2018 Acura RLX Review
Edmunds expert review
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.
What's new for 2018
Trim levels & features
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.
Noise & vibration9.0
Ease of use7.0
Getting in/getting out8.0
Edmunds expert review process
This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.
We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.