2015 Acura RLX Review
Pros & Cons
- Abundant standard features
- spacious cabin.
- Harsh ride with the 19-inch wheels and tires
- disconnected steering feel
- so-so display screen graphics with distracting interface
- front seats get uncomfortable on longer drives.
Edmunds' Expert Review
Overall, the 2015 Acura RLX covers the luxury sedan basics pretty well, but otherwise doesn't do much to distinguish itself.
The 2015 Acura RLX isn't the most well-known choice for a midsize luxury sedan, but it scores pretty high marks for what truly matters in this segment. Its interior rivals a large sedan's for roominess, as demonstrated by the backseat, which has plenty of legroom for adults to stretch out. Said interior also boasts a long list of standard equipment and can be done up in soft, perforated leather upholstery and genuine wood trim. If technology is your thing, Acura offers the RLX with a smart mix of available features (we're quite fond of the optional 14-speaker Krell sound system). As a bonus, RLX pricing is also typically a bit less than the competition.
Acura introduced the new RLX last year, starting with the base front-wheel-drive model that has a 3.5-liter V6 engine rated at 310 horsepower. A Sport Hybrid model with all-wheel drive, more horsepower and even better fuel economy was supposed to arrive soon after, but its introduction was delayed. As such, Acura says the Sport Hybrid will be sold during the 2015 calendar year but still as a 2014 model. For now, we're expecting that the 2015 RLX will be the base-model only. Alas, we're more fond of the Sport Hybrid than we are of the base model. Performance and handling from the base model are uninspiring, and the ride quality isn't as compliant and smooth as we expect for this class.
These aren't major drawbacks, but they factor in for our Edmunds.com "B" rating of the RLX. If you're shopping for a midsize luxury sedan, we think the 2015 Audi A6 is a better all-around package, while the Lexus GS 350 looks and feels more special inside. The new 2015 Hyundai Genesis sedan is also worth a look, as it offers many of the same tech features at a lower price point. Higher up on the price scale, the engaging BMW 5 Series and prestigious Mercedes-Benz E-Class are more customizable for features and have more powertrain options. Overall, the base RLX covers the luxury sedan basics pretty well, but otherwise doesn't do much to distinguish itself.
2015 Acura RLX models
The 2015 Acura RLX comes in five main trim levels (most are referred to as packages.) The Sport Hybrid variant will retain its designation as a 2014 model throughout the new model year.
The base RLX comes well-equipped with 18-inch alloy wheels, LED headlights, a sunroof, keyless ignition and entry, tri-zone automatic climate control, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, leatherette upholstery (premium vinyl), heated eight-way power front seats (with four-way power lumbar), driver memory settings and a power tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel. The list of standard electronics includes an upper 8-inch display, a lower 7-inch touchscreen display, a rearview camera, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity and a 10-speaker ELS sound system with a CD player, HD and satellite radios, a USB/iPod interface, smartphone app integration (with Pandora and Aha Internet radio integration) and an auxiliary audio jack.
The RLX with the Navigation package adds navigation capability to the 8-inch screen at the top of the dash plus voice controls, AcuraLink telematics and additional smartphone app integration. In addition, a modified climate control system uses input from the GPS receiver to automatically adjust cabin temperature on the side of the car that is exposed to direct sunlight.
Choosing the Technology option package bundles 19-inch alloy wheels, automatic wipers, power-retractable mirrors, a blind-spot monitoring system, noise-reducing acoustic glass, leather upholstery and a 14-speaker ELS sound system. You can further upgrade the audio quality with the premium 14-speaker Krell Audio package. This package also includes a power rear sunshade and manual rear door sunshades.
The available Advance package adds adaptive cruise control, a collision mitigation system with automatic braking, a lane-keeping assist system, front and rear parking sensors, auto-dimming outside mirrors, ventilated front seats, heated rear seats and a heated steering wheel.
Performance & mpg
The 2015 Acura RLX is powered by a 3.5-liter V6 engine that puts out 310 hp and 272 pound-feet of torque. Front-wheel drive and a six-speed automatic transmission are standard.
In Edmunds testing, a 2015 RLX with the Advance package went from zero to 60 mph in 6.3 seconds, which is average for a midsize luxury sedan. The EPA rates the RLX at 24 mpg combined (20 city/31 highway), which is essentially average for a six-cylinder luxury sedan.
Standard safety features on the 2015 Acura RLX include antilock disc brakes, stability and traction control, front seat side-impact airbags, full-length side curtain airbags and a driver side knee airbag.
A rearview camera is standard, but you have to spring for the Advance option package to get front and rear parking sensors. That package also includes lane-departure warning, lane-keeping assist and a frontal collision warning and mitigation system with automatic braking. A blind-spot monitoring system is included on models equipped with the Technology and higher option packages.
In Edmunds testing, the RLX managed a 60-0-mph braking distance of 120 feet, an average number for this class.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has performed its battery of crash tests on the RLX, resulting The 2015 Acura RLX's V6 engine is quiet and smooth and pairs well with the six-speed automatic. It's sufficiently powerful and should suit most buyers just fine, though rival sedans with turbocharged or supercharged six-cylinders feel noticeably quicker. The RLX doesn't ride with the same composure as other sedans in this class. Especially when fitted with the 19-inch wheels, it feels harsh when driving over rough patches at low speeds, while the ride on the highway can be bouncy. Only on truly smooth pavement does the RLX ride like a luxury sedan. Take it around a few turns, and the big Acura will be steady but not particularly athletic or communicative through its steering feel.
The 2015 Acura RLX's V6 engine is quiet and smooth and pairs well with the six-speed automatic. It's sufficiently powerful and should suit most buyers just fine, though rival sedans with turbocharged or supercharged six-cylinders feel noticeably quicker.
The RLX doesn't ride with the same composure as other sedans in this class. Especially when fitted with the 19-inch wheels, it feels harsh when driving over rough patches at low speeds, while the ride on the highway can be bouncy. Only on truly smooth pavement does the RLX ride like a luxury sedan. Take it around a few turns, and the big Acura will be steady but not particularly athletic or communicative through its steering feel.
From the moment you set foot inside the passenger cabin of the 2015 Acura RLX, you can't help but notice how spacious the place feels. But the real surprise is a backseat with as much as 3 inches more legroom than you'll find in competing sedans. Though it is perhaps the most adult-friendly rear seat in the category, taller passengers may wish for a tad more headroom and more room under the front seats for their feet. The front seats will be fine for most trips, but we've found long-distance comfort to be lacking.
The interior does get points for both its array of the latest technology and its ease of use. The available navigation system is a good example of this intuitive operation, allowing you to enter destinations using the large control knob, the 7-inch touchscreen below the 8-inch map display or by voice commands. But there are a couple of negatives here, including graphics that aren't as sharp as those in other luxury models and several basic functions, such as seat heater controls, that require you to press a potentially distracting number of virtual buttons to access.
Out back, the RLX offers a trunk with 15.3 cubic feet of cargo room. Unfortunately, the lack of fold-down rear seatbacks means the space can't be expanded, though there is a center pass-through opening that can accommodate longer items like skis.