Acura Automobiles: 2012 Acura RL

Safety Overview

The RL is equipped with a comprehensive array of the latest technologies to enhance active safety (collision avoidance) and passive safety (crash safety performance). Features like Vehicle Stability Assist™ (VSA®) with traction control, heightened handling agility, and ABS enhance collision avoidance capability in the RL. Should a collision prove unavoidable, the Advanced Compatibility Engineering™ (ACE™) body structure of the RL enhances occupant protection and crash compatibility in frontal crashes. Inside the RL, side curtain and dual-stage front airbag systems work together with sophisticated restraint systems to reduce the likelihood of injury to passengers in sufficient impacts. In addition, the RL has available features that help improve safety such as an Active Front Lighting System.


Passenger Seating

  • Active front seat headrests with 4-way adjustability
  • 3-point front seat belts with load limiters and automatic tensioning system
  • Three-point seat belts for all rear seating positions
  • Seatbelt reminder

Child Seating

  • LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tethers for CHildren) child-seat mounting system for rear outboard seats
  • Automatic Locking Retractors/Emergency Locking Retractors (ALR/ELR)
  • Upper tether anchors (rear center position)


  • Driver and front passenger dual-stage, multiple-threshold airbag Supplemental Restraint System (SRS)
  • Seamless dashboard-mounted airbag lid for the front passenger airbag
  • Driver and front passenger side-airbags with front passenger Occupant Position Detection System (OPDS)
  • Side curtain airbag system


The Advanced Compatibility Engineering™ (ACE™) body structure on the 2012 Acura RL is an exclusive body design that enhances occupant protection and crash compatibility in frontal crashes. The ACE™ design utilizes a network of connected structural elements to distribute crash energy more evenly throughout the front of the vehicle. This enhanced frontal crash energy management helps to reduce the forces transferred to the passenger compartment and can help to more evenly disperse the forces transferred to other vehicles in a crash. These incidents may include a frontal collision between vehicles of differing heights, weights, dissimilar frame construction design and/or differing bumper height.

During a frontal collision, a conventional body structure generally concentrates the loads from the impact along two pathways running longitudinally through the lower portion of the frame. The ACE™ structure is designed to help prevent cabin deformation by distributing forces through multiple load bearing pathways– thereby reducing the forces transmitted to the passenger compartment.


Front airbags for the driver and front passenger are designed to provide protection for the head and chest during a moderate to severe front collision, while simultaneously helping to reduce the likelihood of injury. The airbags do both through the use of a dual-stage, multiple-threshold airbag technology. One or both of these airbags will be deployed only in the event of a sufficient frontal impact. If deployed, these airbags are capable of being inflated at different rates depending on crash severity, seatbelt usage and other factors.

Frontal airbags are designed to supplement the seatbelts to help reduce the likelihood of head and upper body injuries in frontal crashes.

In the RL, the system also assesses the weight of the front passenger through a seat-mounted weight sensor. If the detected weight is less than a certain amount, the front passenger airbag is turned off. The front passenger airbag also features a seamless instrument panel cover over the airbag for a cleaner, more elegant look.


Side airbags are mounted in the outboard area of each front seatback. The airbags are designed to provide upper torso protection in the event of a sufficient side impact. The front passenger seat is equipped with Occupant Position Detection System (OPDS), an innovative system designed to deactivate the side airbag if a small child (or small-stature adult) leans into the side airbag deployment path.

When the passenger returns to an upright seating position, the side airbag reactivates so it can deploy and help protect the occupant in a side impact. The system utilizes sensors in the passenger seatback to determine the height and position of the occupant, and to determine if it is safe to deploy the side airbag.

Side Curtain Airbags

In a sufficient side impact, the RL’s side curtain airbags deploy from roof modules, providing head protection for the front seat and outboard rear seat occupants on the affected side. Side curtain airbags effectively cover the window area from the A-pillar back to the C-pillar. Tests show that the collision impact g-forces acting upon an occupant’s head are far lower with the use of a side curtain airbag.


The RL includes as standard a LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tethers for CHildren) child-seat mounting system for the outboard rear seats. LATCH features built-in lower anchors and ready-to-use upper tether attachment points that allow 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. The center rear seat has an upper tether point, but no lower anchors.

Tire Pressure Monitoring System™ (TPMS™)

An onboard Tire Pressure Monitoring System™ (TPMS™) with location and pressure indicators warns the RL driver if the air pressure in any tire becomes significantly low. This information helps reduce the chance of losing control of the vehicle due to low tire pressure. This is important because a slow leak might not be detectable immediately, but over time could cause significant air loss, reduced traction and potentially a blowout.

A sensor mounted on each wheel continually monitors tire pressure and sends a coded signal to an initiator located on the chassis. The information is then sent to an electronic control unit that compares the pressure values of each tire against an acceptable set of values.

When a tire’s pressure drops significantly below the proper specification, a “check tire pressure” alert appears on the MID alert screen. The system can simultaneously display the air pressure in all four tires via the MID, making it simple to locate the tire with low pressure. If there is a fault in the system, a “check tpms system” alert appears. At the driver’s preference, the display can continually show the air pressure in all four tires. Regardless whether the driver chooses to monitor tire pressure via the MID, a warning will occur if a tire’s pressure drops significantly below specification.


In 2006, the RL was the first Acura vehicle to offer an available Collision Mitigation Braking System™ (CMBS™).  This revolutionary safety technology monitors potential rear-end collisions, uses audio, visual and tactile signals to alert drivers to the risk of collision, assists brake operation and pre-tensions the front seatbelts to help reduce impact force on occupants and vehicle damage should a collision become unavoidable. Unlike pre-collision systems on competitive vehicles, CMBS™ can automatically apply the brakes to help mitigate the severity of a collision.

Using a millimeter-wave radar unit located inside the front grille, the CMBS™ system monitors the distance between the RL and the car directly in front of it (up to a distance of 300 feet) along with the rate of closure between the two vehicles. If the closing rate increases to a point where a collision is likely to occur (based on relative vehicle speeds and following distance), the CMBS™ system uses visual and audible warnings to prompt the driver to take preventative action.

Based on the driver’s response, if the CMBS™ system determines that the likelihood of a collision has decreased to an acceptable level, the system will disengage. If the driver’s response does not sufficiently reduce the risk of a collision, the CMBS™ system will issue a secondary warning consisting of audible, visual and tactile elements as well as light braking to alert the driver to take action. If the closing rate increases so much that a collision seems unavoidable, CMBS™ can initiate hard braking to reduce the vehicle’s speed as well as pre-tension the driver and front passenger seatbelts to help reduce the severity of the crash. Depending on the speed of closure between the vehicles, CMBS™ may initiate hard braking without providing any prior warning.


Acura’s safety interests extend beyond care for vehicle occupants. The RL hood area is specially designed to deform if contact is made with a pedestrian. Underneath the hood are energy-absorbing supports and fender mounts, and the windshield wiper pivots are also deformable in the event that a pedestrian contacts these areas. Research shows that features such as these dramatically improve a pedestrian’s chance of survival if struck by a moving vehicle.


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