Test Drive Review: 2014 Acura RLX – Part 1 (Exterior)

Test Car Information:

2014 Acur RLX with Navigation
3.5L naturally aspirated i-VTEC V6 with Variable Cylinder Management™ (VCM®), 310 hp @ 6,500 RPM, 272 lb-ft @ 4,500 RPM
6-speed automatic transmission, front-wheel-drive
MSRP as tested: $51,845 (including $895 S&H)

Review Index

2014 Acura RLX – Part 1 (Exterior)
2014 Acura RLX – Part 2 (Interior)
2014 Acura RLX – Part 3 (Electronic Features, Controls)
2014 Acura RLX – Part 4 (Powertrain)
2014 Acura RLX – Part 5 (Chassis)

Luxury sedans which are around the $50,000 mark are typically battle fields among candidates such as the Lexus GS, Infiniti Q70, BMW 5-series, Mercedes-Benz E-class and Audi A6. You may find a pattern that within this price range, people are generally looking for rear-wheel-drive (or RWD-biased) cars.


Therefore, the Acura RLX is an unique product in this market, which is based on a front-wheel-drive platform. Or we can say, it is an odd choice for consumers in this market, which can be also reflected on the monthly sales result: in last month (August 2014) Acura has sold only 216 units of the RLX within the whole US market; compared to the Mercedes E-class, which is sold 6,481 units within the same month in US.

This does not mean the RLX is not a good car. In fact, there were other cars that does not sold well, were proved to be a classic later on, one example is the V8 version Volvo XC90. I am not sure whether the latest RLX will be a classic in the future, but at least from my point of view, it accomplishes what it intends to achieve.

Let’s first take a look at its exterior.

Frankly speaking, looking from outside, the styling of the RLX is not so appealing for most people’s taste. It just look like a Honda Accord that are parked on your neighbor’s driveway.


Its side profile is conservative.


And the front is typical Acura family face, it is so generic that without knowing the pricing beforehand, you cannot tell who is more expensive between the RLX and TLX, by just looking at it.


The RLX comes with full LED headlights, here is how it looks.


When it lights up, here is the effect.


The back: you can say it is similar to an Accord, but some people say it has a hint of the BMW 7-series.



The RLX is assembled in Japan, the build quality is excellent: there are multiple muscle line running from the front to the back, across the whole car body, and also some on the hood. From this angle, we can see those lines are aligned accurately and sharply, the gaps between panels are smooth and uniform.


Multiple stickers on the window, and a close look at the door handle.


Just from a quick look, you cannot find any exhaust pipes behind the car. The RLX actually has a total of 4 exhaust tips, hiding under the rear bumper.


See how it is hiding!


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