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Acura sets new luxury standard for itself with 2014 RLX (pictures)

Acura's new top luxury sedan remains in a midlevel class, yet launches with impressive technology, such as LED headlights, four-wheel steering, and a superb Krell audio system.

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Wayne Cunningham
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1 of 22 Wayne Cunningham/CNET
Acura's new luxury sedan, the RLX, replaces the RL as its top model. It's not a mere name change; the RLX is a completely new vehicle, with a unique body, suspension, and engine, and new cabin technology features.
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The RLX carries Acura's newly subtle shield grille, and the LED headlights to either side come standard.
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A new 3.5-liter direct-injection V-6 engine produces more horsepower with smaller displacement than Acura's current V-6, and is likely to be used in other Acura models.
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4 of 22 Wayne Cunningham/CNET
The RLX is a five-passenger sedan with front-wheel drive.
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A fixed suspension treads a line between sport and luxury ride quality, not really excelling at either. A unique four-wheel steering system helps the car's handling.
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As with other recent Acura models, the RLX's exhaust pipes are hidden.
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Befitting its luxury sedan class, the RLX's trunk space is huge. Acura says it fits four golf bags.
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The big front seats are very cushy, and feature heating, cooling, and pneumatic lumbar support.
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The rear-seat legroom appears very long, yet the lack of toe space under the front seats limits it somewhat.
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The cabin tech interface is clumsy, using a color LCD, a monochrome touch screen, and a dial controller. It seems like Acura could have done a better job of consolidating these controls.
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Blind-spot monitoring, which lights up an icon in the A pillar, is just one of many driver assistance features available in the RLX.
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The AcuraLink telematics service includes a smartphone app that can show your car's fuel level.
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The RLX uses an electric power-steering system, which feels precise and lets you turn the wheel very easily at any speed.
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The instrument cluster includes a small color LCD showing navigation, phone calls, and audio information.
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The top LCD shows this helpful guide when you push the voice command button.
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Acura added surface-street traffic data to the existing freeway and highway traffic data shown in the navigation system.
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This destination entry screen is familiar from existing Acura models.
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The touch screen shows some navigation functions, such as a list of favorite destinations.
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You can choose the audio source on this touch screen or on the top LCD.
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The touch screen shows audio information, but gives very limited control over choosing music.
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The top LCD offers full music library search.
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The Krell audio system in the RLX delivers crisp sound with an excellent dynamic range.

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