NEW FOR 2009:

– Redesigned model

For 2009, the Acura RL has been redesigned, with new engine, exterior and interior styling, improved handling, and new features, including standard 18-inch wheels, active head restraints, Active Sound Control, heated rear seats, passenger seat power height adjuster, XM satellite radio and USB device connector.

Replacing the previous 3.5-litre V6 is a 3.7-litre V6, with a step up from 290 horsepower to 300, and torque from 256 lb-ft to 271. It’s mated to a five-speed automatic transmission with manual shift mode. The RL also uses the latest version of Acura’s Super Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD), which distributes torque between the front and rear wheels, and also between the left and right ones.

It comes in a single trim line, and features 18-inch alloy wheels, solar-sensing dual-zone automatic climate control, tire pressure monitoring system, theft deterrent system, automatic xenon headlamps with washers, fog lamps, heated mirrors with integrated turn signals and reverse tip-down, power sunroof, navigation system, ambient lighting, auto-dimming rearview mirror, leather-wrapped wheel with power tilt and telescopic column and audio controls, external temperature display, Bluetooth hands-free connectivity, garage door opener, keyless access with driver recognition, multi-information display, power rear sunshade, manual rear side sunshades, rear seat centre armrest with locking pass-through, speed-sensing variable intermittent wipers, six-CD/MP3/WMA Bose stereo, auxiliary input jack and USB connector, eight-way heated perforated leather seats, heated rear seats, power rear seat head restraint retractor, and simulated woodgrain trim.

An available Elite Package adds active headlamps, adaptive cruise control, Collision Mitigation Braking System, genuine curly maple wood trim, and heated and cooled front seats.

The RL has always been somewhat underappreciated in this segment, but its makeover and its more powerful engine may work towards resolving that. Luxurious inside, the RL performs and handles exceptionally well, especially with its SH-AWD system. The Elite Package adds a fair bit to the price, but also to its list of features.

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