2014 Acura RLX Review
2014 Acura RLX Review
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Edmunds' Expert Review
by the Edmunds Experts
- Abundant standard features
- spacious cabin
- fuel-efficient standard V6
- sharp handling and strong fuel economy from Sport Hybrid.
- Harsh ride with the 19-inch wheels and tires
- disconnected steering feel
- so-so display screen graphics with distracting interface
- front seats get uncomfortable on longer drives.
The 2014 Acura RLX is an all-new luxury sedan that replaces the RL at the top of the Acura lineup. The Sport Hybrid model introduces an impressive new hybrid powertrain concept that benefits fuel economy and handling.
The 2014 Acura RLX has all the technology you'd expect in a midsize luxury sedan, but it's eclipsed by similarly priced competitors that offer a more polished driving experience and more elegant design.
Calculate my fuel costs
Cost to DriveCost to drive estimates for the 2014 Acura RLX 4dr Sedan (3.5L 6cyl 6A) and comparison vehicles are based on 15,000 miles per year (with a mix of 55% city and 45% highway driving) and energy estimates of $3.92 per gallon for premium unleaded in Virginia.
Monthly estimates based on costs in Virginia
$196/mo for RLX Base
Avg. Large Car
Acura has struggled to find its identity in recent years, and nowhere has that been more apparent than at the top of the lineup. The 2014 Acura RLX is the brand's new flagship and the successor to the discontinued RL, a midsize luxury sedan that found few customers in spite of its solid credentials. Although not radically different in design or personality, the RLX is a more spacious car and it's packed with all the latest technology. Plus, the new Sport Hybrid version promises 370 horsepower and 30 mpg combined, with the added bonuses of all-wheel drive and sharper handling.
The RLX comes standard with front-wheel drive and a 3.5-liter V6 engine rated at 310 hp. Although you'll likely be content with the car's acceleration in traffic, you might be put off by the big Acura's often busy ride: An Edmunds pre-production test vehicle with the available 19-inch wheels and tires had difficulty filtering out bumps and ruts, both large and small. On the upside, the RLX feels sure-footed around turns thanks in part to its rear-wheel-steer system (P-AWS). The RLX Sport Hybrid is even sportier, as its AWD system can redirect power to individual wheels to enhance the car's stability and quickness. With either RLX, however, numb-feeling steering takes away some of the sporting cred.
By far, the best reason to consider the 2014 Acura RLX is its tech-laden interior. New driver aids include all-speed adaptive cruise control that provides set-it-and-forget-it capability in heavy traffic, along with a collision mitigation system, a blind spot warning system and a lane departure system that's able to both warn you and nudge you back into your lane via steering input.
There are now two grades of Acura's typically excellent ELS audio system, plus an elite 14-speaker system designed by Krell, a company that specializes in high-end home audio. Getting started with the navigation system couldn't be more straightforward, and on top of that, Acura is offering three cloud-based smartphone apps that provide additional music content, improved rerouting capability for the nav system and emergency services. If a user-friendly audio-navigation interface is really important to you, the RLX deserves a look, particularly if you plan to make extensive use of your phone in the car.
In other respects, though, the RLX fades into the midsize luxury sedan pack. The base model is an unremarkable car to drive, and apart from its arresting LED headlights, the styling is utterly forgettable. Even the high-tech interior is lacking in elegance, as the navigation screen is the same size and resolution as the one you'll find in a Honda Accord. Buyers have plenty of choices in this price range, of course: The 2014 Audi A6, 2014 BMW 5 Series and 2014 Lexus GS 350 are more entertaining to drive, while the new 2015 Hyundai Genesis offers many of the same tech features while undercutting the RLX on price.
The RLX Sport Hybrid is far more appealing. We like its strong fuel economy compared to other hybrid luxury sedans, along with its improved performance and handling. If you're thinking of getting an RLX, the Sport Hybrid would be our pick.
Performance & mpg
The base Acura RLX comes standard with a 310-hp 3.5-liter V6 engine. Front-wheel drive and a six-speed automatic transmission with both a Sport mode and steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters are standard. In Edmunds testing, a 2014 RLX with the Advance package went from zero to 60 mph in 6.3 seconds, which is average for a midsize luxury sedan. The EPA rates the RLX at 24 mpg combined (20 city/31 highway), which are above-average numbers for a six-cylinder luxury sedan.
The RLX Sport Hybrid comes with the same V6, but things get different from there with the addition of three electric motors. One is integrated within the Sport Hybrid's seven-speed automated manual transmission to assist the gasoline V6 in powering the front wheels, while the others power one rear wheel each. The result is a unique all-wheel-drive system and a total output of 377 hp. EPA-estimated fuel economy is an excellent 30 mpg combined (28/32).
The 2014 RLX comes with antilock disc brakes, front-seat side airbags, full-length side curtain airbags and a driver knee airbag. A rearview camera is standard, but you have to move all the way up to the Advance package to get front and rear parking sensors. That package is also your ticket to collision mitigation and lane keeping assist. A blind spot monitoring system is included starting with the Technology package trim level.
In Edmunds testing, the 2014 RLX managed a 60-0-mph braking distance of 120 feet, an average number for this class.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has performed its battery of tests on the RLX, resulting in a top score of "Good" in all tests for moderate-overlap and small-overlap frontal-offset impact safety, side-impact safety, roof strength, and seatbelt and head restraint design for whiplash reduction.
Most owners will be satisfied with the performance of the 2014 Acura RLX in normal driving. Its V6 doesn't feel as potent as the six-cylinders in the A6 and 5 Series, but this engine is quiet and smooth, with plenty of power for passing when you need it. The transmission provides quick, smooth shifts.
The RLX doesn't ride with the same composure as other sedans in this class. When fitted with the 19-inch wheels, it feels harsh when driving over rough patches at low speeds, while the ride on the highway can be bouncy. Only on truly smooth pavement does the RLX ride like a luxury sedan. Take it around a few turns, and the big Acura is steady but not particularly athletic. The numb steering is at least precise, though, and the car's standard rear-wheel-steering system subtly and effectively steers the rear wheels ever so slightly to help the RLX get around tight corners.
Things get better with the Sport Hybrid, as its trick electric all-wheel-drive system can accelerate an outside rear wheel while braking the inside one to whip you around corners with tenacity. The added power provided by those rear electric motors also provides an exciting burst of acceleration that you don't get from the base RLX or other all-wheel-drive sedans. Unfortunately, though, nothing changes in terms of that numb steering and despite its commendable abilities, the Sport Hybrid still falls short in terms of the engagement one expects from a proper sport sedan.
You'll immediately be struck by the sheer amount of space inside the Acura RLX. It feels noticeably roomier than the old RL or the TL. Legroom is plentiful in both the front and rear, but 6-footers will find the headroom tight in the backseat and clearance under the front chairs is low, so forget about sliding your feet under them. The front seats are broad and comfy, but we've found them lacking in support on longer drives. Trunk versatility is limited due to rear seats that do not fold (there is a ski pass-through), but its 15.3 cubic feet of space (15.1 with Krell audio) is certainly average for the segment. It does go down to 12 cubic feet with the Sport Hybrid, but that's actually pretty good for a hybrid sedan.
Using the navigation system is simple and intuitive, as Acura allows you to look up destinations by the central control dial, a new 7-inch touchscreen interface (mounted below the 8-inch nav screen) or an enhanced voice recognition system. Unfortunately, neither screen boasts the super-crisp graphics we've come to expect of this class, and some of the more basic functions (such as turning on the seat heaters) require multiple pushes of virtual touchscreen buttons, which can be distracting. A relative lack of radio presets is another disappointment.
The Sport Hybrid's cabin differs slightly. A standard head-up display (an Acura first) shows hybrid system power distribution along with the usual speed readout, while the traditional shifter has been replaced by an odd electronic selector. It has push buttons for Park, Neutral and Drive, but Reverse is engaged with a switch you pull up. It's ergonomically awkward and different for the sake of being different.
2014 Acura RLX models
The 2014 Acura RLX is a midsize luxury sedan available in two models: base and Sport Hybrid. There are also a series of packages, which Acura technically refers to as trim levels. There are no stand-alone options.
The base RLX starts you off with 18-inch wheels, LED headlights, a sunroof, keyless ignition and entry, a power tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, heated eight-way power front seats (with four-way power lumbar), driver memory settings, leatherette (premium vinyl) upholstery and tri-zone automatic climate control. Also standard are a rearview camera, Bluetooth, SMS text-to-speech capability for MAP-enabled phones and a 10-speaker ELS sound system with a CD player, digital music storage, a USB/iPod interface, HD radio and satellite radio.
The Navigation package adds navigation capability for the 8-inch screen that's already at the top of the dash, plus access to the AcuraLink suite of smartphone apps. In addition, the climate control system uses the nav system's GPS to adjust cabin temperature according to the angle of the sun.
The RLX Sport Hybrid includes all of the above equipment, but also adds its unique gas-electric powertrain, special noise-reducing 19-inch wheels, a head-up display, an electronic gear selector and a special accelerator pedal that encourages economical driving.
The Technology package equips either RLX model with rain-sensing wipers, power-retractable mirrors, a blind spot monitoring system, noise-reducing acoustic glass, leather upholstery, wood interior accents and a 14-speaker ELS sound system. Also, the keyless system now works on all four doors, rather than just the front doors and trunk. The base version also gets 19-inch wheels.
The Advance package adds adaptive cruise control, a collision mitigation system with automatic braking, a lane-keeping assist system, front and rear parking sensors, ventilated front seats and heated rear seats.
The Krell Audio package is exclusive to the base RLX and adds a deluxe 14-speaker Krell sound system and full sunshade coverage for the backseat.
3.6 out of 5 stars
Most helpful consumer reviews
5 out of 5 stars
RLX-- love this car
2014 Acura RLX Advance Package 4dr Sedan (3.5L 6cyl 6A)
I got the RLX with Advanced package in Oct. 2013. Have driven more than 15K miles, I can not be more happier. No matter it is 8 hrs drive from southern California to San Francisco or road trips to Vegas and Grand Canyon, or even daily commute on the highways, the car is so quite and comfortable, every time behind the wheel feels like a special treat to myself. My friends have A6 and E … class, whenever they rode with me they can not stop praising how much they enjoy the ride and how well made the car was . Actually I got the feeling they sometimes find excuses to just take a ride with me because of they like this car. update 2/29/2016 Have been more than 2 yrs now, drove more than 38K miles, still love this car. Every friend/relatives rode with me always compliment how pretty and how comfortable this car is. I am pretty sure my next car/SUV will still be an Acura. Update 8/28/2016 It will be 3 Yrs by this October. My RLX still serves me well for my daily 80+ miles commute between Orange and LA county as well as long distance road trips. The odometer is more than 48K miles as today. My only regret is I did not wait a little longer to buy the hybrid version. Maybe in couple years. Update 2/28/2017 Still own the car and enjoy every ride. Got close to 60K miles now. Update 9/8/2017 Sitll serves me well for my daily commute on 405. Have driven more than 70K miles now. Always feel safe and smoth drive every time. Quite certainly my next car will still be an ACURA. Update Marc 12, 2018 have more than 82K miles in my RLX. Still run like new. Quiet cabin, great Krell audio system and smooth ride make daily commute on 405 highway enjoyable. I love this car. Update Sept. 13, 2018 It will be five years this October since I have my RLX. Still this car is my loyal companion on my daily commute at 405. I have put more than 92K miles on my RLX, still runs like new. I am so happy with my car, this January I bought a 2019 TLX Advance PKG for my husband. He loves his TLX. Now we have three ACURA in my household. My daughter has a RDX. From our experiences, it is very likely we will be ACURA owners for life as long as Acura continues to make reliable, safe and fun to drive cars. Update 9/15/2019 Got more than 113K miles on my RLX by now. Still my loyal companion for my daily commute on 405 highway. My plan is to drive the car for another couple years, then get a new RLX because I just love driving this car and I trust Acura’s quality. Update 3/16/2020 Still have this car and still driving daily commute at 405. Almost 130K miles by now. Never fails me and the drive is always comfortable which makes the 405 traffic jam bearable. Definitely my next car will be another RLX. Updated 9/17/2020 Got more than 130K miles on my RLX now, still drive like new. Always comfortable rides in this car, also provides power and speed when I need. Very sad to hear Acura is discounting RLX. Acura please bring another model similar size as RLX or bigger. We are Acura family, my husband's TLX and my daughter's RDX can not tolerate car from other car makers in the family when it is time for me to replace RLX. I may need to settle for MDX but to me it is more fun to drive a sedan than SUV. 3/18/2021 Still driving my RLX, after more than 137K miles, it still runs like new. 9/21/2021 put almost 150K miles in this car now. Still drive like new. Just completed a five days family trip to northern California Monterey Bay and Pebble Beach. Still having fun every time driving the car. I really wish Acura will come out with another similiar size or bigger sedan like RLX. 3/22/2022 Got more than 153K miles in my RLX now, still drive like new. ABSOLUTELY love this car. Can ACURA consider to make a similar sedan? ACURA aleady brought back Integra, why not Legend? It will be very nice to have an electric Legend. 9/23/2022. My RLX just keep going, has 161K miles now. Still love it. I figure if I wait long enough maybe ACURA will hear me and bring back Legend in Electric form or other large sedans similar to RLX. 3/26/2023. Just crossed 170K miles, still run like new. 9/27/2023. Still have my RLX, almost 180K miles now. Never fail me. This car will be accompanied me for 10 years by the end of this October. It is too good a car to let go. I am waiting for LEGEND to come back. Acura please hear my plea and bring back Legend.
4.75 out of 5 stars
Really Good Car
2014 Acura RLX Navigation 4dr Sedan (3.5L 6cyl 6A)
This car is alot better than reviewed from my perspective. I think the issue is this: This DOES NOT compete with the BMW 5 series or MB E-Class (regardless of what Acura would like)...really more like Lexus, Infiitniti or Lincoln based on my experience. That said, based on actual purchase price-- strong discount to MSRP/Invoice so well below BWM/MB this is a high quality, nice driving … (love teh AWS) vehicle. My personal feeling is, while not flashy, the car is also sophisticated looking. So far I'm very pleased with the overall package
4 out of 5 stars
V MEL, 11/11/2017
2014 Acura RLX Technology Package 4dr Sedan (3.5L 6cyl 6A)
This Acura RLX has been a great vehicle for my family. The good part of the ownership experience is the size of this car. I am 6'-2" and I am very happy with the legroom I have on both front and rears seats. The car is much more roomier than appears on outside. I can complement on the quality of the interior materials; it is made very nice, the cabin is surrounded by by soft materials … wrapped in the high quality leather; there are not many plastic parts around like in the similar class Lexus car. Very comfortable large seats, I like them better and think they are more comfortable than E-class Mercedes; nice large armrests. The control buttons and vents don't seem wear off like on most of European luxury cars. This car has a very sensitive breaks; it will stop dead in a very short time. One of the best features I like is the headlights. The optics of the headlights "jewel eye" look very attractive and deliver one of the best driving experiences at night; road signs reflections look like LED TV screens. Infotainment system is great and very easy to use. I found it much more convenient than E-class Mercedes. I like rolling volume control on the steering wheel instead of + -- volume bottoms. I like touch screen and how it gives vibrating feedback. I don't know why so many "expert" reviews are complaining about how confusing the infotainment system is. I found it very easy to use. I like the climate control in this car. The front seats heat up very fast and air fans are very quiet in a high mode, unlike Mercedes or BMW. The average gas mileage is 23 mph in mixed city/highway use which is very very good for this size car with 310 hp engine. So far I don have any mechanical or electrical problem with this car. Very, very reliable car 5+++. Now about the negative experience: First, suspension, suspension, suspension. The car drives like an Amish buggy on a bumpy road. 19 inch wheels with low profile tires make it even worst. The rear suspension is so stiff it sends pain in my spine every time the car goes over a bump. It is far from a luxury riding experience. I wish they have sport and comfort suspension modes to switch. I think this stiff suspension helps to transmit road noise to the car's body even though Acura advertises its noise cancellation technology and hollow wheels which suppose to reduce the road noise. However, I cannot say there is much road noise, but I am sure Mercedes E an Cadillac CTS is more quiet. Second is the gear shifting. It is also rough. When I try to accelerate fast, every time the gear shifts it rocks my body back and forth. Third, is the gear ratios. The car quickly goes to very high RPM during even mild acceleration. It creates unnecessary engine noise and makes it hard to control the car on the road. During "normal" driving mode the car acts like most of luxury cars would act in the "Sport" transmission mode. Forth, is the line departure alarm, blind spot and breaking warning alarms. I wish Acura change it from beeping sound warning alarm to vibration warning like it is done in Cadillac or Lexus cars. When I listen to music or radio, all these warnings become useless; I just cannot hear the beeping warning sound while music is playing. Fifth, the exterior assembly quality. The body parts are not lined as is suppose to be lined. Rear trunk lid does not line with rear fenders, I checked with dealer and it appears on all 2014 RLX models. Front hood/fender gaps are not consistent. It gives an impression like this car has been in a car rack and having some frame damage. After driving this car for 115K the P-AWS RTC actuators began to moan when making small turns. It is not critical, but I know I have to replace them soon. The bottom line is: I like this car and I think I will keep it for a couple more years. I would not recommend this car for a person who likes comfortable Cadillac-style ride. However, for a younger person who likes to drive fast alone, for aggressive driving style it could be a good choice.
4 out of 5 stars
Ed Koval, 02/22/2016
2014 Acura RLX 4dr Sedan (3.5L 6cyl 6A)
There is a lot to like about this car, and frankly little to not like. The only two gripes I have are (1) the low profile tires result in a ride that is busier than should be of a luxury car, and (2) at 6'1", my head just barely misses hitting the headliner.
2014 RLX Highlights
|Combined MPG||24 MPG|
|Cost to Drive||$196/month|
|Cargo Capacity |
All Seats In Place
|Drivetrain||front wheel drive|
|Warranty||4 years / 50,000 miles|
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
- Small Overlap Front Driver-Side TestGood
- Small Overlap Front Passenger-Side TestNot Tested
- Moderate Overlap Front Test – OriginalGood
- Moderate Overlap Front Test – UpdatedNot Tested
- Side Impact Test – OriginalGood
- Side Impact Test – UpdatedNot Tested
- Roof Strength TestGood
- Rear Crash Protection / Head RestraintGood