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MM Full-Review: 2014 Acura RLX

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Old 07-20-14, 01:59 PM   #46
mmarshall
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nice review as always...
Thanks. Glad you liked it.

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when you refer to quietness... how does it compare to your verano or other luxury vehicles you've reviewed? acura is not know for quiet vehicles, but the newest mdx has been well praised for that and i assume this rlx is competitive in that way too, but i don't know.
I agree that road noise has been a chronic Honda/Acura issue for years.... as one would expect, more so in their cheaper/entry-level vehicles than the more upscale ones. The new RLX, by Acura standards, definitely raises the bar a couple of notches....even on coarse or milled pavement, which can sometimes be a challenge for noise control. It's not quite as tomb-like as the last-generation LS460 I test-drove, which, along with the massive 1969 Lincoln Continental sedan from when I was back in high school, were arguably the two quietest luxury cars I've ever sampled. (My late father, back then, worked for Philco-Ford, and I got a chance to sample the company's VIP cars, as he knew I was a safe/careful driver by teen-age standards).
But, in terms of how the RLX's general noise-isolation stacks up against today's luxury cars, I'd say, in general, quite well. With all the windows down, and normal hearing, you should easily be able to hold hold a conversation with someone else inside at any sane cruising speed. Road and wind noise were very well-controlled, especially compared to some Honda/Acura vehicles of the past. The only significant noise you heard at all was some exhaust-drone on acceleration, and then only mildly...it doesn't assault your ears like, say, on a Mustang GT. But it must be noted, also, that I did the test-drive in D.C. summer heat and humidity, during late morning, on a car that had been sitting outside in the sun. Heat, of course, tends to expand and soften the rubber in weather/sound insulation and tires (it also causes a PSI increase...and I usually check recommend tire PSI before the test-drive). Warm, soft tires and sound-insulation tend to be at their best in providing comfort and noise/isolation. I can't necessarily say how the same car would perform in freezing weather, when most vehicles tend to ride stiffer and noisier.

Last, since you asked about the Verano and how it compares, that car's ride-quietness (especially by compact-car standards) has been well-documented in the auto press. As having owned one for two years, I can also attest to that.....particularly this time of year, when, as I just wrote above, most vehicles tend to rise most quietly. Specifically compared to the new RLX, the Verano's smaller four-cylinder tends to make slightly more exhaust-noise on acceleration, and the Verano's 6-speed GM automatic transmission, which (usually) shifts smoothly/seamlessly and quietly just like butter, but sometimes allows a small amount of noise and bumpiness on upshifts/downshifts, depending on throttle position. But, overall, Verano's general cruising-quietness on smooth pavement equals or exceeds that of the new RLX, while rising slightly with engine-acceleration or on coarse/milled pavement. Given the difference in size between the two cars (which is significant, as the RLX has a lot more room in the structure for added insulation), and given the fact that a new Verano costs roughly half what a new RLX does, I think that is a real feather in the cap of the Buick engineers who worked on the Verano's quietness with multi-layers of roof/firewall/wheel-well insulation, double-laminated glass, triple-sealed doors, and specially-chosen wheels/tires for road-noise dampening. The Opel/Vauxhall Astra's robust unibody structure and hardware, which provided a base for the Verano, also served as a good starting point. I know it's easy for car-owners, on Internet forums, to go a little overboard in the praise of their own cars, but, as in reviews, even there, I try and be objective. My comments, here, on both the Verano and RLX, would be pretty much the same whether I owned one or not.
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Old 07-22-14, 09:31 PM   #47
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Good review as always mmarshall.

Like you I was very impressed with the last RL. When I first saw pictures of it I did not really care for it, I was hoping for a bigger more dramatic rwd sedan with a V8. I passed by the dealership and saw they had arrived and did not care much for what I saw. A month later I sat in one and was extremely impressed and pleasantly surprised, especially with the interior, the RL looked so much better in black, white, and grey and I totally changed my opinion of the car especially after driving it. It had by far the nicest interior in class, pretty much the nicest I have ever experienced under 100K, there was a tank like quality to it, it felt so solid and over engineered, great attention to detail. The people I know that had them loved them. The RL appealed to me especially with the SH-AWD and NAV standard, I just wish it was a little longer and had a higher performance engine offering. When I was test driving the RL I even tried the previous RL and it was actually a very nice car, interior was nice, nicer then my GS, and it drove very well, it leaned less in the corners then my GS and had better steering, it could use more power but it was plenty for most people's needs.

I have seen a more RLX's on the road, it is a nice looking car but does not stand out much aside from the LED headlights, the front is nice, the rear needs work. I am not surprised they are not selling well, it had literally no marketing and they don't even offer SH-AWD on their flagship, yes a highly advanced hybrid system is coming but it is delayed and it won't be made in very large numbers, they should have offered the hybrid first which sounds very impressive from test drives and then offered lower priced versions. The interior does not appeal to me like the previous design, it is nice and looks to be of high quality but I miss the way the old center dash was designed plus I am no fan of touchscreens, give me buttons and switches. From what i read the RLX is now one of the most quiet if not quietest cars in class now but you said you heard an exhaust note which to many is not a bad thing. Rear passenger/legroom is tops in class too, about the same as a 7 series. The top model with the KRELL audio system is what I would be interested in testing, KRELL is one of the most respected high end audio makers and I am interested in hearing that audio system.

They are supposed to be doing a big update on the RLX after the hybrid arrives adding a 9 speed auto, offering SH-AWD or making it standard, and a styling update which it needs, especially in the rear. There is also talk of moving production to the US and putting it on a different platform.

Good review.
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Old 07-23-14, 05:52 AM   #48
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car isnt a seller, read a post on another forum that a friend bought an RLX for $44k, which is 11k off MSRP. Ive seen one RLX around, but tons of new MDX
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Old 07-23-14, 06:20 AM   #49
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Good review as always mmarshall.
Thanks.

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Like you I was very impressed with the last RL. When I first saw pictures of it I did not really care for it, I was hoping for a bigger more dramatic rwd sedan with a V8. I passed by the dealership and saw they had arrived and did not care much for what I saw. A month later I sat in one and was extremely impressed and pleasantly surprised, especially with the interior, the RL looked so much better in black, white, and grey and I totally changed my opinion of the car especially after driving it. It had by far the nicest interior in class, pretty much the nicest I have ever experienced under 100K, there was a tank like quality to it, it felt so solid and over engineered, great attention to detail. The people I know that had them loved them. The RL appealed to me especially with the SH-AWD and NAV standard, I just wish it was a little longer and had a higher performance engine offering. When I was test driving the RL I even tried the previous RL and it was actually a very nice car, interior was nice, nicer then my GS, and it drove very well, it leaned less in the corners then my GS and had better steering, it could use more power but it was plenty for most people's needs

Yes, it was hard to deny the last-generation RL's tank-like solidness. But the fact that it lacked a V8, looked like an oversized Accord outside, and was more mid-size than full-size worked against it with some people. In the auto business, image often plays more of a role than it should.
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Old 07-23-14, 08:20 AM   #50
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Yes, it was hard to deny the last-generation RL's tank-like solidness. But the fact that it lacked a V8, looked like an oversized Accord outside, and was more mid-size than full-size worked against it with some people. In the auto business, image often plays more of a role than it should.
well its size was more than image, it was simply too small to be a 'flagship'. the aged v6/transmission didn't help either. other than that, it was a pretty nice, over-priced midsize car.
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Old 07-23-14, 09:04 AM   #51
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Thanks.




Yes, it was hard to deny the last-generation RL's tank-like solidness. But the fact that it lacked a V8, looked like an oversized Accord outside, and was more mid-size than full-size worked against it with some people. In the auto business, image often plays more of a role than it should.
I don't understand this "rock solid quality" being spewed about the last gen. 30 seconds in the RL forum shows tons of issues and a lot of wear and tear issues competitors don't have as bad.

A lot of times a 10 minute spin in a car doesn't tell the entire story.
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Old 07-23-14, 01:52 PM   #52
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I don't understand this "rock solid quality" being spewed about the last gen. 30 seconds in the RL forum shows tons of issues and a lot of wear and tear issues competitors don't have as bad.

A lot of times a 10 minute spin in a car doesn't tell the entire story.
Well, the test drive I gave it was considerably longer then 10 minutes. Second, from the hardware, sheet metal, door-solidness,and a number of other features, it was obvious not only to me, but to some other CL members as well, that the former RL's build-solidness was substantially more than the average car of its period. Shut the heavy doors on an RL, and you got the most solid THUNK this side of a Mercedes Gelandewagen (G-Wagen).

Basically the RL's structure was like a tank, but, as far as issues go, it's quite possible that some other things on the car could have been unreliable (as addressed in the forum you mention). We know, for example, that Mercedes unibodies are among the best in the industry, but the electronics inside of them are often another story.

But, anyhow, the predictions from you and some others made that the RL wouldn't sell were basically correct....nobody's going to argue with you there.
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