Advances in strength and rigidity of the unit-body structure, as well as innovations in side-impact protection and air bag technology, make the 3.5 RL as safe and secure as it is comfortable and gratifying to drive. For increased driver control, standard equipment includes an Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) and a Vehicle Stability Assist (VSA) system that incorporates traction control functions.
DUAL AIR BAGS AND AUTOMATIC SEAT BELT
Three-point lap-and-shoulder belts are provided at all seating positions. Front air bags help to protect the driver and front passenger in moderate to severe frontal impacts, and automatic seat belt pretensioners help keep front passengers firmly in position in order to take advantage of the protection afforded by the air bag system.
DUAL-STAGE FRONT PASSENGER'S AIR BAG
To enhance the protection of the front seat passenger during a moderate to severe frontal impact, varying air bag deployment power is used in the RL. The sophisticated system, which uses a dual-stage inflator, automatically adjusts the deployment of the front passenger's air bag to deploy at one of two rates based on the severity of the crash. During a less severe collision, the dual-stage inflator system for the dash-mounted air bag is triggered in sequence, resulting in slower overall air bag deployment with less initial force. During a more severe collision, both inflators operate simultaneously for full immediate inflation, to correspond with the greater impact force.
The air bag system logic also controls the operation of the seatbelt pretensioners, which automatically tighten the front seatbelts during a collision to help hold occupants in place.
SIDE AIR BAG SYSTEM
The RL features seat-mounted side air bags for the driver and front seat passenger. The front passenger's seat is equipped with an innovative system designed to deactivate the side air bag if a small child (or small-statured adult) leans into the side air bag deployment path. When the passenger returns to an upright seating position, the side air bag reactivates so it can deploy and protect the occupant in a side impact. The system utilizes seven sensors in the passenger seatback to determine the height and position of the occupant and determine if it is safe to deploy the side air bag.
SIDE IMPACT PROTECTION
Dual anti-intrusion beams in the front doors, as well as expanded polypropylene hip and shoulder pads, built into the door structure, help protect front- and rear-seat passengers in lateral collisions. Anti-intrusion door beams are also used in the rear doors. Innovative, expanded, polystyrene liners, installed above the front doors and inside the A-pillars, help give front-seat passengers added head protection in side-impact situations.
LATCH REAR CHILD SEAT TETHER ANCHORS
The 2003 RL includes the Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children (LATCH) system on the rear seat. The LATCH system features built-in lower anchors and ready-to-use tether attachment points at each of the outboard rear seating positions allowing compatible child safety seats to be installed without using the vehicle's seat belt system. The LATCH system simplifies child seat installation when an owner installs a LATCH-compatible child seat.
FRONT AND REAR CRUMPLE ZONES
The RL's structure is designed to deform progressively in both front and rear impacts, letting the front and rear sections absorb the energy of a collision while helping to keep the highly rigid center-passenger section intact. Straight frame rails, front and rear, give the structure the strength necessary to help the RL withstand offset collisions at either end, with reduced possibilities for passenger injury.
EMERGENCY TRUNK OPENER
The RL is equipped with an emergency trunk opener located inside the trunk.
XENON HIGH INTENSITY DISCHARGE (HID)
The RL features xenon high-intensity discharge (HID) headlights with double the total illuminating power of conventional halogen headlamps to enhance visibility. Standard fog lamps are integrated into the bumper fascia for improved performance in combination with the HID headlights. The HID headlight bulbs also last twice as long as halogen bulbs and require less energy to operate.
A special electronic "rolling code" key prevents the car from being started, even if a mechanical duplicate of the proper key shape is used. A transponder, built into the key, signals the immobilizer control unit that the key is genuine. If the car is hot-wired, or an unauthorized key is used, the car simply will not start. This system is a substantial deterrent to theft.