2005 Acura RL

  • 2005 Acura RL Base Sedan

    Base Sedan

    • MAX MPG
    • SEATS
    • ENGINE
      3.5L V6
    • MSRP
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2005 Acura RL Review

Quality construction plus fine handling equal one considerably high-end sedan.

Reviewed by Automotive on


The RL is Acura’s flagship luxury sedan, and with a full makeover for 2005, it remains a worthy contender in a crowded field of competitors. Under its graceful exterior is a wealth of impressive technology, power, and comfort. While the 2005 model is not designed to draw attention, it is certainly dressed to please. It also keeps things elegantly simple, with only one trim level and no options. As such, the list of standard equipment is quite extensive with plenty of comfort, convenience, and entertainment features to keep both driver and passengers happy. It also boasts Acura’s unique Super Handling all-wheel-drive (AWD) system, which balances the distribution of power to the front and rear wheels depending on traction, speed, and road conditions, creating a highly adaptable, conscious driving experience.

The Range

Body Styles: sedan
Engines: 3.5-liter V-6
Transmissions: five-speed automatic
Models: Acura RL 3.5

What's New

The 2005 Acura RL is completely redesigned for 2005 with a fresh look, updated technology, and new features to improve upon its 1996-2004 predecessors. While it loses four inches of length in the wheelbase, it makes up for this loss with now-standard AWD, a powerful V-6, and a full range of safety and convenience features. Another new feature is the AcuraLink system, with a dashboard screen that displays maintenance alerts, diagnostic information, operating tips, and vehicle recalls. It also informs the driver of traffic alerts and accidents in major urban areas. The new model also gets fresh styling both inside and out.


The 2005 Acura RL is a wide-set, muscular vehicle with a long sloping hood and a bold front fascia. The hood, front fenders, deck lid, sub-frame, and suspension are all made from aluminum for a lightweight construction that belies this large sedan’s imposing physical appearance. It sits on 17-inch alloy wheels. The full list of standard exterior equipment includes automatic HID headlights, fog lights, a front air dam, heated exterior mirrors, a rear window defogger, and interval wipers.


The 2005 Acura RL is designed to hold five occupants. The seats are outstandingly comfortable and supportive with snug bolstering in the front seats. However, headroom and legroom is lacking in the rear, and trunk space is limited for a car of this class. The tallest passengers will also find the center rear seat rather inadequate. Good visibility is provided throughout the cabin. The richly detailed dashboard holds large, easy-to-read instruments, although some controls are oddly designed or difficult to find. The list of standard interior features is very thorough, including air-conditioning with separate climate controls, cruise control, a tachometer, a leather tilt-adjustable steering wheel with mounted controls, leather upholstery, wood accents, a tire pressure monitor, and trip computer. The ten-speaker Acura/Bose DVD Audio system comes with standard XM Satellite Radio, a CD changer, and a subwoofer. A hands-free telephone, navigational aid, and OnStar telematics system are all standard features. The RL also includes the AcuraLink satellite-based communication system, which provides real-time traffic monitoring.

Performance & Handling

The sole engine offering for the 2005 Acura RL is a 3.5-liter V-6, which is rated at 300 horsepower (hp) and 260 lb-ft of torque. The only transmission option is a five-speed automatic with steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters for optional manual operation. It also features Acura’s unique Super Handling All-Wheel Drive system (SH-AWD), which sends power to the outside rear wheels during turns to help guide the vehicle securely around corners. The SH-AWD is seamlessly smooth in city driving, and obviously helpful at higher speeds on open roads as well.

Always an impressive road car, the 2005 Acura RL provides a stronger performance than previous models. The V-6 engine is never short on power, and the automatic transmission offers prompt, smooth shifting. Steering is firm and responsive. The ride quality is smooth on well-paved roads, although things get a bit choppy on rougher surfaces. Engine noise is very quiet from inside the cabin, but not so silent that buyers forget it’s there.


The 2005 Acura RL boasts an impressive list of safety features. All-wheel drive (AWD) comes standard, as do anti-lock brakes for either two or four wheels. Electronic brake assist is also a standard inclusion, as is traction control and a vehicle stability control system. Other basic safety equipment includes front side airbags and side head curtain airbags, a trunk anti-trap device, power windows and locks, child safety door locks, a vehicle anti-theft system, and keyless entry. The NHTSA has awarded it a five-star rating in frontal crash tests and side crash tests in both the front and rear. The IIHS has given the RL its highest rating of ""good"" for overall protection.

EPA Fuel Economy

Acura RL 3.5: 16/24 mpg city/highway

You'll Like

  • Good handling for its size
  • High-quality materials and construction
  • Unique AWD
  • High-tech navigation system

You Won't Like

  • Lacks the European prestige of its competitors
  • No low-end V-8 muscle

Sum Up

Quality construction plus fine handling equal one considerably high-end sedan.

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