The Mega-Mileage Acura RLs of EBay

Jack Baruth
by Jack Baruth
the mega mileage acura rls of ebay

It’s been a long time since the Acura Legend or its successors had much mojo. The second-generation model, most notably the six-speed manual-shifted coupe, had a certain amount of street presence and enthusiast credibility, but the two generations that came after that didn’t impress anyone. The current car is perceived by the public as a bigger TL, even if it isn’t one, not totally.

It’s probably safe to say that most buyers in the segment don’t even consider an RL when they’re shopping. But the ones who do like the RL tend to put some serious mileage on them. How serious? Well…

A quick trawl through eBay showed that, of the thirty-five RLs listed, eleven of them had over 100,000 miles, with five boasting odometer readings over 150K. Our cover-shot car has 221,000 miles. More interesting than that, virtually all of the high-mileage cars are of the second-gen (2005-2012) variety.

This surprisingly decent-looking example has 225,000 listed on the odometer. As a comparison, there are sixty-nine Lexus GS350s listed on the ‘Bay. Two of them have over 100,000 miles, with the highest-mileage one for sale showing just 111,600. We won’t bother to discuss the equivalent BMW Funfers, of course; those cars tend to be as disposable as cheap prophylactics.

So. There are a lot of people driving the wheels off the biggest Honda. The question is: why? I’d suggest that it’s a combination of engineering and expectations. The RL has a fairly well-proven, low-stress engine. It’s conservatively designed and (if you care) built in Japan. The people at Honda take a lot of pride in the Legend and RL and have typically taken pains to ensure that the cars are thoroughly worked out prior to going on sale.

With that said, the second-generation RL was not trouble-free and if you take a look through the owners’ forums you can see that they occasionally have expensive issues. That’s where expectations come it. The typical RL buyer is a Honda lifer, often an older person who started with an Accord in the Seventies or Eighties and often fairly successful in his career. He or she expects to keep his Honda a long time and he’s willing to spend a fair amount of money to make that happen. This is how Mercedes-Benz gained a reputation for reliability: because the owners were affluent and the cars had a reputation for lasting forever, the kind of major repairs that would send most cars to the junkyard or the buy-here-pay-here lot were simply completed without much regard for cost and next thing you know you have a 300,000-mile grey-market 230E rolling around.

Thirty years ago, you wouldn’t need me to tell you about the RL’s mile-eating abilities; there would already be advertisements putting the message out. Honda used to make the reliability and durability of its cars the front-and-center message. This is what we get nowadays:

“Intuition, unleashed by the will of the driver.” What does that even mean? Wouldn’t it be a better idea to junk that worthless headline and replace it with “The quarter-million-mile luxury car”? Maybe not. Honda wants Acura to be relentlessly upscale, and what’s so upscale about building a long-lasting, high-quality product, unless you live in a world much saner than this one?

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3 of 104 comments
  • Pch101 Pch101 on Nov 03, 2013

    "Wouldn’t it be a better idea to junk that worthless headline and replace it with 'The quarter-million-mile luxury car'?" The best idea of all would be to make it look less like an Honda. Very few people want to pay BMW money for a big Accord. Acura competes well in the luxury crossover market, but it has a lot to learn about luxury sedans. In the alternative, build the car in the US in order to avoid yen exchange rate issues, and drop the price so that it's closer to Hyundai and Lincoln than to the Germans.

    • Dan Dan on Nov 03, 2013

      A big Accord would have been a home run for Acura, once upon a time, and "BMW money" is exactly why. Because 20 years of a lineup that ended with small to middling cars excluded Acura from the traditional luxury market entirely. Everyone knew what a small expensive car looked like, like a BMW. Where Acura was always compared, and where they always lost with FWD cars that had no sporting credibility outside of the fartcan crowd and no badge credibility because of that fartcan crowd. A big, comfortable car executed like the Accord and not half assed and ungainly like the Avalon would have competed with cars they were positioned to take a lot of sales from. And now they've finally done it. The RLX is a genuine big Accord. Just in time for the 5 year anniversary of the Accord and every other midsize growing genuinely roomy, and also the 5 year anniversary of the rest of the market, even the part of it that eats dogs, catching up with how well executed the Accord is. Fail Acura, fail. And if the timing weren't fail enough they want $55,000 for it?

  • Reino Reino on Nov 04, 2013

    Because 300 HP VTEC, yo!

  • ToolGuy CXXVIII comments?!?
  • ToolGuy I did truck things with my truck this past week, twenty-odd miles from home (farther than usual). Recall that the interior bed space of my (modified) truck is 98" x 74". On the ride home yesterday the bed carried a 20 foot extension ladder (10 feet long, flagged 14 inches past the rear bumper), two other ladders, a smallish air compressor, a largish shop vac, three large bins, some materials, some scrap, and a slew of tool cases/bags. It was pretty full, is what I'm saying.The range of the Cybertruck would have been just fine. Nothing I carried had any substantial weight to it, in truck terms. The frunk would have been extremely useful (lock the tool cases there, out of the way of the Bed Stuff, away from prying eyes and grasping fingers -- you say I can charge my cordless tools there? bonus). Stainless steel plus no paint is a plus.Apparently the Cybertruck bed will be 78" long (but over 96" with the tailgate folded down) and 60-65" wide. And then Tesla promises "100 cubic feet of exterior, lockable storage — including the under-bed, frunk and sail pillars." Underbed storage requires the bed to be clear of other stuff, but bottom line everything would have fit, especially when we consider the second row of seats (tools and some materials out of the weather).Some days I was hauling mostly air on one leg of the trip. There were several store runs involved, some for 8-foot stock. One day I bummed a ride in a Roush Mustang. Three separate times other drivers tried to run into my truck (stainless steel panels, yes please). The fuel savings would be large enough for me to notice and to care.TL;DR: This truck would work for me, as a truck. Sample size = 1.
  • Art Vandelay Dodge should bring this back. They could sell it as the classic classic classic model
  • Surferjoe Still have a 2013 RDX, naturally aspirated V6, just can't get behind a 4 banger turbo.Also gloriously absent, ESS, lane departure warnings, etc.
  • ToolGuy Is it a genuine Top Hand? Oh, I forgot, I don't care. 🙂