2004 Acura 3.5 RL -- Interior - Part 1

The RL's interior was carefully designed to deliver the highest levels of luxury, cutting edge technology, and superior performance and functionality. This concept is evident throughout the car, encompassing everything from the location of the driver controls to the expansive passenger head, hip, and shoulder room to smaller details such as extra-large beverage holders and a special compartment intended specifically for the driver's sunglasses. The overall design objective is to give the interior a very open, relaxed ambience, much like the comfortable living room of an elegant, yet casual, contemporary luxury home.

Luxury features of the 2004 Acura 3.5 RL include:

  • Standard XM Satellite Radio
  • New satellite-linked Acura Navigation System with Voice Recognition
  • Improved Acura/Bose" Music System with in-dash 6-disc CD changer
  • Power lumbar support on the driver's seat
  • New instrument panel design
  • New center console design with wood shift knob and accents

Only the finest materials have been chosen for inclusion in the RL cabin. The glove-soft, hand-selected leather seating surfaces that give the RL its luxurious look and feel are American hides tanned with an innovative process that helps the leather retain its soft, supple feel and resilient strength far longer than conventional automobile interior leather. Oils in conventional leather tend to slowly evaporate - especially when the car is parked in the sun - causing leather to prematurely age and dry out over time or form deposits on the rear window and windshield glass when the interior cools, eventually causing a persistent and hard-to-remove "fogging" effect. The leather used in the RL is treated to resist this phenomenon, and this treatment reduces window fogging by 90 percent compared to conventional leather.

The camphor wood that adorns the cockpit is of similar unparalleled quality. It comes from Tendo - a woodworking firm so esteemed that its work is displayed in the New York Museum of Modern Art.

The 2004 RL is available with three interior colors: Quartz, Parchment and Slate.

The front seats are the products of extensive research and development. Designed to absorb vibrations and bumps, they provide outstanding comfort without sacrificing the firm support needed during enthusiastic driving. For the utmost in driver comfort, especially on long drives, the 2004 RL receives power adjustable lumbar support on the driver's seat.

In testing, the RL seats decreased the upward force felt by test subjects by 50 percent over conventional seats; that is, the subjects felt the jarring of irregular road surfaces only half as strongly as with a conventional design.

Human factors research has revealed that the human body has its own resonant frequency; that is, the vibration frequency at which the internal organs of the body pick up an outside vibration and resonate with it. If felt strongly, vibration in this frequency range is very unpleasant, and human test subjects generally gauge the vibration felt in a moving car on the level of vibration felt in this narrow range, between 5 and 10 Hz or cycles per second.

To damp out as much of this vibration frequency as possible, the configuration of the springs in the RL seat cushions were analyzed using the NASTRAN finite-element analysis program. Six different designs were tried before one was found that performed to Acura's exacting standards. Based on this research, both front seats incorporate an advanced suspension system that helps isolate occupants from road harshness.

Every attempt is made to maximize comfort. Gently rounded thigh bolsters at the front avoid digging into driver and passenger thighs. The front lateral seam, which often runs across the seat under the thighs, is positioned forward and down, eliminating this possible source of discomfort.

The front seats are designed to also make rear-seat passengers more comfortable. The backs of the seats are concave, giving rear seat passengers nearly an inch of extra knee room. The seat rail structure was designed to give rear-seat passengers nearly an inch more horizontal foot room, while the underside of the seat is carpeted to prevent shoe scuffs.

The driver's seat is eight-way power adjustable. Linked by a memory system with the outside mirrors and with the electronic tilt and telescoping steering wheel, it permits one of two preset configurations to be accessed at the touch of a button. The front passenger's seat is four-way power adjustable. Both front seats are also heated.

The rear seats are designed and built to accommodate full-sized adults in total comfort as well. A fold-down center armrest incorporates its own dual beverage holder, and a pass-through to the trunk allows long objects to be carried without soiling or marring the interior.

The 2004 RL is the most lavishly equipped Acura ever built. Nearly everything is standard, including for the first time in a luxury sedan, XM" Satellite Radio and a satellite-linked navigation system with voice recognition. Other standard amenities include 6-disc in-dash CD changer, cruise control, individual reading lights, power windows and door locks, a power moonroof, remote keyless entry, and the OnStar" system.

The center console, which has been redesigned for 2004, features an illuminated storage area with a 12-volt accessory power outlet and a tray designed to hold a cellular phone.

Wind and other noise can ruin the ambience of even the most luxurious interior. Therefore, extensive soundproofing has been utilized throughout the RL to ensure that its interior is extremely quiet and vibration-free. With insulation under the hood, in the engine compartment, and under the dashboard, every effort has been made to ensure that no unnecessary sound or vibration intrudes on the driving experience.

The 2004 RL features the new DVD-based, satellite-linked Acura Navigation System with Voice Recognition as standard* equipment. This system has been enhanced over the previous generation with a wide variety of new features. These enhancements include:

  • Voice recognition
  • Faster route calculation and search speed (up to three times faster than the previous generation)
  • A more comprehensive destination guide with 7 million points of interest (previously 3.7 million).
  • Enhanced graphics
  • New, enhanced split screen mode for displaying additional route information
  • Day/night visualization modes with user-selectable screen background appearance
  • Enhanced menus and improved surface street mapping
  • Turn-by-turn voice guidance in either male or female voice

Similar in function to systems offered in other Acura vehicles, this equipment receives Global Positioning System (GPS) data. That information is combined with signals from an onboard inertial guidance system and information from a DVD database to pinpoint the vehicle's location and help guide the driver to selected destinations.

The Acura Navigation System with Voice Recognition includes continuous coverage of the 48 contiguous states, and covers virtually all U.S. roads and 7 million points of interest (compared to 3.7 million in the 2003 model).

This coverage is conveyed to the driver by both audio and visual cues designed to aid navigation without causing distraction. A male or female voice can be selected for the audio cues and this voice can be shut off at any time. A moving map in combination with direction arrows, detailed street names, turning instructions and driving distances are provided on the LCD touch control screen. A new split screen design enhances on-screen information with a "map view" and "3-D" route visualization of freeway on ramps or off ramps simultaneously-a major step forward in making navigation information even easier to understand.

This new generation Acura Navigation System can be controlled by the driver through either the touch screen display or by the new voice recognition system. The voice recognition system works when the "talk" button, located on the steering wheel is depressed. Utilizing a microphone located on the roof console, the system recognizes commands such as "find nearest gas station," "find nearest ATM," or "find nearest Italian restaurant."

The voice recognition system has a vocabulary of 130 commands and can recognize virtually any English-spoken accent.

Search speed in this improved system is more than three times faster than in the system's previous version.

A picture-in-picture capability permits simultaneous display of a large-scale map with detailed turning instructions. The driver always knows the vehicle's current position and a balloon function instantly reveals the address of any selected location on the map.

Points of interest can be searched by inputting that destination's telephone number. The volume of voice guidance instructions can be adjusted through 11 settings and the audio system's speakers are automatically muted when direction commands are issued.

In addition to voice recognition, quick and easy manual operation is also available via the touch screen. Only a few entries are needed to input destinations and route calculations are made expeditiously.

A matte finish is used on the 7-inch display screen to enhance legibility while resisting fingerprints. The same screen used for navigation also displays trip distance, average fuel mileage, remaining range (miles to empty), elapsed time, outside temperature, and climate control setting information.

* The Acura Navigation System with Voice Recognition is not installed on RL models sold in Alaska and Hawaii - service for these states does not exist at this time

The 2004 RL is the first luxury sedan to feature XM Satellite Radio as standard* equipment. XM Satellite Radio lets RL drivers listen to over 100 digital channels, many of which are commercial-free, with near CD-quality sound.

XM's broadcast signal is beamed from two earth-station antennas at the XM studios in Washington D.C. to two broadcast satellites positioned more than 22,000 miles above the earth in geostationary orbit. The beams from these two broadcast satellites, one located over the west coast, one over the east coast, combine to span the entire continental U.S. while remaining stationary with respect to the land below. Over 1,000 ground antennas, or repeaters, keep the signal strong in challenging locales such as urban areas with tall buildings. The result is that while many commercial radio stations can only be picked up within a 40 or 50-mile radius from their source, XM radio can be heard throughout the 48 continental states. That means no channel switching on long trips and minimal loss of signal.

Programming includes 70 music channels, 30 channels devoted to sports, talk, children's programming and entertainment, and one premium channel, which is available for an additional fee. Currently, 36 stations are free of commercial interruptions. Stations that do have commercials are limited to about six minutes per hour, far less than on commercial, non-satellite programming.

XM hardware is embedded in the car's music system. When XM is being played, a display shows the current station, song title or artist's name. XM Satellite Radio service is priced at $9.99 per month. A complimentary three-month subscription to the XM Satellite Radio service is included with purchase of the RL and customers are able to continue the service or cancel any time after.

* XM Satellite Radio is not installed on RL models sold in Alaska and Hawaii - service for these states does not exist at this time

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