Name recognition is important in this crowd of luxury sedans that have a history of success to intrigue car buyers.
The Acura RLX debuted in 2014, joining a very impressive group of midsize luxury sedans. There’s no arguing that RLX arrived with plenty of upside, but does it have enough to hang with this crowd?
The RLX finds itself among some elite vehicles, industry leaders like the BMW 5 Series, Lexus GS 350, Audi A6, Mercedes-Benz E350, plus some other notables like the Hyundai Genesis and Cadillac CTS.
Historically, Acura doesn’t have tremendous success in the midsize luxury sedan class. Its previous effort was the now discontinued RL, which had a run from 1996 to 2012. The RL followed the Legend as the flagship sedan in the Acura lineup.
Acura’s new flagship vehicle doesn’t provide any “wow” factor from an appearance aspect. Frankly, it’s rather conservative, much like the RL. The 2016 Acura RLX does possess eye-appealing headlights, 10 LED lighting elements to increase visibility, and is two inches wider than the RL, and therefore offers a little more interior room.
Despite the drawbacks, the RLX is very cool when it comes to technology to aid driving. In the safety category, it has blind spot warning and lane departure systems, which are nice reminders that serve very necessary purposes.
The RLX also features an all-speed adaptive cruise control that slows the vehicle down automatically in heavy traffic.
Performance is another plus for the front-wheel drive RLX, which comes in three primary trims. It has a 3.5-liter, V6 that produces 310 horsepower, 272 pound-feet of torque, and is paired with a six-speed automatic transmission. The RLX, which goes 0-60 mph in 6.3 seconds, has both paddle shifters and sport mode.
Test driven here for a week was the RLX Sport Hybrid. It features a powerful gas-electric engine that has a combined 377 horsepower and utilizes a seven-speed automated manual transmission. Gas mileage could be better. For a hybrid, the estimated 30 mpg is hardly impressive.
The RLX engine is refined in two areas: it’s smooth and quiet. However, the ride can be a little harsh when the vehicle is equipped with 19-inch tires. Steering is refined and overall the RLX offers a sporty ride.
There’s considerable space for all who step inside the RLX. A 6-footer will feel comfortable in either the front or backseat that also offers considerable support. The trunk space is fairly typical for the class with 15.3 cubic feet.
Although the RLX has some impressive qualities, it remains to be seen whether it can do any better than the RL, its predecessor.
2016 Acura RLX
- Performance: 3.5-liter, V6, 310 horsepower; Hybrid 3.5-liter, V6, 377 horsepower
- Mileage estimate range: 20-31 mpg; 28-32 mpg
- Price: $50,950 to $59,950
- Warranty: 4 years/50,000 miles; drivetrain 6 years/70,000 miles; corrosion 5 years/unlimited; roadside assistance 4 years/50,000