2004 Acura RL

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Key Specs
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Overview
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Key Specs

of the 2004 Acura RL. Base trim shown.

  • Body Type:
  • Combined MPG:
    21 Combined MPG
  • Engine:
    225-hp, 3.5-liter V-6 (premium)
  • Drivetrain:
    Front-wheel Drive
  • Transmission:
    4-speed automatic w/OD
  • View more specs

Our Take

From the Cars.com Vehicle Test Team

The Good

  • Refinement
  • Performance
  • Ride comfort
  • Handling
  • Solid construction

The Bad

  • Seat comfort in center rear position
  • Tame styling

Notable Features of the 2004 Acura RL

  • 225-hp V-6
  • Standard XM Satellite Radio
  • Voice-activated navigation system
  • Standard side-impact airbags
  • Vehicle Stability Assist system

2004 Acura RL Overview

By Cars.com Editors
Vehicle Overview
Acura has made some equipment changes to its flagship luxury sedan. The four-door, front-wheel-drive 3.5 RL was introduced at the Chicago Auto Show in February 2003, and it went on sale in the spring as an early 2004 model. It’s the first luxury sedan to offer both XM Satellite Radio and a voice-activated navigation system as standard equipment. The 3.5 RL also gains an in-dash six-CD player with a retuned audio system and power adjustable lumbar support on the driver’s side.

Equipped with a 7-inch LCD screen, the navigation system can recognize 130 voice-issued commands. A DVD-based navigation system was previously optional rather than standard.

Acura, Honda’s luxury division, produces only one other sedan — the American-built TL. The 3.5 RL is built in Japan and comes in a single trim level. Competitors include the Audi A6, BMW 5 Series, Lexus GS 430 and Mercedes-Benz E-Class.


Exterior
Since its first appearance in 1996, the RL has not changed dramatically in appearance. A signature Acura grille fits into the sharply chiseled front end that contains wraparound headlights. In profile, the 3.5 RL has a long, sloping hood and a short rear deck with subtle chrome trim. Xenon high-intensity-discharge headlights are standard.

Alloy wheels hold Michelin all-season P225/55R16 tires. With an overall length of 196.6 inches and a 114.6-inch wheelbase, the 3.5 RL is about the same size as the more expensive, rear-wheel-drive Lexus LS 430. A power slid...
Vehicle Overview
Acura has made some equipment changes to its flagship luxury sedan. The four-door, front-wheel-drive 3.5 RL was introduced at the Chicago Auto Show in February 2003, and it went on sale in the spring as an early 2004 model. It’s the first luxury sedan to offer both XM Satellite Radio and a voice-activated navigation system as standard equipment. The 3.5 RL also gains an in-dash six-CD player with a retuned audio system and power adjustable lumbar support on the driver’s side.

Equipped with a 7-inch LCD screen, the navigation system can recognize 130 voice-issued commands. A DVD-based navigation system was previously optional rather than standard.

Acura, Honda’s luxury division, produces only one other sedan — the American-built TL. The 3.5 RL is built in Japan and comes in a single trim level. Competitors include the Audi A6, BMW 5 Series, Lexus GS 430 and Mercedes-Benz E-Class.


Exterior
Since its first appearance in 1996, the RL has not changed dramatically in appearance. A signature Acura grille fits into the sharply chiseled front end that contains wraparound headlights. In profile, the 3.5 RL has a long, sloping hood and a short rear deck with subtle chrome trim. Xenon high-intensity-discharge headlights are standard.

Alloy wheels hold Michelin all-season P225/55R16 tires. With an overall length of 196.6 inches and a 114.6-inch wheelbase, the 3.5 RL is about the same size as the more expensive, rear-wheel-drive Lexus LS 430. A power sliding/tilting moonroof is standard.


Interior
Five people fit inside the RL sedan, which features soft leather-trimmed seating surfaces and burled camphor wood trim. Standard equipment includes heated front seats and outside mirrors, a 10-speaker Acura/Bose sound system with a cassette player and such new features as an in-dash six-CD changer, automatic climate control with air filtration and a HomeLink remote control system. The driver gets an eight-way power seat, while the front passenger seat has a four-way adjustment feature.

For 2004, the center console and steering wheel have been redesigned. GM’s OnStar communication system is standard, which results from an agreement between Acura/Honda and General Motors. XM Satellite Radio and a voice-recognition navigation system are standard features, but only in the 48 contiguous states. The RL’s trunk holds up to 14.8 cubic feet of cargo.


Under the Hood
Acura’s 225-horsepower, 3.5-liter, 24-valve V-6 engine produces 231 pounds-feet of torque; it teams with a four-speed-automatic transmission. Acura’s Grade Logic Control reduces gear hunting when traveling uphill and helps engine braking while moving downhill.

Safety
The standard seat-mounted side-impact airbags have occupant height and position sensors in the front passenger seat. Front seat belt pretensioners, antilock brakes and rear child-safety seat tether anchors are also standard. Acura’s electronic stability system, called Vehicle Stability Assist, helps with both traction control and stability maintenance.

Driving Impressions
What it lacks in flashy excitement, the RL makes up for in practical luxury and overall refinement. In performance, ride comfort and handling capabilities, it stands above the luxury-car norm — though not necessarily as high as some competitors. It is well constructed, well behaved on the highway and comfortable inside, and it delivers a sense of solidity.

Latest 2004 RL Stories

What Drivers Are Saying

Exterior Styling
(4.8)
Performance
(4.7)
Interior Design
(4.8)
Comfort
(4.8)
Reliability
(4.8)
Value For The Money
(4.7)

Latest Reviews

(5.0)

Great Car averall

by Niko from Sterling,VA.20164 on June 14, 2018

Great car for the money,runs smooth and comfortable,low maintenance and strong engine,very luxury car,very roomy inside for every one in it,has nevi system appdated,and roomy trunk.thank You. Read full review

(5.0)

Very clean comfortable runs excellent This

by Bigboy0411 from Dover,De on May 20, 2018

This car has everything from smooth ride to dependable very luxurious navigation was very easy to use and I no it will last forever being Honda?s luxury line Acura?s flagship RL Read full review

Safety & Recalls

Recalls

The 2004 Acura RL currently has 0 recalls

Crash and Rollover Test Ratings

The 2004 Acura RL has not been tested.

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Cars.com Car Seat Check

Certified child passenger safety technicians conduct hands-on tests of a car’s Latch system and check the vehicle’s ability to accommodate different types of car seats. The RL received the following grades on a scale of A-F.*
* This score may not apply to all trims, especially for vehicles with multiple body styles that affect the space and design of the seating.

Warranty FAQs

What is a Bumper-to-Bumper warranty?

Often called a basic warranty or new-vehicle warranty, a bumper-to-bumper policy covers components like air conditioning, audio systems, vehicle sensors, fuel systems and major electrical components. Most policies exclude regular maintenance like fluid top offs and oil changes, but a few brands have separate free-maintenance provisions, and those that do offer them is slowly rising. Bumper-to-bumper warranties typically expire faster than powertrain warranties.

What is a Powertrain warranty?

Don't be misled a 10-year or 100,000-mile powertrain warranty doesn't promise a decade of free repairs for your car. It typically covers just the engine and transmission, along with any other moving parts that lead to the wheels, like the driveshaft and constant velocity joints. Some automakers also bundle seat belts and airbags into their powertrain warranties. With a few exceptions, powertrain warranties don't cover regular maintenance like engine tuneups and tire rotations.

What is included in Roadside Assistance?

Some automakers include roadside assistance with their bumper-to-bumper or powertrain warranties, while others have separate policies. These programs cover anything from flat-tire changes and locksmith services to jump-starts and towing. Few reimburse incidental costs like motel rooms (if you have to wait for repairs).

What other services could be included in a warranty?

Some automakers include free scheduled maintenance for items such as oil changes, air filters and tire rotations. Some include consumables including brake pads and windshield wipers; others do not. They are typically for the first couple of years of ownership of a new car.

What does CPO mean?

A certified pre-owned or CPO car has been inspected to meet minimum quality standards and typically includes some type of warranty. While dealers and third parties certify cars, the gold standard is an automaker-certified vehicle that provides a factory-backed warranty, often extending the original coverage. Vehicles must be in excellent condition and have low miles and wear to be certified, which is why off-lease vehicles feed many CPO programs.

See also the latest CPO incentives by automaker