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2015 Acura RLX: New Car Review

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ADDITIONAL MODEL INFORMATION

author photo by AutoTrader December 2014

The 2015 Acura RLX puts value into the luxury sedan segment by offering a tempting combination of power, features and comfort. Many of the RLX's competitors lure buyers in with a low base price only to leave them with sticker shock when popular options are added. But the RLX comes fairly well equipped, with only a few options to move its price tag north of the base price. The RLX's roomy cabin and wide seats are also a welcome respite from other sedans seemingly built to accommodate only the svelte. Unfortunately, the RLX's styling is a bit generic, lacking the visual punch of cars like the Audi A7, Infiniti Q70 or Cadillac CTS.

What's New for 2015?

There are no major changes for the 2015 Acura RLX. Although it will remain on sale through the 2015 model year, the RLX Sport Hybrid remains a 2014 model with no 2015 version planned.

What We Like

Luxury car ride with performance car handling; huge interior; cutting-edge infotainment and audio options; super comfy front seats

What We Don't

Pricing is a bit high; poor city fuel economy figures; subdued styling and interior color choices; stiff ride with larger wheels

How Much?

$49,370-$67,000

Fuel Economy

The RLX is powered by a direct-injection 3.5-liter V6 engine that produces 310 horsepower and 272 lb-ft of torque. A 6-speed automatic with Sequential SportShift technology is standard, and fuel economy is rated by the Environmental Protection Agency at 20 miles per gallon in the city and 31 mpg on the highway.

The RLX Sport Hybrid uses the same gasoline engine but adds three separate motors/generators (one in the transmission and two at the rear wheels) for a net output of 377 hp and 273 lb-ft of torque. A 7-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission is standard. Fuel economy is vastly improved over the nonhybrid model, earning 28 mpg city/32 mpg hwy.

Standard Features & Options

The Acura RLX comes in two trims: RLX and RLX Sport Hybrid. Each model comes as one well-equipped trim with four option packages bringing more desirable features.

The RLX ($49,370) includes a power moonroof, active sound control (which uses the audio system to quiet the cabin), a power tilt/telescoping steering wheel, sport seats with leatherette trim, 18-inch alloy wheels, heated front seats, driver and passenger 12-way power seats with power lumbar support, keyless access with push-button start, trizone automatic climate control, a rearview camera, Bluetooth hands-free phone connectivity, 10-speaker ELS audio with a USB/iPod interface and HD radio, Aha and Pandora app compatibility, heated side mirrors with a reverse tilt-down feature, and cruise control. Advanced safety features include forward-collision warning, lane-departure warning and a full suite of airbags, including a driver's knee airbag.

The RLX w/ Navigation ($51,870) adds the Acura Navigation System with 3-D view, AcuraLink, Real-Time Traffic and rerouting and a color multi-information display.

The RLX w/Technology Package ($55,370) adds 19-in alloy wheels, perforated Milano leather seating, a 14-speaker ELS Studio Audio system with HDD music storage, rain-sensing wipers and blind spot information system.

The RLX w/Krell Audio Package ($57,870) includes a high-end Krell audio system with 14 speakers, a power rear sunshade and manual rear-door side sunshades.

The RLX w/Advanced Package ($61,370) adds heated and cooling front seats, heated rear seats (outboard positions only), a heated steering wheel, adaptive cruise control, auto-dimming side mirrors, front and rear parking sensors, collision-mitigation braking with head-up warning and lane-keeping assist.

The RLX Sport Hybrid ($60,870) includes all the features found in the Technology Package.

The RLX Sport Hybrid w/Advanced Package ($66,870) includes every available option from the RLX gasoline model.

Safety

Acura has taken pains to ensure the RLX will sail through all its crash tests. It earned a 5-star rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and a Good rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, which also chose the RLX as a Top Safety Pick.

Standard safety equipment includes full airbag protection, such as a driver's side-front knee airbag. Additional equipment such as forward-collision warning, collision-mitigation braking and lane-departure warning and assist can help avoid accidents, as can the advanced suspension and steering assists.

Behind the Wheel

Over long stretches of paved roadway, the RLX cruises effortlessly, almost serenely, as it absorbs bumps and blemishes and delivers a first-class luxury car ride. The trick up its sleeve, however, comes when the road begins to twist and wind. Where other luxury cars might wallow with tires squealing at every turn, the RLX carves through S-shaped asphalt like a scalpel-wielding surgeon late for his tee-off time. The RLX model's electrically assisted power steering feels direct and precise, and the 6-speed automatic transmission is responsive and quick to pick the right gear when extra throttle is administered. But it's the RLX model's Precision All-Wheel Steer coupled with Acura's Agile Handling Assist (which uses active braking to help keep the RLX traveling on the intended path) that really gives this big sedan its moves. A front double-wishbone suspension and multilink rear suspension setup fits this car perfectly, allowing us to tear around corners on an enclosed track with abilities previously known only to Acura's legendary sport coupe, the NSX.

Other Cars to Consider

BMW 5 Series -- The 5 Series isn't as roomy inside as the RLX is, and its ride tends be a bit on the stiff side. However, the rear-drive 5 Series still feels a bit more agile in the curves, and it can come with a manual transmission and V8 engine.

Audi A6 -- Although the A6 isn't as powerful as the RLX and its suspension feels somewhat softer, the A6 model's interior outshines the RLX, as does its exterior styling.

Infiniti Q70 -- A nicely equipped Q70 costs about the same as the RLX with the Advanced Package and offers more hp but worse fuel economy. The M model's color palate is rather drab, and its rear seat is not as accommodating as in the RLX.

Used Mercedes-Benz E-Class -- A 2012-2014 E-Class offers plenty of features, power and prestige, but be sure to get a certified pre-owned model; repairs for a car out of warranty can be pricey.

AutoTrader's Advice

If you're not all about performance driving and cutting-edge electronic assists, we think the RLX with the Technology Package will satisfy most luxury sedan buyers. The price remains reasonable and the features are quite impressive. Music lovers may want to toss in the Krell audio package as well.

Find an Acura RLX for sale

This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
2015 Acura RLX: New Car Review - Autotrader