By on March 12, 2015

2015 Acura RLX Sport Hybrid front

Acura is making a car softer. When’s the last time we ever heard of an auto maker doing that?

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61 Comments on “While You Were Sleeping: March 12th, 2015...”


  • avatar
    S2k Chris

    Honestly, it’s not a terrible idea; with everyone from MB to Caddy trying to be BMW and Ring champs, there is an affluent older demographic out there that doesn’t want a “sporty” ride. Do I think it will matter in a tangible way to the sales of the RL? No. Do I think it will hurt? Also no.

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      HONDA TRYING TO BUILD A QUIET CAR!

      FILM AT 11!

      What a novel idea – I was starting to think they hadn’t done that because they didn’t actually know how.

    • 0 avatar
      Mandalorian

      I agree 100%. Tuning cars for the Burgerkingring is utterly stupid. It ruins perfectly good cars. Not every car needs to be a sports car. There is nothing wrong with a comfortable ride/suspension.

    • 0 avatar
      John R

      It won’t hurt, but it might not help as much as Honda believes it will.

      Every Genesis sedan (not a car whose raison d’etre is to chase M cars, mind you) I see on the road is another RLX lunch eaten by Hyundai.

    • 0 avatar
      sportyaccordy

      The funny thing is, BMW did this about 3-7 years ago depending on which model you look at, and it helped them. The baseline level of dynamic competence of cars, especially luxury cars, is super high. And of course 99% of people couldn’t care less about at the limit anything. If the average person is driving at the limit it’s probably to avoid an accident.

      That said it is bizarre to announce it this way. Sort of confirms the idea that Acura has no idea what makes a car luxurious. I think a bigger concern is differentiating the RL’s looks from a mix of the current Accord/Lucerne and previous Genesis.

      • 0 avatar
        krhodes1

        I think what BMW did was exactly correct. They basically made the old standard suspension (which I happen to think is perfect) the sport suspension, and softened the standard suspension a bit for people who thought BMWs “rode too hard”. And went on to record sales.

        The old Sport suspension felt like the shocks were replaced with steel rods to my tender butt. If you want a race car buy an M-car.

        I agree with Chris S2k though – it won’t help Acura. Or hurt them. People have to be interested enough in the car that they even care it exists first. I’m actually surprised the RLX wasn’t already a floaty barge. But I’m not sure I have ever SEEN one, never mind driven one. Acuras are not common cars where I am.

      • 0 avatar
        bd2

        The thing is, the RLX is a FWD-based luxo-cruiser and it has gotten dinged for its not so compliant ride.

        Toyota did the same thing with the Avalon and ES in a push to get “sportier” – ruining what had previously been a floaty, but lush ride.

        But hasn’t really hurt Avalon/ES sales whereas RLX sales have been in the crapper (which has been true from the start, so the RLX has numerous other issues, but sales have fallen a good bit even from the very modest start).

        People may bash Cadillac, but they are doing a lot better in the full-size FWD sedan game.

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          My best friend recently bought a 2015 Avalon XLE and I have spent some time in the passenger seat as he drove us around.

          I didn’t find the ride of that Avalon too harsh or too soft or floaty. I thought it very comfortable. And the interior is eerily quiet, like a tomb.

    • 0 avatar
      nels0300

      Agreed. I have a 2014.5 Camry SE V6 with the 18s and I wish it rode better. The ride is not typical Camry-like.

      Before the Camry hater crowd jumps on me, I was fully aware of it’s shortcomings, the ride quality being one of them, and everything else I could’ve purchased instead, before I purchased the Camry.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    When I think about this car, the two things I’d naturally compare it to are the MKS and the Avalon. It doesn’t compare especially favorably against either, particularly the Avalon. Why not just get that instead? The only thing it’s missing over the RLX is AWD.

    • 0 avatar
      S2k Chris

      Well, first “just missing AWD” is huge to some people who insist on AWD. Second there are a lot of techy toys that come with the RLX that don’t come on the Avalon, is that important or not? I dunno. Also, at these pricepoints, lots of people want a luxury badge; I know the internet thinks Acura is about the same as Kia in prestige, but out in the real world, most people think Acuras are pretty nice cars and a step above a Toyota.

    • 0 avatar
      eManual

      I won’t get an Avalon because it doesn’t have a folding (60/40) rear seat. If the RLX was a “longer hatch” like the Malibu Maxx or my 1987 Dodge Lancer, that would be even better.

      Otherwise, I’m in the market for quiet, smooth, long distance (33 mpg+) FWD cruisers that can carry 4 adults. Not sure the RLX has enough rear seat headroom, however.

    • 0 avatar

      It’s in a class of “comfort” large luxury FWD vehicles that also includes the XTS, S80 and, yes, the MKS. I’m happy that Acura has embraced the fact that this is what people want in an RLX, even if there isn’t much pride in it. The MDX and RDX received similar treatments upon their most-recent redesigns, and that seems to have gone well for them…

    • 0 avatar
      akatsuki

      I agree with you in general. The Avalon is an unsung hero of the luxury market at a ridiculously bargain price.

      • 0 avatar
        AnotherMillenial

        I’ve never viewed the Avalon as a luxury car and its curious as to why it’s compared with this class. The Avalon may be the nicest non-Lexus Toyota that money can buy, but that alone does not a luxury car make. The Avalon is no more luxurious than an Impala LTZ or Taurus SHO; it’s the flagship sedan of a hum-drum mainstream brand.

        If anything, you should compare the Lexus ES. Same platform, same corporation, but it does have a luxury badge/features.

        • 0 avatar
          bosozoku

          Very true. The Avalon is $5k cheaper than the ES, but you notice a real difference when comparing it to the ES. Sure it’s the better bargain, and still a fine car, but a true luxury car it is not. Plus, the ES will likely hold its value better over time and be more desirable on the used market, so it’s worth the extra cash upfront.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            Unless the next buyer wants a car with only two doors, at which point the Avalon is the better choice and would command the higher price. (I don’t buy sedans.)

          • 0 avatar
            S2k Chris

            Eh? Avalon and ES are both 4dr sedan only….

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            Not where I live it isn’t. I see way too many two-door models around here. Maybe they stopped making them for ’14 or so, but as a used car they’ll be pretty common.

          • 0 avatar
            bd2

            The ES isn’t exactly a true luxury model either being “entry-level” luxury.

  • avatar
    slance66

    This will become a trend. The potholes and deteriorating roads highlight just how much ride comfort we have lost to ultra low profile tires. Forbes car writer mentioned it as the #1 way cars have gotten worse in recent years, giant wheels and low profile tires. Nobody wants to go back to 75s but anything less than 55s on a car that isn’t a actual sports car makes very little sense.

    I think the crossover craze is in part driven by the fact that sedans have no rubber left on them. I know its a factor for me. I can’t get an upscale sedan with any real sidewalls, but I can with a CUV/SUV.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      “I can’t get an upscale sedan with any real sidewalls, but I can with a CUV/SUV.”

      Please cite an example, every “CUV” I see has large wheels and what look to be thin tires.

      Additional: I agree with you on this becoming a trend, US roads will continue the march to third world status for some time.

      • 0 avatar
        eManual

        The Base Honda CRV has 215 / 70 R16 steel wheels which would qualify. Even the next size up 225 / 65 R17 isn’t bad either.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          I think I have 235/60 R16 tires on my Pontiac so those should be somewhat sufficient (although the internet says it came with 225 so I dunno).

          Since the CR-V and Accord are cut from the same cloth, one might assume the Accord just comes with these, does it?

          • 0 avatar
            eManual

            The Accord starts at 205 / 65 R16, so the CRV still has more sidewall. The next size up in the Accord is a thin 215 / 55 R17!

            IIRC, the original CRV was Civic based, not sure about the relationship now.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Interesting, thx for the info.

            Looks like Civic was a related model through at least the RE7 in MY11 so you are correct, the current generation is less clear.

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Honda_CR-V

      • 0 avatar
        Dan

        Thin is relative, those absurdly wheeled CUVs are generally running 55 aspect ratio tires. Meaty by 2015 car standards.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          Perhaps you are right, but when the “standard” is a fail, that’s not so great. Personally if I were in the situation, I’d buy used and simply put on aftermarket wheels (or steelies if available and I don’t care what it looks like). All three of my cars have steelies (although the nice car had alloys which I haven’t mounted yet for the spring/summer).

      • 0 avatar
        slance66

        The following all have 60s or 55s: Edge, Grand Cherokee, Murano, Q5, RX350, The GM Lambda cars, MDX, RDX…the list continues.

        I really feel that the ride height, increased wheel travel before the bump stops and the higher sidewalls are a major benefit in isolation from potholes, broken pavement and frost heaves.

        Yet look at the Mercedes E350 supposedly a smooth riding luxury car. 45s is the most rubber you can get. The A6 can be had with 55s, but usually they are 45s. BMW 3 series tops out at 50s. It is very hard to find a sedan with any reasonable side walls. Accords and Camrys do at least have 55s. The Audi A4 goes from 45, to 40 to 35 depending on the model.

        • 0 avatar
          PrincipalDan

          And my 2nd generation (current gen is the 3rd) Highlander has 17 in rims but 65 aspect ratio tires. I LOVE IT.

          Not only does it ride nicely but you also have a wide variety of tires (from car/minivan type to all/mud terrain) to choose from.

          My inlaws have a Pontiac Torrent SUV with 17 in rims and low profile tires. Rides like it has no shocks at all.

        • 0 avatar
          Preludacris

          Let’s not forget that those numbers are a percentage of width. For example, 195/55 is only very slightly higher profile than 205/50, and 215/45 is taller than both.

    • 0 avatar
      sportyaccordy

      I think geography is key here. My 350Z rides great down here in North Carolina, but when I drove up to NYC it was damn near unbearable. Once you cross that frost heave line it’s a different ballgame. I made a vow to myself to never live in such a place after ~28 years in NYC.

      • 0 avatar
        AnotherMillenial

        Funny you say that, this recent winter in New England has me on the same “never again”, fly south and don’t come back mentality. I love sedans and prefer them to most bodystyles, but outside of the space/price factor the second major reason crossovers have appeal has been because of potholes.

        This quote from slance66 was spot on:
        “I really feel that the ride height, increased wheel travel before the bump stops and the higher sidewalls are a major benefit in isolation from potholes, broken pavement and frost heaves.”

        Whatever the reason (budgets constraints or weather) these roads are ghastly, and it’s not only in the winter. The aforementioned benefits of crossovers are increasingly becoming a necessity than a choice.

        • 0 avatar
          mcs

          Another reason to get winter tires on steel rims. Just order the smallest rim diameter that you can get for your car. Traction for the snow and sidewall height for the aftermath.

  • avatar
    Dan

    It’s not just the ride comfort. Driving an engaging, burgerkingring tuned sports car on public roads is more frustration than fun. It seems like the only time you’re not behind a bumper is when you’re in front of a radar gun.

  • avatar
    PeriSoft

    I’d just like to point out that I drew this:

    http://www.perisoft.org/carstylefuture.jpg

    …back in 2007 or so. Aside from the door creases that have come and gone in the meantime, may I just say – damn, I’m good! ;)

    • 0 avatar

      Hey…the Fkex still has those creases…

      • 0 avatar
        PeriSoft

        I’ve always put the Flex in its own little styling category for some reason. Creases or not, I rather like it, despite not knowing why.

        I suppose that in a world where a snarky internet dude can make a reasonable job of predicting sedan styling a decade out, having a vehicle that doesn’t fit a category easily is refreshing in and of itself.

        Flexes (Flexures?) were too pricey to make my list when I needed a new ride last December, though. I ended up with a ’15 Sonata, which looks a bit like the drawing above…

    • 0 avatar
      James2

      You’ve pretty much captured all the design ‘trends’: big-ass grille that eats stray cats, next-to-no window area, and rubberband tires. Creases all over the metal for no good reason.

      Are you sure you’re NOT a Lexus designer? :)

  • avatar
    xtoyota

    Want all the good stuff just buy the bargain of the year 2015 Hyundai Azera
    ….plus a great warranty (5yr. – 60K)

  • avatar
    Prado

    I recently noticed that for 2015, the Toyota Avalon Limited is now available with 17″ wheels. 18″ wheels are still standard, but it looks like there is a downgrade wheel package available, along with a nice credit for downsizing. I guess Toyota must have been getting complaints on the ride quality with the 18″ wheels.

    • 0 avatar
      Quentin

      The hybrid Avalon Limited offered 17″ wheels from the beginning. The V6 Limited came standard with 18″. It is surprising that there is a downgrade available on the Limited. I wonder how many dealers carry that option…

  • avatar
    Vulpine

    Well… VW has now canceled one of the few cars they make that I would have considered. How soon before they cancel the 3-door Golf, which is another of the few. In short, I do not want four or five doors and will only buy such in very specific models–which are NOT sedans.

    • 0 avatar
      sportyaccordy

      I feel like we may have had this conversation before but remind me why a 4 door sedan is OK but a 5 door hatch isn’t?

      • 0 avatar
        Sigivald

        Well, some people like having a trunk, for security reasons.

        (I understand that, though I’m currently driving a wagon.)

        I’m just baffled by anyone in the US/Canada market caring about VW axing the Polo as a car they’d have considered.

        Not like VW was ever going to import it.

      • 0 avatar
        Vulpine

        Read again what I said, Sporty. A 4-door sedan is NOT OK, for me. I don’t want a sedan of any type or even one of these so-called ‘4-door coupes’. If it’s a coupe, I want only 2 doors with either a hatch or a trunk. The only 4-door models I would personally consider would be a true SUV (station wagon on steroids). I own a JKU Jeep Wrangler (4-door) and am looking to replace it with either a Jeep Renegade (four doors), or a compact, extended cab pickup truck (2 doors + 2 half-doors in ‘suicide’ layout). I have never liked sedans and have never, ONCE in my life purchased a sedan, though I have had two different ones given to me by family (and I hated both of them). The old ’68+ Chevy Nova 2-door hatch (and siblings), Vega, other cars in that basic style are what I really liked but my first cars I purchased for myself were a ’73 Olds Cutlass S (2-door coupe) and ’75 Olds Cutlass Supreme (2-door coupe). I later owned a Buick LeSabre ‘T-type’ (2-door coupe), Olds Toronado (2-door) and Chevy Camaro (2-door sport coupe). Since then I’ve owned a Saturn Vue (SUV/SUW), a Jeep Wrangler Unlimited (SUV) and now a Fiat 500 Pop (2-door).

        So no, a 4-door sedan is NOT ok. For me.

    • 0 avatar
      shadow mozes

      Yeah. I like 2-door cars the best too, especially 2 door SUV’s. I don’t really like 4 door cars/suvs in general.

  • avatar
    wmba

    I hang around the Acurazine website ever since a TLX tried to kill me on a test drive in September, just to see if the same behavior of a box of neutrals in the DCT has happened to anyone else. It has, and to more than a few. I even got a PM from a man who was at his wit’s end after I posted there recently, said he’d had 7 such failures and won’t let his family drive with him.

    So I tend to believe the horror stories about the current RLX as well when it comes to rattles, faulty struts, very poor ride as the ambient temperature dips, etc. etc.

    http://acurazine.com/forums/third-generation-rlx-2013-412/suspension-rattle-anyone-rlx-903826/

    Many people complaining about the ride, so that’s why they’ve softened it up no doubt.

    Sure, I know the old saw that only complainers visit manufacturer-specific forums, and that the other 99% experience only blue skies and 200,000 mile trouble-free reliability. However, not that many RLXs have been sold and it’s not cheap. The letter to a State AG is hilarious.

    Go on, have a read of that one thread. You know you want to, it’s only 8 pages long. And there are many threads. Then have a look around the site. Kind of ruins my previously held opinion of Honda. Acura seems to be the champion of “They all do that, sir.” and “Normal Operation (for the torque converter to trash itself on 4G TLs”.

    Pretty obvious that in this semi-uppercrust price segment, buy a Lexus. Not many problems in their Forums. Or in recent Audis. The BMW crowd are so far up inside their own – well, I’ll stop there. Of course, if you really want a car that goes wrong in style an MB will do just fine.

  • avatar
    shadow mozes

    Acuras are so butt-ugly. Only the NSX is the good-looking one.

  • avatar

    Good news. I drive a Citroen with hydropnematic suspension. Life is very comfortable but the steering is alert so the car moves nicely. Peugeot’s 406 is another smooth drive that still handles well. A hard ride and thin tyres are a styling and handling fad.

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