2014 – 2015 Acura RLX Review

Acuras flagship luxury sedan this is the all-new for 2014 Acura RLX this replaces the RL in the lineup that’s been there since they let go of legend before we dive right into this RLX however let’s talk about competition because that’s very important when we think about the Acura RLX Acuras old flagship the 2013 RL was well known for its super handling all-wheel drive system the 2014 RL x does not get that same all-wheel drive
system even as an option so the only way

you can get this 2014 r LX is front-wheel drive that really is important to keep in mind because you can’t compare the handling and performance characteristics of this RL X directly with something like a mercedes-benz e-class or a BMW 5-series instead the r LX really plays as it always has with the likes of the Volvo s80 the Lincoln MKS and the Cadillac XTS it plays in that segment of the arena rather than with the mainline German luxury players Acura is well known for their elegant and restrained styling there’s not a whole lot of visual excitement going on on the outside of the r LX for 2014 except for these multi

faceted LED dual headlamps these are

individual LED modules with their own focusing array and then these two modules over here are the high beams as you can see in the picture they are very distinctive and quite attractive over here we have a slightly toned-down version of that Acura beak that caused so many people to have so many complaints about the refreshed Acura TL when it came out a few years ago it’s been toned down a little bit on the RL X and if I’m honest I’ve kind of warmed up to it I don’t really mind the beak so much as I used to overall the style on the RL X is not quite as heavily worked as it is on that Acura TL which is very befitting of a flagship product I find the rear end design more attractive and more elegant but also more cohesive than the Acura TL which is the mid-sized Acura sedan and that’s because the tail has kind of a jumble of shapes going on in a few angles that I don’t really care for but things back here in the r LX are very sedate they’re very luxury looking this has the look of a luxury sedan we also

have hidden exhaust tips we have rear

parking sensors available and our model has PA ws which is a cutesy acronym for their all-wheel steering system this is not an all-wheel-drive badge this is an all-wheel steering system P AWS is Acuras take on all-wheel steering so back here in the rear we have independently steerable rear wheels you heard that right these don’t steer necessarily together although they can but they can also steer independently of one another and independently of the front wheels so they can both tow in at the same time they can both turn left and they can both turn right Acura uses this not just to reduce the turning radius in certain situations although the turning radius on the RLX is still a fairly large 40 feet but they also use this to try and counteract the front wheel drive nature of the RL X but we’ll go over more of that in the drive section under the hood you’ll find a smaller engine than last year this has been reduced from 3.7 liters to a 3.5 liter direct injection v6 engine this is shared with the Acura MDX that’s the all-new MDX but power is slightly
higher here it’s 310 horsepower and 272

pound feet of torque all that power is
sent to the front wheels only via a 6-speed traditional automatic transmission that’s fairly average for this segment because the SAT MKS and XTS all use a 6-speed automatic transmission as well however the SAT is the least powerful in this bunch and we have a few engine options that really outclassed this 3.5 liter v6 the base 240 horsepower 3.2 liter inline six is a bit smoother than this engine but considerably less powerful however there is a 300 horsepower 325 pound foot of torque engine available there’s also a 325 horsepower version of that same twin scroll turbo 3 litre inline-six over with the Cadillac XTS we have a 305 horsepower based engine and a 410 horsepower optional twin turbo v6 on the Lincoln side we have a base 304 horsepower engine and an optional

365 horsepower twin turbo v6 all of
those options with the high horsepower engine are mated to all-wheel-drive so it’s a significant advantage over this Acura RLX which is only front-wheel drive one of the common complaints about the 2013 Acura RL was that it was just a little bit too small when he compared it to the competition that’s been changed for 2014 and we have a car that’s about two inches longer in wheelbase several inches longer overall and wider than last year most of room goes to this rear seat which was a tight spot in the 2013 RL front seat comfort in the RL X is excellent we have standard power driver and front-passenger 12 way adjustable seats with a 4-way adjustable lumbar support these seats are easily the equal of the Volvo s80 or the BMW 5-series with the sport seats we also get an adjustable tilt telescoping steering wheel with a decent range of motion something to keep in mind we’ll cross shopping is that bass are LX models get imitation leather rather than real leather on the front and rear seats a common complaint about the old RL was a tight back seat and
that’s been rectified with this new r LX

this front seats adjusted for me at 6
feet tall I have about 6 or 7 inches of legroom left back here that’s more than you would find in a standard short wheelbase BMW 7-series the seat bottom cushion is a little bit close to the floor for mid-size luxury sedans but the seat back angle is fairly comfortable and overall this seat is more comfortable than you’d find in the Lincoln MKS or the Cadillac XTS the benefit of being a front-wheel drive car is that there is a fairly small hump here in the center seat however Headroom is fairly limited in this car because of the decidedly bucket shapes going on here in the outboard rear seats if I scoot over to this far-right seat this front seat was adjusted for a six foot five passenger I had in the car as you can see I have a decent amount of legroom left there we also have a fairly large and comfortable center armrest with built-in cupholders you can see there there’s no storage cubby in the center armrest that is one thing to keep in mind we have a ski pass through here in the center we have a button for the power rear Shade and these side shades are manual in the RLX

our our LX is equipped with the optional
perforated leather and cooled front seats see we have a new door styling that we haven’t seen from Acura before over there we move over to the dashboard the dashboard and the doors are a combination of an injection molded upper a stitched leather middle fake wood and then harder plastics down below but these harder plastics down below are not your typical entry-level car plastics these are still soft they’re just not quite as soft as the upper plastics see the center console in the RLX continues the stitched material theme all the way down to again more soft touch plastics down lower the dashboard is dominated by this large dual LCD arrangement navigation is not standard in the RLX but this dual screen arrangement is this lower screen is a touchscreen and the upper screen is controlled either by that touchscreen or by this multi way joystick here we have dual zone standard climate control in the RLX the optional cold seats standard heated seats this is a little storage cubby with a power port we have our shifter two cupholders which easily carry the largest size you can find in a

drive-thru in the US Sport button no

manual shift mode you’ll notice right here on this shifter electric parking brake and regular old brake hold the large center armrest operates in a number of different ways first it slides back like this so you can have easy access to certain items and also opens side to side in that fashion if we open up we have a small divider tray that is removable to allow you access to this very large and quite deep center console that is one of the benefits of having a front-wheel drive bias platform the RLX uses a standard four dial arrangement with a color LCD in the middle it is controlled by these buttons over here on this new Acura steering wheel this little dial selects those options on that small LCD display over here we have our cruise control and radar cruise control buttons radar cruise control is an option as is the Lane Keeping Assist over here on this side of the new Acura steering wheel we have our radio controls source track forward backward volume up and down on that same knob phone controls and the voice button as well this is a very chunky and very nice feeling steering wheel over here we have our auto headlamps on this side we have all the buttons that control the various safety systems on our car we have the lane departure warning parking
assistance this is your usual traction

control and this is a collision mitigating braking system which automatically applies the brakes if the car believes that you’re definitely going to hit something and there’s no other way of preventing that collision the RLX score is eight out of ten points in our exclusive trunk comfort index because this truck is fairly large fairly well upholstered and the trunk opening is decently sized it’s not quite as large as full-size luxury sedans mind you but it is a little bit easier to get things in here than that Cadillac XTS now we don’t have a full sized spare tire in the RLX we don’t have a spare tire at all actually so instead we get a larger storage compartment under this load floor and a can of fix-a-flat one thing that i do appreciate is a nice handle that makes it a lot easier to close the trunk on yourself we’re going to take a deep dive into the infotainment system now if you’d like to skip to the drive section just follow those instructions at the bottom of your screen and if you’re not watching us in HD then go ahead and click that quality button on YouTube and bump yourself up to 1080 so you can see the detail here now as I said all our LX models come standard with this two screen affair now the
logic here is supposed to be that the

navigation system is predominantly in
this higher screen and this lower screen is reserved just for audio and climate control functions that’s why this is a touchscreen so all these options here are touch buttons but we also have buttons down here in this joystick arrangement lower in the center console this is very closely related to the system that it’s in the new Honda Accord it’s also the same system that’s used in the new Acura MDX down here in this button arrangement here we have the nav button phone button info button and audio button now these are direct access buttons for this large 8-inch screen up top so if we hit the nav button switches this to the nav system up there info button takes us to the info option on that large screen now we have a joystick with a rotary dial here you can also toggle this up and down for various menus in the system and it’s click to enter let’s go ahead and zoom in on these two screens so we can see them in greater detail now I’ve said before that this two screen arrangement used in the new Honda and Acura products doesn’t seem quite fully baked and well I have gotten a little bit more used to it in this new Acura RLX I think that still holds true the breezin is down here under audio source you can select your audio source like your iPod you can see your current track you can go forward and backward on your iPod and if you want to shuffle that’s under more you
can choose sound settings shuffle repeat

and screen settings over here but if you want to actually select a playlist you have to hit that audio direct access button in that joystick module below and then up here in this 8-inch screen you select iPod and then you can toggle back and here is where you can find your playlists album genres composers etc and then once you’re browsing around here we’ll say purchase music and then we’ll scroll down to something now once this is playing then on this small screen you’ll see that song information and on this screen is where you would again choose shuffle or repeat and that seems very disconnected you can’t shuffle and repeat from this screen up here you have to do it on this screen down here so you end up having to use both screens and if you’re doing that while you’re trying to navigate somewhere then it defeats the entire purpose of having your map up here well you do audio things down here now that being said the system is very fully featured so we have complete voice commands of everything in the system and I mean practically everything so if you can see it on this screen up here you can voice command it and you can read things out the nav system interface is very nicely featured and it does offer local street traffic informations you
can see the small street that we’re off

of here we have a green line because it
does have traffic information their address entry is very quick in the system the voice commands work extremely well the phone interface is a fairly typical Bluetooth phone interface speed dials call history etc not quite as easy to use as some of the touchscreen systems that I’ve seen before where you can actually dial numbers on the touch screen because this screen here can’t do any phone functions the info menu is where you’ll find various things like accurate linked messages the trip computer voice information help traffic instance this is provided by XM traffic data service calendar and of course your clock and wallpaper settings now if we go into the trip computer you can see very much like the rest of the Acura products your current fuel economy from your current trip your previous trip those are automatically reset and then we can click over to the history of the trip a every time it was reset over on audio you can change your source using this 8 inch screen and the joystick knob or you can use this touchscreen in the dash to change your source am/fm XM single slot CD player in the dash built-in hardware music library USB input since we have an iPod connected it
says iPod the system is capable of

providing enough power to charge high
draw USB devices which is very handy we have bluetooth streaming over there we click over to the next page you’ll see your smart phone app integration Pandora and AHA radio there’s no auxiliary app required for these so you don’t have to have an accurate app to make Pandora work for instance you just have to have the Pandora app down here we have our climate control buttons if you touch these buttons it’ll bring up another menu where you can adjust your fan speed over here you can see a see options sync options temperature you can adjust the temperature here or via those direct access buttons below as well the shortcuts button on the seven-inch LCD allows you to save presets for various car functions if your valet there under audio you can save presets for anything from a playlist or a song on your hard drive or your iPod two stations on AM or XM right there these are in addition to the regular radio presets over on the climate button you can choose particular climate presets for various people that drive the car we have speed dials on the phone and we have quick navigation stops so you can just save an entry right there and have it navigate you there every time this is also where you’ll find your navigate home button overall my impression of Acura link has gotten better the more time I spend with the system but I still think there are a few deficiencies the inability to change playlists and browse your songs via this seven-inch touchscreen really is a problem the overall integration between this screen that joystick and this 8-inch screen above it

still seems a little bit awkward sometimes the fact that you have to use this screen to browse your iPod well this screen is showing you you know track information as well as allowing you to go forward and backward just seems a little bit peculiar also the graphics on this 8 inch navigation screen aren’t as snazzy as they are in the German competition or that Volvo as well however they are a little bit nicer than the Cadillac cue system and while I’m talking about Cadillac Q we should also add my Ford touch in there because this system even though it doesn’t seem quite fully baked is much much more reliable than my Ford touch my Lincoln Touch or Cadillac SKU system my Ford touch my lincoln touch and q crashed very regularly every time we’ve had a car with those systems in them they’ve crashed on us multiple times during the week no time has this system ever crashed and none of the essentially similar systems in any of the modern acura or Honda products that use the same software setup have ever crashed like that in addition they have the same ability in terms of voice commands q and my Lincoln touch so there’s really very little functional difference between those two systems and this accurate link system but in the accurate link system we get that improved

reliability which i think is important because if this is your daily driver your commute vehicle having the system crash and then be unresponsive for five or ten minutes in your commute is a real bummer because acura is making a big deal out of their safety systems on this new RLX we’re going to take a look at them before we go right into the normal drive section of this review now our apologies for not having an exterior mounted camera one of our GoPros fell off a car last week and so we’re down to just one and the normal camera so this is a view of the inside of the car so you can see the steering wheel on this lane-keeping

assist as it keeps us in our lane we’re
going to do this when there’s not a car next to us but if I let go of the steering wheel you can see the car is steering us in to our lane see there it’s providing almost enough force to keep us in the lane right there is letting us know that there was a lane departure and it tells of course to put your hands back on the wheel but this is an interesting and different method of doing this then you’d find in Nissan Infiniti products and a number of the other systems on the market because this is actually using the steering wheel in the car to steer you back in your lane
rather than using the brakes on the left

or the right side of the car to sort of
crab you back in your lane so if we try this again we just let go of the steering wheel here you can see that the car is providing the force to sort of hug that right lane or right lane line here on the right side of the car and again the hands are not on the wheels you can see in both pictures here and yet we’re cruising along right in the lane the car is now reminding us that steering is required which is probably a good recommendation one more worried about the lane keeping assistance system that is now steering this vehicle around this corner totally hands-free is that it is always providing assistance to your steering input when it’s enabled you enable it with this little button on

the steering wheel that’s very different

than other systems on the market which

only provide steering input if they

think that you’re going to exit your

lane so the the supposed example of the

system is sort of a marble in a

horseshoe shaped trough that as you go

closer to the edge it provides more and


and more assistance of course by using

your turn signal to change lanes the

system allows you into that next line

and then resumes its activity in this

Lane it’s a very odd feeling to get used

to it does become a bit more natural

after you’ve been driving the RLX for a

while but if your test driving one of

these you have to know that the feeling

is very peculiar right up front because

it feels like the car is constantly

tugging the steering wheel one way or

the other trying to keep you in that

center of the lane again it’s always

providing some sort of suggestion or or

a little bit of assistance to try and

keep you centered you won’t find full

speed range adaptive cruise control in

the Lincoln or the Cadillac but you will

find it in BMW Volvo and Mercedes

vehicles they do exactly the same thing

however those systems all three of them

are smoother to operate than the system

but the Acura deals with the brake and

accelerator input is just a little bit

unusual it’s it’s a it brakes a little

bit late brakes a little bit hard

accelerates a little bit late and

all-in-all drives a little bit strangely

if I’m honest I mean it doesn’t drive

like a regular person would be driving

the car and I find it more distracting

than useful if I’m honest part of the

adaptive cruise control system is Acuras

collision mitigating braking system this

car will automatically apply the brakes

for you to reduce the severity of an

accident not prevent an accident just

reduce its severity if it believes that

you’re going to hit the car in front of

you and there’s really nothing that you

can do about it so if it thinks that

you’ve passed the point of no return the

car will automatically apply the brakes

for you again it won’t prevent the

collision it’s only designed to reduce

the severity of that accident the car

also warns you if you’re too close to a

car or if you need to take action

yourself to avoid an accident by

flashing a braking required screen in

between the tachometers and a

speedometer and of course flashing this

small LED cluster that reflects off the

windshield above the instrument cluster

you can sort of see the outline up there

on the dashboard it’s very similar to

the Ford in the Volvo system and it’s

quite effective it’s much more effective

than the other warning systems that are

strictly instrument cluster only because

you’re hopefully looking out the

windshield and so you’ll see that more

readily than you would something down

there in the instrument cluster out on

the road there’s no denying that the RLX

is a front-wheel drive car it’s pretty

obvious when you’re driving out here on

these winding mountain roads

however a cure does a very good job at

front-wheel drive chassis and the RLX

is probably the pinnacle of their

research and development thanks to that

rear-wheel steering because of the

rear-wheel steering the RLX feels more

like an all-wheel-drive car even though

the rear wheels aren’t powered so going

around corners like this adding a little

bit of power the rear-wheel steering

system which is coordinated with the

entire drivetrain module in this car

allows the rear end of the car to pivot

and turn more like you would expect a

rear-wheel drive car to do however you

still get a little bit of torque steer

and a little bit of plowing just because

there’s extra weight up front in terms

of straight line performance we clocked

zero to 60 in five point seven two

seconds which is respectable for a

front-wheel drive car we can thank those

fairly wide tires upfront for helping

out with that however I do believe that

all wheel drive would make this car go


and that’s just because the car spends a

decent amount of time spinning those

front wheels in the corners the RLX

feels very confident with a very high

level of road holding ability however

the feeling is a little peculiar it

doesn’t feel as confident as the

all-wheel drive Acura TL with super

handling all-wheel drive or as the old

RL did the feeling is just very very

unusual because of that four-wheel

steering you get the rear end rotating

in a corner like you would associate

with a rear-wheel drive car under a

little bit of power and yet you get the

front wheels scrambling for traction

like you’d associate with a front-wheel

drive car except that you don’t have

that same front end ploughing field that

you’d get in a regular front-wheel drive

car so it’s a very unusual combination

of things going on here the benefit of

not having that heavy super handling

all-wheel drive system of course is fuel

economy and the EPA rates the 2014 r LX

420 in the city 31 on the highway and 24

combined we’ve been averaging between 23

and 24 miles per gallon in mix driving

which is better than the old RL it’s

also significantly better than the

all-wheel-drive twin turbo variants from

the competition there are two problems

with the r LX one of them you’ll

probably get used to and that’s the

steering feel it is lifeless and vague

thanks to electric power steering but

also the rear steering gives it a

peculiar feel that you won’t find in

another car it

it feels like the car steering isn’t

quite as accurate but I think that the

real problem is that the engineers have

tuned the steering to be incredibly

accurate and that’s really what you’re

feeling it’s something that you’ll

probably get used to over time with the


even if you drive another car that

doesn’t have rear steering in it on a

regular basis but you won’t get used to

however is the ride quality in the RLX

it’s a very mixed bag and a very strange

one at that the car seems to combine two

mode dampers and that’s something that

Acura does talk about they don’t really

say how those two mode dampers work it’s

not an electronic active system like

you’d find in the Germans these are just

regular old struts and shocks that have

two different mechanical dampers in them

for different situations and then it

combines those with fairly stiff springs

so this is more stiffly sprung than

you’d find in some of the competition

but it feels that the roll bars aren’t

quite as stiff so there’s a decent

amount of body roll a decent amount of

tip and dive and float in this car but

then at the same time the ride quality

is unexpectedly rough and harsh

especially over broken pavement surfaces

sometimes the chassis seems to be a

little bit upset by that and lose its

composure it’s a very unusual feeling in

this segment not something that I

expected out of Acura not something that

you’d experience in the old RL or the

current generation Acura TL either the

2014 RL X is a well crafted luxury sedan

that handles well has decent fuel

economy performs fairly decently out on

the road for a front-wheel drive luxury

car however things fall apart just a

little bit when we start talking about

price and that is important because we

can’t talk about cars and their features

in a vacuum the r LX starts at 48,000

$450 and ends at 60,000 $450 we really

don’t know how much that hybrid will

cost but I expect it to be a decent

amount more which makes the r LX a

decent amount more expensive than those

other options it’s five to ten thousand

dollars more expensive than that Volvo

s80 even though the Volvo s80 has

all-wheel drive and a more powerful twin

turbo engine it’s also five to ten

thousand dollars more expensive than the

Lincoln MKS which again has a more

powerful twin turbo v6 things are a

little bit better when you compare it to

the Cadillac XTS things start out about


more expensive than that Cadillac for

the RLX but that twin-turbo Cadillac

will run you about seventy three

thousand dollars fully loaded so only

when you compare it to that Cadillac XTS

does the Acura RLX seem like a decent

deal overall the 2014 Acura RLX is a

good car but I think that Acura priced

it just too high to be a great car or to

be terribly competitive in this segment

because at the price point of this Acura

RLX and its lack of power and lack of

handling prowess due to that loss of

all-wheel drive I really don’t find a

compelling reason to buy the RLX over

any of its direct competitors and that

even includes that seven-year-old Volvo

s80 thanks for joining me well we took a

look at this 2014 Acura RLX luxury sedan

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