Buyer Beware! If you are thinking of buying an Acura RL. please read this article. It may save you time, money and peace of mind.

My Personal Experience with the 2005 Acura RL

My killer commute was getting worse.  My SUV, although a reliable workhorse, was hard to drive on windy canyon roads and crowded freeways.  My wife, after seeing me arrive home exhausted every day, suggested that I purchase a new car with the features that may ease the burden of my commute. 

I read innumerable automobile reviews, perused the media hype and took some test drives.  In the end, I decided on the new 2005 Acura RL.  It was the real-time traffic reports on the standard navigation system that finally pushed me over the edge.  I would never have dreamed of purchasing a $50,000 car, but I was looking for comfort, quality, good handling and quiet ride, and the RL looked impressive.  The RL comes fully-equipped, so the only real decision is the color.  I picked out a black one in March, 2005. 

 What the automobile reviews don't tell you about are the RATTLES and the unreliable electronics. 

I felt that I was in an adult Disneyland during the first week of ownership.  The electronic gadgets are amazing and, at first, a little overwhelming.  By the end of the week, as the novelty was wearing off, I started to notice the rattles.  An annoying tapping in the area of the overhead console prompted me to complain to my salesman.  I figured that I would wait a few weeks-just in case anything else would go wrong-before I would bring the car in for repair.  As a few weeks passed, the rattle became increasingly annoying.

When I returned the car to the dealer, they said that they found a bracket that wasn't tightened properly and the problem was fixed.  Well, that rattle was just as bad on the drive home.  Two weeks later I again brought the car to the dealer.  This time it was diagnosed that the moonroof bracket was the culprit and that it would need to be replaced.  The third repair-when the bracket was replaced-took three days.  The entire headliner, brackets, motors and side airbags had to be removed to make the repair.  Well, after I picked up the car, not only did the moonroof did not function properly, now the rattling problem was much worse-sounding somewhat like popcorn popping several inches from my ear.  So, how do I know the airbags will now function properly?

Now I spend a lot of time in my car.  My morning commute starts at 5:00 AM (when the rattles are much more pronounced) and my afternoon commute was lasting about 2 hours.  All told, I was listening to this noise for almost 3 hours each day.

By this time other problems started to surface. The navigation system would lose the NavTraffic (real-time traffic speeds) data, then the navigation system would blank out and reset itself. The XM Radio started making annoying metallic popping noises. Several pieces of door trim fell off- once as I was leaving my car at the dealer. Both windows started rattling non-stop. The dashboard started rattling. Then the keyless entry system stopped working on the driver's side. A loud clunk was heard every time I went over a speed bump or rough road. Then the brakes started squealing. Sound bad? It is. I still have every one of these problems in spite of being in the shop 20 consecutive days during my last visit.

In my first 360 days of ownership, my $50,000 flagship Acura has been in the shop for 40 (yes, 40) days. That's one of every 9 days. And the car still has at least 10 problems as of this writing.

At least now I have an attorney and we are trying to get Acura to buy the car back- or at least replace it.

In conclusion, I believe that Acura has decided to enter the $50,000 luxury automobile market with a vehicle that doesn't quite rate with offerings from Lexus, Mercedes Benz and others.  The RL has many nice features-more than most in the same price range-but a quiet ride should be essential in this competitive market.  In addition, I don't think Acura dealers or management are used to catering to clients that have high expectations in this type of market.  I can't imagine Lexus allowing their customers to experience what I have.

Please keep in mind that the above commentary reflects the experiences of the reviewer. Please email me to express your comments.