Overview & Reviews
When it comes to flagship luxury sedans, most European and Asian automakers start with a rear-wheel-drive platform and a standard -- or at least optional -- V8. As an outlier, Acura has held fast to its belief that V6 power is more than capable. This is partly mindful of fuel economy concerns and partly due to the fact that Honda simply doesn't make a V8 for any application outside of motorsports.
The new Acura RLX flagship sticks to the V6 formula, and also offers an update to Acura's all-wheel-drive system that first debuted in the RL sedan in 2005. There's no V8, but the base RLX does get a new all-wheel-steering system, while the hybrid model enhances its all-wheel-drive system with electric motors to send additional power to the front and rear wheels. Despite riding atop a 2-inch longer wheelbase than the RL sedan that it replaces, the RLX uses shorter overhangs, a wider stance and LED headlights to achieve a more compact, athletic look than its predecessor.
Acura has always trailed in this upper luxury segment with its powertrain offerings and has relied on its technological advancements to make a compelling argument. The Acura RLX continues that trend, delivering a dizzying array of tech features that include dual LCD displays, smartphone connectivity, hands-free audio, climate control and text messaging, as well as the next generation of the AcuraLink telematics service. And like most Acura vehicles, the RLX offers a high level of refinement and should deliver above-average reliability. It's enough to make Acura relevant again in this competitive luxury class.
Current Acura RLX
The Acura RLX debuts for the 2014 model year in base and Sport Hybrid versions. Both models get a 310-horsepower 3.5-liter V6, but that's really where the similarities end. The base model comes with a traditional six-speed automatic transmission connected to front-wheel drive. A four-wheel-steering system known as P-AWS adjusts the angle of the rear wheels for improved cornering and control.
The Sport Hybrid, meanwhile, produces 377 hp thanks to the addition of three electric motors. One is integrated within the seven-speed automated manual transmission to assist the gasoline V6 in powering the front wheels, while the others power one rear wheel each. Not only does this increase power and fuel efficiency, but it dispenses power where it's needed most for optimum handling. Hence, the term "Sport" Hybrid.
The base RLX comes standard with equipment that's often optional on its competitors, including LED headlights, a sunroof, keyless ignition and entry, a power-adjustable steering wheel, tri-zone climate control, a rearview camera and a surround-sound audio system. There are a series of packages, which Acura also deems to be trim levels. The Navigation package's contents are obvious, while the Technology package's highlights include automatic wipers, blind-spot monitoring, an upgraded sound system and leather upholstery (premium vinyl is standard). The Krell Audio package, as the name suggests, includes a Krell premium audio system. Finally, Advance package highlights include ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, adaptive cruise control and a variety of advanced safety features like a collision warning system and lane-keeping assist.
Besides its different powertrain, the Sport Hybrid adds special noise-reducing 19-inch wheels, LED foglights, a head-up display, an electronic gear selector and a special accelerator pedal that encourages economical driving. It also comes standard with the Navigation package, while the Technology and Advance packages are available as well.
In reviews, we've found the base RLX's engine to be quiet and smooth, with ample passing power when you need it. The Sport Hybrid is even better, with an ample well of effortless electric torque that pushes the RLX forward with authority from its rear wheels. The ability to apportion left and right also aids handling, although steering feel is lacking for a car with sporting intentions. The ride quality of both models isn't as smooth as that of most rivals. Highway travel can be bouncy and road imperfections transmit some harshness to the cabin.
As with most current Acura products, the RLX offers a sumptuous interior, including a stitched instrument panel, steering wheel and center console, with wood and metal accents throughout the cabin. Although Acura doesn't offer the powertrain choices of its European rivals, its cabin environments are among the best in the class. Acura says the RLX also offers best-in-class rear seat legroom, with nearly 3 inches more room to spread out than comparable German and Japanese luxury models, and some of the widest front and rear passenger space in the segment.
Although the RLX is technically a new model for 2014, used car shoppers could consider its predecessor, the Acura RL.
User Reviews:Showing 1 through 10 of 18.00
RLX - no 4 x X - 2015 Acura RLX
By KV - December 12 - 10:22 am
One of my requirements was 4 Wheel or All Wheel Drive capability in a luxury sedan. This car was wonderful but didn't have either although, as I understand it, prior models did.
Great Car - 2015 Acura RLX
By TMW - November 24 - 12:09 pm
Just to give a little backround, my last two cars were a Lexus GS and an Acura RL. I did not like my Lexus at all and got rid of it after less than two years. I had that Lexus in the shop 7 times in those two years for various problems. Up until then, I had pretty much owned only Toyota or Lexus. In 2008, I decided to get the Acura RL to replace the Lexus GS. The Acura RL treated me very well for 6 years until I gave it to my daughter. When it was time to get a new car, I considered many different luxury brands but kept coming back to Acura. So far, I have 13,500 miles on the car. I can honestly say, this is the best car I have ever owned. I look forward to driving it everyday. There were a couple of recalls which were easily taken care of...I was not having problems before the recalls. If I had to do it again, I would not hesitate to get the RLX. I would love to have the hybrid version but it was not available when I bought my car. I had a deposit for one with the dealer but after waiting a year, they finally told me they weren't sure when they would available. I guess that would be my one complaint with Acura...they had a predicted release date for the hybrid and it kept getting delayed and there was no information available as to if and when they were going to come out with the car.
Overall, great car but it does have some problems - 2014 Acura RLX
By SS - November 2 - 8:50 pm
I'm very happy with the performance, handling, ergonomics and fuel efficiency. The only major complaint I have is with the battery going dead when the car sits for more than 2 days. I suspect it's a parasitic draw, possibly from the HFL module. Taking it back to the dealer and plan to leave it with them until they fix it. Apparently this is a problem with Acuras and I will not recommend buying this model, or any of the other ones, until they address it.
Drives Great "IF" You Can Get it to Start! - 2014 Acura RLX
By Jacqueline Scott - October 24 - 1:45 am
Purchased my 2014 RLX in May 2014. Other than the fact that the engine was kind of loud, and the car did not come with a spare tire of any kind, I was in love with my RLX the first time I drove it. My favorite feature is the All Wheel Steering I love the way the car handles. What I don't love is that something keeps draining the battery. The first time my car failed to start was in Jan 2015, eight months after I purchased it. This happened again in Sep 2015. The car was completely dead both times wouldn't make a sound. I had to call Acura roadside assistance to jumpstart the car each time. The car was taken to the dealership after each incident and they could not find what was causing the battery to drain, or any other problem with the vehicle. I have also had problems with the touch screen going blank, Forward Collision Warning activating for no reason, the Bluetooth/phone screen not responding, and voice activation not working properly. The Navigation system doesn't work very well either, once you "finally" figure out how to use it. I have had several problems trying to get the system to find addresses. The search feature doesn't do a good job of keying in on your current area for requested searches, not to mention, maps are outdated. As much as I like the Acura RLX, It is unreliable, so I would not recommend it to a friend or anyone else for that matter.
Shifty - 2015 Acura RLX
By Joseph Alves - October 9 - 5:27 pm
Quality of interior is mediocre. ^-cylinder shifting is annoyingly rough wife's 12 year old Subaru smoother.
stay away from RLX - 2015 Acura RLX
By b2cmu1 - January 16 - 6:47 pm
Purchased new RLX in 2014, what a mistake. It has had three recalls and now an engine noise has developed which Acura mechanics can not figure out. Audio tapes have been sent to Acura Engineering and they are stumped. I intend to get rid of it as soon as it comes back from shop (two weeks) Bad news trade in value is now $35,000 for a one year old car with 12,000 miles for which I paid $52,000. Go with Lexus or Infinity and save yourself trouble
Great car - 2015 Acura RLX
By daniel6767 - January 15 - 2:21 pm
This is a wonderful car- my 4th Acura (2 TSX, 1 TL) Interior surpasses anything I looked at and the technology that comes standard is exceptional. Could be a bit sharper on the outside but still gets lots of looks and certainly beats the Lexus GS. And, with the great discounting going on, would be hard to beat the value.
RLX-- love this car - 2014 Acura RLX
By angela2014 - August 28 - 3:24 pm
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.
Really Good Car - 2014 Acura RLX
By billg8 - July 24 - 12:15 pm
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
Bad designn or bad quality? - 2014 Acura RLX
By s_sc - May 7 - 6:15 pm
I bought of my RLX-ADV about 4 months ago and only put on about 1500 miles so far. I have already took it back three times for repair. There were iPhone 4S issue (automatic dial out and hang out), low battery and charging system warning sign(happened in less than first 50 miles), and camera too hot/LDW, LKAS shut down (90 degree outside) during driving. Dealer recharged the battery, but no action to other issues. Dealer and Acura insisted the shut down is the proper action by design. SF Bay Area is known for good climate. The LDW, LKAS shut-down happened multiple times in April. I really wonder what the car would do in Summer!