I’ve always loved cars, but it was German cars that truly store my heart. I never thought I would ever consider straying from my beloved BMW. That is until I stepped into an Acura RLX this summer.
Maybe it’s the oncoming winter that triggered my summer nostalgia, but thinking back on my summer drive from Toronto to Montreal and Quebec City has helped to warm me up as the temperature goes down. I’ve done that drive several times over my life but no previous experience was more comfortable than in the Acura RLX.
Sleek, stylish and svelte, the Acura RLX has the look and feel of a luxury car at an affordable price. The foundation is Acura’s dedication to their philosophy of Man-Machine Synergy, the intelligent pairing of useful technologies and luxury features to create value and comfort. That relationship was evident in every aspect of the car. Its functionality was very intuitive, thanks to the AcuraLink® connected car system. Connecting via Bluetooth to multiple phone types (Android, Apple and even Windows) was very simple, allowing us to make calls safely and easily through the speakers. Safety was clearly top of mind for this car. Aside from the Advanced Compatibility Engineering™ II (ACE™ II) body structure and the car’s seven airbags (including new driver’s knee airbag), the Acura RLX comes with several features dedicated to keeping driver and passengers on a nice, collision free ride. The car comes with Lane Departure Warning (LDW), Collision Mitigation Brake (CMBS), and Blind Spot Information (BSI) systems, providing flashing lights and beeps warning the driver of any risks when it comes to changing lanes and driving in generally. Parking was simple and safe as well with the forward Collision Warning (FCW) and Multi-Angle Rearview Camera. The Adaptive Cruise Control with Low-Speed Follow was easy to figure out and implement, but, as you’ll read later, it was a waste to utilise this particular type of automation on a car that was so fun to drive.
I really have very few complaints about the Acura RLX. The one thing that we did find frustrating was the voice recognition/command function. Multiple voices with varying degrees of enunciation were unable to get the car to do what was desired using voice commands. As well, we discovered that only Apple devices would charge through the on-board USB plugs, forcing us to buy an adapter to charge the Windows’ phone that one of the passengers were using.
The navigation on the Acura RLX was superb. I love that for safety’s sake, the car won’t allow you to program the GPS while it’s in motion. The options are greyed out, forcing even the most distracted drivers to focus on the task at hand, that being the drive. Once we figured that out, programming the GPS to take us to our multiple destinations was a breeze. Even better, the driver’s eyes need not stray to the centre console, as the upcoming turns, distances and directions can be find right in front of the driver’s eyes in the dashboard.
As a music lover, a good sound system is the ultimate luxury in a car, and the Acura RLX definitely delivered on that front. The RLX comes standard with the Acura/ELS Studio® Premium Audio System, surrounding you with decadent sound with its 14-speaker system. And thanks to the aforementioned simplicity of connecting to the system via Bluetooth, we were able to switch between our different cell phones very easily, providing our own personal and variable soundtrack throughout our road trip, with incredible sound quality.
Best of all, and most importantly, the car drove like a dream, largely in part to its 310-horsepower direct-injected V-6 engine. Smooth, responsive and agile, it was very hard to keep ourselves from putting the peddle to the metal and treating the 401 like the autobahn. The Sport Hybrid Super Handling All Wheel Drive was a fun feature to try out on long, emptier stretches. Taking quick turns, picking up speed to pass, and braking quickly in the event of the unexpected was also perfect. The car was also incredibly comfortable on the long, 6+ hour drive to Montreal, as it well should be as the most spacious five-passenger seating car in its class. And we didn’t break the bank on gas either, despite the long trip. Those of you keeping fuel economy in mind will love the top-class fuel economy rating of 10.5/6.4/8.6 L/100km (city/highway/combined).
In the end…
Despite my misgivings about straying from my trusty German engineered staple, I was more than pleasantly surprised by the Acura RLX. I highly recommend that anyone in the market for some new wheels try out this car, in either the 2014 model or the brand new 2015 that just came out. In the words of one of my road trip buddies “This car is fast, sexy, strong and smart. It’s the perfect man, but in car form.” I couldn’t agree more. And while I may still be in search of my Acura level man, at least I have a fun car to fall back on.