ORIGINAL CHROME RIMS
Culver City, California, United States
ORIGINAL CHROME RIMS
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.
Honda has announced a recall that affects two of our favorite, dearly departed cars from the brand's portfolio: the S2000 roadster and Acura RSX coupe. A total of 5,239 S2000 models from the 2006 and 2007 model years are affected by this problem, as are 13,113 2006 Acura RSX models.
"A production error may have allowed brake booster components to be produced outside of the original specifications, potentially causing decreased brake assistance over time, which could increase the risk of a crash," American Honda said in a press release. Thus, dealerships will inspect and, if necessary, replace the brake booster setups in these vehicles, free of charge.
No crashes or injuries have been reported in relation to this brake problem. Honda says the problem was discovered during warranty claim analysis.
The not-yet-ready-for-primetime 2012 Honda Civic saw it quickly returned to sender for refurbishment, now the Acura ILX is headed in the same direction in its very first year. Automotive News reports that the small, Civic-based sedan from Honda's luxury brand isn't meeting sales expectations, with an annualized rate of 22,000 to 24,000 sales instead of the 30,000 the company is after. More telling is that the ILX "is being outsold by the Buick Verano, Volkswagen CC and Audi A4," and, except for two months since it launched, it has also been outdone by the Acura TSX it is meant to replace.
Part of the cause has been the 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engine: its 150 horsepower to motivate a sedan that can weigh up to 2,970 pounds doesn't offer the kind of performance or value experience that buyers in the segment respond to. Another big issue is that the top-level 2.4-liter engine is only offered with a six-speed manual even though most buyers of the highest trim don't really want to shift their own gears. Lastly, the ILX might not put enough space between it and its frugal underpinnings - our first drive review pegged it as "the world's nicest Honda Civic."
An automatic transmission is on the way for the 2.4-liter, but it isn't clear when. And while Honda admits that the 2.0-liter is underpowered and Automotive News says it's on the way out, the company hasn't yet said how that situation will be corrected.