[quote_box_right]Up: Most comfortable seats in the game.

Down: Is it $30,000 better than an Accord?

Neutral: A worthy adversary for the finest Mercedes’, BMWs, and Cadillacs.[/quote_box_right] Acura, though competitive, has always seemed to fall short of the attention that BMW, Mercedes, and Audi seem to receive regularly. But just like last week’s Lincoln MKZ though, I have again been pleasantly surprised. For the 2014 year, Acura re-branded the RL with a new look, engine, interior, and an X at the end of the trim making it an RLX. This new recipe caught our attention and we thought we’d check it out.

Pulling into the Vern Eide Acura dealership, the new 2014 design is clear. The 2014 Acura RLX sports a much cleaner look with a wider wheel base and aggressive stance. The interior has also been redesigned. Colin Fitzsimons, our Vern Eide Acura representative, explained that the older RL received complaints about the complex and button-heavy center console. So Acura redesigned it for 2014, retaining only 9 buttons. Here at Short Shift, we really liked that.

As I slid into the seats, there was a clear distinction between the leather and seat structure for the Acura compared to other luxury brands. The seats are comfortable and hug you in place. In fact, this was the first car I’ve driven where the rear passengers did not go sliding around in tight turns. Colin then gave me a run down of the many features available in the Acura with the Advance Package. I especially enjoyed the dual-screen set up that allows both navigation and other features to run simultaneously. This Acura also boasted significant rear-cabin space as well as rear-sliding window covers that would shade from the sun across the entire rear window and rear passenger-windows.

Sitting in the driver’s seat, you’ll notice that the car feels large. All that leg and head room does not come without mass. Still, with the Precision All Wheel Steer system, or P-AWS, as you take tight turns the rear wheels “toe” in. Essentially, the rear wheels help make the rear end turn easy around tight corners allowing for better handling. The new 3.5-liter V6 outputs 310 hp and is paired with direct-injection and the i-VTEC system. This engine also has the Variable Cylinder Management system that allows the engine to shut off cylinders on the highway to save gas.

As I pulled onto the highway, I let the pedal down a little. With a vehicle that weighs nearly 4000 lbs, this thing kicks. The acceleration to 60 was nearly instant with a nice growl uttering out of the engine. I always love that Honda and Acura are fans of high-reeving engines and this 3.5 red-lined at about 7000 rpms. Compare that to your dad’s truck which stops closer to 5000.

Driving down the highway was quiet and steering was responsive. This package also holds both a Lane Keeping Assistant as well as Adaptive Cruise Control. Both of these features make accidents less likely at high and low speeds. Lane Keeping Assistant does just that while Adaptive Cruise Control allows the vehicle to monitor other vehicles in front, match their speed, and maintain a distance. This is great for stop-go traffic where the car can stop and start itself. Pretty soon the cars will be driving themselves, but until then, these are just safety features to help distracted drivers.

All in all, this was a spectacular ride. Design both inside and outside is clean. Driving is surprisingly quick and easy to maneuver with a plethora of options to choose from. To top off Acura’s attention to detail, they have included a new Krell audio system which uses a “money is no object” philosophy when it comes to premium sound. These little details are what really put the 2014 Acura RLX over the edge in our book. Rolling in at just north of $60,000 dollars with the Advance Package though, there is a price to pay for all this detail. It’s nice to see that Acura is finally sticking-it to the big boys with a truly great luxury car.

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