1996 Acura RL

  • 1996 Acura RL Base Sedan

    Base Sedan

    • MAX MPG
    • SEATS
    • ENGINE
      3.5L V6
    • MSRP
  • 1996 Acura RL Premium Sedan

    Premium Sedan

    • MAX MPG
    • SEATS
    • ENGINE
      3.5L V6
    • MSRP
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1996 Acura RL Review

A new age of Japanese flagships.

Reviewed by Automotive on


The 1996 Acura RL is a luxury sedan manufactured by the Japanese luxury carmaker, Acura. It is sold as the Honda Legend in other markets, including the Japanese domestic market. The RL tag is an abbreviation for ""Refined Luxury,"" While the 3.5 refers to the displacement of the engine under the hood of the car.

The Acura RL is basically a rebadged version of the Legend, but it is also the flagship car for Acura. It was introduced in 1996 as a replacement for the Acura Legend, due to the fact that customers associated the Legend nameplate with the Honda version, rather than the Acura version.

The Range

Body Styles: four-door sedan
Engines: 3.5-liter V-6
Transmissions: four-speed automatic
Models: Acura RL 3.5, Acura RL 3.5 Premium

What's New

The front wheel-drive sedan is upgraded with a 3.5-liter engine, along with an electronic transmission. The 1996 Acura RL also includes 101 ways for isolating bumps, road noise, and vibrations, to ensure a smoother ride. These include innovations like Teflon valve seals, low-friction ball joints in the suspension, foam filled B-pillars and C-pillars, liquid-filled rear-trailing arms, vibration-absorbing seats, and honeycomb floor panels.


The 1996 Acura RL has a wheelbase of 114.6 inches and a length of 195 inches. The width of the car is around 71.3 inches, while its height is around 54.5 inches. These dimensions make the RL one of the larger available luxury sedans in the market today.


Acura has always been praised for its first-rate controls and instrument panel, and the RL is no exception. In particular, the climate control system is very effective, and it even allows rear passengers to control their own environment separately.

The seats up front and in the back are very comfortable; they offer an amazing driving experience and they are quite supportive as well. The driver’s seat has eight power adjustment settings that allow him or her to quickly find an exact fit.

The supple leather upholstery and the adequately supportive seats at the front and rear make long journeys comfortable for everyone. The front seats are spacious, and the rear bench also offers lots of knee room and legroom to keep the passengers comfortable. In sum, the features available with the 1996 Acura RL are the same as those offered by other luxury cars.

Performance & Handling

The 1996 Acura RL is fitted with a 3.5-liter, overhead-cam, V-6 engine that delivers 210 horsepower (hp) and 213 lb-ft of torque. This engine is mated with an electronic four-speed automatic transmission. There is no optional manual gearbox available.

The RL is larger than the Legend, so there is a clear difference in the way both cars perform. The RL lacks the nimbleness and dexterity present with the Legend, but it definitely offers a more comfortable and luxurious ride. The 1996 Acura RL offers power at lower revs than the Legend does, but, overall, the performance of the V-6 engine is sufficient.

The 1996 Acura RL excels in terms of ride quality. The different ways of reducing noise, vibrations, and bumps in the cabin have paid off. The sedan rides smoothly, especially at cruising speeds. The ride, although a little firm, is very comfortable. Steering is precise, and the RL handles like a much smaller car.


The Acura RL received four stars out of five for driver and passenger safety during frontal-impact crash tests conducted by the NHTSA.

EPA Fuel Economy

Acura RL, 3.5-liter V-6, automatic transmission: 19/25 mpg city/highway

You'll Like

  • Good build
  • Nimble steering
  • Comfortable and quiet ride
  • Powerful acceleration from standstill

You Won't Like

  • Lack of steering response

Sum Up

A new age of Japanese flagships.

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