Auto blogThu, 19 Dec 2013 17:00:00 EST
Acura and Jerry Seinfeld are expanding their partnership as season three of the comedian's web series, Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee, prepares to debut. Seinfeld has paired with director Barry Sonnenfeld to create a series of ads for the luxury brand showcasing the new Acura RLX and MDX.
There are eight spots, written by Seinfeld and directed by Sonnenfeld, that seemingly mock advertisements of the 1960s, with a deep-voiced, smooth-talking host highlighting the cars in question. It's all very folksy, Leave it to Beaver style humor. We'd be lying, though, if we said we weren't reminded a bit too forcefully of Dodge's successful range of Will Ferrell ads when watching the eight Acura spots.
"My idea for Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee was to show this certain aspect of the stand-up comedy world in a way that comedy fans would enjoy experiencing as if they were there," said Seinfeld. "There is absolutely no doubt that without Acura's support I would not have been able to continue beyond the initial experiment. And now Acura has enabled me to extend the concept by creating ads that fit the comedy tone of the show."
Acura confirmed that its new mid-range sedan, the TLX, will debut in prototype form at the 2014 Detroit Auto Show next month. The automaker is currently mum on specific details, but in a press release, Acura stated, "The all-new model will feature more emotional styling with tidier, sports sedan proportions wrapped around two all-new advanced powertrains that provide even more athletic performance, along with a host of signature Acura technologies."
During an event in Detroit earlier this week, Mike Accavitti, American Honda's senior vice president, told Autoblog that the introduction of the TLX will create a three-tier sedan lineup for the luxury brand in the United States. In other words, the TLX won't just replace the aging TL, it will also mark the death of the smaller TSX sedan (and wagon). The TSX will officially be axed sometime next year.
The 2015 TLX will be available with either two- (read: front) or all-wheel drive, and will use two direct-injected engines, both of which will be mated to a brand-new transmission. We'll have more details in just a few weeks, but for now, scroll down to read Acura's official press blast.
Acura has announced a recall for the 2014 RLX due to improperly tightened rear suspension bolts that could come loose and increase the risk of a crash. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has yet to formally issue a recall notice for the RLX, but Acura says that a total of 7,387 RLX sedans are affected, which seems to include markets outside of the US as there have only been 4,456 of the sedans sold through November.
While there isn't an official NHTSA statement, there is one complaint on the government agency's site for a similar incident that caused a driver to almost lose control of the vehicle. Recall notices will be mailed out to customers starting next month, but in the meantime, Acura has issued a press release, which is posted below, and includes contact information that will be useful for affected RLX owners.
Having already driven and reviewed the 2014 Acura RLX this year, colleagues Steven Ewing and Jeffrey Ross poured several thousand words into apprising it, then someone took the safety off the Comments and flipped them to "Fully Automatic" because those two reviews and four brief posts were hit by more than 1,200 of your deeply felt sentiments.
People care about Acura.
Roughly half of those comments were in reply to news of this car, the 2014 RLX Sport Hybrid SH-AWD, a sedan that intends to show that Acura cares, too. Underneath a skin almost imperceptibly different from the standard RLX, the one that has given us P-AWS (Precision All-Wheel Steer), is a Super Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD) system that replaces the mechanical components it relies on in the TL and MDX with computerized sophistication and three electric motors. Top that off with more power, and the aim is to provide a machine that does a better job of getting Acura a starting spot in the premium luxury game than the erstwhile and now all-but-forgotten RL that the RLX replaces.
Acura is recalling nearly 20,000 of its 2014 MDX crossovers fitted with all-wheel drive over driveshaft concerns. The affected vehicles were built between May 6, 2013 and October 14, 2013, and have bolts that attach the driveshaft to the transmission that may not have been tightened properly.
Needless to say, an improperly secured driveshaft could lead to a number of problems, including everything from excessive drivetrain noise to full driveshaft detachment, a condition which could result in a loss of power and crash.
There's been no reports of accidents, injuries or deaths relating to the driveshaft issues. Acura will begin notifying all 19,197 owners in question of the recall, and will request that they report in for repairs, which will consist of tightening the driveshaft-attaching bolts. Scroll down for the official bulletin from NHTSA.
The 2014 North American International Auto Show is right around the corner, which means it's high time we found out which cars and trucks would be finalists for the prestigious North American Car and Truck/Utility of the Year awards.
The finalists - three in cars and three in three trucks/utilities - are dominated by American brands, with two-thirds of the finalists hailing from either General Motors or Chrysler (don't worry Ford, there's always next year), while outliers from Mazda and Acura can be found in each contest. Here now is the list of finalists for the big prizes:
2014 North American Car of the Year:
Planning to dress up as Agent Coulson for Halloween next year? We've got the perfect accessory to complete your Level 7 costume. On eBay Motors at this very moment is an auction for an Acura MDX S.H.I.E.L.D vehicle, one of only 10 made that the seller claims was used in filming of The Avengers.
The crossover is being sold by Scottsdale Motor Company, and while the eBay auction is up to nearly $19,000 with less than four days remaining (at the time of this writing), the dealer's website is asking $42,900 for this piece of movie memorabilia.
What you see is no mere prop, though. This S.H.I.E.L.D. vehicle is a proper 2011 MDX, equipped with the available Technology Package and leather from the factory. The flat black paint was even applied by Acura itself, and the graphics were added by the film studio's art department.
Acura has endured a year of mixed reviews and middling sales for its new RLX flagship. Meanwhile, the Japanese automaker has been readying what may be the very best version of the car for its debut. Now the wait is almost over, as Acura will show its 2014 RLX Sport Hybrid SH-AWD at this year's LA Auto Show.
When it comes to dealerships in the spring of 2014, the RLX Hybrid will be the most powerful production car Acura has ever sold. The combination of a 3.5-liter V6 and three electric motors - a 35-kilowatt motor pushing torque to the front wheels and two 27-kW units feeding the rears - creates a total system output of 377 horsepower.
Those rear-end electric motors do more than just add power, they also drive the rear wheels without a traditional rear drive shaft and differential. This newest iteration of the Super Handling-All Wheel Drive calls upon the two rear motors to both drive and brake the rear wheels, vectoring torque in cornering situations for additional grip. All three electric motors make use of regenerative braking to feed electricity back into the system's 260-volt lithium-ion battery pack.
Earlier in the year, I reviewed a powder-blue Volkswagen Beetle Convertible, and I witnessed a group of high-school-aged girls ogling the car as it sat in my driveway. In my head, I found it to be a funny-yet-fitting scene that I didn't think of again until a 2014 Acura RLX showed up in my driveway. This time around, an elderly neighborhood couple stopped to give the big Acura sedan a closer look. The RLX is trying to shed past stereotypes of its predecessor, the Acura RL, just like the Beetle. Hoping to avoid becoming the de facto "grandpa car," Acura has completely reworked - and renamed - its flagship sedan.
As the bookend to the new entry-level ILX, the addition of the 2014 RLX might give Acura its strongest sedan lineup ever as the automaker looks to break the cycle of being a middle-of-the-road luxury brand. Stepping up to the big-boy table isn't going to be easy, though, as the competition keeps getting tougher. Forget cars like the Mercedes E-Class and BMW 5 Series, the Acura RLX is going to have its hands full with the likes of the Cadillac XTS, Lexus GS and Hyundai Genesis, not to mention a strong consortium of lower-priced, mid-luxury sedans like the Hyundai Azera, Toyota Avalon and Chevy Impala. The one thing all of these cars have in common is a reputation for being an old man cruiser.
I spent a week with the new RLX to see if it could shake the stigma of its outdated predecessor or if it would just leave me searching for the nearest early bird specials.
It wasn't so long ago that Honda was known for its sporty two-door models, with models ranging from the Civic del Sol to the Prelude and from the Acura Integra and RSX to the Honda S2000. But look at its range today and all you'll see are the Civic and Accord coupes. Honda has essentially let competitors like the Scion FR-S/Subaru BRZ and Nissan 370Z take the place it once claimed as its own. But if you were hoping Honda would fight back with a new coupe or convertible of its own, we're afraid you're going to have to downgrade those hopes to pipe dreams.
While in Japan ahead of the Tokyo Motor Show, Autoblog had a chance to sit down with American Honda CEO Tetsuo Iwamura (pictured at right). When we asked about the potential for a new sports coupe or convertible in the Honda or Acura lineup, he pointed to the current Civic and Accord coupes - not to mention the upcoming new NSX - but said that Honda has no replacement for any of the aforementioned models (or a rival for the FR-S or 370Z) in the pipeline, saying only that the company is monitoring potential demand.
What Iwamura-san did note was that he's a personal fan of the new S660 roadster (pictured above) set to be unveiled tomorrow, and he is pushing (or at least hoping) that it will come to North America. Given that he's head of both Honda's American office and its global automobile operations, one might think that the only person he would have to persuade is himself (well... himself, and potential buyers), but the sporty droptop looks to be about kei-sized, which sadly suggests that it may be too small for American tastes and perhaps not designed with US crash-test standards in mind anyway.