel-mounted audio controls and a 10-speaker Bose surround sound system with six-disc CD/DVD-audio changer, satellite radio and auxiliary audio jack. The Technology package adds adaptive headlights, a rearview camera, a GPS-linked and solar-sensing climate control system, and a navigation system with real-time traffic and voice command functionality. The CMBS and PAX run-flat tires adds adaptive cruise control, Acura's Collision Mitigation Braking System technology and (obviously) run-flat tires.

Powertrains and Performance

The sole engine available in the RL is a 3.5-liter V6 that produces 290 hp and 256 pound-feet of torque. This allows a 0-60 time in the high 6-second range, just above par for six-cylinder large luxury sedans. A five-speed automatic transmission with automanual shift paddles sends power to the Super-Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD) system. SH-AWD can send varying degrees of torque to each individual wheel to improve handling and wet-weather traction.


Standard safety features include antilock disc brakes, front seat side airbags, full-length side curtain airbags and a stability control system. The optional CMBS can help prevent or minimize a frontal accident by providing warnings to the driver or actually applying emergency braking. All RLs gets a five-star rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for frontal impact and side impact safety. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety awarded the RL a "Good" rating (the highest possible) in both its offset frontal collision and side-impact tests.

Interior Design and Special Features

The RL's interior is beautifully crafted and attractive to behold. A swath of real wood trim flows into a neat waterfall center stack that integrates the car's sizable number of electronic functions. With the optional Technology package, major functions like audio, climate and navigation systems can be controlled by voice commands, buttons on the steering wheel and dash, or through a multipurpose control knob and LCD screen. These redundant controls may seem confusing in description, but give the driver choices in how to access commonly used functions. Some may find the power front seats to be a little flat, and although heated, they lack the cooling feature of many competing models.

Driving Impressions

The SH-AWD system in the 2008 Acura RL works transparently but very effectively to maintain traction under the worst of circumstances. Driving enthusiasts will likely find that the RL's steering is a bit numb and slow, however, and the cushy ride gets downright mushy as the RL approaches its handling limits. Acura's flagship sedan isn't exciting, but it's absolutely competent and makes an excellent everyday luxury sedan.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

Love this car

by on
Vehicle: 2008 Acura RL 4dr Sedan AWD w/Technology Package (3.5L 6cyl 5A)

I bought this car as Certified Pre-Owned, with 70k miles, and it's been great in all regards. The stock tires were not good in snow, so I bought snow tires and put them on dedicated rims, and wow! The car is amazing in the snow. It's also a heavy car, so it holds tight to the road, like it's on rails. Is quiet and responsive but not demanding. A few minor issues: Chrome on the grill is peeling, which I see on all RLs of that year in our area. Acura had the brass to tell me the "solution" is to wipe down the chrome with a towel after every rain and snow! How about taking some responsibility, Acura!? Also, keyless entry door handle needed replacement, which is a common problem.

Artfully subtle luxury and performance

by on
Vehicle: 2008 Acura RL 4dr Sedan AWD w/Technology Package (3.5L 6cyl 5A)

Does everything well instead of compromising one performance area to excel in another. For example, corners as if on rails but preserves quiet, comfortable ride. The engine is smooth and quiet around town but makes operatic noises at the top of the rev range. This is the perfect luxury car for with enough confidence to eschew driving a visible status symbol. I drove Audis before they went upscale to compete directly with Mercedes and BMW. This Acura now fills that niche of artful, understated luxury that makes one look smart, not status conscious.

Former collector-had ferrari, lotus, jag

by on
Vehicle: 2008 Acura RL 4dr Sedan AWD w/Technology Package (3.5L 6cyl 5A)

Great handling, feels like the vehicle is glued to the road due to the SH-AWD. Requires high test although gas mileage is reasonable. Excellent acceleration for a 4000 pound vehicle. Roomy, high tech voice command system, fabulous 5.1 surround sound and backup camera which I wanted. Also has manual shift via paddles on the steering wheel, and Acura reliability. Everything works as intended. Drive one, you'll buy it.

Best luxury value

by on
Vehicle: 2008 Acura RL 4dr Sedan AWD w/Technology Package (3.5L 6cyl 5A)

A co-worker of mine gave me a ride to work one morning. She picked me up in her Acura RL. By the time we reached work I believe I repeated the phrase - "this is a great car" - about 5 times. Well I own one now, just completed one year of ownership. Let me tell you folks there is no better value for money in the luxury category. I compared the RL to the BMW 5 and the Audi A6 and I saved about $15k easily. The best car that I have owned bar none. You are surrounded in luxury and comfort. The AWD, steering and handling are superb. I wonder how I ever survived the LA labyrinth without my Acura nav system - it is amazing. The only negative is the rear middle seat, it is uncomfortable.

Good for your money

by on
Vehicle: 2008 Acura RL 4dr Sedan AWD w/CMBS, PAX Package (3.5L 6cyl 5A)

I got my RL (top of the line) by the end of Nov. 2007. So far it's fine. It drives well with very good highway mileage considering AWD. The average mileage rate was over 30 mi/gal in long distance driving. Before I purchased it, I searched the market well. For about $50K Mercedes/BMW/Audi were some offering their stripped versions. If you own the top of the line luxury car, your dealer treats you like a king for maintenance calls (your loaner there if need be). One thing was bad about these sports cars, they are so low. Even cement divider on parking lots touches your fender if you are not careful. Tires are so expensive (PAX system). If you damage it, prepare to pay $500 per tire change.

Almost perfect

by on
Vehicle: 2008 Acura RL 4dr Sedan AWD w/Technology Package (3.5L 6cyl 5A)

This car is so good, I wouldn't want to know the person dissatisfied with it. Too spoiled. Excellent reliability. Excellent safety. Excellent road holding in bad weather. The quietest car I've ever experienced. Excellent stereo. Comfortable seats for me. Pleasant styling. Like most Acuras, will probably look fine in 10 years. Cadillacs and BMWs will probably look silly/dated. The only thing you get in 2009 is an ugly restyling, 10 more hp and a significant loss in economy. 2008 is a optimal year. It doesn't feel like a toss around car. Too heavy. Reasonable back seat. Everything about it inspires confidence: quality, road manners, rubber on the road, balance. It does everything well

Talk About The 2008 RL

2008 Acura RL Discussions See all Started By

Has anybody else out there noticed that the 2008 Honda Accord sedan has the same chassis as the Acura RL? It looks like Honda created the 2008 Accord sedan by taking an RL, slightly changing the exte...

Ironic that so many auto journalists panned previous generation Honda/Acura for having so many buttons on their center stack. Also ironic is that with the new TLX, everyone and their grandma is clamor...

RLs are being discontinued according to my dealer - -and why not? You can get a TL with SH-AWD now. Acura going for a higher end flagship to compete with Lexus. Grab one now - they are sweet cars a...

Gas Mileage


  • 16
  • cty
  • 24
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs
Have a question? We're here to help!
Chat online with us
Email us at help@edmunds.com
*Available daily 8AM-5PM Pacific
Call us at 855-782-4711
Text us at ED411