2018 Acura RLX Sport Hybrid | Test Drive | Edmunds

2018 Acura RLX Sport Hybrid | Test Drive | Edmunds


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.

100 Replies to “2018 Acura RLX Sport Hybrid | Test Drive | Edmunds”

  1. Agreed. Exterior chrome looks 1990's Pontiac add on. The interior doesn't seem to justify a $50k(+/-) price point. A friend of mine has a '14 RL. The tech is woefully behind, as in our '16 RDX

  2. I've been dreaming of a 400whp Turbo i4 hybrid on a CVT 3000lb 4 passenger car for a while now.
    The dyno chart torque would be a horizontal line at 325lb from 1000rpm to 6500rpm. It would have adaptive suspension and carbon fiber wheels+drive shaft to reduce rotational mass.

    I'm thinking of using a Mitsubishi Mirage as the base. 🤔 It'll be an NSX Mirage! 😍

  3. love honda but thr acura team has to gey their shit together, their cars are ugly iinvluding the nsx. maybe they should fire there chick designer have somebody elae.desig the cars

  4. Acura and Honda died in the early 2000s. I feel Acura's biggest misstep was trying to be Euro making all of their cars just letters. Acuras used to be all over the road, Legends, Integras, TLs etc…Now a days you rarely see one. They are all ugly, no spirit, no style. I would take a 90's Legend any day over this car and those things still demand a decent amount of money in good condition!

  5. This model will never be able to compete against any of its rivals. If you could even call them rivals. There’s nothing classy about this car. It’s like a “luxury car” for a much much younger and tacky crowd. Not a luxury car, not a sports car, not a competitor for the Germans.

  6. Terrible. Looks like a bloated Elantra with tech from 20 years ago in the center console. The Accord looks more luxurious inside and has way better tech. Acura needs to just go away.

  7. The one tested is probably priced over $60K…not even worth that price with its dated interior, fake/plastic wood trim, and awkward styling. Sure the hybrid powertrain might be nice, but luxury buyers won’t be able to look past these things. It’s priced close to the Germans and Lexus, while Genesis G80 undercuts this car by several thousand and is much better. No wonder this is the worst seller in the class.

  8. From the reviewer's language, a listener might believe that the NSX Sport Hybrid was produced before the RLX Sport Hybrid, when in fact the KC2 Legend (RLX Sport Hybrid) was on the road in the 2014 model year.

    His comments about the infotainment system are spot on and I sympathize.  🙂  This was always the worst thing about my 2014 Sport Hybrid, and I cannot believe they went through the MMC without improving the infotainment system.

    I was interested in the comments complimenting the suspension because the 2014 car's suspension drew criticism for harshness.  I know the springs and swayers are different.  Perhaps they also tweaked the suspension pickup points.

    70,000 miles on mine, average 32.1 mpg (!!), and it's a solid, wonderful car.

  9. This is such a letdown. Acura is failing fast! They slap lipstick on a pig to try and remain in the race. They need to ditch everything but the MDX and the TLX. Those are the only 2 vehicles they need. They can gain momentum and be a niche sport luxury brand. Their styling needs a major update, interior qualities need to be less tacky and Honda like. They do not have value for their price.

  10. I was a bit shocked with this redesign. I don't feel that it looks aweful however, this RLX doesn't scream $60k+ flagship. It doesn't look stately, features are lacking ( at this price point, there should be to variants. The Sport Hybrid and the reg gas version fully loaded, 0 options) and there's a lot going on in front !

  11. Rename the ILX the Integra and make it driver focused and a bit larger, get rid of the RLX( or make it truly premium), rename the TLX the Vigor and make it driver oriented, larger and worthy of the name change. Acura has the potential but wtf is going on, we'll never know.

  12. Clearly a great car, but that design is tragic, inside and out. I went for the Lexus ES300h and it looks 10x faster than this, although it definitely isn't. This probably drives great, and will be very reliable, but I wanted Hybrid mpg, and I get 40 mpg in my Lexus, and it looks amazing doing it. Also this is $62K!!! and my Lexus was $49K, loaded.

  13. Please stop saying "styling language". It is such an annoying marketing buzzterm. The word "language" there is redundant, unneeded, and pretentious.

  14. report back to us about how long that ebony steering wheel stays "ebony" colored – stupid color choice for a steering wheel…this car is NOT WORTH the $62K asking MSRP; no flipping WAY!…it's nice to see the '17 accord body being reused in the '18 RLX since a lot of folks liked the '17 accord body lines…The grill needs to go back to the beak/shield as the new one reminds me of a Buick; it doesn't flow well with the jewel led headlights…Acura is a hard sell especially when a Honda "Touring" trim gets you 90% of the way to an Acura…why do auto makers leave the infotainment systems languish? its one of the easiest things to update, if not in design, but in function, especially if the same controls are going to be used for years and years…Acura is not relevant now; they have 6 models including the NSX; so 5 passenger/family focused vehicles…mother Honda better hurry and inject some adrenaline into Acura or it will be what Buick is today, a pseudo lux has-been no one really cares about or wants to drive and be seen in…sad 🙁

  15. it's a very nice car. But 'very nice' just doesn't cut it when you're trying to re-establish yourself as a genuine alternative to other luxury cars. I wish Acura would get serious. Bring back the Legend name. Make the Legend a genuine flagship. And that means the best they've got. Use REAL wood or none at all. And use a slightly detuned version of the 500 hp NSX engine.

  16. Oh god, this is the ugliest sedan I have ever seen…. No wonder honda can't sell many cars in Europe. We have taste in good looking cars. The latest Civic is some kind of joke… And I really hope honda will not bring this ugly crap to us

  17. This car looks nice… I've seen an '05-08 RL just the other day & that has a timeless & clean design. I think it's the best looking out of these newer ones

  18. I am a loyal Honda/Acura customer. However, I don't think Honda was ever meant to build luxury cars. Honda specialty/philosophy was and always will be, firm, sporty, low maintenance, compact, front wheel drive, reliable, economical vehicles. Everything which luxury cars are not.

  19. I was pleasantly surprised at how much attention this new RLX was getting at the auto show this past weekend.  Prior auto shows, barely anyone even looked at it.  But the entire Acura section was filled with foot traffic and very interested people, based on the conversations I heard.  The new updates to the design actually look pretty good.

  20. The external proportions are bulbous and non-athletic, considering it is labelled as a Sport Hybrid. The infotainment is 2 generations behind, and no where in the same league as the Germans. The double stack jewel headlights are hideous. The RL/RLX has never really sold, and Honda should put it out of its misery. It looks like a TLX that needs to go on a diet.

  21. I have owned a Honda accord, a Acura vigor and my last car a 2003 Acura TL types S, what a blast to drive .I have watched this car company lose its way over the years while comfortably relinquishing the gains it has strived to make.
    Performance is no longer important to Acura, but of course that's what it was built on. Sadly the dealerships continue to hound me to buy another one of their lackluster products. I decline. I have been waiting for Acura to wake up , but it seems Acura is in a COMA !!!. ASHES TO ASHES, DUST TO DUST !!

  22. i feel like the only people driving acuras nowdays are people that dont know much about cars. For about $60,000 this is probably the worst choice. so many better cars for that price. Acura was really something in the 90s.

  23. A 5 year old with some crayons could draw up a better interior. What the hell is wrong with Acura and their two screen nonsense? Every car looks like a throw back to din modules.

  24. Honda/Acura needs a shakeup in leadership. They've got to start competing and not just showing up. I wanna see turbos and coupes! Not just some underpowered turbo either. Something with some spunk.

  25. The MDX and the RLX are very good and competitive in their segments. If I am looking for a premium, high quality, reliable and safe automobiles. The MDX and RLX will fit all requirements but Acura is definitely not a luxury brand like Lexus or Mercedes Benz. Especially with the lexus offerings, the reliability, lower cost of maintenance are on par with the Acura, Lexus is better choice and has more room to move upward. Examples- Lexus offers V8, twin turbo V6, full size real off road luxury SUV with big V8, luxury sports Touring Coupe with V8 or Hybrid. Lexus wins because the brand is more appealing to affluent potential buyers. Acura offerings are too conservative and limited forcing customers to look elsewhere like Lexus dealers for more choices.

  26. Technically the NSX has the V6 Twin Turbo The RLX has the V6 sans the TT I like it but its a car that you should buy Pre owned at 20 k less

  27. No one is buying Acura now a day except the MDX. They need to bring back something like the Integra Type R. BTW, why would I want to buy this RLX? It looks just like the Accord except double the price!

  28. No one is buying Acura now a day except the MDX. They need to bring back something like the Integra Type R. BTW, why would I want to buy this RLX? It looks just like the Accord except double the price!

  29. The exterior of the RLX is beautiful front and rear what gets me mad is the outdated interface Navi this is supposed to be luxury four-door sedan interior failed the old RL interior is more luxurious than this

  30. I do my best to root for Honda/Acura but good grief… who in the hell is making these design decisions.
    It's like they are trapped in their own little bubble of friends and co-workers all agreeing with each other and nobody wants to offend anybody. And the result you get is shit like this.
    My 2014 Accord Sport looks better than this and the new Accords. GET OUT OF THE FREAKING BUBBLE, talk to the customers who have supported the brand and get real feedback from real people.

  31. I sat in this car at a recent auto show and the interior is very nice. The materials, all the way down to the bottom of the doors in the interior, are top notch !! This car is about the same size inside as an ES350, which I own ! I want to see how it drives ! A few upgrades, better styling and bigger interior will result in a hit !

  32. ehhhh…. I'll stick to my 94 Legend Coupe.. They need to hire some people from America who customizes cars with good taste for some help. The exterior looks like a Honda Accord the interior looks like a Honda from the early 2000's. It's the same criticism everytime they introduce the new version of this car you'd think Acura would listen by now. So if your reading this Acura no one wants a luxury sedan that looks like a big Accord, what happened to that dope concept car a couple of years back? That should of been the new LEGEND. Speaking of LEGEND take those alphanumeric names and burn them everyone hates them. The people want an Acura Legend, not this b.s. Furthermore at these prices you have to compete with the Germans. Not the 5 series not the e class but the 6 series, the cls, the a7. Step up your game, you should be embarrassed that your best cars were 25 years ago.

  33. Besides the front and rear facelifts, it's still the same boring car from 2014. Acura is banking on the chumps who don't notice.

  34. Saw the rlx in person today and it’s a nice looking car. The only thing is I wish Acura offered an A-Spec option like on the tlx. Too much chrome trim for me.

  35. What in the 2005 made Acura pull this out of the time capsule and put this out. It's design is so outdated!! lexus designs are so much more futuristic. Why acura….why?

  36. I always liked TLs, but RL's position in Acura line up never appealed to me…. they look a bit too similar and I believe they used same engine.

  37. The RLX is the Legend in Japan. I always loved the Legend. I am glad they kept it going in Japan instead of killing it like the Integra/RSX. The Legend was the flagship of Acura and lost in the mix as a Honda in Japan. The Vigor wad like a mini Legend. However the Legend was classic and ahead of its time in styling

  38. 7 speed dual clutch transmission based on the 9 speed in the NSX. The same materials found in ALL luxury cars today. 377 hp. A great sound system. High quality leather. Only thing this car needs is the turbo and it can push over 500hp. But people still wouldn't buy it. Y'all crack me up. Cry that Acura went too boring in styling, they upgrade the styling now they went too far. Cried that they weren't making high power cars, cry that they are making high power cars. Cry that the old ones were faster even though the new ones are way faster. No one is ever satisfied. Go sit in the car, feel the dash, push the buttons, turn on the radio, take it for a drive. Y'all judge and haven't even looked at them in person.

  39. I’ll NEVER understand the hate the 2-screen setup gets in Acura’s models where they are featured. I’ll also never understand why some people in some reviews want to now suddenly touch the screen where the navigation has traditionally been situated, either. In the previous generation of Acuras where the only color screen you had were those models featuring navigation, you had a knob that fed inputs into the nav system. It’s basically the same in this car and in other Acuras like the TLX. In addition, in previous generation Acuras, the automotive press and YouTube reviews seemed confounded by the fact that there were “too many buttons.” So Acura, betting on a future where everything would likely go the direction of having most input like radio and simple climate controls like fan speed would be in a touch interactive display, put those controls in the display, updated their navigation systems, and let you still control that through a knob. Coming from a Tech package TSX to a TLX, it was super easy to see the logic and very difficult to see the confusion. Where I do understand criticism they should receive is perhaps the interface or the NEED to maintain 2 screens in a time where the design for interior cabins in luxury and high end cars shows a trend toward 1 screen multi-faceted screens. That’s fine…however, at the time of these vehicles’ interior design inception, it was both common and seen as intuitive to do it the way they did it, and once you use it and see that it’s just the radio and some climate control features, you’re like “Oh..okay.”

  40. This is a fail for me… Inside and out still lag behind the competition. Should of make this a RWD car.. being close to 400hp, at 380hp but driving the front 2 wheels. WTF?

  41. The Legend was the car all the Drug dealers had when I was in school ….those things drove like a dream. These new Acuras are ugly AF and just Hondas

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