Acura RL: 472,000 Miles in 10 Years
The Acura RL (so-named for its “refined luxury”) was born in 1996 as the Acura brand’s top-line replacement for the Legend which ran from model years 1986 to 1995.
Since then, the RL has undergone a number of refinements and performance enhancements to showcase the brand’s capabilities. A sophisticated all-wheel-drive system called Super Handling All-Wheel-Drive (SH-AWD) debuted on the 2005 model. Navigation capability, active (swiveling) headlights, power folding mirrors, and an innovative wheel noise-quieting technology called a “Helmholtz resonator” were also adds to the long list of notable features over the years.
Despite its perceived value and reputation, the RL was never a high selling model, topping the list of worst-selling vehicles in 2011 at only about 1,000 units. It didn’t do any better in 2012 but was excluded from the contest since it was set to be discontinued after the 2012 model year. Few have appreciated what the RL has to offer.
Last month in Los Angeles, the RL’s successor, RLX was unveiled, set to go on sale as a 2014 model. My write-up about the experience at the auto show is found here in a prior Drive to Five post.
One of the many Acuras my family has owned was this 2000 3.5 RL, finished in beautiful Nighthawk Black Pearl with black leather interior and the Premium package. This picture was taken on May 2, 2005 when I picked up the car at just 22,000 miles on the odometer from its original owner named Terry in Concord, California.
That trip will forever live on as one of my favorite car memories. A delayed bank funds transfer for the purchase price of the car meant I needed to stay one night at the seller’s home. He was gracious enough to allow me. The 680-mile drive home to Utah was a rewarding experience – the first time I’d been in a vehicle so plush and refined. My mom went on to drive that RL to about the 50,000 mile mark, at which time it was sold to my uncle who’s still driving it today.
Elsewhere in the family, this beautiful Heather Mist Metallic 1997 3.5 RL resides in the garage of my grandma. She’s driven it since 2004 and it only has about 118,000 miles on the odometer. Mechanically it’s been a great ride, though one mishap does stand out in my memory. We were coming home from Beaver, Utah via I-15 southbound and the right rear window rolled down part-way but wouldn’t roll back up. It was raining, too. I’ll never forget my aunt Jodi’s flustered face as she shoved a pillow into the window’s gap in a vain attempt to keep the water out.
Keen Acura eyes will note that this car is equipped with 7-spoke OEM wheels from the 2002 model year instead of the 1997-issued ones which to me always shared a resemblance to a pie plate.
Why all the talk about RL’s today? I came across a contender on Autotrader this afternoon for the next Drive to Five celebration. This nice looking 2003 model in Ohio has racked up a whopping 472,000 miles. That means that whoever drove this thing has been putting more miles on it (per year) than even I drive. At 472,000 miles over 10 years, that’s 129 miles per day, 365 days a year, for 10 years. Has this car ever been parked longer than a few minutes?
Somebody needs to buy this thing and drive it another 27,648 miles so it, too, can achieve Legendary status.
Any takers at $5,495?