Global drivers of sedans have experienced a difficult time this year. Which upmarket entries lead the 2015-model derby? What accessory clinched the champion’s charge to gold medal? In a final field consisting of Civic, Sentra, Mazda 3, Dodge Dart, Kia Forte and Jetta Diesel?
The field of compacts has been shared among Acura’s MDX and Chevrolet’s Cruze, Ford’s Focus and Hyundai’s Elantra. But which sedan accessory or styling touch was enough to turn a pig’s knuckle into a sow’s ear? and average 40 mpg in the bargain!
With Motor Trend staffers divided between so many worthy candidates, it was no real surprise when the Acura RLX seized the crown among all the marathon’s runners, including Germany’s late entry – the Mercedes-Benz 250 CLA.
What crossed the finish line first was a sequel to Acura’s highly-acclaimed midsize MDX model with Honda’s new Precision All-Wheel Steering system. Above nearly all rivals, this system lets the rear wheels independently adjust their angle through most turns.
This ups the RLX list price to $54,450, for which owners get “the most advanced steering system we’ve ever built,” claims the CEO of Acura in commercials.
Honda-ites and Acura-philes call the RLX a “flagship” among large sedans – Kia Cadenza, Ford Fusion, Toyota Avalon and Chrysler 300 – but without the performance of the others.
In the Television ad wars Mercedes-Benz saved the CLA 250 for a debut at the French Open tennis tournament in late May and early June, getting the jump on the Acura RLX and taking on another summer entry, the BMW i3GT.
Mercedes and Honda/Acura led the field with commercials featuring all-wheel steering systems that were untried until this year but BMW’s TV spots hailing the CLA were as eye-catching as were the other medal pursuers in the bustling 2015-model sedan steeple chase. Isn’t the sedan race sharper than ever, setting a high level in print as well as TV? You bet it is!