Luxury cars tend to have a steep depreciation curve in general, and the Acura RL is no exception. The reason being is that although the RL was the flagship model in the Acura lineup from 1996 to 2012, it was never really that popular, to begin with. However, if you’re looking to spend around $7,000 or less on a used car, then you can live in the lap of luxury by finding yourself a 2005 Acura RL.
The Acura RL was ahead of its time
There were three different generations of the Acura RL, but one of the best generations was the second generation, which was produced from 2005 to 2008. The first generation (96 to 2004) was bulky and boxy as Acura was trying to keep pace with German rivals like Mercedes-Benz, but when the RL was redesigned for 2005, it was transformed into a much sleeker and sophisticated full-size sedan.
For starters, the second-generation Acura RL was given a more potent V6 engine, an updated and more elegant interior, as well as a lot of tech-savvy features that put it ahead of its time. While BMW and Audi were rivals at the time, the RL mainly competed with the Lexus LS and Infiniti Q45 and it was definitely a formidable competitor even if many consumers at the time didn’t care to notice.
What was so special about the 2005 Acura RL?
Aside from its updated looks inside and out, the 2005 Acura RL was fitted with a 3.5-liter V6 engine under the hood. It was the same sized engine as the previous generation, but power was increased to 300 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque. This made a run to 60 mph go by in a mere 6.5 seconds, which was on par with other Japanese rivals. A five-speed automatic transmission aided with transmitting the power to the RL’s new Super Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD) system that routed power through all four wheels.
And while the drivetrain was somewhat revolutionary at the time – since it could distribute power not only between the front and rear wheels but also between either side for the best traction through a corner – the RL was given other technologically advanced features as well. Starting in 2006, the RL’s fitted with the Technology Package also received adaptive cruise control, a feature that is commonplace now but almost unheard of back then. Additionally, side and rear curtain airbags were standard as well, which upped the ante on safety features that were offered other cars during that time period.
Driving the Acura RL
The staff at Car and Driver had a 2005 Acura RL as a long-term test car and they reported that the car was a pleasure to drive even on a 10-hour trip. Additionally, one of the editors noted that the seats “wrap around you wonderfully and are not as stiff as their German competitors.” Aside from the plush leather interior, the RL’s in-cabin infotainment was easy to use and intuitive.
The car came standard with a Bose 10-speaker premium sound system as well as a 10-disc CD changer (remember those?) with DVD compatibility, as well as a navigation system with voice-recognition technology. Of course, the navigation system is completely rudimentary in comparison to the systems (or even our phones) today, however, it worked well then and technically can still work well now.
How much does the 2005 Acura RL cost?
When it was new, the 2005 Acura RL had an MSRP of around $50,000. However, you can currently find them in the used market for less than $7,000 depending on the car’s location, condition, and mileage. Of course, if you want to opt for a 2006 model or later, you might have to pay more, but considering all of the luxurious features that you get for the money, it’s well worth the price.