For the 2014 model year, the RLX has officially replaced the RL in Acura’s lineup -- and despite discreet styling and execution, it is the most advanced vehicle Honda has ever built for the road.
What is an Acura RLX?
By and large, the Acura RLX is a rolling sensory array disguised as a leather-lined luxury sedan. Using information gathered by radar and camera systems, the top-dog Acura continually scans the world around it for potential hazards, warns drivers of them, and autonomously takes corrective action if those warnings aren’t heeded.
Without your help, the Acura RLX can slow down and speed up automatically based on traffic conditions, steer you back between the lines if you’re heading off the road or apply its brakes to prevent or minimize a collision. Any more self-aware, and they’d have to ship it with a name and a birth certificate.
2014 Acura RLX Price and Specs
Acura’s new V6 engine powers up the RLX driving experience. A cutting-edge 3.5L unit with cylinder deactivation and direct injection technology, the RLX engine was exhaustively engineered for pleasing performance and great fuel mileage.
Though the 310 horsepower output level is hardly aiming for the top of the pack, the RLX hustles along urgently when called upon, and gets by slower traffic in a jiffy when drivers prod the throttle. The engine is pleasing to put through its paces, but drive the 2014 Acura RLX like a responsible adult and it’s mostly quiet and laid-back.
Fuel mileage, additionally, is excellent. Your writer was delighted at an overall consumption of 8.8L/100km, which puts the big RLX in mid-sized, four-cylinder family sedan territory.
Pricing from $49,990.
Driving the 2014 Acura RLX
Overall, the driving experience in the 2014 Acura RLX is easygoing to the max. While you relax and let the RLX handle nearly everything for you, you’ll enjoy the leather that lines the seats, dash, doors, and nearly everything else. Two full-colour display screens are stacked in the centre console for a distinctively hi-tech look, while space galore in both seating rows and a laundry list of fully automatic or motorized features add to a welcoming and laid-back atmosphere.
The 2014 Acura RLX’s cabin isn’t big on stimulation, but its’ relaxing, comfortable, and formal. It’s also easy to board and exit, packs plenty of at-hand storage and keeps road and wind noise nicely in check at speed.
Suspension calibration sees a slight firmness dialed in to make the 2014 RLX a bit more engaging to drive. Though many cross-shopping the market’s offerings will find a comparable Lexus or Mercedes to have a more all-out comfortable ride, the RLX likely won’t disappoint where long-haul comfort is concerned.
Currently, all of Acura’s RLX models are front-drive, though an AWD hybrid is on the way. The tester did pack a new Precision All Wheel Steering (PAWS) system, which sharpens up handling at high speeds by calling upon the rear wheels for steering assist which rotates the RLX on its axis. Translation? As the Acura RLX approaches understeer in fast corners, the rear swings out slightly as a countermeasure. The PAWS system also enhances maneuverability at low speeds.
Driver relaxation in the 2014 Acura RLX is furthered by fully automatic lighting, wipers, and climate control. If you’d rather take in some music, the great big Krell audio system is happy to help.
Ins and Outs of the 2014 Acura RLX
The RLX is a machine of many strengths, and a few weaknesses. For fuel efficiency, comfort, and discreet-looking delivery of flagship sedan amenities, it hits the mark. Performance and handling are appreciable if not mind-blowing, and the cabin -- though short on excitement -- supports drivers on long distance travels by fading from attention as the scenery floats by. Even for larger drivers and passengers, it’ll prove generously large.
Complaints? The infotainment system comes with a learning curve before intuitive operation is possible, and I missed some of the secretly sporty flare that characterized the last-generation Acura RL. Further, the paddle-activated shifts in the 2014 Acura RLX are executed after a notable delay that makes their use largely irrelevant.
Comparing the 2014 Acura RLX
Compared to the RLX, the new Lexus GS350 is a more athletic all-around performer and packs a more striking, upscale cabin execution. An Audi A6 or BMW 5 Series with similar power output figures will make drivers feel more of a rush when pushed hard. Finally, a Chrysler 300 can provide more affordable access to a similarly hi-tech, luxuriously appointed experience for less money.
The 2014 Acura RLX will appeal most strongly to a shopper after a machine that flies under the radar and doesn’t beg for attention. Add in Acura’s lustrous reputation for reliability, resale value, and owner satisfaction and it makes a smart choice for a shopper after a discreet luxury flagship experience.