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2012 New York Auto Show - Acura

Acura RLXAcura RLX
Acura RLXAcura RLX

Acura has caught a bad case of Lincoln-itis in recent years.  Bland product and strategy adrift. What are they? They aspire to be a premium brand, but nothing in their product line speaks to the essence of their identity. Where is the flagship? The current RL is barely adequate and painfully long in the tooth (talking about its age, not its awkward grille) when compared to the competition.

 The new flagship arrived in New York. Acura showed off the RLX concept, and if past practice is any indication, it is a barely disguised version of the production model. Will this dog hunt? Well, it is certainly an improvement, but beyond that unfortunate buck-toothed beak, there's not a whole lot to make it stand out. Put politely, they have clearly paid homage to other brands in their styling choices.

There's plenty of cool technology though, like the Sport Hybrid SH-AWD system and a 7 speed dual clutch automatic transmission. It should perform pretty well at a price point below the competition. If distinctive style isn't high on your list of luxury car requirements, the RLX could be a suitable choice. 

What Acura needed though was a home run. Product cycles being what they are, you only get a chance to redesign your flagship every 5 years, at best. This was their chance to deliver a distinctive brand-defining leader at the top of their lineup. Instead, we got 'meh'.