Pros: Technologically advanced, fun to drive, quiet, smooth!
Cons: Uses premium gas, not great mileage, technology can be cumbersome, expensive tires!
The title of this piece says it all. No matter what you think about how the car drives, what the gas mileage is or how the engine runs, this car is a great example of pure Japanese technology! From the BlueTooth connection that allows you to make and receive calls through the cars audio system, to the button that you press on the overhead console to lower the rear seat rests to prevent blocking your rear vision, this is advanced technology!
Now don't get me wrong; I am not saying that this Acura RL is a perfect vehicle, but I did want to start off by pointing out that the technology developed for this car is absolutely incredible. There are more buttons, features and settings that you can use than any other car I've ever seen or driven. What this does mean is that you can use these technological advances to set the vehicle up your way. Just like Burger King, only you drive this one! Let me give you a simple example. With your individual preferences, you can choose to have the power doors lock when you start the car, close the doors, or when the car starts driving. Now is this the most important choice in the free world? No, but it does explain how the RL can be configured to your liking. One more quick example. You can turn the headlights on the regular way upon entering the car, or have the headlights turn on themselves when it gets dark. Again, obviously Acura has planned to tailor this vehicle to the desires of the individual driver.
There are some pretty normal features for an upscale, $47,000 car like this one. Memo seats to remember the position of the mirrors, seats and steering wheel, HID headlights, electric rear sunshade, powered moon roof, OnStar, heated seats, luminiscent gauges, leather interior, and rain sensing wipers which speed up with higher speeds or heavier rain. The gauges I mentioned are fantastic! Easy to read at night or in bright sun.
I purchased my 2006 Acura RL as a dealer demo with 7,000 miles on it, used by the GM of the dealership. It had the Technology Package built in. That means it has the backup rearview camera, run flat tires, tire pressure monitor and auto braking during cruise control. Let me tell you, it is VERY STRANGE having no spare tire at all! The Michelin run flat tires can go for at least 50 miles with a nail sticking out right in the middle of it. The tires are constantly monitored by the vehicles tire pressure monitoring system which tells you the exact pressure in each tire at all times. A necessity with run flat tires. The rear backup camera show a picture behind the vehicle on the navigation screen when you shift into reverse. This is a nice feature if you have young children and worry and them or their toys being behind you as you back out of the driveway. The last item in the Technology Package is the radar cruise system. You set up the cruise control and determine how far you want to be from the car ahead of you. As the car cruises down the road, literally, it will slow up by itself if it senses you getting too close to the car in front of you. The radar sensor is hidden in the grill behind the Acura logo. This is a nice safety feature if you tend to be a lazy driver when cruise control is on.
All this technology does come at a price tough, and in this case I don't mean a monetary price. i mean the price of some slightly confusing controls on the dash. There is a big joystick/knob on the dash that works in conjunction with the navigation screen. For some things it is fairly intuitive, but for things like setting navigation parameters or heating and cooling, you really do need to refer to the manual, something i have never, ever done with a car! Forinstance, I have the car heating controls set to AUTO which keeps a constant preset temperature. The problem is, the air always comes from the high vents. I want to figure out how to make the heat come from both the feet and the higher vents, and am having a hard time figuring out how to do that. On 99% of the cars, you press a button showing feet, overhead vents, both, etc. Not this car. That is one major disadvantage of such advanced technology. Some simple tasks become quite cumbersome.
Well, we've talked enough about the technology for a while. Lets talk about something quite dear to my heart, which is ride and interior noise. The ride is the smoothest I have ever felt, other than an old Buick Park Avenue of years ago. Of course that was like driving a boat with four wheels. As far as interior noise, which is very important to me personally, I could not be happier. The car is VERY QUIET inside. If I spend a lot of money on a vehicle like this, i want a quiet, isolated ride from the outside world. One additional fact, is that the 2006 RL has a noise phase/noise cancelling system built in to the audio system. When you play a CD, the noise cancellation system becomes active and works to make the interior of the vehicle even quieter. It takes the cars own audio noise, reverses the phase of the sound, and puts in back out through the speakers out of phase, thus making the interior drone of the car less noticeable. Wow, does it work. Quiet really is the operative word here. Yes, the speakers really do sound great, and the CD/DVD Audio system will also play MP3 files.
So after all, it is still a car, even with all the gadgets, and you want to know how it drives. Well, I've told you how quiet and smooth it is. The braking is excellent, exceleration on its almost 300HP engine is more than adequate. I am not crazy about using mid-grade or high-test gas, but that is what Acura calls for. You can use regular gas I am told, but your mileage supposedly goes way down. I personally have never tried it. I get about 18 highway, and roughly 22 city driving. Could be worse, could be much better too. You want great mileage, get a Toyota Prius!
The fit and finish of the interior is fine with a wood trim all around. Some folks will be very picky and look for every flaw. Personally I just like the way it looks. Not looking to examine every interior square inch. It fits together fine, doesn't look cheap and the seats are very comfortable.
The view all around the car is good, with no obvious blind spots. I am a shorter driver and have no problems at all. I raise my power seat up a bit and can see fine.
Now I don't want to break the illusion here, but we are here at Epinions to talk about , how does that old movie go? The Good, The Bad and The Ugly!
Well, I can't say anything is really ugly about the RL. If it were, I would not have purchased the vehicle. There are some small things I think are bad:
!-The headlights are nice and bright, but there is a very sharp falloff at one point. Past that point you see absolutely nothing. The headlights should spread out more for a greater field of vision. It would be much safer too.
2-The technology which is so advanced makes some tasks more involved than need be, as I mentioned, setting the heating system is one example.
3-With the moonroof open there is some noise. There should be some sort of baffle to further mute this wind noise.
4-Driver's seat belt is slightly difficult to reach. Not a big deal, but with a heavy coat on it becomes more of a pain.
5-Uses expenses premium gas.
6-Not great mileage for a car this price.
Those are probably my A List of dislikes on the vehicle. Is it enough to make someone not buy the car? That is up to you.
I am not a car expert, so I have written about the way I feel about the car, how it handles, how it drives, how it looks, and some of its technology, as well as good and bad points. If someone were to ask would I buy this car again, I would say yes! Do what I did. Go to Acura.com and read up on its options and get the full specs on the vehicle, especially if you are a real "buff"!
UPDATE:======================================Recently I had a situation arise that I feel deserves an update. I had to replace tires on the vehicle. SIT DOWN FOR THIS ONE!!!
EACH TIRE, yes EACH TIRE, not the rim, is $500 to replace!!Yes, that is correct. The tires on this vehicle are the Michelin PAX RUN FLAT tires. The tires are $425 each and $75 to install! Not only that, but the tire has to be installed at a dealer that has the PAX machine, and only a few dealers in the U.S. have them since they are so expensive.
Here is the kicker. I went to Acura to change the tire, and they could not do it. They not have the tire changing machine. I had to go to Route 23 Honda in Pompton Plains New Jersey to change it. Luckily the dealer is only 10 minutes from me, but if they could not change it I would have had to search all over the state. By the way, if you do need a new rim, that is only $1,000 to replace. Wow, just shovel out the money.
I honestly do not know if the new Acuras have any of these tires, but CHECK IT OUT prior to purchasing a new or used one, do yourself a favor and make sure these are not the tires!