Used 2011 Acura RL

2011 Acura RL
List price range

Pros

  • All-wheel drive
  • wealth of standard features
  • high-class interior
  • excellent build quality
  • superb stereo
  • smart technology interface.

Cons

  • Same size as the less expensive TL
  • subpar braking distances
  • no V8 engine offered
  • aging design.

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Edmunds' Expert Review

The 2011 Acura RL is a capable luxury sedan, but some newer competitors are more appealing overall.

vehicle overview

On paper, the 2011 Acura RL seems like a pretty desirable midsize luxury sedan. It has a 300-horsepower V6, standard all-wheel drive, a long list of standard features, a classy interior and top-notch build quality. But when it comes to real-world desirability, something gets lost in translation for this Acura flagship.

Styling might have something to do with the RL's lack of appeal. Overall, the exterior is looking a bit dated, while many of its rivals have fresher and more contemporary lines. On the whole, this car is aging and needs a fresh face. For 2011 the RL receives a few touch-ups here and there, and at least the odd-looking front grille has been tamed down a little.

Acura has also replaced the RL's previous five-speed automatic with a new six-speed unit. Fuel economy is up as a result (2 mpg more on the highway) and acceleration should also be a bit quicker. Handling also remains a praiseworthy RL attribute, thanks to the car's advanced Super Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD) system, which can apportion torque to individual wheels to improve both traction and handling balance.

Even with these changes, the 2011 RL still struggles to be anything more than a bench player in the segment of luxury sedans. The 2011 Hyundai Genesis is fully competitive in terms of luxury, yet significantly undercuts the RL on price. Meanwhile, more traditional (and newer) choices like the 2011 Audi A6, 2011 BMW 5 Series, 2011 Infiniti M37 and 2011 Mercedes E-Class are either sportier or more prestigious. Even Acura's TL is much the same size as the RL, has a similar drivetrain and yet is more than $10,000 cheaper. With so many other cars to choose from, it's really not too surprising that the RL gets lost in the mix.

trim levels & features

The 2011 Acura RL is a midsize luxury sedan that is available in three trim levels (though the two upper trims are really just a pair of technology packages).

Standard equipment on the RL includes 18-inch alloy wheels, automatic xenon headlights, a sunroof, keyless ignition/entry, heated 10-way power front seats with driver memory functions, a power tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, leather upholstery, dual-zone automatic climate control, rear-seat climate controls, an auto-dimming mirror, a power rear sunshade and manual rear side sunshades.

Also standard are Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, voice commands for the audio and climate systems and a 10-speaker Bose surround-sound audio system with a six-CD changer, satellite radio, an auxiliary audio jack and a USB/iPod audio interface.

The RL with Technology package adds adaptive headlights, a back-up camera, rear parking sensors, heated and ventilated front seats, a wood-grain steering wheel and shift knob, upgraded Bluetooth phone connectivity, GPS-linked solar-sensing climate control and a navigation system with real-time traffic, real-time weather, Zagat restaurant ratings and voice activation. The RL with the Advance package adds adaptive cruise control and the Collision Mitigation Braking System (CMBS), along with power-folding side mirrors.

performance & mpg

Every 2010 Acura RL comes with Acura's "Super-Handling" all-wheel-drive system that automatically apportions power to the optimum wheels for the best traction and handling, reacting to road conditions to deliver a superior all-weather automobile.

Powering the 2011 Acura RL is a 3.7-liter V6 that produces 300 hp and 271 pound-feet of torque. A new six-speed automatic transmission with manual shift paddles is standard. EPA-estimated fuel economy is 17 mpg city/24 mpg highway and 20 mpg combined.

safety

Standard safety features for the Acura RL include antilock disc brakes with brake assist, front-seat side airbags, full-length side curtain airbags, active front head restraints 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 if a collision seems unavoidable.

The RL has not been rated using the government's new, more strenuous 2011 crash-testing procedures. Its 2010 ratings (which aren't comparable to 2011 tests) resulted in top five-star ratings for frontal-impact and side-impact safety. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety awarded the RL its highest rating of "Good" in its frontal-offset and side-collision tests. It only scored the second-worst rating of "Marginal," however, in roof-strength tests.

In Edmunds brake testing, the RL delivered a lackluster 131-foot stop from 60 mph. Most competitors record results that are 10 feet shorter.

driving

The 2011 Acura RL's rather conservative appearance might lead some to assume that the ride quality and driving dynamics may be more akin to an overly softened luxury car. But they'd be wrong. The ride quality is balanced between luxurious compliance and sporty agility. Thanks to the SH-AWD system, the RL is one of the more fun-to-drive choices in the segment. The RL's V6 engine revs smoothly and provides slightly quicker acceleration this year thanks to the new six-speed transmission.

interior

The 2011 Acura RL features an attractive and well-built interior that is comparable to most other luxury sedans. The wood trim -- simulated or authentic depending on the model trim level -- frames the waterfall-style center stack, adding warmth to the overall interior design.

There are quite a few buttons and knobs in the cockpit, but the voice-activated system and controls on the steering wheel deliver easier operation. We found the standard 10-speaker Bose audio system particularly notable for its clarity and power. On the downside, the navigation system's graphics seem outdated when compared to competing luxury sedans. The trunk space also leaves a bit to be desired, accommodating a slightly below-average 13.1 cubic feet.

Top consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 2011 Acura RL.

Great Car let down by Awful nav system
scatback, 2/2/2011
Get the non tech package RL and you'll have a great bargain. The new six speed tranny is great, the ride is the best, and the new wheels do cut interior road noise (wind noise doesn't exist below 90), plus all materials are to Acura standards. Drawback: the awful navigation: inaccurate, difficult to learn and glacially slow, with low res and voice command that's hopeless - worse than on my 2005 or 2007. I have a Garmin 1450T which is incomparably better. I'm going to put it on the dash and leave the acura system off. Then it will be a great road car, and just got 26mpg over 1600 road trip
I like my new Acura RL
rfw3, 3/9/2011
Our 4th Acura. We usually keep them 3 to 4 years. Hold their value. Never had a problem. Great dealer service. Acura includes many features that are extra cost on competitive vehicles. A great car without being pretentious like a Mercedes or Lexus.
Beware!
scatback, 2/9/2011
My 6th Acura, very comfortable and well equipped for the price. But multiple gremlins including a transmission malfunction, directional headlights don't operate, keyless entry malfunctioned, the new 'directional' microphone for voice command must point in another direction because the system is unuseable, the nav doesn't include HD graphics, is still DVD rather than hard disk based and is therefore slow and distressingly inaccurate. I'd like to like the car, and there is much to recommend it, but from the time I picked it up (and discovered 45 lbs. of pressure in the tires) it has been a disaster
Barely a passing Grade on MY Car, not the RL
Haydn, 12/6/2016
The Acura RL is a terrific car, the one I bought needs major repairs. Already replaced front brakes and Rotor, and is in need of major tune up.
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Features & Specs

MPG
17 city / 24 hwy
Seats 5
6-speed shiftable automatic
Gas
300 hp @ 6300 rpm
MPG
17 city / 24 hwy
Seats 5
6-speed shiftable automatic
Gas
300 hp @ 6300 rpm
MPG
17 city / 24 hwy
Seats 5
6-speed shiftable automatic
Gas
300 hp @ 6300 rpm
MPG
17 city / 24 hwy
Seats 5
6-speed shiftable automatic
Gas
300 hp @ 6300 rpm
See all Used 2011 Acura RL features & specs

Safety

IIHS Rating
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
  • Side Impact Test
    Good
  • Roof Strength Test
    Marginal
  • Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
    Good
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test
    Good

More about the 2011 Acura RL
Used 2011 Acura RL Overview

The Used 2011 Acura RL is offered in the following submodels: . Available styles include Technology Package 4dr Sedan AWD (3.7L 6cyl 6A), 4dr Sedan AWD (3.7L 6cyl 6A), Advance Package 4dr Sedan AWD (3.7L 6cyl 6A), and Technology Package - in HI 4dr Sedan AWD (3.7L 6cyl 6A).

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