2002 Acura RL Review

Pros & Cons

  • Full load of equipment, optional DVD navigation system, reputation for quality and reliability.
  • Front-drive with a V6 in a sea of V8 RWD competitors, bland exterior styling.
List Price

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Edmunds' Expert Review

The wallflower in the luxury sedan class.

Vehicle overview

The 3.5 RL, Acura's flagship, is athletic, extremely quiet, luxurious and priced right: All of which makes it a serious contender in the luxury sedan market despite its V6, front-drive layout.

We're most impressed by the efforts taken by Acura engineers to make the RL as quiet, smooth and solid as possible. Mission accomplished. The RL rides like a cloud on greased rails. This welcome feat was accomplished by adding 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. For 2002, Acura intends to isolate noise and vibration further by stuffing more insulation material under the hood, in the engine compartment and under the dashboard.

The company's efforts, however, would be for naught if the interior designers had slipped even a little. No fear. Switchgear and controls possess the same Acura quality we've counted on for years, the seats are a utopian dream of comfort and the multi-zone climate-control system allows all passengers, including those in the rear, control over their environment.

And don't worry about the sticker being run up when you select a few options -- the RL is available in one trim level only and includes everything you'd expect in a luxury sedan, including safety equipment such as high-intensity headlights, side airbags and a highly advanced handling control system called Vehicle Stability Assist. For 2002, Acura has even made the OnStar communications system standard on the RL.

The only option is the navigation system. We still think it's one of the best systems out there. It covers the entire continental United States on a single DVD and supplies verbal instructions that allow drivers to keep their eyes on the road and their hands on the wheel.

For 2002, the RL gets a new sport suspension featuring firmer spring and damping rates, larger stabilizer bars and wider, low-profile all-season performance tires. Engine output is now up to 225 horsepower and 231 foot-pounds of torque, and braking ability has been enhanced to provide more stopping power with less pedal effort.

Last year, we wondered why a V8 engine wasn't included with all the 3.5RL's other advancements, especially considering most of its competitors do offer eight cylinders. We will continue to ask until we are satisfied. It's important to note, though, that we're not complaining about the RL's 225-horsepower V6 -- it's an athletic and spirited drive, but we figure a V8, coupled to proper rear-wheel drive, would put the RL over the top.

2002 Highlights

The 3.5-liter RL now makes a generous 225 horsepower (up 15 from last year), and 231 pound-feet of torque, but a V8 engine still isn't available. The luxury sedan's double-wishbone suspension has been tuned for sportier handling characteristics this year, and wider, low-profile Michelins shoe the redesigned 16-inch alloy wheels. Noise and vibration should be quelled better by additional insulation material under the hood and dashboard, and the OnStar communications system makes its debut. Outside, the 2002 RL is freshened by new body-colored lower side sills, splash guards and roof strips.

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the Used 2002 Acura RL.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

Excellent Luxury Value
3.5 4dr Sedan (3.5L 6cyl 4A)
I purchased my 02 RL used with 36,000 miles and now have over 140,000. No issues except for regular maintenance. Have seen others with over 200,000 miles with no problems. I drive a mix of city and highway and this car is very predictable and secure. Very low cost of ownership. It has a logic layout to the controls. Although not as "sporty" has others in this class, it has one of the best rides out there; smooth and quiet.
My third one...
3.5 4dr Sedan (3.5L 6cyl 4A)
I owned a Legend, then a 97 RL, and now the 02 RL which I bought in 06 with about 38000 miles on it. It now has 122,000 miles and has been trouble free except for the alarm actuator. It has been maintained according to the manual, mostly by the dealer, whose prices are competitive but whose service is better. He is not competitive on major expenses like timing belt changes. The car is comfortable to ride in, is quiet, and feels safe. It handles most of Ohio's snow and ice as long as the tires are newer. The navigation system is helpful. I use mid-range gas with no problem. (It's what the dealer uses.) I prefer this body style over the 05 and would have replaced this car but for the style.
Best car I've ever owned
3.5 4dr Sedan w/Navigation (3.5L 6cyl 4A)
Real World Car
Joe W.,02/28/2002
3.5 4dr Sedan (3.5L 6cyl 4A)
Sure, reviewers like a V8. But real people prefer reliability, value, comfort in traffic, low cost of ownership, dignified style, and performance that lasts for years past warranty. My RL has it all and gets compliments, too!


NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver4 / 5
    Passenger4 / 5
  • Side Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
  • Side Barrier Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    DriverNot Rated
    PassengerNot Rated
  • Combined Side Barrier & Pole Ratings
    Front SeatNot Rated
    Back SeatNot Rated
  • Rollover
    RolloverNot Rated
    Dynamic Test ResultNo Tip
    Risk Of RolloverNot Rated
IIHS Rating
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
  • Side Impact Test
    Not Tested
  • Roof Strength Test
    Not Tested
  • Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested

More about the 2002 Acura RL

Used 2002 Acura RL Overview

The Used 2002 Acura RL is offered in the following submodels: RL Sedan. Available styles include 3.5 4dr Sedan (3.5L 6cyl 4A), and 3.5 4dr Sedan w/Navigation (3.5L 6cyl 4A).

What's a good price on a Used 2002 Acura RL?

Price comparisons for Used 2002 Acura RL trim styles:

  • The Used 2002 Acura RL 3.5 is priced between $2,195 and$2,195 with odometer readings between 167800 and167800 miles.

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Which used 2002 Acura RLS are available in my area?

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Can't find a used 2002 Acura RLs you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used Acura RL for sale - 1 great deals out of 19 listings starting at $13,224.

Find a used Acura for sale - 4 great deals out of 22 listings starting at $13,155.

Find a used certified pre-owned Acura RL for sale - 6 great deals out of 20 listings starting at $9,056.

Find a used certified pre-owned Acura for sale - 8 great deals out of 20 listings starting at $21,318.

Should I lease or buy a 2002 Acura RL?

Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

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