2004 Acura RL 3.5 from North America


Comfortable enjoyable ride, classic Honda reliability and shortcomings


Extensive rust under the car, rough gear transitions, small oil leak.

General Comments:

The Acura RL is a comfortable, well mannered car. The engine, although under-powered compared to the competition, produces sufficient ponies to comfortably handle any reasonable situation, including passing and highway merging. The ride is medium firm; the car exudes confidence when cornering at higher speeds, but at the same time it goes over potholes and rough asphalt gracefully. Overall it is one of the most enjoyable cars I have had for commuting and taking longer trips.

Interior amenities provide comfort and enjoyment. Driver position memories include telescoping wheel settings. The wheel retreats automatically when turning off the engine, making the exit from the relatively low driving position easier. The Bose sound system sounds very nice and has a relatively balanced sound. Cabin space is sufficient to accommodate four average sized people very comfortably.

Reliability-wise I cannot make a fair assessment, since I bought the car with significant rust in the undercarriage and had to swap a few components. The transmission seems to suffer from the usual Honda rough gear transitions before reaching 80,000 miles, so we'll see how that develops. The engine seems to go strong, some small leak from an oil sensor on the front is easily fixable. Otherwise only normal wear such as tires, brakes, etc.

Overall it is a nice car that can be bought at a very reasonable price used, since the 90's look seems to turn off many buyers.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 18th October, 2019

18th Oct 2019, 17:54

Had one of those great old school Acura RL cars. Acura for me reached a peak with their cars from 2000-2007... great fit and finish... great solid under stressed engines... great materials... great reliability. Bought it used from a local Acura dealership for about $10,000 out the door. Did I pay too much for it? You bet I did... they saw me coming a mile away. Even had the old sticker in the glove box that had a price of $45,000 new in 2004. Was in mint condition, low miles and all types of records on its upkeep. Got bored with it because the under stressed engine was under powered and it had no excitement to it. In other words it was too perfect. Went to the dealership where I bought from for a trade in amount on the car and they only offered me $1500.00 for it. So much for customer loyalty from the dealership on a car you buy from them. Finally sold it to my neighbor who loves Acura vehicles for $6000.00 and he drives it everywhere. Without a doubt the most reliable vehicle I have ever had. But too perfect and too boring. Now I am back to exciting cars that break down a lot.

20th Oct 2019, 03:43

Nice review.

Change your transmission fluid yearly, and kiss transmission problems goodbye; I know about this intimately - I have a 1999 Accord V6 ;)

2004 Acura RL from North America


Too much motor, not enough handling


Not too many problems, per se. Just unhappy with the performance.

Largest turning radius of any car I have ever driven.

Large, overblown motor; can't seem to get out of its own way.

Lots of fuel.

Harsh ride; maybe that's the high performance tires. Feels like you're going 100 mph and you're only doing 70.

I'd rather drive my old Volvo 240, or even a Hyundai Sonata. Or really, my Dad's Lexus 300 ES is infinitely better mannered.

General Comments:

Wouldn't buy one again; just plain didn't like it. I'm sure it's a nice car, and the reliability is good. It's just like they decided to use this obnoxious motor, so they put a car around it. I thought it was a poor example of a car made by Honda.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 2nd September, 2007

25th Mar 2008, 18:31

I believe the engine is "under tuned", which contributes to it's reliability. The harsh ride must be from the tires because my 02 (same suspension) rides beutifully, and gets rated as such in professional reviews. I'm sorry your RL has let you down, but I think you're a rare owner in so far as how much you don't like it.

Good luck on future vehicles.

28th Jun 2008, 09:16

I do agree that the car doesn't have much power, but my RL satisfies me well.

28th Jun 2008, 13:43

Look at the TL more aggressive model... I couldn't stand the RL or Lexus wallowing ride either.