Roadshow Video Reviews
2011 Acura RLThe most, um, "exclusive" car in its class.
-It was the original high-tech car first one I ever did a video on. It was a real bad ass in 2005. But has the state of the arthrogram passed it by? Let's drive the 2011 Acura RL and check the tech. You're real unlikely to pull up a long side an RL today or any day. The RL's are slow seller, only about 2000 [unk] year. Most car companies pull the plug on a car that sells that few if it's less than a hundred grand. In fact, everything in its class outsell the RL, by a lot, but that doesn't make it a bad car, maybe just an exclusive one. Okay, here you can see the biggest problem with the RL, I think, in the market place. Have you spotted it? It prints to small. It kinda prints fancy accord, which in a way it is, but it's a very nice car with some very elegant understated lines, but it doesn't sufficiently shout, "I make more money than you do." Its competitors tend to do that. Here is your LCD well set back in a little wheel in the dash, although it's not set back far enough to battle glare all that well, which it does succumb to quite a bit. But that isn't my biggest gripe. My biggest gripe is it doesn't change an Eon. This is the same crappy-looking map they'd had on Acura's and Honda's. Good grip! Since what? [unk] was in office? The typeface is a disaster. It's kinda jaggy. Sometimes it overlaps black type on a black street, so you get this mishmash in some places making things hare to read and no matter where you go in this interface, it's just kinda playschool and jaggy, I mean, look at this lines. I do better with the blue pencil. So, I'm very disappointed by this. This speaks to an inexpensive car and it's sitting in their flagship vehicle, and they've had this thing in this car forever. The screen is fairly far away, so of course you wouldn't expect to touch it and it's not a touchscreen. They don't do that on this Honda Acura rigs. You've got this controller, which is quiet good. You roll around this kinda proprietary sort of hemispherical interface. Click on what you want. Go through the usual [unk] all of city state and all that piece by piece by piece. You can also use voice command, which can be good or not so good depending on what operation you're trying to play out. Address, address. I'd beg of you, address. You do have traffic and weather information on this guy coming in through XM satellite radio. Great on on our car 'cause it says the subscriptions expired. I'm not sure what that's all about 'cause we do have XM radio working, but it is the separate sub for the data feeds. That's a good lesson to take away from this. Here's disc and aux. This is the most interesting one. You've got a CD/DVD player. It's a 6 slots right in here; iPod USB. You can put a USB stick or an iPod in there, obviously, that's down here on this little pigtail that goes into this jack in the console. You've also got your standard mini-jack aux in there. Bluetooth streaming audio as well as Bluetooth handsfree calling, of course, phonebook import as well; AM and FM does not include HD radio, by the way. And as I mentioned, XM is our satellite radio. Now, your sound settings show you've got a pretty sophisticate boost rig here, the usual bass, treble, fader, balance, but you've also got a sub control. Audio pilot is automatic. Active noise cancellation that picks up certain harsh sounds in the car, cancels those out with competing sign waves that are the opposite if you will, and center point is a staging technology to put the center of the sound, especially with multichannel stuff in the right place. And the oddest thing tied to GPS is this car was the first, and may still be the only with GPS-linked climate control. So, it'll know where the sun is, they tell us, and adjust the air conditioning so it's colder on the side of the car that's getting the sun on it, but I don't know that I knows what the cloud conditions are since GPS won't tell you that, so I don't know how that works. Scrolling your iPod is poky. Rotate the knob beyond the crawl down your song list and you can easily outrun the interface. Missing our technologies like lane departure, night vision, front bumper cams, all available when this car is sold overseas as the Honda legend, but not on the U.S. spec RL. Now, this is not just annoying, it's actually what's called a Helmholtz resonator, when you do that dandling with a bottle. Acura took that technology and built it into their wheels. Now, here's the reason. A wheel that complicated little noise maker. You've got all these vanes and facets spinning through the air at constantly variable RPM. That's very hard to predict, then that entire assembly is moving through the air in a line as you drive. So, a whole bunch of busyness comes here that creates noise in the cabin. So, they've built in, they say, some kind of a resonator like when you blow over a bottle inside there, I can't see it, but I'll trust them, that cancels out along that noise. Now, upfront, this guy has got a-- now, 3.6 liter V6 and Honda does great V6's; happy, willing, smooth, we'll get it in a road in a minute; 300 horsepower coming out at this boy; 271-foot pounds of torque, gets this car to 60 in 6 seconds flat while delivering pretty good 17, 24 MPG. The power goes out now through a 6-speed automatic. Up until this year, they have a 5-speed automatic that was more suited to attractor, I mean, everyone else is on 7 and 8 cogs now, but at least they have now got 6. And what comes out in that gearbox goes in every RL to super handling all-wheel drive. It's standard, not an option, and not a package. The first thing I noticed when I get into an RL is it's very quite and smooth, I mean, I'm gonna pushing it hard up a hill here and there's no intrusion of motor noise and harshness. All those anti-noise technologies I've told you about, plus lots of gold old deadening and isolation make for a very siren spot. So, the RL does, in its powertrain in particular, is have a readiness that a lot of cars don't have. Some cars [unk]. They do certain things really well in terms of delivering power, but they're not always ready to go in any situation. This car tends to buy us in that direction, which makes for a more livable everyday car to me. Let me take this turn and get some power to it. You can really feel that pushed the rear end out. I think that's a torque-vectoring stuff doing its thing in the back. There's some little display I could look at here, but I'm looking at the road instead. Little drummy over the really harsh pavement in a way that a car in this price class probably shouldn't be, especially one that doesn't have enormous sporting pretensions. But it's a very confidence and inspiring car that has ample power and, you know, nothing about it is out of class. This patch and gravel in an acute corner at speed is a really good example of super handling all-wheel drive. Just hit in under power, steer normally, don't freak, the drivetrain makes it all work out, where a lot of other cars would get real dramatic and inelegance. Okay, this price of 2011 RL base is $48,000 or so, but you're not gonna pay that, you know, I'm not a car dealer, because you need some technology in here and that doesn't include navigation, for example, and as rough as it is, you'll wanna get it factor. You don't wanna go aftermarket on this guy. That dashboard is not friendly for that. So, $4150 for the tech package. That's the [unk] as much as I'm [unk] about it; adapted front steerable headlights. You also get heated & cooled front seats, and the rear parking sensors, the rearview camera, [unk] what you get, but that's how you get it. Then there's the advance package which gets you really 2 things: adapted cruise control and collision mitigation breaking system, which are basically the same thing in 2 different modes and for some reason, they roll in the power folding side mirrors in that package too.