2018 Acura RLX Review

Type:

Pros & Cons

  • Sport Hybrid model offers fast, fuel-efficient acceleration
  • Long list of standard safety and convenience features
  • Spacious cabin and seating, especially for rear passengers
  • Dual-screen infotainment system isn't intuitive to use
  • Interior design looks dated
  • Steering feels disconnected from the road
  • Apple CarPlay and Android Auto aren't available
Other years
List Price Range
$32,990 - $37,500

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Which RLX does Edmunds recommend?

The RLX Sport Hybrid makes an impressive case for itself with its acceleration, handling and efficiency gains over the base model. It also comes fully loaded for a reasonable price. The one drawback is that total trunk space is reduced by the battery pack. Otherwise, this is the RLX to get.

Edmunds' Expert Review

Overall rating

7.3 / 10

The 2018 Acura RLX is quiet and comfortable and offers an impressive mix of power and fuel economy from the Sport Hybrid version. But this year's updates (read more about them in our RLX First Impression review) just don't go far enough in addressing the issues that make the RLX hard to recommend over similarly priced luxury competitors.

Certainly, there are positive aspects to Acura's top sedan. The Sport Hybrid is pretty cool. It's all-wheel-drive, and each rear wheel is independently driven by an electric motor; an electric motor in the transmission helps the V6 drive the front wheels. This system produces a total of 377 horsepower and returns an EPA-estimated 28 mpg combined. The Sport Hybrid is smooth and unobtrusive in city driving, and it provides competent handling when you're driving on twisty roads.

The rest of the RLX is a mixed bag, however. Although Acura packs in plenty of features as standard, the overall interior design comes off as dated. The biggest offender is the dual-screen infotainment system. It's frustrating to use, lacks many of the bells and whistles that other luxury marques offer, and belies all the other impressive technology that's available in the RLX.

We think it's worth checking out a few other midsize luxury sedans even if they cost a little more. The Mercedes-Benz E-Class was recently redesigned and sports a richly appointed interior. The Volvo S90 offers a likewise impressively modern interior and a hybrid option. The Audi A6 offers one of the best tech interfaces in the segment, while the venerable BMW 5 Series and value-packed Genesis G80 are also great choices. Overall, the 2018 Acura RLX is likable enough, but the competition is generally more desirable.

2018 Acura RLX models

The 2018 Acura RLX comes in just two trims. The base front-wheel-drive version (referred to as P-AWS) comes with a list of features that's more comprehensive than what you'll get on many competitive base models. The Sport Hybrid comes with an impressive all-wheel-drive hybrid drivetrain and even more premium features.

The base RLX P-AWS is powered by a 3.5-liter V6 engine making 310 horsepower and 272 pound-feet of torque. It sends power to the front wheels via a new 10-speed automatic transmission.

Standard equipment on the P-AWS trim includes 19-inch alloy wheels, LED headlights and taillights, a power sunroof, automatic windshield wipers, a rearview camera, and keyless entry with push-button start. Inside you'll find three-zone automatic climate control, heated and power-adjustable front seats, leather upholstery, a power-adjustable steering wheel, a dual-screen infotainment system, navigation, Bluetooth, and a 14-speaker sound system with a CD player, HD and satellite radio, a USB-iPod interface, smartphone app integration (Pandora and Aha internet radio integration), and an auxiliary audio jack.

Both the P-AWS and Sport Hybrid come with a full suite of active safety features and driver aids, including adaptive cruise control, lane keeping assist, blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert, and forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking.

The Sport Hybrid also adds LED foglights, auto-dimming and power-folding side mirrors, front and rear parking sensors, remote start, and a surround-view camera system. Inside, the Sport Hybrid gets ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, a heated steering wheel, a power rear sunshade and manual rear-door sunshades, a head-up display, and a premium 14-speaker stereo system.

Obviously, the biggest upgrade is the hybrid drivetrain. The V6 motor drives the front wheels through a seven-speed, dual-clutch automatic transmission with a built-in electric motor, and each rear wheel has an independent electric motor. Total system power is 377 horsepower and 341 pound-feet of torque.

Trim tested

Each vehicle typically comes in multiple versions, although trim levels share many aspects. The ratings in this review are based on our First Drive of the 2018 Acura RLX Sport Hybrid SH-AWD as well as prior full tests of a 2014 Acura RLX Advance (3.5L V6 | 6-speed automatic | FWD) and a 2016 Acura RLX Sport Hybrid SH-AWD Advance (hybrid 3.5L V6 | 7-speed dual-clutch automatic | AWD).

Driving

7.0
The RLX is relatively nimble and wields enough horsepower to handle everyday tasks with ease. Although it's dynamically competent, others in the segment offer a more engaging driving experience and a wider selection of powertrains.

Acceleration

7.5
The 310-horsepower 3.5-liter V6 is a strong, refined engine and even better when paired with three electric motors, for 377 hp combined. Both RLX models pull hard to redline and are always smooth, though acceleration times aren't any quicker than those of most competitors.

Braking

5.5
Brake performance is slightly below average for the segment. The RLX required 120 feet, and the Sport Hybrid 124 feet, to reach a stop from 60 mph. The pedal feel is linear and predictable.

Steering

6.0
The steering is accurate but numb and artificial, so you can't feel what's going on with the front tires, hurting driver confidence in low-grip situations (e.g., winter driving).

Handling

7.0
Acura Precision All-Wheel Steering (P-AWS) delivers predictable, confident and competent handling, but it's not a class leader. The same goes for the Sport Hybrid whose Super Handling All-Wheel-Drive (SH-AWD) system helps mask some inherent handling deficiencies.

Drivability

8.5
The RLX combines luxury and performance in a way that makes it an excellent everyday commuter. The powertrains are smooth and tranquil; the transmissions deliver seamless shifts; and sufficient thrust is there at the ready.

Comfort

8.0
RLX ride comfort varies between models, but seat comfort falls below our expectations at this price. Noise and vibration, however, are kept at bay, which helps preserve some cabin serenity.

Seat comfort

7.0
In our First Drive of the refreshed RLX, we found the updated seats to be both more comfortable for long-distance driving and more supportive for aggressive driving. Some competitors offer more luxurious optional seats, but the new RLX seats are an improvement over the old buckets.

Ride comfort

8.0
Ride quality is on the firm side in the standard RLX and somewhat softer and more forgiving in the Sport Hybrid, though it will wallow occasionally over some road surfaces. We consider it average for the segment.

Noise & vibration

9.0
A low-level hum of tire noise finds its way into the cabin, but it's mainly noticeable because of the lack of wind and engine noise. The transition from electric to gas power in the Sport Hybrid is pleasantly smooth.

Interior

7.5
The RLX interior is best described as functionally pleasant; there isn't much of a wow factor. The top infotainment display has a lower resolution than the bottom touchscreen, and the controls look dated and lack an intuitive flow. You'll find better interiors at this price.

Ease of use

7.0
The dual-screen setup takes practice: One is a touchscreen; the other uses a push-knob rotary selector. The menus aren't overly intuitive, and the lack of a hard switch for fan speed is a poor choice. More thought needs to go into organization.

Getting in/getting out

8.0
All doors open wide with big entryways, especially the rear. The easy-entry electric steering wheel aids driver entry (a common feature in this class), but the dash extends low at the knee area, limiting space. On the other hand, it's cushioned in case of contact.

Driving position

A tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, highly adjustable seats and minimal side bolstering nearly ensure that all body types will fit.

Roominess

9.0
The RLX is the largest Acura sedan to date. Elbow and shoulder room and rear legroom are generous and among the best in class. Passengers with tall torsos may be affected by the slope of the rear roofline, though a relief in the ceiling opens up some lost headroom.

Visibility

8.0
Speakers in the windshield pillars make for slightly larger blind spots out front, and a high trunklid partially obscures rearward visibility. The Advance package, however, includes multiple cameras and selectable viewing angles that greatly enhance overall awareness.

Quality

7.0
The leather surface stitching is tight and clean, and all materials feel of good quality with soft-touch surfaces in all the right places. Some minor inconsistencies, such as interior door gaps, only become apparent when you look for them. The design may be a little dated, but it doesn't feel cheap.

Utility

The RLX offers generous amounts of passenger space but fails to impress with its trunk accommodations and in-cabin storage for personal effects.

Small-item storage

The RLX's glovebox and door pockets are modestly sized, which leaves the three-way-access armrest compartment as the most usable space. The rear center armrest has slide-out cupholders.

Cargo space

6.5
Trunk space is average, though the lack of a spare tire allows for underfloor storage. There's a ski pass-through instead of fold-down rear seats in the standard RLX, and the Sport Hybrid sacrifices the pass-through due to its batteries, dropping cargo room from 14.9 cubic feet to 12 cubic feet.

EdmundsScorecard

Overall7.3 / 10
Driving7.0
Comfort8.0
Interior7.5

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 2018 Acura RLX.

Trending topics in reviews

Most helpful consumer reviews

Like driving an NSX
Hobart,03/10/2018
Sport Hybrid SH-AWD 4dr Sedan AWD (3.5L 6cyl gas/electric hybrid 7AM)
The 2018 Acura RLX Sport Hybrid feels like driving an NSX supercar. The hybrid gas / electric all wheel drive system offers an incredible combination of performance, traction and economy. It’s impressive and exciting to drive. Goes in snow like nothing else you’ve driven. Gas mileage can get well into the 30s. Even though it sips Gas, it will still come out of the hole like crazy with tons of horsepower and torque. Super quiet, super fun. A unique and impressive car.
Great value car - great safety features standard
Brian W Wiatrek,08/04/2018
Sport Hybrid SH-AWD 4dr Sedan AWD (3.5L 6cyl gas/electric hybrid 7AM)
I was looking for a car that would provide some relief to a 52 mile round trip daily commute to work on very congested interstate (I-35 in Texas). I wanted a car that had good performance, fuel economy, and semi-autonomous driving features. I looked at BMW, Mercedes, Cadillac, and Acura. I choose the Acura RLX Hybrid because of Traffic Jam Assist, good fuel economy, and fantastic acceleration. I have had the car two months and have put on over 3,000 miles in that time. So far, I average 30 mpg. Occasionally, I put the car in Sport mode, but I usually leave it in the standard drive mode. In both modes, the car has very good acceleration; however, if you want the best acceleration put it in Sport mode. I use Traffic Jam Assist daily. It works best if you get in a freeway lane that does not have a lot of cars trying to merge in. The system sometimes is slow to respond to a car that darts in front of you. I have used the TJA to drive all the way from south Austin to north San Antonio and had to take control only once or twice. I highly recommend this car. I recommend that you ensure you are ok with the infotainment system and that you are fine with the small trunk before you buy.
Review misses the mark
FisherEdD,11/26/2018
Sport Hybrid SH-AWD 4dr Sedan AWD (3.5L 6cyl gas/electric hybrid 7AM)
Prior to owning the RLX Hybrid I owned an A6 4.2 and an M35X both great cars but not comparable to the Acura. The Acura is a dream to drive and is super quiet, extremely fun to drive and the exeleration is amazing. Plus the gas mileage is amazing, and I like being eco friendly. The tech is great and the safety features are incredible. I won’t be shopping for another car for a little while but when I do it will be another RLX sport hybrid. *** update its 2019 and I’m still in love with this car
Liked the 2014 model and this is even better
David,07/31/2018
Sport Hybrid SH-AWD 4dr Sedan AWD (3.5L 6cyl gas/electric hybrid 7AM)
Entertainment system may not be intuitive or showy but it works really well when you get used to it and the sound is awesome! Same for navigation - not showy but it does the job. The driving aids (lane keeping etc.) and ride are outstanding, and it is fast when you want it to be. Excellent value but I bought it because I liked it better than the Audi S5 I was considering. Great car for mid-west mixed driving. Way under-rated model.

Features & Specs

MPG
20 city / 29 hwy
Seats 5
10-speed shiftable automatic
Gas
310 hp @ 6500 rpm
MPG
28 city / 29 hwy
Seats 5
7-speed automated manual
Hybrid
377 hp @ 6500 rpm
See all Used 2018 Acura RLX features & specs

Safety

Our experts like the RLX models:

Adaptive Cruise Control
Lets you set a desired speed and maintain distance between you and the vehicle ahead, even bringing you to a complete stop.
Collision Mitigation Braking System
Alerts you of obstacles detected ahead. Provides visual alerts first and will automatically brake for you if you don't react.
Lane Keeping Assist System
Detects lane markings and will guide the car back to the middle if you begin to drift out of your lane.

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 2018 Acura RLX

Used 2018 Acura RLX Overview

The Used 2018 Acura RLX is offered in the following submodels: RLX Sedan, RLX 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).

What's a good price on a Used 2018 Acura RLX?

Price comparisons for Used 2018 Acura RLX trim styles:

  • The Used 2018 Acura RLX P-AWS is priced between $32,990 and$32,990 with odometer readings between 15278 and15278 miles.
  • The Used 2018 Acura RLX Sport Hybrid SH-AWD is priced between $37,500 and$37,500 with odometer readings between 31913 and31913 miles.

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Which used 2018 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) 2018 Acura RLX for sale near. There are currently 2 used and CPO 2018 RLXES listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $32,990 and mileage as low as 15278 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 2018 Acura RLX.

Can't find a used 2018 Acura RLXs you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used Acura RLX for sale - 10 great deals out of 17 listings starting at $13,580.

Find a used Acura for sale - 12 great deals out of 20 listings starting at $23,927.

Find a used certified pre-owned Acura RLX for sale - 10 great deals out of 19 listings starting at $13,022.

Find a used certified pre-owned Acura for sale - 2 great deals out of 22 listings starting at $9,893.

Should I lease or buy a 2018 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