2014 Acura RLX Advance Sedan (3.5L V6 6-speed Automatic)
Driven On 2/19/2013
Compared to the German benchmarks in this segment, the RLX offers a shade less sport and luxury for the same price. That said, we found its 3.5-liter V6 produced plenty of power to suit our daily needs, while its technology and multimedia offerings are outstanding.
PerformanceThe RLX is nimble and wields enough horsepower to handle everyday tasks without issue. While it's dynamically more competent than some in the segment, the lack of a V8 option puts it at a disadvantage.
This 310-horsepower, 3.5-liter V6 is a good engine. It pulls hard to redline and is always smooth. Front tires will chirp off the line at full throttle.
Brake performance is about average for the segment. The RLX required 120 feet to reach a stop from 60 mph. Pedal feel is linear and predictable.
Steering response was as accurate during parking lot maneuvers as it was at speed. Good weight and decent feedback.
Acura Precision All-Wheel Steering (P-AWS) delivered predictable, confident and competent handling. But it's not a class leader.
The RLX combines sport and luxury to make a car that is very easy to drive. It's slightly above average in just about every performance category.
ComfortThe RLX rides unnecessarily harshly in our opinion. We understand the firm suspension turning is reflective of its sporty nature, but the rough ride takes away from areas where Acura gets things right.
The seat bottoms are on the flat side with little lateral support. Comfort was fine for most trips, but longer journeys required more shifting around in the seat.
Ride quality is on the firm side. Both high- and low-frequency impacts can prove harsh. We also found these Michelin Primacy MXM4 tires follow rain grooves too easily.
A steady hum of tire noise finds its way into the cabin, but nothing the radio couldn't drown out. The lack of wind and engine noise is above average for the segment.
InteriorMost will find enough luxury to suit their needs inside the cabin. The interior was designed with ergonomic balance in mind. We found ample seat room, but the lack of a folding rear seat is disappointing.
A tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, highly adjustable seats and minimal side bolstering nearly ensure that all body types will fit. All controls are easily labeled and reached.
The available easy-out seat and steering wheel feature help with climbing in and out of the RLX. But then, these features are the norm in this class of sedan.
The rear seat is expansive, with plenty of legroom. But the sloping roof line means anyone over 6 feet tall will find themselves combing their hair on the ceiling.
The sweeping hood design makes it difficult to judge the front dimensions. The tall trunk lid partially obscures rearward visibility but the rearview camera mostly solves that.
Trunk space is average, though the lack of a spare tire allows underfloor storage. Ski pass-through instead of fold-down rear seats. Rear center armrest bin is deep but awkward.
ValueThe Acura offers consumers average value for this class. Where our RLX Advance stands out is with its extensive list of technology features.
Build Quality (vs. $)
Soft-touch surfaces are found in all of the right places. The RLX looks and feels well-made, even for our early-build test car.
The Tech and Advance packages include features that are segment-leading. Since these packages can't be ordered a la carte, it's hard to compare their value directly to competitors.
Some will consider the RLX expensive for what it offers compared to the more well-established, segment-leading European competitors.
The EPA estimates fuel economy at 20 mpg/31 mpg highway. We averaged 23 mpg over 800 miles of mixed driving.
Acura doesn't offer the free scheduled maintenance programs that are available from a few of its competitors.
Fun To DriveThe RLX can be fun to drive. It is an above-average performer and the V6 is adequately powerful. But what's actually more fun is playing with all the gadgets via the soft-touch media interface.
Point the RLX toward the highway. If you can come to terms with its stiffer-than-average ride, the plethora of technology bits will take care of the rest.
A pinch of sport. A spoonful of luxury. And a bucket of technology. That's the RLX.
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