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2014 Acura RLX – New Car Review

2014 Acura RLX


On Sale: Spring 2013 Expected Pricing: About $50,000

Acura’s new flagship sedan seems a promising replacement for the outgoing and underwhelming RL. Unveiled at the 2012 LA Auto Show, the 2014 Acura RLX rides on a wheelbase two inches longer than its predecessor and boasts a flashier design, new engine, a bevy of interior space and the latest in electronic safety systems.

Distinctive Jewel-eye LED headlamps give the RLX a fresh look, while other styling cues, like the angular grille found on other Acura models, give it a strong family resemblance. Standard wheels are 18-inch alloys, engineered to reduce noise for a quieter ride. Upper trim levels roll on 19-inch wheels and tires.

The 2014 RLX uses an all-new direct-injected V6 engine that makes 310 horsepower and 272 pound-feet of torque. It should be good for plenty of low-end thrust, as Acura says 90 percent of its peak torque is available between 2000 and 6600 rpm. The powerplant uses variable cylinder management technology for increased efficiency, which allows the vehicle to operate on three or six cylinders depending on driving demands. The transmission is a retooled 6-speed automatic with steering-wheel-mounted shift paddles.

Official fuel economy ratings aren’t yet available, but Acura claims the RLX will achieve 20 mpg city and 31 mpg highway.

Interior space in the RLX is impressive, with plenty of shoulder room and legroom of 38.8 inches, the most in the midsize luxury segment.

Like all new luxury vehicles, the RLX continues the trend toward everything electronic, with now-expected features such as adaptive cruise control, multi-angle backup camera, forward collision warning and lane departure warning. New technology for the brand includes a low-speed follow feature, which allows the car to autonomously maintain a set following distance or stop completely in low-speed traffic, and Agile Handling Assist, which uses active braking around corners for a smoother ride.

Other features include capless fueling, an electronic parking brake, and automatic brake hold, which keeps the car in place until the driver hits the throttle. The RLX uses the latest version of the AcuraLink connectivity interface, which delivers real-time information such as traffic updates, restaurant reservation availability, and stolen vehicle information. A standard 10-speaker audio system includes HD radio, Bluetooth streaming audio capability, XM Radio, a USB port and auxiliary audio jack.

The RLX is expected to go on sale in Spring 2013 and will be initially available in five trim levels. No word on pricing, but considering the RL’s starting price of $48,200, we’d expect the base RLX to come in at around $50,000.

A hybrid version of the RLX is slated to appear later in 2013, which is expected to produce 270 horsepower and achieve 30 mpg city and 30 mpg highway. As with all hybrids, expect a considerable premium over the gas-only model.