2014 Acura RLX

Base AWD 4-Dr Sedan V6 auto trans

2014 acura rlx Reviews and News

2014 Acura RLX Sport Hybrid Front Three Quarters In Motion 05
SAN FRANCISCO, California -- Acura answers the age-old question of "Why?" with the age-old answer, "Because it can" with the launch of its new, all-wheel-drive hybrid version of the RLX flagship sedan. The name of the car says it all, in that the hybrid system is there to provide all-wheel drive and, thus, the sport. If you check "hybrid" on the order sheet, the RLX is no longer a front-wheel-drive car. That doesn't make it a sport sedan, a term Acura assiduously avoids in describing the car, although it makes liberal use of the words "sporty" and "dynamic" as adjectives. In this context, Sport Hybrid means that two of the RLX's three electric motors straighten out its handling, virtually eliminating the benign understeer you'll find in the base front-wheel-drive car. This is not an über-high-fuel-mileage competitor for the Mercedes-Benz E250 BlueTec or BMW 535d xDrive turbo-diesels, although the RLX Sport Hybrid will cost about as much as the latter.
A showcase for Honda's engineering expertise
Befitting its complicated model/trim name, the Acura RLX Sport Hybrid SH-AWD is a technically intriguing car, showing Honda's engineering capabilities without regard to the question of whether anyone is interested in paying big money for it. Want to go green? There are options from Lexus to Cadillac to Mercedes-Benz if a loaded Tesla Model S is out of your price range. Want a premium sedan that's fun to drive? BMW, though highly diminished in its ability to deliver a true driver's car, remains the standard bearer, while the Cadillac CTS Vsport truly is more fun to drive. Want both? Really? Then perhaps this is the way to go. Perhaps.
The long-awaited RL replacement finally arrived last spring in the form of the RLX, a large premium sedan with an active rear-steer system that makes it a likeable Audi A6 alternative for Honda loyalists. While Acura still struggles to regain its Legend-ary (pun intended) glory, the brand is having some success as the purveyor of nicely done premium crossover/utilities, notably the new MDX.
V-8 performance with four-cylinder fuel efficiency
The RLX Sport Hybrid SH-AWD throws out the conventional driveshaft of the TL SH-AWD and instead uses two electric motors that torque-vector the rear wheels and provide gas-free power up to 50 mph. Up front is the familiar transverse 3.5-liter direct-injected i-VTEC V-6 with cylinder shut-off, but with another electric motor built in with the new transverse seven-speed dual wet-clutch transmission. The three motors use lithium-ion batteries, and the system adds 357 pounds to the weight of a FWD RLX with the Technology or Advance package. Either version is thoroughly equipped, and the Advance package includes Adaptive Cruise Control and the mildly autonomous Lane Keeping Assist System.
Acura claims V-8 performance with four-cylinder fuel-efficiency, and indeed, the engine-motor combo produces 377 horsepower and 377 lb-ft, with EPA ratings of 28 mpg in city driving, 32 mpg on the highway, and 30 mpg combined. Those numbers better the front-wheel-drive RLX P-AWS by 67 hp, 105 lb-ft and 8/1/6 mpg. The two rear-wheel motors are packaged between the ample rear seat and the trunk's inner bulkhead, cutting into trunk space length slightly and eliminating the no-hybrid RLX's armrest pass-through opening. The Power Drive Unit is neatly tucked into the center console. A tire-inflation kit under the trunk floor panel serves as the spare.
There's no gearshift; just a set of buttons, including a kind of lever that you pull back for reverse, on the center console, plus paddle shifters affixed to the wheel.
On the road in sport mode
Press "drive" and pull out of the hotel parking lot entrance South of Market, and the electrically driven rear wheels push the car very quietly through stop-and-go traffic in the socially conscious City by the Bay. The electric motors continue low-speed cruising in EV-only mode for a few miles, effectively making the hybrid a part-time rear-wheel-drive model. How smugly satisfying is that?
The car steps out onto Highway 1 with full power on hand to cross north along the Golden Gate Bridge, and when 1 exits us off the freeway on toward the twisty coastal road to Stinson Beach, it's time to engage Sport mode. This cuts the start/stop function, combines the electric motors and the 3.5L engine for "power" acceleration, and sharpens the shift points … the usual stuff. In sport mode, operating the paddles makes an "M" appear on the instrument panel, so it would seem that it's a permanent manual mode. But the transmission sometimes intervenes, clicking off quick, well-timed downshifts on its own. It seems the high technology has gone to the RLX's head -- or its transmission at least, which is sure it can handle shifts better than the driver.
Acura's grand concept
Performance is exemplary. If not for the sound, it would be easy to think all this power and torque is coming from a smooth V-8. Now that V-8s are being phased into low-volume, specialty car status, Acura can be vindicated for its longstanding refusal and inability to develop its own eight-banger. Acura's "grand concept" for the RLX Sport Hybrid is Takaburi, or "exhilaration," and Inomama, which means "at the will of the driver." Acura product planning chief Lee DaSilva says the RLX Sport Hybrid has been designed to be "smooth handling and connected to the road." This is why it's "sporty and dynamic," though not a sport sedan. The RLX is smooth first, with the handling coming next in its list of priorities. The inside front and rear wheels provide regeneration in a corner, while the outside rear wheel puts down more power to get the car through the corner more crisply.
In spirited driving, the RLX Sport Hybrid is smooth and planted, and it grips the road with no audible complaints from the big, nineteen-inch tires. Find a reasonably open piece of Highway 1 far enough north of the city, and you can get the tail to rotate until stability control catches it. This isn't a wholly organic kind of oversteer, though. It feels as if the rear wheels are turning in ahead of the front wheels. The car feels more natural if you push it just short of the limit and let it corner with a neutral attitude. This probably won't matter to typical owners, some of whom won't even venture to explore the "sport" button. Those who do, however, will be a satisfied, if small, group.
The RLX Sport Hybrid SH-AWD prepares Acura enthusiasts for the return of the NSX, which will have a longitudinal V-6, in this case twin-turbocharged, and connected to a version of the seven-speed DCT with a built-in electric motor, plus two electric motors powering the front wheels. It would seem reasonable to amortize this complicated setup by applying a version of it to the more mainstream TLX (which replaces the TL and TSX next year), though it doesn't seem easy to make that pencil out in a less-expensive model.
Niche marketing
Acura's target market for the RLX Sport Hybrid is a married, 48-year-old male enthusiast of cutting-edge technology who works in financial services, real estate, or healthcare and has an average household income of $200,000-plus. Seems achievable, but the question is how many of these guys Acura will be able to capture. The hint is the RLX Sport Hybrid with the "base" Technology package will start somewhere around $60,000, and the Advance package will touch $65k when the car goes on sale next spring.
That's maybe $3000 more than a similarly equipped FWD RLX with P-AWS, which seems a pittance for all the complex technology it comes with. Conversely, the Sport Hybrid margin puts the Acura RLX in competition with a lot of interesting European, Asian, and American competition. With the RLX Sport Hybrid SH-AWD, it seems Acura has found another small, well-defined niche.

2014 Acura RLX Sport Hybrid SH-AWD

Base Price: $60,000(est.)
As Tested: $65,000(est.)
Engine: 3.5-liter DOHC 24-valve V-6 plus 35 kW front, two 27 kW rear motors
Horsepower: 377 hp @ 6500 rpm
Torque: 377 lb-ft @ 4700 rpm
Transmission: 7-speed automatic?Drive: Four-wheel
L x W x H: 196.1 x 74.4 x 57.7
Legroom F/R: 42.3/38.8
Headroom F/R: 37.6/36/9
Cargo capacity (without/with Krell audio): 15.3/15.1 cu ft
Curb Weight: 4312-4354 lb
EPA Rating (city/highway): 28/32 mpg
2014 Acura RLX Front Three Quarter Static 2
RUTHERFORD, CALIFORNIA - Tasty mountain roads connect Napa Valley's swank Auberge du Soleil resort with Sonoma's Sears Point Raceway. On these roads, you can push a car like the 2014 Acura RLX without beating the tires into squealing submission. After nine years, Acura has replaced the front-wheel-drive RL with another FWD luxury flagship, the RLX, and this fall adds an all-wheel-drive hybrid version with 60 more horses. A brief drive of the hybrid awaits us at the raceway.
On the way to Sears Point, the RLX exhibits competent handling: the big sedan gets around the mountain roads with very little understeer and a bit of cushy body roll, although the inevitable electric power steering is average in feel and feedback, which is to say, there's not enough of either.
Lacking Old World luxury-car provenance and a front-engine, rear-wheel-drive platform, Acura high-techs its way through such shortcomings. The RLX marks the debut of its Precision All-Wheel Steer, badged "P-AWS" on the rear deck. An electronic control unit in the rear suspension provides independent rear torque control, creating toe-out for the inside tire and toe-in for the outside tire in a curve. Brake early for a tight bend and you can put a lot of power down while exiting. The sport mode--a requisite feature in any modern luxury sedan--also adjusts the EPS's assist for better feel and sharpens response of the 3.5-liter gas direct-injection engine and six-speed automatic. Although the transmission quickly shifts itself out of first, it allows you to bump the redline from second through sixth.
A few laps of coned-off Sears Point make the RLX's mild understeer more evident. We had a couple of the same limited laps in an RLX hybrid with Super-Handling All-Wheel Drive, which uses an electric motor to power the rear wheels and combines with the 3.5-liter V-6 and seven-speed dual-clutch transmission to provide 370 horsepower. The hybrid's steering and handling responses are sharper, and the powertrain is a hoot: the V-6/electric hybrid should be able to keep up with the average German luxury V-8 and, at the limit, the chassis will be more likely to give in to four-wheel drifts. Acura was hush-hush about the RLX hybrid's specs. It has a series of pushbuttons in place of the front-wheel-drive car's conventional gearshift and will be a standalone option rather than a separate trim level.
The hybrid powertrain is not the Acura RLX's most startling techno-feature. That would be the Lane Keeping Assist System (LKAS), which relies on the RLX's adaptive cruise control with low-speed follow and a color camera in the lower front fascia to read road marks, Botts dots, and the like. It takes the car one step closer to autonomous driving. The adaptive cruise can bring the car to a stop, although if it does so you have to reengage the cruise control when you start moving again. With LKAS on and no hands on the steering wheel, the car is able to steer itself for up to ten seconds around gentle curves on the highway. Acura says this reduces driver fatigue. More important, it makes it easier for the driver to change the radio station or perhaps tap a number into a smartphone. Grab the wheel while LKAS is activated, and you'll feel odd feedback that could only come from an electric power steering system, similar to Audi's lane-departure control system. A few software tweaks would make the car more of a self-driver, large car project leader Yousuke Sekino says, though he warns, "If you start to over-trust the systems ... you could go too far."
Other techie items include AcuraLink with real-time street traffic info, Pandora, Aha, and SiriusXM radio, applications that let you control features with your smartphone, and a fourteen-speaker Krell hi-fi that supersedes Acura's excellent ELS audio systems, which are still available. Even with all those features, Acura has cleaned up the RL's busy center stack. The supple interior's fit and finish is nearly perfect, with generous padding for every leather and plastic surface that could conceivably come into contact with the driver's hands.
The car surely is the quietest Honda-based product ever. With a two-inch wheelbase stretch over the RL, the RLX has a vastly improved back-seat package. We only drove the $61,345 top-of-the-range Advance model, but an RLX with Navi package - which should be standard - is $51,800, and from there trim levels matriculate through a Tech package and a Krell package. Advance includes active cruise control and lane-keeping assist.
Exterior design is what you'd expect of a luxury Honda sedan with the familiar Acura nose. The swage line that cuts downward from the top of the front fenders to the front door cut reduces wind noise at the sideview mirrors. The main problem is the transverse-engine dash-to-axle relationship, but there's little Acura can do about it, and it won't matter for most mid-lux sedan customers. Those drawn to the car who are enthusiasts of Honda's frisky FWD handling of yore will find the RLX's sport setting competent. They'll enjoy technology that lets them safely text, make calls, or find that perfect iPod playlist while in heavy traffic. Like Lincoln, Acura also has launched a concierge service to find RLX owners "responsible luxury" resorts like Auberge du Soleil [full disclosure: I'm here with my wife and am one of several journalists from major outlets enjoying the resort with a significant other], to where I return from Sears Point in the RLX on more mundane roads, fully relaxed.
2014 Acura RLX
Base Price:
As Tested: $61,345
3.5-liter SOHC 32-valve V-6
Horsepower: 310 hp @ 6500 rpm
Torque: 272 lb-ft @ 4500 rpm
Transmission: 6-speed automatic
Drive: Front-wheel
L x W x H:
196.1 x 74.4 x 57.7 inches
Legroom F/R: 42.3/38.8 inches
Headroom F/R: 37.6/36.9 inches
Cargo capacity: 15.3 cubic feet (15.1 cu. ft. with Krell Audio and Advance packages)
Curb weight: 3997 lb
EPA rating (city/highway): 20/31 mpg
2014 Acura RLX
2014 Acura RLX

New For 2014

The RLX (which replaces the RL) is an all-new model. While it retains the familiar look of the brand, the RLX gets sportier sheetmetal, a bevy of new technologies that aid the driver, and fresh powertrain choices. It is wider and has a longer wheelbase than before, offering ever-expanding Americans more interior space.

Vehicle Summary

Acura took awhile -- almost a decade, in fact -- to launch the new generation of its flagship luxury sedan, but the RLX promises to be worth the wait thanks to a feast of technological features designed to make the car safer and more enjoyable to drive. Still based on a front-wheel-drive chassis, the RLX is the largest and most powerful four-door the brand offers, and it's the closest thing to a competitor Acura has against the sporty, potent machines from Germany, Japan, and America.


The RLX replaces the RL in name and positioning for the 2014 model year. Acura's flagship gets a new 3.5-liter direct-injection V-6 engine rated at 310 hp and 272 lb-ft of torque mated to a six-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters. This V-6 replaces the 3.7-liter V-6 in the previous car; it makes 10 more hp while netting 20 mpg in city driving and 31 mg on the highway. The RLX is two inches longer between the wheels and 1.7 inches wider than its predecessor.

A range of techno goodies give the RLX a different character compared with other entries in this segment. It has Precision All-Wheel Steer, which applies independent torque control from a unit mounted in the rear suspension and makes for more athletic driving. During our first test of the car, we noted that PAWS allows the driver to brake early for a tight bend and then put a lot of power down while exiting a curve. There is also a Lane-Keeping system that is close to autonomous driving. The system works with the car's adaptive cruise control and a camera mounted in the front that can read road markings, allowing the RLX to actually steer itself for up to ten seconds around gentle curves in the road.

As intriguing as this technology is, it's actually the hybrid RLX that is the most compelling model. The hybrid offers the most power (370-hp V-6) and a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission; its steering and handling are sharper than the gasoline model, and the engine is capable of keeping up with some of Germany's luxury V-8 machines. The hybrid system has an electric motor to help power the rear wheels in Acura's Super Handling All-Wheel Drive system.

The RLX went on sale in March, starting at $49,345. A fully loaded model with the Advance package tops out at $61,345.

You'll like:

  • Impressive hybrid model
  • Futuristic driver aids
  • Roomy, quiet interior

You won't like:

  • No rear-wheel drive
    • Cabin is plain
    • Steering is just average

Key Competitors For The 2014 Acura RLX

  • Audi A6
  • Hyundai Genesis
  • Lincoln MKS
  • Lexus GS
2014 Acura RLX Front Three Quarter
When it goes on sale on March 15, the 2014 Acura RLX luxury sedan will cost $49,345 after an $895 destination charge. That represents a slight premium compared to the car's predecessor, the 2012 Acura RL, which started at $49,095.

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2014 Acura RLX
2014 Acura RLX
Base AWD 4-Dr Sedan V6
20 MPG City | 31 MPG Hwy
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22 MPG City | 32 MPG Hwy
2014 Acura RLX
2014 Acura RLX
Base AWD 4-Dr Sedan V6
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2014 Acura RLX
2014 Acura RLX
Base AWD 4-Dr Sedan V6
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2014 Acura RLX Specifications

Quick Glance:
3.5L V6Engine
Fuel economy City:
20 MPG
Fuel economy Highway:
31 MPG
310 hp @ 6500rpm
272 ft lb of torque @ 4500rpm
  • Air Conditioning
  • Power Windows
  • Power Locks
  • Power Seats
  • Steering Wheel Tilt
  • Cruise Control
  • Sunroof
  • ABS
  • Stabilizer Front
  • Stabilizer RearABS
  • Electronic Traction Control
  • Electronic Stability Control
  • Locking Differential (optional)
  • Limited Slip Differential (optional)
  • Airbag Driver
  • Airbag Passenger
  • Airbag Side Front
  • Airbag Side Rear (optional)
  • Radio
  • CD Player
  • CD Changer (optional)
  • DVD (optional)
  • Navigation (optional)
50,000 miles / 48 months
70,000 miles / 72 months
Unlimited miles / 60 months
50,000 miles / 48 months
Recall Date
American Honda Motor Company (Honda) is recalling certain model year 2014 Acura RLX vehicles manufactured August 7, 2012, through November 5, 2013. The bolts that attach the rear lower control arms to the sub-frame of the vehicle may have loosened during transport to dealerships.
Loose rear lower control arm bolts may reduce steering ability, increasing the risk of a crash.
Honda will notify owners, and dealers will replace the rear suspension lower control arm bolts, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin in early January 2014. Customers may contact Honda at 1-800-999-1009. Honda's number for this recall is JD0.
Potential Units Affected
Honda (American Honda Motor Co.)

Recall Date
American Honda Motor Company (Honda) is recalling certain model year 2014-2015 Acura MDX vehicles manufactured April 23, 2013, to August 25, 2014, and 2014 Acura RLX vehicles manufactured November 5, 2012, to November 25, 2013. In the affected vehicles, the driver and front passenger seat belt may not extend or retract in low temperatures.
A seatbelt that does not function increases the risk of injury in a crash.
Honda has notified owners, and dealers will replace the driver and front passenger seat belts, free of charge. The recall began in November 2014. Owners may contact Acura customer service at 1-800-382-2238. Honda's number for this recall is JK7 for the MKX, and JK8 for the RLX.
Potential Units Affected
Honda (American Honda Motor Co.)

Recall Date
American Honda Motor Co. (Honda) is recalling certain model year 2014 Acura RLX vehicles manufactured November 22, 2012, to January 30, 2014, 2015 Acura RLX vehicles manufactured June 4, 2014, to November 18, 2014, and 2014 Acura RLX Hybrid vehicles manufactured November 5, 2013, to July 25, 2014. An aluminum film applied to the inner reflector of the headlight may experience adhesion issues causing the film to delaminate. Thus, these vehicles fail to comply with the requirements of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) No. 108, "Lamps, reflective devices, and associated equipment."
Delamination of the aluminum film may diminish output of the headlight, increasing the risk of a vehicle crash.
Honda will notify owners, and dealers will replace both of the headlights, free of charge. The recall began February 2, 2015. Owners may contact Honda customer service at 1-310-783-2000. Honda's number for this recall is JN2.
Potential Units Affected
Honda (American Honda Motor Co.)

Recall Date
Honda (American Honda Motor Co.) is recalling certain model year 2014-2015 Acura MDX 2WD and AWD, RLX and 2014 Acura RLX Hybrid vehicles. In certain driving conditions, the Collision Mitigation Braking System (CMBS) may incorrectly interpret certain roadside objects such as metal fences or metal guardrails as obstacles and unexpectedly apply the brakes.
If the CMBS unexpectedly applies emergency braking force while driving, there is an increased risk of a crash.
Honda will notify owners, and dealers will update the CMBS software, free of charge. The recall began on July 6, 2015. Owners may contact Acura customer service at 1-800-382-2238. Honda's numbers for this recall is JQ4, JQ5 and JQ6.
Potential Units Affected
Honda (American Honda Motor Co.)

IIHS Front Small Overlap
NHTSA Rating Front Driver
Not Rated
NHTSA Rating Front Passenger
Not Rated
NHTSA Rating Front Side
Not Rated
NHTSA Rating Rear Side
Not Rated
NHTSA Rating Overall
Not Rated
NHTSA Rating Rollover
Not Rated
IIHS Front Moderate Overlap
IIHS Overall Side Crash
IIHS Best Pick
IIHS Rear Crash
IIHS Roof Strength

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Five Year Cost of Ownership: $40,301 What's This?
Value Rating: Excellent