By on July 16, 2010

Automotive News [sub] reports that the Acura RL is about to be canceled in the Japanese market, where it is sold as the Honda Legend. Considering that Acura’s range-topper sold only 872 units this year so far. For comparison, that’s less than even its weakest competitors like the Cadillac STS (2,145 units YTD)… only the Audi A8 (353 units YTD) sells worse in the full-size luxury sedan segment. According to the report, which originated in The Nikkei, Honda will also make its Civic a hybrid-only model in Japan, and will cancel its Elysion 8-passenger van. With Honda announcing its mid-term product plans next week, we’re sure to hear more about this shortly… in the meantime, would anyone miss the RL?

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29 Comments on “Acura RL On Its Way Out?...”


  • avatar

    I think the market has answered that question with a loud and clear “meh.”

  • avatar
    jjster6

    What’s an Acura? I think I remember they once had some cars I drooled over (NSX, Integra) but didn’t they go out of business with Rover and Sterling?

  • avatar
    Austin Greene

    I test drove an RL in 2005. The sad truth is that for my wife’s benefit I wanted to like this car, but after 30 minutes in it, no rear parking assist, and her managing to accidentally spin a front tire on ice, I just couldn’t. This 2005 Acura RL rode so poorly on rough pavement that I stopped the test drive to double check the tire pressures!

    During the test drive the Salesman kept telling me “this one’s built in Japan” like a little girl batting her eyelashes expecting me to buy her a pony.

    I cross-shopped 12 cars against the RL and this Acura just didn’t make it for me. RIP

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Baruth

      If I owned an Acura dealership, I would make use of the “built in Japan” line punishable by death. It implies that there are two kinds of Acuras:

      * Shit ones built by morons in Ohio and Alabama
      * Awesome ones built by squeaky-clean little stereotypical Japanese people

      It kills brand equity. I guarantee you that Mercedes dealers don’t tell customers “buy the ML instead of the GL, you might get one built in Austria.”

    • 0 avatar
      educatordan

      @Jack, if you owned a dealership I would wait till I could travel to Ohio to visit my folks and make a detour to buy a car while I was there.

    • 0 avatar
      Steve65

      He’d sell you a pink one. And convince you that you wanted it.

  • avatar
    gsnfan

    No, I will not miss it. It looks like a boring and failed attempt to draw in the people who buy a Lexus. Hopefully they make a replacement with good styling (spare us from the beak grilles).

  • avatar
    Gardiner Westbound

    The Acura Legend, later the 3.5 RL then RL, was a sensation in 1986 when introduced. Buyers dumped Jaguars, Mercedes and BMWs for them. Its best attribute is uncompromising quality and reliability, unmatched by other luxury marques. It won Car and Driver’s Ten Best three years in a row. The Legend had no trouble spots and routinely lasted over 250,000 miles with only simple maintenance. Twenty years after production ended it is still often seen on North American roads.

    I like my Acura 3.5RL, but it’s clear Acura has been living off its positive 1980s and 1990s reputation as a powertrain innovator and quality leader for a long time. Technologically uncompetitive, it eats air conditioner compressors and audio equipment like hot dogs at a baseball game. Substandard customer care and tightfisted warranty policies are the final nails in Acura’s coffin.

    • 0 avatar
      ceipower

      I see what your saying everyday. Will Honda wake up and face up ever again? It seems to me it is easy to chart how Honda has fell from grace in so many ares.After the death of Mr. Honda , within 10 years the money managers had full controll of the company. The current head at Honda is more interested in Jet Airplanes than any of Hondas other products. From Lawn Mowes , to Motorcycles , to cars…Honda sells based on the reputation of it’s old products. No one within the corporate culture at Honda gives a darn anymore. It’s all about milking the cow for as many dollars as you can get.What was once a company that was all in house inovation, is now a company super involved in cost cutiing and out sourcing everything.Then when something goes bad , they blame the out side supplier.(Never mind that they picked the cheapest outfit they could find) If warranty repairs can be avoided they are. Never acknowledge a problem until you have no choice.Then back pedal and blame others. Sounds a lot of the General Motors of the 70′s,80′s and 90′s doesn’t it?

  • avatar
    NotFast

    Acura needs a cattle prod up their butt to shock some life into what was a good brand with good and fun cars.

  • avatar
    Boxofrain

    Here in Canada this is an expensive car in the range of many other high end choices. I know the TL has taken alot of guff about stying, as has the entire Acura line. Looks are subjective however, and I guess buyers find it hard to justify the extra expense of the RL when the TL can be had fully loaded with all wheel drive, the Tech Package and a 305 HP motor vs the 300 HP in the RL for a whole lot less. The TL is a good bargain actually and makes the V6 TSX look like not such a good choice for a few dollars more. Not sure what the RL has to offer over the TL, even with the base motor. Let’s face it, Acura has lost it’s way. They still make quality cars, but something is missing isn’t it?

  • avatar
    ttacgreg

    Honda has abandoned what Honda used to be in its pursuit of the big market share.
    Please Honda, be true to your roots. Keep your vehicles more engineering oriented, lightweight, efficient, innovative drive trains (particularly motors, responsive to drive in comparison to your competitors. Being imitative and derivative is killing you.

  • avatar
    WaftableTorque

    They probably would have sold more if they actually made it a full size luxury sedan rather than downsize it in 2005 to try to compete against A6/5/GS/S-Type/E/S80/etc.

    I test drove a 2005 RL against an E-Class, and it was competitive enough, but I couldn’t get over all the center console buttons, lack of rear legroom, and the pronounced road noise for this class.

  • avatar
    werewolf34

    I see these cars as bang for buck used. You can get a 2005 with 60-80k for 18k. if you live in a snowy climate, might not be a bad value choice

  • avatar
    mtymsi

    Acura stole a page out of Lincoln’s playbook. The page about how to make a brand all but totally irrelevant to buyers.

    A better question than would anyone miss the RL is would anyone miss the Acura (or Lincoln) brand?

  • avatar
    John Horner

    RIP RL. Now that the TL is available with an all wheel drive option there is no reason left to keep the RL on life support.

    The original Acura Legend started the whole Japanese import high end line game, and this is what it comes to.

    Play taps.

    • 0 avatar
      segfault

      Just like the Fusion is now bigger than the Taurus once was (and the Taurus is now the size of a Crown Vic), the TL has supplanted the RL.

      Road noise has been an issue with Honda products since time immemorial.

  • avatar
    mtypex

    LeftLaneNews is now reporting that Honda in Japan dismissed rumors that the Honda Legend/Acura RL is dead.

    Insofar as there are Japan-built Acuras and there are North America-built Acuras, well, I prefer the Japan-built ones, thanks.

    Nothing more to see here, go inside please and talk about how you’d choose an Audi or a Volvo or whatever over an Acura.

    • 0 avatar
      John Horner

      I chose my 2006 Acura TSX over the competition and am still happy with my decision. However, I’m not sure I would be happy in a new TSX with that horrific nose job. Then again, the current Audi grills look like something out of an orthodontist’s nightmare!

  • avatar
    Davekaybsc

    Oh Acura. You almost had a good thing going for a minute there with the driver oriented last gen TSX and the attractive last gen TL. Good thing you took care of that, huh? Ugly up the TSX and make it bland to drive? Done! Turn the TL into a hideous bird-beast? Done! Hey, where’s everybody going?

    The RL proves that you can only stretch the “Super Accord” format so far before people stop falling for it.

  • avatar

    Man. The RL even looks like a stretched Accord. And from what I can tell, there’s nothing the RL has that the TL (or even the highest spec Accord) doesn’t have at a lower price. No wonder the RL is being ignored.

    Acura can’t break into the big-league luxury arena, so the response is to go even further down the road of middling Lincoln-grade mediocrity? I honestly don’t know where Acura is going with all this. Especially with the design. Seems they have their own Chris Bangle in there working hard on the next “metal mustache”. And I thought Lexus had it rough for styling their cars after organic vegetables.

    And to think the bulk of this started when Acura not only ditched the “Legend” and “Vigor” names in a bid to elevate the “Acura” name, but also dropped the handsomely muscular design philosophy and driving dynamics in exchange for “Lexus-lite” pseudo-luxury.

  • avatar
    jpcavanaugh

    A friend has an 05 TL. When it was in the shop for a transmission replacement, he was given a new RL as a loaner. I wanted to be impressed, but I had a hard time seeing how it was better than the TL, other than some flashy electronic gadgets. And everyone is correct about the Honda Road Noise (TM).

    To top it off, Honda took a car that was at least semi-distinctive, and made it smaller so that it is tough to distinguish it from a TL. When a guy like me has to squint and think about whether the Acura I just saw was a TL or an RL, I think that tells us that the expensive one is going to sell quite poorly.

    Without a V8 or the same 3.5 in a car that is noticably bigger and different looking, the RL has all the sales appeal of the $5 cupcake sitting next to the identical $3 cupcake.

  • avatar
    mjz

    The current RL is a dull dud. Acura needs to dump the “beak” and bring back great model names like Legend and Integra.

  • avatar
    ceipower

    If you don’t acknowledge a problem , then it doesn’t exsist,right?
    That’s Acura’s problem these days. How Apple is handling its iphone 4 problem is exactly the same type of problem management. The RL is a car that doesn’t matter in the least. What should be a flagship car is a also ran that has being adverage as it’s only goal. Combined with the ugliest body designs , well , the consumer gets the picture. Like Apple , Honda’s top brass are just too proud to see it , too ego driven to care.

  • avatar
    Amendment X

    For as long as I can remember, the RL always pretended to be Acura’s flagship sedan, while it was clear the TL was their true flagship.

    Years ago you could spot these on the roads occasionally, but RLs have faded into such irrelevence, you’d be lucky to see one today. Absolutely irrelevent. That is what the RL is.

  • avatar
    George B

    What happened to Honda designer Jon Ikeda? I liked his work on the 2004-2008 Acura TL. Never understood the appeal of the last RL once the TL grew to Legend size. Like the RL even less with that damn chrome beak.

  • avatar
    chrisgreencar

    Wow, OUCH! No love here! Looks like a big fat “0″ for the RL. :-(


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