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2007 Acura RL

by Martha Hindes

2007 Acura RL
2007 Acura RL Interior

What if there was a vehicle that had an outrigger ability to keep out of trouble and offer early warnings of impending dangers. Nice to imagine but not very realistic? RL, Acura's flagship luxury sedan, has some secret talents designed to keep passen-gers secure and some visible ways of avoiding problems ahead.

Acura brags about the abundance of advanced technology in the RL, the most ever in a production auto it says. That includes color coded real time traffic information feeds through its navigation system screen so drivers can find alternate driving routes. The 2007 model year also introduces two technology packages that tie in with the newly optional nav system.

The RL offers one powerplant, a 3.5-liter VTEC V-6 generating 290 horsepower and earning 18/26 in fuel economy. While sprightly and secure, it lacks the brute power and gutsy takeoff of some V-8 powered competitors. But the standard all-wheel-drive system, designed to keep the vehicle solidly planted in its path and to prevent outward drift, gives a speed boost to the outside rear tire in fast, tight turns. Moveable headlamp beams scan for road hazards in curves. Combined with such technologies as Adaptive Cruise Control, Acura's first use of radar-guided Collision Mitigation Braking and Michelin's PAX run-flat tires in the top technology package, it's about as safe a driving guarantee as any vehicle can offer. Having the nav system optional should keep the RL affordable for more buyers ($45,000 base), even those in the luxury market wooed to the brand by an abundance of safety technology.

While Acura describes the RL as "taut and athletic," it's doubtful it would win wolf whistles for its svelte lines and passionate personage. That simply wouldn't be Acura, the luxury arm of Honda that normally doesn't step out of the box with daringly abandoned styling. Acuras traditionally have emulated the more muted elegance of a Mercedes-Benz than the in-your-face fire of a Jaguar. But if feeling secure surpasses an inherent need to flaunt, the RL could be the car for you.