Acura Automobiles: 2014 Acura RLX Sport Hybrid SH-AWD: Safety

2014 Acura RLX: Safety And Driver Assistive Technologies

Utilizing a host of advanced active and passive safety technologies, the RLX Sport Hybrid elevates occupant safety in Acura’s flagship sedan. The RLX is anticipated to achieve a 5-Star Overall Vehicle Score from the NHTSA and a TOP SAFETY PICK+ rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), including a GOOD rating in the Institute’s new small front crash test. Its impressive suite of safety technologies includes the next-generation Advanced Compatibility Engineering™ (ACE™) body structure, which utilizes a series of interconnected front frame members to absorb and redirect collision energy around the passenger cabin in a frontal collision.

The RLX also makes strategic use of high-strength steel to further enhance collision performance in frontal, side, rear impact and rollover incidents.  The RLX has seven, smart-deploying airbags – driver and front-seat passenger front and side airbags, side-curtain airbags, and a driver’s knee airbag.  In Advance grades, the driver and front passenger seats also feature e-pretension seat belts that maintain a low-level of tension (for improved comfort) in normal driving and pre-tension in the event of a potential collision.

Summary of Safety Technologies

  • Next-generation ACE™ Body Structure
  • Driver and front passenger front and side airbags
  • Side curtain airbags
  • Driver’s Side Knee Airbag
  • New front seat head restraints
  • Driver and front seat passenger seat belt e-pretensioners (Advance trim)
  • Forward Collision Warning (FCW)  
  • Lane Departure Warning (LDW)
  • Collision Mitigation Braking System (CMBS) (Advance Trim)

Collision Safety Targets
The 2014 RLX is targeted to achieve the top safety ratings available in America. These include ratings from the federal government’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) as well as from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).

Based on internal testing, the Acura RLX is anticipated to achieve 5-Star ratings in all NHTSA tests, while also achieving a 5-Star Overall Vehicle Score. In IIHS testing, the RLX is anticipated to achieve a GOOD rating in all tests – include the rigorous new IIHS Small Overlap Front crash test that is being implemented for 2013 and newer vehicles – along with a highest-available TOP SAFETY PICK+ overall rating.

Projected test results include:


Structural Safety Advances
Meeting the RLX’s top crash-safety rating targets required numerous structural engineering advancements. Details include:

  • Frontal – The next-generation Advanced Compatibility Engineering™ (ACE™) body structure helps the RLX pass the more stringent new IIHS Small Overlap Front Crash Test with a top “Good” result.
  • Side – The use of sophisticated advances in collision load pathways and the use of hot-stamped high-strength steel helps improve occupant protection in side impact scenarios and should lead to top NHTSA and IIHS side-impact ratings..
  • Rear – Rear-impact performance meeting the federal FMVSS301 standard is achieved by sophisticated engineering specifications and the use of lightweight high-strength steel.
  • Rollover/Roof Strength – The RLX achieves the federal FMVSS216a standard and IIHS Roof Strength “Good” test rating by adopting hot-stamped high-strength steel and optimized engineering specifications.
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front (Narrow Offset Barrier) – The Advanced Compatibility Engineering™ structure integrated into the RLX is expected to aid in the compliance with the new IIHS Small Overlap Front Barrier test that begins in 2013.

Next-Generation Advanced Compatibility Engineering™ (ACE™)
The RLX Sport Hybrid utilizes the latest version of the proprietary Advanced Compatibility Engineering™ (ACE™) body-structure technology to enhance occupant protection and crash compatibility in frontal collisions. The new design maximizes energy absorption around the engine compartment and minimizes it in the passenger compartment. The new ACE body design is expected to help RLX to pass the extremely difficult new IIHS small overlap front crash test, which involves 25-percent of a car’s front end on the driver’s side striking a 5-foot-tall rigid barrier at 40 mph.

Like the original ACE, the next-generation ACE™ body structure utilizes a network of connected structural elements – now even more accurately designed and using a greater amount of hot-stamp and high-tensile steel – to distribute and direct crash energy away from the passenger compartment. This enhanced frontal crash energy management helps to reduce the forces transferred to the passenger compartment and can help to more evenly disperse the forces transferred to other vehicles in a crash. Additionally, ACE™ helps minimize the potential for under-ride or over-ride situations that can happen during frontal impacts with a larger or smaller vehicle.

Unlike most conventional designs that direct frontal crash energy only to the lower load-bearing structures in the front end, next-generation ACE™ actively channels frontal crash energy to both upper and lower structural elements, including the floor frame rails, side sills and A-pillars. By creating specifically engineered “pathways” that help distribute these frontal impact forces through a greater percentage of the vehicle’s total structure, ACE™ can more effectively route them around and away from the passenger compartment to help limit cabin deformation and further improve occupant protection. Integral to the next-generation ACE™ concept is its unique front polygonal main design structure.

A total of seven airbags, including dual-stage, multiple-threshold front airbags, front side airbags, side curtain airbags with rollover sensors, and a new driver’s side knee airbag, are standard on the 2014 RLX Sport Hybrid.

Driver’s Side Knee Airbag (SRS)
The driver’s side knee airbag is designed to better position the driver in the event of a frontal collision, so the driver can take best advantage of the protection provided by the front airbag and seatbelts. The knee airbag is contained beneath a panel on the underside of the instrument panel, which is contoured away from the knees to provide as much clearance as possible for comfort.

Dual-Stage, Multiple-Threshold Front Airbags (SRS)
Every RLX is equipped with dual-stage, multiple-threshold front airbags (SRS). One or both of these airbags will be deployed only in the event of a sufficient frontal impact. If deployed, the airbags are capable of being inflated at different rates depending on crash severity, seat-belt usage and other factors. Front airbags are designed to supplement the seat belts to help reduce the likelihood of head and upper body injuries in frontal crashes.

Front Passenger Airbag-Off Indicator
An indicator light marked “PASS AIRBAG,” located on the right of the upper display illuminates to indicate that the passenger’s front airbag is off and will not deploy during a frontal impact. This happens when the weight of the front-seat passenger, or an object on the seat, is 63.8 pounds or less.

Driver and Front Passenger Side Airbags
Driver’s and front passenger’s SmartVent™ side airbags mounted in the outboard area of each front seatback are designed to help provide pelvis and thorax protection in the event of a severe side impact. The advanced design allows the side airbags to inflate with a low risk of injuring the seat occupant while deploying. This eliminates the need for the previous-generation RL’s Occupant Position Detection System (OPDS).

Side Curtain Airbags with Rollover Sensor
All outboard seating positions include a side curtain airbag system. The side curtain airbags deploy from modules in the roof in the event of a sufficient side impact or rollover, providing a significant level of head protection in the window area. The new side curtain airbags now have a rollover sensor, a wider deployment profile, and remain fully deployed for an extended time to enhance ejection mitigation. This application is two years in advance of new safety regulations going into effect in 2015.

Adjustable Head Restraints for All Seating Positions
All front and rear seating positions feature individually adjustable head restraints. Compared to the Active Head Restraints in the previous RL model, the RLX’s front head restraints feature the latest generation of neck protection performance. They are wider, lighter and offer 7mm greater clearance for more driving comfort while also offering superior protection.

The rear head restraints comply with Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS) for rear passenger head restraints that took effect for all-new 2011-model-year-and-later vehicle. The new rules closely specify the size, position and operation of the rear-seat head restraints.

Front Seatbelt E-Pretensioners
RLX Sport Hybrid advanced grade feature seatbelt e-pretensioner for both of the front seats that detects yaw rate. During aggressive driving, the e-pretensioner system uses electronic controls to tighten the seatbelts. During normal driving conditions, the e-pretensioner provides a “tensionless” seatbelt experience, enhancing driving comfort.

In addition, the electronic controls of the e-pretensioner seatbelt system tighten and hold the seatbelt when the RLX is being driven in a sporty manner, and also in the event of sudden steering inputs, such as a skid or a light collision. The e-pretensioner system is fully automatic and requires no intervention from the driver or front passenger, aside from the initial extension and fastening of the seatbelt.

Child Safety Features
Two Lower Anchors and Tethers for CHildren (LATCH) child seat-mounting positions are built into the outboard rear seats. The LATCH system utilizes both an upper child-seat tether anchor and dedicated lower-anchor points that are built into the body of the vehicle. These help ensure correct mounting of a compatible child seat. A third upper tether is located in the rear center position. The RLX also features childproof rear door locks. When engaged, they permit the rear doors to be opened only from the outside, thereby helping to prevent accidental opening by a child.

Forward Collision Warning
The RLX Sport Hybrid’s standard Forward Collision Warning (FCW) system uses a camera mounted in the upper portion of the windshield to detect vehicles ahead and determine if a collision is possible.

A visual “BRAKE” warning on the Multi-Information Display (MID) alerts the driver when the system determines that a collision is possible with a vehicle detected ahead. If the driver does not take any actions to avoid the collision, a second visual warning and an audible warning will alert the driver again. The FCW system in the RLX will not automatically brake, and the driver remains responsible for safely operating the vehicle and avoiding collisions.

Collision Mitigation Braking System™
Collision Mitigation Braking System™ (CMBS™) on RLX Sport Hybrid Advance grade.4

Lane Departure Warning (LDW)
The standard Lane Departure Warning (LDW) uses the same upper front windshield camera as the FCW system (Advance grade uses the same camera used by the LKAS system) to visually identify the lanes in the road. If the RLX starts to drift out of a detected lane and into another without a turn signal in use, the system will alert the driver with a visual “LANE” warning in the MID panel and on the Head-Up Display, along with an audible warning. The LDW system can be activated and deactivated by a button on the lower left portion of the instrument panel.

Pedestrian Injury Mitigation
The RLX has an impact-absorbing front body design to help absorb energy in the event of a frontal collision with a pedestrian. Research shows that the following features can dramatically improve a pedestrian’s chance of survival if struck by a moving vehicle:

  • Impact-energy absorbing hood
    Space is provided between the underside of the hood and key powertrain components, allowing the hood to bend and deform if contact is made with either an adult or a child pedestrian.
  • Energy-absorbing fender mounts and supports
    Front fender mounts and brackets are designed to deform easily to help absorb impact energy.
  • Deformable windshield wiper pivots
    Wiper pivots are designed to deform and break away easily.

Driver Assistive Technologies

Lane Keeping Assist System (LKAS)
The RLX Sport Hybrid features Lane Keeping Assist System (LKAS) to provide a premium driving experience by reducing steering correction movements and driving effort on the highway. LKAS uses a camera to read lane markings to assist the driver in driving in the middle of the lane.

Designed for the U.S. road structure, the system uses a camera mounted on the upper portion of the windshield to identify Botts’ Dots and Cat Eye markers at speeds between 45 mph and 90 mph. When LKAS senses that the driver is drifting from the middle of a detected lane, the system generates counteracting steering torque to assist the driver in maintaining lane position, while also displaying a visual warning in the MID within the instrument panel to alert the driver about a potential lane departure. Compared to lane-keeping systems on other premium vehicles, the RLX’s LKAS operates in a more linear fashion with a more natural feel.

Adaptive Cruise Control with Low-Speed Follow
The available Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) allows the driver to set a desired speed and a distance interval behind the vehicle ahead, allowing the use of cruise control in light traffic. This system is combined with new Low-Speed Follow capability, which extends the automatic following capability to stop and go traffic situations (down to 0 mph).

1 Based on 2014 EPA mileage ratings. Use for comparison purposes only. Your mileage will vary depending on driving conditions, how you drive and maintain your vehicle, battery pack age/condition, and other factors.
2 Customers who choose to use Regular gasoline should expect reductions in power, performance and fuel economy.
3 Does not apply to fluid and filter changes or periodic inspections. Please refer to the maintenance section of your owner’s manual to determine all appropriate maintenance intervals.
4 Depending on the circumstances, CMBS may not go through all of the alert stages before initiating the last stage (of collision mitigation.)