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2010 Acura RL Elite Review

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Your writer, his father and his brother recently partook in a long-overdue boy's weekend away that had been in the works for months. The event was the Formula 1 races, the venue was Montreal, and the plan consisted of taking in some fast cars and fantastic food while immersing our Ontario-based selves in some of Quebec's world-famous French-Canadian culture, nightlife and poutine.

The car for the trip? Tricky question, that.

One afternoon a few weeks before the race, I sat tapping my pencil against my coffee mug, as if an answer would suddenly appear in the ripples. Plenty of vehicles had come to mind.

For at least its two most recent iterations, the RL has been a machine that showcases the best of both Honda's car-building expertise and Acura’s advanced technologies. (Photo: Justin Pritchard/Auto123.com)

The voyage required something comfortable, roomy, navigation-equipped, fuel-friendly and relevant enough for your correspondents weekly new-car review. Quiet and understated would be plusses, too. After all-- this was a weekend where the destinations would definitely be more important than the ride to them.

The world’s quietest flagship?
Then, it hit me: the Acura RL. For at least its two most recent iterations, the RL has been a machine that showcases the best of both Honda's car-building expertise and Acura’s advanced technologies-- but without making a big deal about it. It might just be the most humble flagship sedan on the road.

Parked outside Hotel Auberge Manoir Ville Marie on Montreal's historic Rue Ste-Catherine, the RL blended anonymously into the scenery-- providing a stark sheet-metal similarity to the modest but comfortable hotel. Both the RL and the former post-office are executed without the extroverted bling and attention-begging status of some of their pricier rivals, but both proved modestly magnificent in their own unassuming ways.

A fantastic tour guide

With the hotel set up as home base, it was time to start exploring the city in the RL-- where it traversed traffic, parking lots and gas stations with scarcely a second look.

Montreal streets proved a touch overwhelming for your northern-Ontario based writer, a relative virgin to heavy pedestrian traffic and aggressive, horn-happy drivers. Thankfully, several of the RL's features helped take the edge off of getting around the unfamiliar city-- including the Bluetooth, navigation and voice-command interfaces that work together to easily locate, navigate to, or even call a business or friend. By voice-commanding all infotainment functions, drivers can move about with no undue distractions caused my map-reading or second-guessing.

End of the day, RL has everything it needs, and a little more, without going completely overboard. (Photo: Justin Pritchard/Auto123.com)