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2007 Acura RL

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San Francisco: The RL is Acuraís flagship and represents the pinnacle of the 20-year-old brandís virtues. These include high quality materials and assembly, environmental awareness, a serious approach to safety, and long-term reliability. With the RL you get potent performance as well.

The RL gives you 290 horsepower from a 3.5-liter V6, the most powerful engine ever offered in an Acura. Certified as an ultra low emission vehicle (ULEV), itís rated at 18 mpg City, 26 Highway. I averaged 15.5 mpg, so I must have been dipping deeply into the RLís prodigious power.

Acura has always offered clean, somewhat conservative styling, and still does, even as the German competition has gotten a little flashier. If anything, the styling may be too subtle.

The RL features top quality materials, exquisite fit-and-finish, and many technological wonders to entertain and protect occupants. Leather seats and real wood evoke an upscale feeling. The dash and console spread like a pair of glorious wooden wings, rounded and expressive like fine furniture. The metallic center console resembles some top-level home stereo equipment.

My Opulent Blue Pearl tester came with a Keyless Access System. Keep the key fob in your pocket and when you get about two-and-a-half feet away from the vehicle, you can open the door by pressing a button on the outside and start the car with the twist of a switch.

The RL comes pretty loaded, with the expected luxuries of dual-zone automatic climate control, electronic tilt and telescoping steering wheel with audio controls, and the full spectrum of audio entertainment to go with them.

The RL comes with the Super Handling All-Wheel Drive System (SH-AWD). This advanced system not only switches torque from the front axle to the rear, it also regulates it from left to right. During straight line cruising and moderate cornering, up to 70 percent of torque is sent to the front wheels, but during full throttle acceleration or more vigorous driving, up to 70 percent of torque is sent to the rear wheels.

You can buy or lease an RL in three levels this year. The ďstandardĒ car is anything but, with a long list of features, but if you want more, you can add the Technology Package. It upgrades the car with a satellite navigation system, AcuraLink with Real Time Traffic, Active Front Lighting, and upgraded wood interior. The third level above that adds two important features to this package, Collision Mitigation Braking System and Michelin PAX Run-flat tires.

The navigation system features voice recognition, with 560 commands available. The system has more than 7 million points of interest stored, and recognizes more than 1.7 million cities and street names in the United States

AcuraLink with Real Time Traffic provides traffic and accident information on the navigation systemís screen for 44 major metropolitan areas. The carís hands-free wireless interface lets you talk directly to Acura in case you experience mechanical or other problems. HandsFreeLink supplies a Bluetooth hands-free interface if your phone is enabled.

With Acuraís Active Front Lighting System, the low beams swivel up to 20 degrees in either direction as you turn, in response to vehicle speed and steering wheel input. This illuminates a larger patch of the road, helping to avoid accidents.

The Collision Mitigation Braking System (CMBS) uses radar to measure the distance and closing rate between you and the vehicle ahead and assesses if a crash is likely. The system goes through three stages, starting with warnings, then, if the risk of a crash is more severe, with actually braking the car. The third stage assumes that a crash is inevitable, so it pulls the seatbelts tight and pushes on the brakes with full force.

The PAX Run-flat tires allow you to drive up to 125 miles at 50 mph until you find a place to fix or replace the tire.

The RLís premium 10-speaker Acura/BOSE DVD-Audio system employs Bose Cabin Surround to give all seating positions the feeling of a live venue. Acura says the sound resolution is 500 times better than a CD. Autopilot noise compensation technology monitors cabin noise and adjusts the sound balance of the system automatically.

Acuraís Adaptive Cruise Control system compensates for varying traffic flow. The system automatically adjusts the speed by applying the throttle and brakes so you always maintain the same distance between you and the car in front.

The RL gets the top five-star rating in all three categories in the U.S.Governmentís crash tests, front, side and rollover, and is only the fourth vehicle in the history of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administrationís tests to do so.

The RL starts at $45,780, and with the Technology Package rises to $49,400. My top-level tester, with the Technology Package plus Collision Mitigation Braking System and Michelin PAX Run-flat tires, came to $53,870, including a $670 destination charge. You get a six-year, 70,000-mile powertrain warranty, 24-hour emergency service, and much more, including a free year of the OnStar system and XM Satellite Radio.

The RL offers everything you could ask for in a midsize luxury car. It feels extremely competent and comfortable in all conditions. If only it were just a little more exciting. By Steve Schaefer © AutoWire.Net - San Francisco

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Byline:  Syndicated content provided by Tony Leopardo © AutoWire.Net
Column Name:
The RL is Acuraís flagship
The 2007 Acura RL
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The 2007 Acura RL
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Acura RL Internet Media
Series #:  2007 - 37

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