2000 Acura 3.5 RL -- Safety

The 3.5RL is not just the most luxurious and impressive Acura sedan ever built; it also represents the ultimate in state-of-the-art safety engineering for automobiles in its class. Advances in strength and rigidity of the unit-body structure, as well as innovations in side-impact protection and airbag technology make the 3.5RL as safe and secure as it is comfortable and gratifying to drive. And, for increased driver control, standard equipment includes an Antilock Braking System (ABS) and a Vehicle Stability Assist (VSA) system that incorporates traction control functions.

Three-point lap-and-shoulder primary belts are provided at all seating positions. A dual front airbag Supplemental Restraint System (SRS) helps to protect the driver and front passenger in a moderate to severe frontal impact, 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.

To enhance the protection of the front seat passenger during a variety of frontal impact collisions, varying air bag deployment power is used in the RL. The Honda R&D designed system, which uses a dual-stage inflator, is the first such design ever to be used on an automobile and automatically adjusts the deployment of the front passenger SRS airbag based on the severity of the crash. During a slower speed 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 higher speed collision, both inflators operate simultaneously for full immediate inflation, to correspond with the greater impact force.

The airbag system logic also controls the operation of the seatbelt pretensioners which automatically tighten the seatbelts during a collision to help hold occupants in place. An additional new feature designed into the system also detects whether the passenger's seat belt is fastened. If the passenger seatbelt is not fastened, the air bag deploys in dual stage but very close to a full force single deployment speed to offer more protection to the unbelted occupant.

The RL features seat-mounted side air bags for the driver and front seat passenger. The front passenger seat is equipped with an innovative occupant position detection system designed to disable side air bag deployment and prevent injury to a small child if they lean their head into the side air bag deployment path. A series of seven sensors in the passenger seatback determine the size and position of the occupant to assist the system in determining if it is safe to deploy the side air bag. If the child is in the deployment path of the side air bag, the system will disable the side air bag from inflating. If the child returns to an upright seating position, the side airbag will reactivate so it can deploy and protect the child in a side impact.

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 a possible lateral collision. Anti-intrusion door beams are also used in the rear doors. And 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.

To allow a child seat to be securely positioned in any of the back seat positions, seat tether anchors are standard in the RL.

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.

The RL features Xenon High-Intensity Discharge (HID) headlights with double the total illuminating power of conventional halogen headlamps, enhancing visibility and active safety performance. 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.

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