2014 Acura RLX Overview
2014 Acura RLX Overview
The 2014 Acura RLX comes in to a midsize luxury car category that is already saturated with reputable models. The RLX tries to recapture the success of the Acura Legend, as the RL that took up the flagship position for Acura in between failed to draw interest.
The RLX is very similar to the RL, which means it suffers from many of the same shortcomings. It has plenty of space and options, but fails to compare to others in its class. The power numbers are adequate but fall in the middle of the segment, while the ride is a bit too soft. While it does have a high-tech, refined interior, the RLX is a vehicle clearly in need of refinement, especially if Acura is to continue touting it as the company’s flagship model. What’s worse is that, despite lacking in so many areas, it does not trail behind its competitors when it comes to price. To add insult to injury, their tiered system for features forces the consumer to pay for features they might not want in order to get features they do want.
New for 2014
The 2014 Acura RLX is a completely new model that replaces the Acura RL.
The look of the 2014 Acura RLX fits in with the conservative European school of design, but lacks much of the individual flair seen in its competitors. It is a generic design, especially when viewed in profile, where it doesn’t have much separation from its Honda Accord cousin. The front end is stuck with Acura’s rather annoying corporate grille design that makes the hood look like it has buck teeth, and the few character lines intended to sculpt the side look like afterthoughts. It is overall forgettable, but leaning towards being memorable in a bad sort of way. The only true exterior options are the color and the choice between 18- or 19-inch wheels.
Interior & Cargo
The 2014 Acura RLX does manage to achieve in the interior category, putting together a spacious and well-equipped cabin clad in quality materials, with rather average design. Seating is comfortable for five fully-grown adults, although headroom in the rear seat is a bit tight for those over six feet in height. Cargo space is fairly average for the market segment, with 15.3 cubic feet. The cabin is covered in leather, wood trim and plastic, all of good quality but not quite what is found in the heavy hitters of the category. The interior design is also decidedly middle-of-the-road, as most of the class can be split into classic and rich or precise and modern, with the RLX falling into slightly modern, slightly rich range. It is ergonomically sound, although the multiple touch screens can be a bit confusing.
What truly makes an impact in the 2014 Acura RLX is the selection of features and options in the cabin. Five separate trim levels are available, but there are no independent options to be added – if they aren’t part of the package the consumer would like, the consumer has to step up to that next package and pay for all the other options they may not necessarily want. The base model RLX is well equipped, with power accessories, automatic climate control and cruise control. The front seats are eight-way power adjustable, as well as heated, and the power-adjustable steering wheel both tilts and telescopes. The upper LCD screen displays the rearview cameras, while the lower LCD screen is the display for the ten-speaker CD stereo with XM, a USB port and Bluetooth connectivity. The RLX with Navigation adds a navigation system, access to the AcuraLink smartphone apps and a climate control system that adjusts to changes in the exterior climate. The RLX with Technology adds upgraded upholstery, wood accents and a number of safety features on top of the base and Navigation features. It also adds a 14-speaker sound system and acoustic glass. The next step up, the RLX with Krell, swaps the 14-speaker sound system for a higher-end, Krell 14-speaker system. The top-of-the-line RLX with Advance package includes all of the previous mentioned options, and adds ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, and a number of safety options. Best of all, Acura has made the technology easy to learn and use.
The 2014 Acura RLX doesn’t bring anything new to the table in the area of safety, just the usual anti-lock brakes, airbags, and traction and stability control systems. There are plenty of options that increase passenger and pedestrian safety, but they must be added through Acura’s stiff packaging format. A rearview camera is standard on all levels. A blind spot monitoring system and rain-sensing wipers are available in the Technology package. The Advance package gets a collision mitigation system with automatic braking, adaptive cruise control, a lane keeping assist system and front and rear parking sensors.
A 3.5-liter, V-6 engine sits under the hood of the 2014 Acura RLX, producing 310 horsepower. This gets the RLX up to 60 miles per hour in only 6.5 seconds, respectable but slower than the rest of the similar sedans in the price range. It is lacking in gutsy power, which is noticeable especially in situations of rapid braking and acceleration. The six-speed, automatic transmission it is attached to is a bit dated, but sufficient enough with well-spaced gearing. The Sport mode is a bit disappointing, and downright useless in a normal commute.
Steering and handling isn’t much better. As a front-wheel-drive car, the turning radius is poor. The steering, while responsive, is not particularly nimble nor does it provide top-notch feedback. The suspension is soft and bouncy, but it does manage to provide a quiet ride.
Key Competitors of the 2014 Acura RLX
- Audi A6
- BMW 5-Series
- Lexus GS 350