2009 Acura RL

Find Another Acura RL
16 CITY / 22 HWY
Overall Quality
Overall Performance and Design
Predicted Reliability


What Changed for 2009:
  • Mid-cycle update
  • Engine enlarged from 3.5 to 3.7 liters
  • Horsepower up from 290 to 300
  • 18-inch wheels and tires replace 17-inchers
  • New grille and hood
  • Revised interior
  • Real-time weather and traffic rerouting now offered through navigation system
  • XM satellite radio adds a notes function
  • Revised steering, new coil springs and shock absorbers; larger rear stabilizer bar
  • Super Handling All-Wheel Drive enhanced to be quicker-acting
The RL replaced the Legend as the top luxury sedan in Acura's lineup in 1996. The RL was last redesigned for the 2005 model year, and for 2009 it gets a mid-cycle update with more power, new styling inside and out, and a host of new technology and entertainment features. Acura also says the transmission is upgraded, the steering is improved, and handling is better. The 2009 design features new front and rear styling with what Acura calls a \"dynamic power plenum\" front grille. The hood and trunk-lid are redesigned and aerodynamics improved, the company says. The RL remains the largest and most expensive of Acura's three 5-passenger sedans, though the redesigned 2009 Acura TL is now almost as big.

Model Lineup
The 2009 Acura RL is offered in three trim levels: RL, RL with Technology package, and RL with Technology package plus CMBS (Collision Mitigation Braking System). Standard equipment on the RL includes leather upholstery; Bose 10-speaker surround sound AM/FM audio system with 6-disc CD/DVD-Audio changer; XM satellite radio with XM Note; USB audio port; auxiliary audio input jack; Bluetooth hands-free cell phone link; GPS-based solar-sensing dual-zone climate control system; power tilt/telescoping leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio controls; cruise control; 10-way power-adjustable heated front seats with lumbar adjustment; power-folding rear headrests; power windows and door locks; heated power mirrors with turn signals and tilt-down back-up aid; keyless access and starting; power sunroof; Bluetooth wireless cell phone link; trip computer; auto-dimming rearview mirror; universal garage door opener; memory for the driver's seat, mirrors and steering wheel; trunk pass-through; active noise cancellation; auto-dimming rearview mirror; outside-temperature indicator; power rear sunshade; manual side sunshades; theft-deterrent system; automatic Xenon headlights; fog lights; and P245/45VR18 all-season tires on aluminum wheels.

The Technology package includes a rearview back-up camera; Acura's Active Front Lighting System (AFS); heated/cooled front seats; a wood/leather steering wheel and shift knob; wood interior trim; and a navigation system with voice activation, AcuraLink assistance system with one year of service, AcuraLink Traffic with real-time traffic and Traffic Rerouting, and AcuraLink Weather. The RL with Technology package plus CMBS also adds adaptive cruise control and run-flat tires.

For 2009, Acura has enlarged the RL's 3.5-liter V-6 engine to 3.7 liters, raised the compression ratio, and upgraded its VTEC valvetrain system to include variable valve timing for both the intake and exhaust valves. A special dual-stage magnesium intake manifold can function as a single- or dual-plenum design based on engine operating parameters. The result is an increase from 290 to 300 hp, which is achieved at 6300 rpm. Torque is also up from 256 lb.-ft. to 271 lb.-ft. at 5000 rpm. Acura says the 5-speed automatic transmission is beefed up to handle the increased power, and the manual shiftgate adds steering-wheel paddles. The new powertrain is EPA-rated at 16 mpg city/22 mpg highway.

The RL's Super Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD) returns. Acura says it responds quicker and performs better than previous systems, and can vary engine torque continuously to each wheel. The automaker explains that the system employs torque vectoring to increase the rotation speed of an outside rear wheel during aggressive cornering to help the car turn more effectively while under power.

The Acura RL adds active front head restraints to its list of safety features for 2009. Other standard safety equipment includes dual-stage front air bags; torso-protecting front side air bags; head-protecting curtain side air bags; tire-pressure monitor; anti-lock brakes with brake assist and electronic brake-force distribution; traction control; and electronic stability control.

Acura's CMBS uses radar to monitor vehicles in front of the car. If the system detects a potential collision, it uses audio and visual signals and light braking to alert the driver to the risk of collision. If a collision becomes inevitable, the system pre-tensions the front seat belts and applies hard braking to reduce the severity of the collision, Acura explains. Acura's Active Front Lighting System (AFS) points the headlights in the direction of a turn to show potential obstacles in dark corners.

Since it wasn't significantly redesigned, the 2009 RL earns the same ratings from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) as the 2005 to 2008 models. That means it gets 5 stars for front and side crash protection, as well as rollover resistance. That also means it gets \"Good\" ratings from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) for both side and frontal offset crashes. Acura anticipates the 2009 model will receive a \"Good\" rating (versus the 2005-2008 models' \"Marginal\" rating) for rear crash protection from the IIHS thanks to the new active front head restraints.

Acura says its Active Sound Control (ASC) system is improved over the previous Active Noise Cancellation system. In addition to reducing low-decibel noise entering the cabin, the new system reduces high-frequency noise and works throughout the engine's rev range, Acura says. ASC uses two microphones in the headliner to detect unwanted sound frequencies entering the cabin, the automaker explains. It responds by emitting precisely timed reverse-phase audio signals through the speakers to reduce that noise, the company adds. The RL's navigation system comes with AcuraLink Traffic that was co-developed with XM NavTraffic and provides real-time traffic with traffic rerouting. New for 2009 is AcuraLink Weather. Co-developed with XM NavWeather, this feature shows real-time weather information for 21 metropolitan areas, one- and three-day forecasts, severe weather alerts, and Doppler-style radar maps.

J.D. Power Ratings

Automotive Performance Execution and Layout
Overall Performance and Design?
Features and Instrument Panel?
Initial Quality Study
Body & Interior Quality - Mechanical?
Overall Quality - Design?
Body & Interior Quality - Design?
Overall Quality - Mechanical?
Powertrain Quality - Design?
Features & Accessories Quality - Design?
Powertrain Quality - Mechanical?
Overall Quality?
Features & Accessories Quality - Mechanical?

Power Circle Scoring Legend:

Among the best
Better than most
About average
The rest
*Please note that JDPower.com Power Circle Ratings may not include all information used to determine J.D. Power awards. Learn more about how J.D. Power Ratings are calculated.

The Latest Acura Articles:

Acura is returning to a profile that includes performance and sporty variants, as Honda Motor's premium brand plans to introduce a new turbocharged V-6 engine and bring back Type-S sports variants for all core models in the near future.
Acura is a brand in transition. For 2018, the TLX and RLX sedans adopt Acura’s new exterior design themes, while the ILX sedan and RDX SUV patiently await overdue redesigns.
This year, Acura finally brings the long-awaited resurrection of the NSX sports car to fruition, giving the brand a much-needed injection of identity. Find out what else is new for the entire 2017 Acura car and SUV lineup...
The Precision Concept represents for Acura a light at the end of a dim product development tunnel.
For 2016, Honda Motor Company’s upscale Acura brand has spiced up its lineup with a modified RDX compact premium SUV, which features an exterior refresh and performance modifications.
For Acura, 2015 is a year of little change, yet what's different is certainly significant. Gone from the lineup are the TL and TSX sedans, leaving a void that is being filled by an all-new TLX sedan. Find out what's new for all of the 2015 Acura car and SUV models...
For 2014, Acura has added a new flagship sedan, heavily updated its largest crossover, left a few models unchanged, and discontinued the ZDX.
For 2013, Acura launches the new ILX compact luxury sedan and the redesigned RDX compact luxury crossover SUV. Find out what else is new for the 2013 Acura lineup...
Acura welcomes its first wagon, the TSX Sport Wagon, and the flagship RL receives a host of improvementsAll other models in the automaker's lineup are carryoversHistoryAcura is the luxury brand of Honda Motor Company, a Japanese automaker. Launched in 1986, Acura was the first Japanese brand to enter the upscale luxury segment when it debuted its Legend luxury sedan. That model, based on the Honda Accord platform, was accompanied by the Integra sports coupe/sedan, based on Honda's Quint hatchback (not sold in the United States). Honda's luxury brand continues to focus on high-level automobiles and advanced technology (the company's exotic flagship, the aluminum-bodied NSX sports coupe, was launched in 1991), while the mainstream Honda lineup continues to build economy-minded family-oriented cars and crossovers.
Critical Facts:Acura's first wagon bodystyleFront-wheel drive powertrain2.4-liter four-cylinder engineStandard premium audio systemStandard Bluetooth hands-free communicationEstimated 30 mpg on the highwayAvailable during the fall of 2010IntroductionThe Acura TSX sedan was introduced in 2004 as a 4-door larger sibling to the Acura RSX. Put simply, the TSX sedan was a badge-engineered Honda Accord, which means that the exact car is sold in other parts of the world as the Honda Accord (interestingly enough, the North American market receives its own, larger Honda Accord). When the RSX was discontinued in 2006, the TSX became-and still is-Acura's entry-level offering. Now in its second generation, the Acura TSX sedan was last completely redesigned for the 2009 model year.