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2008 Acura RL

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2008 Acura RL Review

A high-tech, low sticker price sedan.

Reviewed by Automotive on


While the 2008 Acura RL may not necessarily be flashy or overtly powerful in terms of what it packs under the hood, it makes up for it with reliable all-weather handling, near-perfect safety features/ratings, and extensive interior functionality. Buyers thirsting for a high-tech premium coupe that looks and drives more like a sedan will find the 2008 Acura RL a notable compromise well worth the current sticker price.

Unfortunately, the 2008 Acura RL’s unimpressive V-6 engine can’t readily keep up with other luxury sedans in its class that offer more powerful V8-induced powertrains. Although it's good for a respectable 290 hp, many of its competitors offer at least 300 hp or more. Still, the 2008 Acura RL’s quality build, spunky, aggressive road handling, and host of high-tech gadgets is certainly worth crowing about.

The Range

Body Styles: Sedan
Engines: 3.5-liter V-6
Transmissions: five-speed shiftable automatic
Models: RL base

What's New

There are no significant changes to the 2008 Acura RL.


Completely redesigned in 2005, the wedge-shaped 2008 Acura RL’s signature look was complete with its five-sided front end grille, angled head lights, steep hood, and beltline trim, which help it remain sleek and sporty. Minor touches meant to mildly enhance and improve its handsome image include 17-inch alloy wheels, a subtle line along its trunk, and a softening of the overall contours.


As one of the staple features of the entire Acura line, the 2008 Acura RL’s interior continues a tradition of beautiful craftsmanship and a long line of attractive standard amenities. Combining a mix of authentic wood trim and perforated leather seating, the Acura RL sets the proper sport-induced mood with a handsome cascade of electronic features arranged along its towering center console. Opting for the Technology trim affords drivers the freedom to activate the cars audio controls and climate navigation systems in one of three ways: voice command, buttons across the dashboard or steering wheel, or the multipurpose command dial, and 8-inch central LCD screen. In terms of seating, the 2008 Acura RL was shortened by three inches. Lowering the wheelbase by almost five inches resulted in slightly less interior room, in particular the back seat and trunk room, which alone lost two cubic feet.

Performance & Handling

The 2008 Acura RL V-6 is good for an ample amount of horsepower (290) and torque (256 lb-ft). While many throughout the automotive industry were quick to point out the engine’s general lack of power as compared to other luxury sedans in its class, the RL still retains a better than average six-second zero-to-60-mph rate. Another performance bonus for the 2008 Acura RL is its Super Handling All-Wheel-Drive (SH-AWD) system designed to enhance the vehicle’s torque, making for crisper handling, better control, and tighter steering response. As long as you’re not a hard-core driving enthusiast who places speed above all else, the 2008 RL holds its own as a competent, everyday sedan.


The 2008 Acura RL provides a host of safety features to protect its occupants in addition to receiving the highest ratings from some of the nation’s top safety advocates. Standard protective features include front side and side curtain airbags, side impact door beams, impact-absorbing front and rear crumple zones, electronic brake distribution with brake assist, stability/traction control, HID headlights, twilight sensing headlamps, tire pressure monitoring, and 279 degree all-around vehicle visibility.

EPA Fuel Economy

RL: 16/24 mpg city/highway

You'll Like

  • Lion's share of standard features
  • Sleek, sophisticated interior cabin design
  • Plenty of high-tech optional gadget upgrades across trims
  • Low sticker price
  • Excellent safety features and high crash scores
  • SH-AWD

You Won't Like

  • Less than stellar engine power
  • Uninspired exterior design
  • Low torque
  • No manual transmission

Sum Up

A high-tech, low sticker price sedan.

If You Like This Vehicle

  • Infiniti M45
  • Lexus GS

See the New 2012 RL.

Front & Driver Side View

2008 Acura RL Consumer Rating

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