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2014 RLX Hands On Experience

We're just back from the dealer Ride and Drive but this post won't discuss any 'riding or driving'. Because the all-new RLX has not been tested by the automotive press, Acura has requested that we refrain from posting any driving impressions. We will have to wait until February 15 for that. So what follows are my impressions from seeing and "playing" with the car in person for the first time.  See a slideshow from the event after the jump.

As expected, as you approach the RLX from the front, the initial impression is dominated by the Jewel Eye Headlight design. The double row of faceted LED headlights are both unique in the marketplace and functional (and if anyone is wondering, the LED elements are individually replaceable should the need arise). The signature Acura grill is tightly integrated into the overall design and does not have the "forced" look of the 2013.

Moving down the flanks of the car you immediately notice the arching front fender flare. This new styling element is also present on the 2013 ILX, and looks to be present on the upcoming MDX. It does good job of breaking up the front quarter panel by adding some surface tension to the design. The character line is carried through the two doors before gently fading out of view on the rear quarter panel. The rear doors have a modified "Hofmeister kink" that bears some resemblance to the new ILX.

The rear of the car tapers nicely. There are large LED taillamps complemented by a pair of chrome edged reflectors in the lower portion of the bumper. As with our other recent efforts, this vehicle uses a concealed tailpipes (although it has dual exhausts). One welcome change is that the trunk lid is now spring loaded to open fully when you tap the trunk release button.

Inside the car

My initial impression when I sat in the car for the first time was that it has an "airy," spacious feel. As far as I can tell, all of the vehicles available to us were either Technology Package, or Advance Package models. From the driver seat, all of the major switches and controls felt "right", especially if you are already familiar with Acura cockpits. However, you notice immediately that there appears to have been a concerted effort to reduce the amount of buttons in the car. In their place, scroll wheels and rocker switches on the steering wheel replace some of the buttons, and a touchscreen display in the dashboard replaces still more. I will go on record as saying that I have never been intimidated by the number of switches on our dashboards. In many respects, I find it comforting to have a "button for every function". In the end, there are five ways to control the various functions in the car and most customers will find the most comfortable method for them. For some it might be using voice commands, for others it would be a combination of hard buttons and the interface dial.


The seats are comfortable and supportive and have a 10 way power adjustment that includes a height adjustment for the drivers power lumbar support. Sight lines and visibility are excellent and there are a number of driver aids such as an Expanded View Drivers side mirror and Blind Spot Information (Technology Package and above) to further assist the driver.

Acura has spent a good deal of time talking about rear seat legroom and as soon as you get in the car, you realize that there is quite a bit of space back there. However, one of the things I noticed immediately was the ease of getting in and out of the backseat. Compared to the other cars present (Lexus GS 350, BMW 535i, and Mercedes E350) it seemed as if the "B pillar" was positioned farther forward, creating a larger opening for you to get your feet through.

This post is getting a little bit long so let me wrap it up by saying that I believe this car is an excellent replacement for the aging RL that was introduced in 2005. In my future posts, I will discuss the new AcuraLink system and other advanced technologies, and when the driving impression embargo is listed I will post my thoughts on driving the new RLX.

Reader Comments (6)

Somehow I don't like the big touch screen, the execution looks cheap, or maybe it's how the picture is taken... But it doesn't show the console of a $50K car. The exterior is okay, not that crazy about the overhang, but the beak is maturing well... It's that or Lexus and Infiniti went overboard with their recent front end redesign which makes Acura front end looks much much much sedated.

January 25, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMichael Adhi

Thanks, Colin! Altho the RLX looks nice, I do wish that they had pushed the styling envelope just a little more instead of playing it safe. Please let the hybrid version have chrome door handles.

I also never had a problem w/ buttons - the more the merrier. Makes the car look more expensive to me as there are more features. Also, would rather hit one button than have to go thru a menu system to do something.

Sadly, I like the jewel eyes on the NSX & MDX better - if they had at least tiled them instead of right on top of each other - that would have made it look much better.

As usual, lots of tech features but Acura always seems to trail in comfort luxury. Not just bc shades & ventilated seats are way up in the expensive packages but how about more controls for the back seat people? Heated steering wheel?

Overall a nice effort - glad to see cup holder covers which are disappearing from the market. Most of the buttons to the left of the steering wheel are functional. Hopefully this sells decently for Acura and they may finally make a true flagship full-size sedan thus ending the glass ceiling that keeps their sedans too similar in size.

January 26, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterGhidorah

I can say that I didn't mind the new touchscreen, I remember clearly all the flak Acura took for abandoning the old touchscreen for the new interface dial. So now we have both, including the steering wheel controls, and voice commands, there are actually five ways to accomplish just about any task.

January 26, 2013 | Registered CommenterColin Sato

Do those amber lites on the lower front bumper stay on (as opposed to blinking when turning). I hope not ... looks better with them off - overkill w/ the jewel eyes & never a big fan of the amber color lights.

January 28, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterxxx

To be honest, I didn't pay attention to that detail. However, I believe the daytime running light chores are handled by the new LED lights. I am guessing they are simply turn signal indicators.

January 28, 2013 | Registered CommenterColin Sato

Looking forward to next article!

February 1, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKZ

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