Acura's slow-selling RL flagship sedan has been thoroughly re-engineered for 2014, so much so that's now called the RLX. Although exterior dimensions remain about the same, the RLX rides on a longer wheelbase and wider track for increased interior space. The difference is especially noticeable in the back seat, where abundant legroom exceeds that of most competitors. Despite these gains, weight is down by 160 pounds thanks to extensive use of aluminum body panels. This top-rung Acura is officially full-size, but directed at the market segment occupied by midsizers like the Audi A6 or Lexus GS
The front-drive RLX features an all-new 310-horsepower 3.5-liter V6 paired with an updated version of the outgoing model's six-speed automatic. Gas mileage is up to 24 mpg in combined highway and city driving, due in no small part to the V6's cylinder deactivation technology. Zero to 60 mph comes in six seconds flat. There's also an all-wheel steering system this year, which trims the turning radius and improves stability during high-speed cornering.
Other new equipment includes knee airbags, active lane-keeping assist, and adaptive cruise control that can bring the car to a complete stop when following another vehicle at low speeds. Acura has been careful to highlight the RLX's Jewel Eye headlamps—LEDs shaped like faceted gemstones—a design signature that's expected to penetrate the entire lineup.
Inside, generous wood trim and fine leather with meticulous stitching convey a sense of indulgence that buyers might not expect from Acura. The dash holds a pair of stacked LCD display screens, one for navigation and the other for audio and climate controls. Both interfaces display in full color and deliver tactile feedback to your fingertips. The latest generation of Acura's telematics system—AcuraLink—also makes its debut in the RLX.
For now, Acura offers a single model priced at $48,450 to which you can add one of four multi-feature packages: Navigation, Technology, Krell Audio and Advance (in order of cost). The package models will be priced in the $50,000-to-$60,000 range. Since the 2014 RLX is being released early, additional models and equipment may become available before the model year is out. We also expect hybrid power and all-wheel drive to show up at some point in the near future.
The RLX comes as a single well-equipped model for its freshman season with front-wheel drive, a 3.5-liter V6, and a six-speed automatic transmission. The V6's cylinder deactivation feature contributes to excellent fuel economy for this class: 24 mpg in combined driving. All examples offer a full-feature Panasonic ELS 10-speaker sound system, backup camera, forward collision and lane departure warning systems, automatic entry with keyless starting and 12-way power leather seats.
Key upgrades include an enhanced navigation system with real-time data, Krell 14-speaker audio setup, and accident-avoidance assists such as collision-mitigation braking and front and rear parking sensors.
Build and price your dream Acura RLX in just a few easy steps.
|Build & Price|
More models and trim choices, smaller cabin
Rear-drive dynamics, hybrid model, one class down in size
Bountiful interior, prestigious look, so-so gas mileage
Available hybrid and clean diesel power, gets pricey with options