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2012’s The Bad 8 – Acura RL


2012 Acura RL

The what? Friends of GoodCarBadCar who’ve asked for a preview of The Bad 8 don’t even know what the RL is. A picture doesn’t help because, after all, a picture shows absolutely nothing more than a fundamental sketch of a conventional sedan, a sedan few people have ever noticed in the wild. Acura makes a car above the TL? Yep, but the RL’s utter lack of success is the reason you were unfamiliar with the subject.

2012 The Bad 8 GoodCarBadCar

Forgettable, anonymous, dull, and characterless, the RL takes what’s bad about every other boring car on the market and rolls it all into one package. Sadly, Acura thinks the RL is an amazing car. The Canadian website says, “It’s flagship automotive technology without compromise or equal.” They call this, yes, this car, Acura’s freaking ridiculously boring RL, the “apex of the luxury sedan.” Acura’s U.S. website suggests the RL, “commands attention.” Acura’s right: this car is without equal, but only on a scale which weighs vapidity. If this is the apex of anything, fans of driving just decided they’ll do their best not to hit it. And if the RL commands attention, what words are left to describe the visual impact of Lamborghini’s Aventador?

The Acura RL is also damaged for reasons which are, admittedly, a bit personal. In an interview, the owner of a nearby Acura dealership once said the RL is a supercar. Not a super car, like a tremendous car, but a supercar. One word, in the way Ferrari’s 599 is a supercar or the aforementioned Aventador is a supercar. He wasn’t referring to the RL’s Super Handling all-wheel drive, oh no. He had driven the RL on track and felt that, because it had a fancy drivetrain and more horsepower than the iconic NSX, it could be labelled a supercar. A statement so insulting, so downright libelous, has only hurt the RL, causing it to be firmly entrenched on GoodCarBadCar’s bad side.


Alternatives: The Audi A6 is a significantly cheaper and significantly better car. The Hyundai Genesis 5.0 R-Spec generates 429 horsepower – check that… yes, 429 horsepower – and costs a bit less than the Acura RL, as well. And would paying a few thousand extra for the diesel in a Mercedes-Benz E350 BlueTec be so bad?

Base USD/CAD Price: $47,700 / $64,690

It Sucks, But… it wouldn’t be the end of the world to be stuck with a 300-horsepower V6 and Acura’s high-tech all-wheel drive system. It would be the end of the world to pay $48,000 just to be stuck with a V6 wearing this suit, but if somebody was giving out RLs as gifts, you can accept one. With begrudging gratitude.

Sales Stats: For the RL, GoodCarBadCar’s worst seller lists are like rehab, only the RL pretty much never leaves. Monthly and yearly sales figures for the Acura RL can be viewed here.