July 23, 2018

Acura RLX gets new look, but will it be enough to compete?

11 August 2017, 10:35 | Joann Bryant

2018 Acura RLX Refreshed

2018 Acura RLX refresh packs a new face and NSX DNA

The RLX's hood also has been reshaped, and its rear end gets new LED taillights and a black lower diffuser with two large exhaust tips.

"This redesign of the 2018 Acura RLX is transformational, creating road presence and styling that better reflect underlying performance capabilities of the vehicle", said Jon Ikeda, Acura vice president and general manager, in a statement.

Interior updates include more premium materials and touchpoints as well as all-new seats, which now feature contrast piping and stitching.

I'm skeptically excited, and I'm really happy Acura found a corporate grille that doesn't suck with that new down-pointing pentagon.

Acura also claims they've further optimized the powertrain in the Sport Hybrid model and its Super-Handling All-Wheel Drive technology, based on lessons learned with the NSX.

When it goes on sale in November, the 2018 RLX should carry a starting price similar to the $55,400 and $60,900 it commands today for the standard V-6 and Sport Hybrid versions. This model now gets a 10-speed automatic transmission that Acura says improves acceleration and passing performance. Instead of the front axle, however, two of those motors are on the rear axle and they give the vehicle all-wheel drive.

Acura will roll out a refreshed 2018 RLX sedan during the Monterey Car Week that incorporates similar changes made to the smaller TLX sedan and MDX crossover SUV.

The first Acura RLX debuted in 2013 as a replacement for the range-topping RL sedan. Like the NSX supercar, it uses a 3.5-liter V-6 engine and three electric motors.

That means 377 horsepower from a V6 engine with a torque-assist electric motor and a pair of electric drive motors bolted to the rear wheels.

Should you be swayed by electrification, though, there's the RLX Sport Hybrid.

A new Traffic Jam Assist feature is a significant addition to the RLX's standard AcuraWatch bundle of active safety features.

Like the current model, the AcuraWatch suite of safety tech is standard which includes adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking, lane keeping assist, and other tech you'd expect to find in a auto in this class.

Other features, including adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assistance and automatic emergency braking are still included.

The 2018 Acura RLX is complimented by three new exterior colors including two premium paint offerings - Brilliant Red Metallic and Majestic Black Pearl.

Acura has not announced official pricing the sedans.

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