Ch-Ch-Changes: 2011 Acura RL

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For the 2011 model year, the aging Acura RL gets some technical upgrades, as well as some added safety features and a few styling tweaks.

The most important change starts under the hood. The RL upgrades from an outmoded five-speed automatic transmission to a more modern six-speed automatic. Gas mileage rises to 17/24 mpg city/highway, a 2-mpg highway increase over the 2010 model.

The RL also gets a revised grille – yay! – and power-folding side mirrors are standard. The sedan sports a new set of 18-inch aluminum wheels featuring resonator technology for the first time in a factory-installed set of wheels. The system is designed to mitigate midrange tire noise. On the inside, there’s more floorboard insulation to reduce even more road noise.

Safety additions include new optional backup sensors, a revised backup camera to improve rearward visibility and improvements to the Bluetooth system that should speed up dialing functions.

Acura hasn’t announced pricing or a launch date yet, but we expect the RL to remain competitively priced for the segment. The 2010 RL is priced at $46,830, and the 2011 is expected to launch in the next few months. It’ll be interesting to see if more Acuras get the same smaller version of the brand’s controversial beak.

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