Acura RLX. The all-new RLX replaced the RL as Acura’s flagship sedan. But not only is it overpriced, it doesn’t have what it takes to compete with better luxury models, such as the Audi A6, Lexus GS, and Mercedes-Benz E-Class. The RLX is actually more comparable with models such as the Chrysler 300 and Toyota Avalon, which cost thousands less. It’s plush and spacious inside, but the ride is jumpy and handling is ponderous, undermining its luxury-car aspirations. A much better buy: the new Chevrolet Impala.
Lexus IS. The Lexus IS tries hard to be a credible sports sedan, but can’t cut the mustard. while the small V6 in the Is 250 is smooth and refined, it isn’t powerful yet has a big appetite for fuel at 20 mpg overall. Handling is uninspiring and the ride manages stiff and uncomposed. the interior is extremely cramped, cabin access is a chore, and in-cabin storage is woefully inadequate. all-wheel-drive versions have a hump on the driver-side
that cuts into foot and legroom. Finally, some of the controls are overly complicated.
Mitsubishi Outlander. The redesigned Outlander needed to hit a home run to keep Mitsubishi relevant in the popular small-SUV class, but it just can’t compete with the top models. It’s the only small SUV to provide a standard third-row seat, which can hold a couple of kids in a pinch. But that’s not enough to offset its long list of shortcomings, including a noisy cabin, clumsy handling, a stiff ride, sluggish acceleration, and interior trim that looks cheap and feels insubstantial. Overall, the Outlander doesn’t score well enough to be recommended.
Nissan Sentra. The redesigned 2013 Sentra looks good on paper, but it falls far short of expectations. Its best quality may be the rear seat, which is one of the roomiest in the compact-sedan class. Another plus is that attractive options such as a navigation system and backup camera are reasonably priced. But the driving experience is underwhelming. Handling is uninspiring, acceleration feels lethargic, the ride is choppy, and the nonstop engine drone got on our nerves.