By Ted Orme
That’s what I said at the end of my first test drive in the all-new Acura RLX Advance. And it must be more than sweet if Honda’s premium car division is to be a bonified player in the mid-size luxury sedan segment where it has languished for years in competition with far better products from Lexus, Audi, BMW, Mercedes and Cadillac.
But that should change with the thoroughly redesigned RLX. Handsomely restyled using advanced aerodynamics and lightweight body design, the 2014 RLX has been enlarged with a 2.0- inch-longer wheelbase and 1.7-inch-wider body than the outgoing RL. The RLX’s attractively finished cabin is now befitting of a true luxury automobile; with soothing tones, high quality materials, outstanding execution and plenty of room to stretch in comfort, both front and rear – a major complaint in the cramped RL. According to Acura, the RLX boasts the longest rear-seat legroom (38.8 inches), and best front (59.6 inches) and rear (57.0 inches) shoulder room in the mid-luxury class.
In keeping with the times, the bigger body gets a slightly small but more powerful and efficient new engine and new 6-speed automatic transmission with manual shift mode. The naturally aspirated, direct-injected 3.5-liter V-6 with i-VTEC and variable cylinder management makes 310 horsepower (up 10 over the previous 3.7-liter V-6), 272 lb-ft of torque, and a class leading EPA fuel economy ratings of 20/31/24 mpg (city/highway/combined).