Acura RL offers top-of-the-line performance
THE RIDE: Four-door, five-passenger 2007 Acura RL luxury-performance sedan. DOWN THE ROAD: The Acura flagship may not have received any significant changes in 2007 but it continues to offer an energetic ride and graceful handling. Available in three trims, the RL gets a standard all-wheel-drive system, which distributes power not just between the front and rear wheels but also the left and right rear wheels. So regardless of weather conditions or hard corners, you are assured a secure ride. TECH & PERFORMANCE: The 3.5-liter V-6 engine pumps 290 horsepower at 6200 rpm and 256 pounds-feet of torque at 5000 rpm. It is mated to a slick 5-speed automatic transmission with overdrive and paddle shifters on the steering wheel. Suspension is handled via a four-wheel independent aluminum front double wishbone and a rear multilink system, resulting in a well-damped ride. The linear and precise steering can be attributed to a power rack-and-pinion system. The adaptive cruise control, part of the Collision Mitigation Braking System (CMBS), helps to maintain a safe distance between the vehicle in front and the RL. The first stage of CMBS kicks into gear with audible and visual warnings before applying light brakes. In the final stage, it will continue to brake while retracting the driver's and front passenger's seatbelts. The 17-inch run-flat tires give the sedan an additional push of 125 miles at 50 mph in case of a puncture. LOOK & FEEL: the aggressively-styled RL sports the traditional five-sided grille with a centered Acura insignia. The sloping aluminum hood meets up with angle dual active xenon headlights. Chrome bars are easily visible on both sides of the car as well as under the rear Acura emblem on the trunk. Tech-laden is the word to sums up the goodies packed into the RL. The navigation system with voice recognition and rearview camera is backed by real-time traffic, which offers updates on accidents and construction sites every few minutes. The Acura/Bose surround-sound system with 10 speakers beats most of the stereos I have heard. The power tilt/telescopic, four-spoke leather steering wheel hosts controls for audio, cruise, phone and navigation. The wood on the door panels, dash and a/c vent surrounds looks classy. The power rear sunshade and manual side shades come to your assistance in the scorching 90-degree temperatures. And storage shouldn't be an issue, with the trunk holding up to 13.1 cubic feet of space.SAFETY FIRST: Standard features include dual front and side airbags, side curtain for both rows, traction control, antiskid system, four-wheel antilock brakes with brake assist, tire pressure monitoring system, keyless entry and start, and three-point seatbelts for all positions. OUT THE DOOR: $53,200, plus tax, tag, delivery and destination charges. This includes the technology and CMBS packages. BY THE NUMBERS: Tires, 245/60VR18 run-flat Michelin PAX tires; wheelbase, 110.2 inches; length, 193.6 inches; weight, 4,012 pounds; fuel capacity, 19.4 gallons; highway, 26 mpg; city, 18 mpg. WHY DIG IT: High-tech may rule the roost but there is much more to the RL that should appeal to potential owners. This flagship sedan from Acura also offers top-of-the-line performance, muscular styling, a roomy cabin and an unparalled level of safety features. Now, that's tough to beat.
Nitish S. Rele is an advertising staff writer for The Tampa Tribune.