The flagship vehicle for Japanese luxury automaker Acura, the RL first appeared during the 1996 model year. It shared virtually all parts with the Honda Legend upon its introduction, which is precisely what the model was known as in Japan. When it first arrived on the US shores the Acura RL was dubbed the Acura 3.5RL (with the RL standing for "Road Luxury"). The 3.5 referred to the engine displacement, which was a 3.5L V6 good for 210 horsepower mated to a four-speed automatic transmission. Honda ordered a slight redesign to the RL in 1999, giving both the front and rear fascias a makeover. New bumpers and a new hood along with xenon HID headlights and fog lights were the most notable additions.
There were various other updates made along the way, including a boost in horsepower up to 225 in 2002. A year later, new turn signals and a new steering wheel were the most major cosmetic changes while in 2004, the previously optional navigation system became standard. 2005 welcomed in the second generation of the Acura RL. At launch, the second edition of the RL saw the car equipped with a bolder version of the 3.5L configuration, pounding out up to 290 horsepower. The engine was directed through a five-speed automatic transmission with sport-shift. Only one trim level was offered but came exceedingly well-equipped, and featured somewhat redesigned interior accessories. In 2006, Acura made a Technology Package available, which showcased adaptive cruise control, run-flat tries, and a collision-preventing active-braking system.
Following the 2008 model year, the Acura RL received a new front-end grille on the outside but inside is where most of the changes were instituted. The passenger seat was outfitted with ten-way power control (just like the driver's seat). Leg room was increased in the rear while the paneling of the vehicle saw an increase in insulation. To augment the model's improved "quiet drive" capability, Acura implemented the "Active Noise Cancellation" system (ANC). This made riding inside the RL much quieter than before, as road noise, tire noise, and sound from the exhaust were much less audible. The powertrain was given another boost and was equipped with power-enhancing parts, thus the engine was increased to a 3.7L V6 which produced approximately 300 horsepower.
True to the Acura stature, the RL is the benchmark for the brand's stateside success story. The RL has become a must for those who blend a little aggression along with their fashion-sense. Between a tasteful interior that breeds a custom feel and an authentic exterior which lights up the road, RL drivers get the best of everything. Designed for the street but fit for a kingdom, the Acura RL is one of the most revered models in the Acura family.
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