2016 Acura RLX Review

Type:

Pros & Cons

  • Spacious seating with room for adults to stretch out in back
  • plentiful standard features, including some that are typically options
  • quick acceleration from Sport Hybrid model
  • excellent crash-test scores.
  • Steering feels less sporty and connected than most rivals
  • odd dual-screen infotainment system with some unintuitive controls
  • front seats get uncomfortable on longer trips.
Other years
List Price Range
$22,999 - $29,999

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Edmunds' Expert Review

Some full-size luxury sedans are designed to draw attention, but maybe that's not your style. If you'd rather fly under the radar, the 2016 Acura RLX obliges with subtle styling on the outside and a slew of advanced features inside. Let's see if this reasonably priced flagship belongs in your garage.

Vehicle overview

Mostly unchanged for 2016, the Acura RLX will likely continue to drive below the radar of most midsize luxury sedan buyers. Honestly, its styling is pretty conservative and, after its debut just a couple years ago (as a replacement for the RL), it still doesn't have much name recognition behind it. But that's not to say the 2016 RLX is without merits.

The big draw here is that for the money, the RLX provides an impressive list of standard features. Even the base trim level (now the RLX with Navigation) comes with features that are normally optional for sedans in this class, such as a navigation system, LED headlights and keyless ignition and entry. And this year the RLX's suite of collision avoidance and driver's aids becomes standard with the Technology and Advance Package trim levels. The addition of these features as standard equipment is notable because the MSRP of the 2016 RLX, across all trim levels, has not increased from the previous year.

The 2016 Acura RLX is conservatively styled but delivers a lot of luxury-oriented features for the money.

Carrying over from the 2015 model is the same, smooth 3.5-liter V6 engine that drives the front wheels through a six-speed automatic transmission. However, Acura has seen fit to modify the chassis and suspension tuning in an effort to improve ride quality, handling and reduce road noise and vibration levels. The RLX also gets a few new safety features this year, including a road departure intervention system and a 360-degree and top-down parking camera system. Returning for 2016 is the RLX Sport Hybrid, which Acura introduced for 2014 but then skipped for 2015.

We like the hybrid variant and the RLX's feature content, but otherwise there's not a whole lot else about the car that impresses us. Competitors like the Audi A6 and Lexus GS 350 are more luxurious on the inside, while the Hyundai Genesis can outdo the RLX on price. And with the Advance package and/or Sport Hybrid pricing, the RLX finds itself in even deeper waters, as the two stalwarts of the midsize luxury sedan class, the BMW 5 Series and Mercedes-Benz E-Class, are within reach at that level. Both offer more sophisticated ride and handling as well as an array of gasoline, diesel and all-wheel-drive variations. Overall, we think the RLX is worth consideration if value is a priority, but otherwise, it's likely you'll be happier with one of the aforementioned rivals.

2016 Acura RLX models

The 2016 Acura RLX comes in three main trim levels (mostly referred to by Acura as packages): Navigation, Technology Package and the Advance Package, but you'll have to special order the Navigation trim level through the dealer. The 2016 Sport Hybrid comes only with the Technology or Advance packages.

The RLX with Navigation (the lowest trim level) comes well-equipped with 19-inch alloy wheels, LED headlights, a sunroof, keyless ignition and entry, tri-zone automatic climate control, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, leatherette upholstery, eight-way power adjustable front seats (with four-way power lumbar), heated front seats, driver memory settings and a power tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel. The list of standard electronics includes dual displays, 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.

Choosing the Technology option package bundles automatic wipers, leather upholstery, adaptive cruise control and a 14-speaker ELS sound system. On top of that the Advance package adds a power rear sunshade, manual rear passenger window shades, remote start, auto-dimming outside mirrors, ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, a heated steering wheel, a 360-degree parking camera system and a Krell Premium sound system, also with 14 speakers. Both the Technology and Advance packages come with a suite of driver assistance aids known as AcuraWatch (detailed in the safety section below).

Every 2016 Acura RLX comes standard with dual dashboard display screens.

The RLX Sport Hybrid comes standard with the Technology package and can be upgraded to the Advance package. A head-up display is an exclusive standard feature for the Sport Hybrid.

2016 Highlights

The 2016 Acura RLX stays largely the same as the 2015 model, but it does see the addition of 19-inch wheels as standard equipment, chassis and suspension upgrades for improved ride quality, and expanded availability of the RLX's collection of driver assistance aids and collision mitigation features. There are also a few new safety features: road departure mitigation, rear cross-traffic alert and a 360-degree camera system. Lastly, the RLX's previous base trim level has been discontinued, while the Sport Hybrid variant will arrive later in the model year.

Performance & mpg

For 2016, the regular Acura RLX comes with a 3.5-liter V6 engine putting out 310 horsepower and 272 pound-feet of torque. Front-wheel drive and a six-speed automatic transmission are standard.

The RLX Sport Hybrid combines the V6 with a three-motor hybrid system, a seven-speed automated manual transmission and all-wheel drive (Acura's Super Handling All-Wheel Drive [SH-AWD]). Total system power is rated at 377 hp and 341 lb-ft of torque.

In Edmunds testing, an RLX with the Advance package went from zero to 60 mph in 6.3 seconds, which is average for a midsize luxury sedan with a base engine. The EPA rates the RLX at 24 mpg combined (20 city/31 highway), which is also average for a six-cylinder luxury sedan.

The Sport Hybrid delivers superior acceleration and fuel economy. In our testing, it zipped to 60 mph in a quick 5.4 seconds. The EPA lists fuel economy at 30 mpg combined (28/32). On our highway-biased evaluation route, however, we observed a lackluster 27.8 mpg.

Safety

Standard safety systems for the RLX include forward collision warning, lane departure warning, a rearview camera and stability and traction control. Front side, side curtain and a driver knee airbag are also standard on all trim levels.

The Technology and Advance Packages also include forward collision mitigation with automatic braking, lane departure intervention, road departure intervention (similar to lane departure intervention, but it can help prevent the car from leaving a paved surface), blind sport monitoring and rear cross traffic alert. The Advance Package also comes with an additional parking camera system that can simulate a top-down, 360 degree view of the car to aid in tight maneuvering.

In Edmunds testing, the RLX managed a 60-0-mph braking distance of 120 feet, an average, if not slightly underwhelming number for this class. The Sport Hybrid came to a stop in 124 feet.

In government crash tests, the RLX earned a top five-star rating (out of a possible five), with five stars for total frontal impact safety and five stars for total side-impact safety. The RLX similarly excelled in Insurance Institute for Highway Safety tests where it posted a top score of "Good" in all tests including both moderate- and small-overlap frontal-offset collisions plus side impacts, roof strength and seatbelt and head restraint design (for whiplash reduction).

Driving

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, or even a V8, feel noticeably quicker. The Sport Hybrid is noticeably quicker, and its quick-shifting transmission imbues the car with a sportier feel.

Compared to rivals like the Audi A6 or Lexus GS, the 2016 Acura RLX suffers from lackluster handling and performance.

Previously, the RLX didn't ride with the same composure as other sedans in this class. The 19-inch wheels contributed to the harshness felt when driving over rough patches at low speeds, while the ride on the highway could be bouncy. This year's model is more composed, thankfully, and better able to absorb impacts over rough pavement. Low levels of road and wind noise are the RLX's greatest attributes. Still lacking, however, is a sense of driver engagement. Modest handling limits and numb steering and braking all conspire to make you wonder what happened to Acura's traditional levels of sport.

Interior

From the moment you step inside the cabin of the 2016 Acura RLX, you can't help but notice the spacious feel of the interior. But it's the rear passengers who will be most surprised by the accommodations, as the RLX offers nearly 3 inches more legroom than most other sedans in this class. Though it is perhaps the most adult-friendly rear seat in the category, taller passengers may want a little extra headroom and more toe room under the front seats. And those front seats, while perfectly comfortable for most trips, left us wishing for more support on longer journeys.

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 crisp as those in other luxury models and several basic functions that aren't as instinctive as we'd like.

Out back, the RLX offers a trunk with 15.3 (15.1 with the Krell audio system) cubic-feet of luggage space. As the rear-seat back does not fold down, the center seat pass-through is the only way to carry longer objects. Sport Hybrids have a noticeably smaller 11.6-cubic-foot trunk.


Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 2016 Acura RLX.

Trending topics in reviews

Most helpful consumer reviews

outstanding car
hondahound,08/04/2016
Sport Hybrid SH-AWD w/Advance Package 4dr Sedan AWD (3.5L 6cyl gas/electric hybrid 7AM)
We bought this car about a month ago and it was certainly the most expensive car we've ever purchased. We did wind up test driving basically every car at the Acura dealership as well as checked out comprable Lexus sedans as well as the Accord (our historical default choice). Now that we've driven the car for about 5 weeks, our intial impression: its fantastic! I deliberately left the "value" category blank as its certainly in a very different class than other cars we've purchased in the past. (Frankly we'd consider that the Accord is a great "value".) Thus far, we've been thrilled with the RLX Hybrid. Its comfortable for long and short rides, quite sporty and, when driven a bit aggressively/sport mode, will certainly demand the driver's attention to keep the shiny side up. The safety features are amazing (CMBS,LKAS, etc). The safety features as well as the tech features did require some a bit of study, but now I find it very intuitive. Overall an outstanig car!
Forbes writer is an idiot. This car is awesome
Nick N,08/01/2016
Technology Package 4dr Sedan (3.5L 6cyl 6A)
First, any "Expert" that is paid to write an article about a car should have to drive one of the cars for a month, then write their opinion. This clown who was an independent writer for Forbes, says the 2016 Acura RLX is one of the worst 10 cars to buy. Seriously? A 5 Star safety rating in every category, phenomenal company (Acura makes a lemon?) incredibly smooth, quiet, has great acceleration, is sexy, sleek, but doesn't have the perception as a racecar like a BMW ( had one, and it sucked, unless you LIKE being in the repair shop all the time), so it gets hammered before it is even proven? This Acura RLX is so fun to drive, whether a short jaunt or a multiple hour trip, it is outstanding in spite of what a non-owner tries to tell you. Expect to but it $10K under MSRP. The technology package is nice, the visibility is great, and I'd rather have a DEPENDABLE, SAFE car like this than a slightly faster BMW that will break down, or Mercedes (Turbo charged 4 cylinders are stupid if you want a car long-term) sedan unless you buy 500. Acura has a reputation as dependable and reliable, and this is still true.
Ordered My Second RLX!
Acura Enthusiast,12/28/2016
Technology Package 4dr Sedan (3.5L 6cyl 6A)
This is a very underrated car. I just ordered my second RLX after finishing a three-year lease. Initially, I was quite surprised at how much I liked this car. It has comfort, value, a killer stereo, reliability, and quality materials throughout. Unfortunately, Acura has chosen not to aggressively market this model. That's too bad, because it's a real jewel!
Electric Motors Accelerate Schmooooooth!!!!
GaryN,02/08/2016
Sport Hybrid SH-AWD w/Advance Package 4dr Sedan AWD (3.5L 6cyl gas/electric hybrid 7AM)
Overall very satisfied with this purchase. Currently at 29k miles. No major glitches. Controls are intuitive and easy to master. However, Playing XM stations are glitchy and very slow to load, for scrolling; as are obtaining music from your USB FlashDrive. Push Button shifting, especially reverse, is slow to engage (1+ sec) on press of accelerator. Hybrid system is absolutely awesome, but comes with sacrifice of trunk space. Engine is very quiet when switching between electric motors and engine running; transfers between each completely unnoticed except for the RPM needle moving, ......this hybrid is much different than those gas saving German models which "die" at a stop sign, then restart. Very comfortable and rides well. Power distribution lives up to the "rides on rails" marketing motto. Controls are within ergonomic arm reach, very well thought out. Remains a comfortable and joy to drive. Sport mode is a definite power boost with intelligent tranny reset Would definitely buy again, and recommend.

Features & Specs

MPG
20 city / 31 hwy
Seats 5
6-speed shiftable automatic
Gas
310 hp @ 6500 rpm
MPG
20 city / 31 hwy
Seats 5
6-speed shiftable automatic
Gas
310 hp @ 6500 rpm
MPG
28 city / 32 hwy
Seats 5
7-speed automated manual
Hybrid
377 hp @ 6500 rpm
MPG
20 city / 31 hwy
Seats 5
6-speed shiftable automatic
Gas
310 hp @ 6500 rpm
See all Used 2016 Acura RLX features & specs

Safety

NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    Overall5 / 5
    Driver5 / 5
    Passenger5 / 5
  • Side Crash Rating
    Overall5 / 5
  • Side Barrier Rating
    Overall5 / 5
    Driver5 / 5
    Passenger5 / 5
  • Combined Side Barrier & Pole Ratings
    Front Seat5 / 5
    Back Seat5 / 5
  • Rollover
    Rollover5 / 5
    Dynamic Test ResultNo Tip
    Risk Of Rollover9.7%
IIHS Rating
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
  • Side Impact Test
    Good
  • Roof Strength Test
    Good
  • Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
    Good
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test
    Good

More about the 2016 Acura RLX

Used 2016 Acura RLX Overview

The Used 2016 Acura RLX is offered in the following submodels: RLX Sedan, RLX Hybrid. Available styles include Technology Package 4dr Sedan (3.5L 6cyl 6A), Advance Package 4dr Sedan (3.5L 6cyl 6A), Sport Hybrid SH-AWD w/Advance Package 4dr Sedan AWD (3.5L 6cyl gas/electric hybrid 7AM), Navigation 4dr Sedan (3.5L 6cyl 6A), and Sport Hybrid SH-AWD w/Technology Package 4dr Sedan AWD (3.5L 6cyl gas/electric hybrid 7AM).

What's a good price on a Used 2016 Acura RLX?

Price comparisons for Used 2016 Acura RLX trim styles:

  • The Used 2016 Acura RLX Sport Hybrid SH-AWD w/Advance Package is priced between $28,966 and$29,999 with odometer readings between 34818 and41629 miles.
  • The Used 2016 Acura RLX Technology Package is priced between $23,995 and$25,527 with odometer readings between 10877 and46138 miles.
  • The Used 2016 Acura RLX Advance Package is priced between $22,999 and$22,999 with odometer readings between 36329 and36329 miles.
  • The Used 2016 Acura RLX Sport Hybrid SH-AWD w/Technology Package is priced between $27,950 and$27,950 with odometer readings between 20687 and20687 miles.

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Which used 2016 Acura RLXES are available in my area?

Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 2016 Acura RLX for sale near. There are currently 6 used and CPO 2016 RLXES listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $22,999 and mileage as low as 10877 miles. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a used car from our massive database to find cheap prew-owned vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a used vehicle you're interested in, check the AutoCheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the Used 2016 Acura RLX.

Can't find a used 2016 Acura RLXs you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used Acura RLX for sale - 11 great deals out of 20 listings starting at $10,308.

Find a used Acura for sale - 12 great deals out of 13 listings starting at $19,801.

Find a used certified pre-owned Acura RLX for sale - 9 great deals out of 17 listings starting at $14,627.

Find a used certified pre-owned Acura for sale - 11 great deals out of 20 listings starting at $21,788.

Should I lease or buy a 2016 Acura RLX?

Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

Check out Acura lease specials
Check out Acura RLX lease specials