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- Highs Smooth V-6 power, comfortable and upscale cabin, loads of standard features.
- Lows Tuned for comfort more than handling, interior lags behind some rivals, no Apple CarPlay or Android Auto.
- Verdict The RLX is a solid choice in a comfortable, reliable, luxury sedan, although it trails some competitors in a few areas.
The RLX is a full-size, five-passenger four-door sedan from Honda’s premium division. The second-generation RLX, which went on sale in the 2014 model year, is designed to compete with such luxury models as the Lexus LS and Audi A8. The base front-wheel-drive 2017 model features Acura’s Precision-All Wheel Steer (PAWS) system, and there's also a hybrid version with Super-Handling All Wheel Drive and a 3.5-liter gas V-6 powering the front wheels and electric motors driving the rear wheels.
What's New for 2017?
The only change to the RLX for the 2017 model year is that the AcuraWatch safety suite of driver-assistance and safety features has been made standard on the base model.
- Base: $55,415
- Hybrid: $60,915
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Engine, Transmission, and Performance
A smooth and quiet 310-horsepower, 3.5-liter V-6 with a six-speed automatic powers the front-wheel-drive Acura RLX. The hybrid model adds a 47-hp electric motor built inside its seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission, plus a 36-horsepower electric motor at each rear wheel, for a net of 377 horsepower. The hybrid system also powers Acura’s mid-engine NSX supercar. We recorded a respectably quick 0-60 mph time of 5.5 seconds for the RLX Hybrid. Unlike the sublime NSX sports car however, the RLX is built for comfort over speed. “RLX” could stand for “relax.” Its softened non-adjustable shocks are tuned for ride rather than handling, and while it corners with purpose and with good steering feel, softness defines its character.
EPA fuel-economy testing and reporting procedures have changed over time. For the latest numbers on current and older vehicles, visit the EPA’s website and select Find & Compare Cars.
Interior, Comfort, and Cargo
Acura cut the RLX's packages down to two in the previous model year. They now consist of the base model with Technology package and the available Advance package. Base models come with such features as leather upholstery, power-adjustable heated seats, three-zone automatic climate control, a power-adjustable steering wheel, ambient interior lighting, and a power sunroof. The Advance package adds items like rear-window shades, ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, a heated steering wheel, remote start, and a 360-degree parking camera system. Occupants will find plenty of space in both the front and back seats, although the level of pure luxury falls a bit behind some rivals, and while cargo room is adequate, in-cabin storage space lags behind many competitors.
Infotainment and Connectivity
Both the base RLX and the hybrid model come well-equipped with lots of technology and standard navigation. Other standard features include Bluetooth, USB ports, and a 14-speaker stereo with satellite radio. The Advance package and hybrid model add a premium Krell hi-fidelity audio system, also with 14 speakers. Curiously at this price point, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are not available.
Safety Features and Crash Test Ratings
Overall Safety Rating (NHTSA)
Some older vehicles are still eligible for coverage under a manufacturer's Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) program. For more information visit our guide to every manufacturer's CPO program.