The 2012 Acura RL earns a below average Total Car Score for the segment.
Make no mistake about it, Acura's RL flagship delivers strong and surefooted all-weather all-wheel drive performance and a cabin loaded with comfort, technology and infotainment. Plus, it is very reliable and offers a plush ride. Reviewers consistently like the RL, but it has been a tough sell with its sibling, the Acura TL, offering nearly the same interior space and equipment for a lower price.
As many reviewers point out, this luxury segment is highly competitive. While the RL's all-wheel drive does an excellent job of reducing much of the understeer of its front-wheel drive chassis, it simply isn't tuned for performance — that drops it out of the running when compared to most of the competition in this segment.
Making matters worse, while others in the luxury car segment are utilizing innovative, fuel-efficient powerplants, the conservative RL is powered by an aged V6. Slow off the line, and with only moderate power and average fuel economy, the Acura flagship remains off the radar of discerning shoppers.
The Acura RL is in its second-generation, last completely redesigned for the 2005 model year. Now entering its seventh year of production, Acura has updated the RL's navigation map database for 2012.
The 2012 Acura RL is a four-door five-passenger sedan offered in just one trim level.
Under the hood is a naturally-aspirated 3.7-liter six-cylinder making 300 horsepower and 271 pound-feet of torque. The standard transmission is a six-speed automatic, sending power to all four wheels through Acura's Super Handling-All-Wheel-Drive system (SH-AWD), which is standard equipment on all RLs.
As the flagship of the Acura brand, standard equipment levels are expectedly high. Passengers ride in a comfortable cabin with leather upholstery, 10-way driver and front passenger power-operated seats, auto-dimming mirrors, tri-zone climate control and rear sunshades.
Bluetooth phone connectivity and an audio/climate control system that responds to voice commands is also standard. The options list is short, including the Advance package (adaptive cruise control, Collision Mitigation Braking System (CMBS) and power-folding side mirrors) and the Technology package (adaptive headlights, reverse camera, parking sensors and heated/ventilated seats).
The 2012 Acura RL SH-AWD earns 17 mpg city, 24 mpg highway and 20 mpg combined in EPA fuel economy ratings.
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