Edmunds gets a First Drive of the refreshed 2018 Acura RLX Sport Hybrid. Edmunds Associate Staff Writer Will Kaufman drives the 2018 Acura RLX Sport Hybrid in sunny Malibu, California. For 2018, this 377-horsepower hybrid luxury sedan receives an updated exterior design, an upgraded interior with new seats, improved driver aids, a smaller battery, and a big price cut compared to a fully loaded 2017 model. But is that enough for the RLX to compete with the newest generation of luxury rivals? According to Will, "the powertrain is an impressive piece of engineering that performs well in the real world, and the RLX Sport Hybrid is surprisingly fun to drive. Lowering the cost of entry was smart, but even with all the updates the RLX still lags behind its competitors in some important ways."
SPEAKER 1: The Acura NSX is a high tech super car that uses hybrid technology to create an exhilarating driving experience. But have you ever wondered what it would be like if it had four doors and the drivetrain was backwards? Well, wonder no more, because this is the 2018 Acura RLX Sport Hybrid. Up front, the RLX receives a new hood. It receives a new front end and new grill that inherits Acura's new styling language, the thing that you're seeing on the MDX and NSX. It retains the Jewel Eye headlights, but it gets new head light pods that include some LED turn signals and LED daytime running lights. You also get this new chin spoiler that ties into the side skirt. You have new 19-inch wheels. Got a hybrid badge, in case you forget you bought a hybrid. And around back you have all-LED tail lights that are a new design with a new rear end look. Now, mechanically this car is related to the NSX, because it takes the electric motors that drive the NSX's front wheels and sticks them in the back to help guide the car through turns. It takes the V6 that the NSX had in its middle, replaces it with seats, and sticks the V6 under the hood where it's assisted by another electric motor and drives the front wheel. The whole thing makes 377 horsepower and returns 28 miles per gallon, which isn't bad. If you are a Japanese car nerd or an '80s and '90s luxury car nerd, you remember the Acura Legend. In the mid '80s, when Acura was still a very new car company, Honda brought the Legend Sedan over. And it was an important car for them, because it both helped define what Acura could be in terms of a luxury car company. It was also the first V6 in a production Honda car. The Legend eventually became the Acura RL, and the Acura RL eventually became this, the Acura RLX, which is actually going to be the Legend in Japan. Over the life of the RL and the RLX, the criticisms levied against this car have remained pretty consistent. It doesn't have a V8. It's not a rear-wheel drive. It's not quite as luxurious feeling or as sporty or as exciting to look at as some of its German competitors. With this refresh, Acura is hoping to address some of those concerns and make this a car that stands up a little better against its European competition. For 2018, Acura updated the interior, making some tweaks to the design and improving some of the material quality. So all the touch points feel pretty premium. It's a quiet interior. These new seats are comfortable. In the Sport Hybrid they're heated and cooled. You get a full suite of driver aids and active safety features. There's a lot of content in this car. The overall design doesn't have quite the same wow factor as the more recently redesigned E-Class or 5 Series. This infotainment system really lags behind the competition. The two-screen setup makes sense in some situations. It's nice to be able to look at your GPS directions and be able to change radio stations or adjust the music or whatever else. But the interface isn't very user friendly. The voice controls don't work super well. And it's just not as fully featured as the offerings from some competitors. So the Acura RLX Sport Hybrid works a little differently from other luxury hybrid cars. You get a V6 engine up front that's coupled with a seven-speed automatic transmission that has an electric motor attached to it to help boost the power from the V6. Where the Super Handling All-Wheel Drive comes in is this car takes the electric motors that in the NSX drive the front wheels, and moves them to the back. So each of the rear wheels in this car has an electric motor that can provide power to it. And that means that when you're going through turns, it really helps push the car around. And for as big and heavy a car as this is, that means that it corners really competently. And I mean it just goes on these twisty roads. So in the Acura RLX Sport Hybrid, in normal mode, at low speed, it will actually crawl along just using the electric motors. And in this car, when the gas engine kicks in during normal driving, it's actually pretty smooth. It's pretty unobtrusive. The one place where it's noticeable is if you're at a stop and the car decides that it needs to kick the engine on to charge the batteries. And that's when you sort of feel the engine start up and you hear it running so that the batteries can get juice. The RLX suspension is actually really nice. It absorbs small imperfections in the road really well, and it provides a pretty comfortable ride that I like a lot. It does-- On some road features you get bounce out of it, and that makes it feel a little unsettled. But that doesn't actually affect the performance that much. As much as some of the competitors have more controlled body roll and a ride that feels a little more buttoned down and connected, the RLX, thanks to this Sport Hybrid system, is surprisingly capable. It's really its own sort of fun. I think it's a different fun from the German sedans. It's that feeling of a big comfy sedan that just somehow magically will push itself around a corner faster than you would expect. The RLX's back seat is pretty spacious. There's a lot of leg room here, and I'd say headroom is average for the class. It's what I'd expect. The seat itself is comfortable, and it's heated as well. You get this power rear sunshade and this tricky side-- Yeah, look at that. That's almost as fun as driving the car. Not. The other thing they did for 2018 was they reduced the size of the battery, which means that the trunk has gotten slightly larger. It's still not as practical as a non-hybrid car. The rear seats don't fall down and there's no pass through, so you're definitely giving up a little bit of practicality here. Unlike some of my coworkers, I'm not terribly concerned with the outward appearance of a car. I figure once you're inside driving, you don't have to look at it. So I'll leave that up to you. On the inside, it's comfortable. It's quiet. It's quick. And it's surprisingly capable. It doesn't have quite the wow factor in here that you get from the newest generation of something like an E-Class or 5 Series. And this infotainment system is definitely just behind what's available in the class. The other thing they've done that's smart is they've reduced the cost of the Sport Hybrid trim by $4,000 for 2018. This car comes basically fully equipped, and it undercuts the cost of its competitors pretty significantly. I think that's a smart move for them, and It will make this car a little more competitive on the market. I like this car. It's a kind of fun that I appreciate, and I like the comfort that you get here. The drivetrain is an impressive piece of technology, and it works really well in the real world. But there's no denying that the impression from the inside is that this car is just a little behind the curve when you look at the competitive class. We're looking forward to getting this car back to the office so we can do a full test on it and tell you all about it. For more information, check out edmunds.com to find our full rating and review of the 2018 Acura RLX Sport Hybrid.
When it comes to flagship luxury sedans, most European and Asian automakers start with a rear-wheel-drive platform and a standard -- or at least optional -- V8. As an outlier, Acura has held fast to its belief that V6 power is more than capable. This is partly mindful of fuel economy concerns and partly due to the fact that Honda simply doesn't make a V8 for any application outside of motorsports.
The new Acura RLX flagship sticks to the V6 formula, and also offers an update to Acura's all-wheel-drive system that first debuted in the RL sedan in 2005. There's no V8, but the base RLX does get a new all-wheel-steering system, while the hybrid model enhances its all-wheel-drive system with electric motors to send additional power to the front and rear wheels. Despite riding atop a 2-inch longer wheelbase than the RL sedan that it replaces, the RLX uses shorter overhangs, a wider stance and LED headlights to achieve a more compact, athletic look than its predecessor.
Acura has always trailed in this upper luxury segment with its powertrain offerings and has relied on its technological advancements to make a compelling argument. The Acura RLX continues that trend, delivering a dizzying array of tech features that include dual LCD displays, smartphone connectivity, hands-free audio, climate control and text messaging, as well as the next generation of the AcuraLink telematics service. And like most Acura vehicles, the RLX offers a high level of refinement and should deliver above-average reliability. It's enough to make Acura relevant again in this competitive luxury class.
Current Acura RLX The Acura RLX debuts for the 2014 model year in base and Sport Hybrid versions. Both models get a 310-horsepower 3.5-liter V6, but that's really where the similarities end. The base model comes with a traditional six-speed automatic transmission connected to front-wheel drive. A four-wheel-steering system known as P-AWS adjusts the angle of the rear wheels for improved cornering and control.
The Sport Hybrid, meanwhile, produces 377 hp thanks to the addition of three electric motors. One is integrated within the seven-speed automated manual transmission to assist the gasoline V6 in powering the front wheels, while the others power one rear wheel each. Not only does this increase power and fuel efficiency, but it dispenses power where it's needed most for optimum handling. Hence, the term "Sport" Hybrid.
The base RLX comes standard with equipment that's often optional on its competitors, including LED headlights, a sunroof, keyless ignition and entry, a power-adjustable steering wheel, tri-zone climate control, a rearview camera and a surround-sound audio system. There are a series of packages, which Acura also deems to be trim levels. The Navigation package's contents are obvious, while the Technology package's highlights include automatic wipers, blind-spot monitoring, an upgraded sound system and leather upholstery (premium vinyl is standard). The Krell Audio package, as the name suggests, includes a Krell premium audio system. Finally, Advance package highlights include ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, adaptive cruise control and a variety of advanced safety features like a collision warning system and lane-keeping assist.
Besides its different powertrain, the Sport Hybrid adds special noise-reducing 19-inch wheels, LED foglights, a head-up display, an electronic gear selector and a special accelerator pedal that encourages economical driving. It also comes standard with the Navigation package, while the Technology and Advance packages are available as well.
In reviews, we've found the base RLX's engine to be quiet and smooth, with ample passing power when you need it. The Sport Hybrid is even better, with an ample well of effortless electric torque that pushes the RLX forward with authority from its rear wheels. The ability to apportion left and right also aids handling, although steering feel is lacking for a car with sporting intentions. The ride quality of both models isn't as smooth as that of most rivals. Highway travel can be bouncy and road imperfections transmit some harshness to the cabin.
As with most current Acura products, the RLX offers a sumptuous interior, including a stitched instrument panel, steering wheel and center console, with wood and metal accents throughout the cabin. Although Acura doesn't offer the powertrain choices of its European rivals, its cabin environments are among the best in the class. Acura says the RLX also offers best-in-class rear seat legroom, with nearly 3 inches more room to spread out than comparable German and Japanese luxury models, and some of the widest front and rear passenger space in the segment.
Although the RLX is technically a new model for 2014, used car shoppers could consider its predecessor, the Acura RL.
The 2018 Acura RLX is offered in the following submodels: Sedan, Hybrid. Available styles include P-AWS 4dr Sedan (3.5L 6cyl 10A), and Sport Hybrid SH-AWD 4dr Sedan AWD (3.5L 6cyl gas/electric hybrid 7AM). RLX models are available with a 0-liter gas engine or a 0-liter hybrid engine, with output up to 377 hp, depending on engine type. The 2018 RLX comes with front wheel drive or all wheel drive. Available transmissions include: 10-speed shiftable automatic, 7-speed automated manual. The 2018 RLX comes with a 4 yr./ 50000 mi. basic warranty, a 4 yr./ 50000 mi. roadside warranty, and a 6 yr./ 70000 mi. powertrain warranty.
What should I pay for a new 2018 Acura RLX?
2018 Acura RLX Sport Hybrid SH-AWD 4dr Sedan AWD (3.5L 6cyl gas/electric hybrid 7AM)
The 2018 Acura RLX Sport Hybrid SH-AWD 4dr Sedan AWD (3.5L 6cyl gas/electric hybrid 7AM) can be purchased for less than the Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (aka MSRP) of $62865. The average price paid for a new 2018 Acura RLX Sport Hybrid SH-AWD 4dr Sedan AWD (3.5L 6cyl gas/electric hybrid 7AM) is trending $5581.7 below the manufacturer's MSRP.
Edmunds members save an average of $5581.7 by getting upfront special offers. The estimated special offer price in your area is $57283.3.
The average savings for the 2018 Acura RLX Sport Hybrid SH-AWD 4dr Sedan AWD (3.5L 6cyl gas/electric hybrid 7AM) is 8.9% below the MSRP.
We are showing 5 Sport Hybrid SH-AWD 4dr Sedan AWD (3.5L 6cyl gas/electric hybrid 7AM) 2018 Acura RLX Sport Hybrid SH-AWD 4dr Sedan AWD (3.5L 6cyl gas/electric hybrid 7AM) vehicle(s) available in the Ashburn area.
2018 Acura RLX P-AWS 4dr Sedan (3.5L 6cyl 10A)
The 2018 Acura RLX P-AWS 4dr Sedan (3.5L 6cyl 10A) can be purchased for less than the Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (aka MSRP) of $55865. The average price paid for a new 2018 Acura RLX P-AWS 4dr Sedan (3.5L 6cyl 10A) is trending $3506.9 below the manufacturer's MSRP.
Edmunds members save an average of $3506.9 by getting upfront special offers. The estimated special offer price in your area is $52358.1.
The average savings for the 2018 Acura RLX P-AWS 4dr Sedan (3.5L 6cyl 10A) is 6.3% below the MSRP.
We are showing 16 P-AWS 4dr Sedan (3.5L 6cyl 10A) 2018 Acura RLX P-AWS 4dr Sedan (3.5L 6cyl 10A) vehicle(s) available in the Ashburn area.
Is the 2018 Acura RLX a good car? Edmunds experts have compiled a robust series of ratings and reviews for the 2018 Acura RLX and all model years in our database. Our rich content includes expert reviews and recommendations for the 2018 RLX featuring deep dives into trim levels and features, performance, mpg, safety, interior, and driving. Edmunds also offers expert ratings, road test and performance data, long-term road tests, first-drive reviews, video reviews and more.
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2018 Acura RLX inventory listings Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 2018 Acura RLX for sale near Ashburn VA. There are currently 44 new and 69 used and CPO 2018 RLXs listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as 55300 and mileage as low as 0. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a car from our massive database to find cheap vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a vehicle you're interested in, check the Carfax and autocheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the 2018 Acura RLX. Then select Edmunds special offers, perks, deals, and incentives to contact the dealer of your choice and save up to 7728 on a new, used, or CPO 2018 RLX available from one of 2806 dealerships in your area.
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