HEADLINES

2007 Acura RL - Safety

SAFETY OVERVIEW

The RL is equipped with a comprehensive array of the latest technologies to enhance active safety (accident avoidance) and passive safety (crash safety performance). Features like Vehicle Stability Assist (VSA) with traction control, heightened handling agility, SH-AWD and ABS enhance accident avoidance capability in the RL. Should a collision prove unavoidable, the Advanced Compatibility Engineering (ACE) body structure of the RL is designed to provide a protective cocoon for passengers in the event of a collision with a different sized vehicle (a truck or SUV, for example). Inside, side, side curtain and dual-stage front air bag systems work together with sophisticated restraint systems to minimize injury to passengers in sufficient impacts.

As part of its commitment to providing safety through innovation, Acura debuts two all-new optional Technology Packages on the RL:

  • RL with Technology Package includes Acura Satellite Navigation System and AcuraLink™ with Real Time Traffic and rearview camera, Active Front Lighting (AFL) and an upgraded wood interior
  • RL with Technology Package plus CMBS™ and PAX® Tires include Acura's Collision Mitigation Braking System™ (CMBS™) and Michelin® PAX® Run-flat tires
    • Collision Mitigation Braking System (CMBS), which monitors the following distance and closing rate between the RL and the car directly in front of it, warns the driver when a collision is likely and helps reduce impact when a collision becomes unavoidable
    • Michelin PAX Run-Flat tires, which provide enhanced mobility and security with continuous mobility of up to 125 miles at 50 mph following a tire puncture

From a safety standpoint, these new Technology Package features help make the 2007 RL one of the most comprehensively equipped vehicles in North America.

Following are the key standard passive safety features on the RL.

Passenger Seating

  • Passenger seatbelt reminder (new for '07)
  • 3-point adjustable height front seat belts with load limiters and pretensioners
  • Front seat belt load limiters
  • Front 4-way adjustable head restraints
  • Driver's seat position sensor
  • Driver's and front passenger's side airbags with front passenger Occupant Position Detection System (OPDS)
  • Rear center three-point seat belt

Child Seating

  • Automatic Locking Retractors/Emergency Locking Retractors (ALR/ELR)
  • Tether anchors (all rear positions)
  • LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children) child-seat mounting system (rear outboard seats)

Airbags

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

OPTIONAL TECHNOLOGY PACKAGES

For 2007, two all-new Technology Packages are available for the RL:

  • RL with Technology Package includes Acura Satellite Navigation System and AcuraLink™ with Real Time Traffic and rearview camera, Active Front Lighting (AFL) and an upgraded wood interior

  • RL with Technology Package plus CMBS™ and PAX® Tires include Acura's Collision Mitigation Braking System™ (CMBS™) and Michelin® PAX® Run-flat tires

    • Collision Mitigation Braking System (CMBS), which warns the driver of impending rear-end collisions and helps reduce impact when collisions are unavoidable

    • PAX Run-Flat tires, which provide enhanced safety and security with continuous mobility of up to 125 miles at 50 mph following a tire puncture

COLLISION MITIGATION BRAKING SYSTEM™ (CMBS™)

In 2006, the RL was the first Acura vehicle to offer an optional 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 tensions the front seatbelts to help reduce impact on occupants and vehicle damage should a collision become unavoidable. Unlike pre-collision systems on competitive vehicles, CMBS automatically applies the brakes to 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 and the rate of closure between the two vehicles. When that closing rate increases to a point where a collision is likely to occur (based on relative vehicle speeds and following distance) the system uses visual, and audible warnings to prompt the driver to take preventative action. If, based on the driver's response, the system determines that the likelihood of a collision has decreased to an acceptable level, the CMBS system will disengage. If, however, the driver's response does not sufficiently reduce the risk of a collision, the 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 becomes unavoidable, CMBS can initiate hard braking to reduce the vehicle's speed, and tension the driver's and front passenger's seatbelts to help reduce the severity of the crash.

  1. Stage one: When there is a risk of a collision with the vehicle ahead or if the distance between the vehicles has dropped below the pre-set level, a buzzer sounds and the message "BRAKE" appears on the Multi-information display.
  2. Stage two: If the distance between the two vehicles continues to diminish, CMBS applies light braking, and an electric motor activates the driver's seat belt E-pretensioner, retracting the seatbelt gently two or three times, providing the driver with a tactile warning. The buzzer sounds again and the word "BRAKE" appears again on the Multi-information display.
  3. Stage three: If, after issuing the primary and secondary warnings, the system determines that a collision is unavoidable, the E-pretensioner retracts the driver's and front passenger's seatbelts with enough force to compensate for seatbelt slack or baggy clothing and activates the brakes forcefully to reduce the speed of impact and mitigate the effects of the collision on the RL and its occupants.

The CMBS system functions only when the RL is traveling at over 10 miles per hour and when the speed differential between the RL and the car directly in front it is 10 mile per hour or more. It can be turned off by depressing a switch located on the left hand side of the instrument panel.

MICHELIN PAX® SYSTEM

The 2007 RL offers Michelin's innovative PAX® System, an extended mobility tire-and-wheel system that allows drivers to continue driving in the event of a loss of air pressure. The Michelin® PAX® System (included with the RL with Technology Package plus CMBS™ and PAX® Tires) gives drivers the security to travel on a punctured or deflated tire for up to 125 miles at 50 mph. The PAX® System uses a unique wheel size of 18.0 x 8.0 and 245-680R 460A 102V Michelin PAX® Run-Flat high performance all-season tires. The PAX® Extended Mobility System is comprised of four components:

  • A tire design that dynamically locks onto the wheel and will not come unseated during normal use, with a performance-enhancing structure and short sidewalls
  • An inner support ring which carries the load of the vehicle if pressure is lost
  • A specially shaped wheel to facilitate the inner support ring
  • A tire pressure monitoring system with position indicator that warns the driver of pressure loss

The system offers owners the convenience and security of knowing that they will not be stranded with a flat tire while offering numerous benefits over conventional run-flat tires and radial tires. Unlike conventional runflat tires, the PAX® System uses an inner support ring instead of a heavy and stiff reinforced sidewall, allowing for improved overall ride quality as well as increased stability in run-flat situations.

Additionally, PAX® tires offer benefits over traditional radial tires including:

  • As much as a 12-percent lower rolling resistance, benefiting fuel economy
  • Sporty appearance and sporty handling capabilities with low-profile sidewall and increased wheel diameter
  • In the event of a flat tire, drivers no longer run the risk of having to stop in dangerous or uncomfortable situations (night, rain, highways, etc.)
  • In the event of tire pressure loss, the exclusive tire bead anchoring system securely locks the tire bead to the wheel
  • No need for a spare tire

The PAX® System uses a Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) that displays pressure status for each individual tire on the RL's Multi-information display screen. In the event of a puncture, the Multi-information display will alert the driver with a visual and audible warning. When the tire is deflated, the stability of the vehicle remains intact. In addition to electronic warnings, a deflated PAX® System tire makes a slight rumble noise and the ride quality of the vehicle changes. PAX® System tires are normally reparable after a puncture and after having been run in the deflated condition. A special bead system creates a physical interlock between the uniquely shaped wheel rim and the bead (or attachment surface) of the tire. Instead of air pressure alone creating a tight lock between tire and wheel, the tension in a PAX® tire pulls on a bead wire, tightening it into the wheel and preventing the tire from coming off the rim.

Detailed information regarding the PAX® system is available at www.michelinman.com. A 24-hour/365 day per year toll-free number has been established (located on a document included with the Owner's Manual) to assist customers with PAX® repair needs.

TIRE PRESSURE MONITORING SYSTEM (TPMS)

The onboard Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) with location and pressure indicators warns the driver when the air pressure lowers in any tire. This helps reduce the chance of losing control of the vehicle due to low air pressure. This is important because a slow leak, such as might be caused by a nail embedded through the tread, might not be detectable immediately but would, in time, cause significant air loss, loss of grip and potentially a blowout.

A sensor mounted on each wheel continually monitors tire pressure and sends a coded signal to an initiator located inboard of the tire on the chassis. The information is then sent to an electronic control unit that compares the 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 display the air pressure in all four tires simultaneously via the MID, making it simple to locate a low tire. 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 of whether the driver chooses to monitor the pressures, a warning will still occur if a tire drops below specification.

ADVANCED COMPATIBILITY ENGINEERING™ (ACE™) BODY STRUCTURE

The Advanced Compatibility Engineering (ACE) body structure on the 2007 Acura RL is designed to take vehicle front frame construction beyond conventional safety protocols such as the NHTSA NCAP 35 mph frontal barrier test or the IIHS 40 mph offset frontal crash. Its goal is to deliver significantly enhanced occupant protection in a variety of real-world crash conditions. These may include a frontal collision between vehicles of differing heights, weights and frame construction.

The ACE structure uses the engine compartment to efficiently absorb and disperse collision energy during a vehicle-to-vehicle collision. It features a new frame structure composed of a highly efficient energy-absorbing main frame, a bulkhead (upper frame) which absorbs the upper part of the collision energy, and a lower member that helps prevent misalignment of the frames of the vehicles involved. This design disperses collision forces over a larger frontal area, which enhances energy absorption of the engine compartment, reduces the chance of deformation of the passenger compartment and results in enhanced occupant protection. At the same time, the structure reduces the chance of vertical or lateral misalignment between the RL and other vehicle's safety structures.

During a frontal collision, a conventional body structure generally concentrates the loads from the impact through two pathways running longitudinally through the lower portion of the frame. The ACE structure's front-mounted polygonal main frame is designed to prevent cabin deformation by distributing forces through multiple major load bearing pathways - and away from the passenger compartment.

CRASH TESTING

The RL has received the highest ratings given (5 Stars) by NHTSA in frontal and side impact testing as well as rollover resistance. In addition, projected impact test results for the RL are excellent for Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) tests.

  • In the 35 mph NHTSA New Car Assessment Program (NCAP) full frontal barrier test, the RL earned Five Stars, the highest rating for both driver and front passenger
  • In the 38.5 mph SINCAP side test, the RL earned Five Stars, the highest rating for both front and rear outboard passenger
  • In the IIHS 40 mph frontal offset test, the RL is projected to return a GOOD rating
  • In the IIHS 50km/h (31 mph) Side Impact Collision Evaluation (SICE) test, RL is projected to return a GOOD rating

DRIVER'S AND FRONT PASSENGER'S DUAL-STAGE, DUAL-THRESHOLD AIRBAG SUPPLEMENTARY RESTRAINT SYSTEM (SRS)

Dual-stage 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 injuries. They do both through the use of a dual-stage, dual-threshold airbag technology. Each airbag inflator has two stages. During a severe collision both stages fire at the same time to provide immediate inflation of the airbag. But during a moderate collision the igniters fire in sequence, slowing the deployment rate of the airbags.

Besides the severity of the collision, the modules interpret a signal from the seat belt buckle switch that indicates whether the occupants are wearing their seat belts.

  • If the front passengers are not wearing their seat belts, the inflators will activate simultaneously to make the airbag deploy more quickly.
  • If the front passengers are wearing their seat belts, the airbags will inflate at a slightly higher threshold.

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

DRIVER'S AND FRONT PASSENGER'S SIDE AIRBAGS WITH FRONT PASSENGER OCCUPANT POSITION DETECTION SYSTEM (OPDS)

New larger size side airbags are mounted in the outboard area of each front seatback. They are designed to provide upper torso protection in the event of a sufficient side impact. The front passenger's seat is equipped with Occupant Position Detection System (OPDS), an innovative system designed to deactivate the side air bag if a small child (or small-stature 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 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 determine if it is safe to deploy the side air bag.

SIDE CURTAIN AIRBAGS

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

LATCH (LOWER ANCHORS AND TETHERS FOR CHILDREN)

The RL includes 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 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 a tether point, but no lower anchors.

PEDESTRIAN SAFETY

Acura's safety interests extend beyond care for vehicle occupants. The RL hood area is designed to deform if contact is made with either an adult or a child 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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