By Asian Journal Auto Editor

2018 aCURA RLX SPORT HYBRID PIC 2 2018-acura-rlx PIC 1The 2018 Acura RLX, full-size premium sedan continues the brands premium offering in terms of looks, performance and luxury. As a bonus, the new flagship RLX offers new drivetrain technology shared with the new Acura NSX Coupe. Both cars use the same concept and setup of a V6 engine combined with three electric motors. However, where the NSX is all swoopy Supercar and strict two-seater, the RLX offer four doors and five-passenger accommodation. The new RLX look is inspired by Acura’s design direction and its signature diamond pentagon grille. The 2018 Acura RLX design enhancements include a more aggressive sculpted hood, new wheel designs, newly designed LED taillights, exposed dual exhaust finishers and gloss black rear diffuser. It’s a cool, looking car-neat, with nice flowing lines. Two models are available in Canada—both with Sport Hybrid Super Handling All-Wheel Drive™: The 2018 Acura RLX Sport Hybrid SH-AWD™ Tech starts with a Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP1) of $65,490; The 2018 Acura RLX Sport Hybrid SH-AWD™ Elite starts at $69,990. An interesting fact is that the 2018 Acura RLX is actually the brands most powerful Acura after the upcoming NSX supercar.  Motivation is via a 3.5 liter direct-injected V-6 with three electric motors and Acura’s excellent super Handling All-Wheel Drive™ for instant acceleration, outstanding all-weather performance and precise handling. The RLX delivers 377 peak total system horsepower and 341 lb.-ft. peak total system torque with its powertrain sharing its basic concept and some components with the a fore mentioned NSX. Both RLX models arrive with the Sport Hybrid all-wheel drive technology, with upscale features including a head-up display (HUD), premium ELS Studio Audio System with 14 speakers, 2-way remote engine starter, LED fog lights, heated steering wheel and more. Standard on the Tech mode are: 19-inch wheels, Blind Spot Monitoring, heated steering wheel, remote engine start, and new for 2018, the Acura Traffic Jam Assist feature that keeps the RLX a set distance from the vehicle in front and helps keep the car in the center of its lane in traffic. The top Elite edition which offers the fantastic sounding premium Krell sound system, power rear and manual side sunshades, 360-degree camera system, ventilated front seats, and auto-dimming side mirrors, ventilated front seats, and more. Both 2018 RLX models feature the unique AcuraWatch™ suite of safety and driver-assistive technologies as standard equipment.

Interior wise, the cabin is beautifully finished and receives premium new materials and wonderful, redesigned Milano leather seats with high contrast, piping and stitching, as well as a new Saddle Brown interior option and available black headliner, all of which add a new level of sophistication to an interior with class leading space and comfort. There is a spacious airy cabin, with good occupant room up front, with heated and ventilated seats. The rear seat provides abundant leg, head, and shoulder room.

On the road, the RLX’s front electric motor is paired with the 7-speed dual clutch transmission and produces 109 lb-ft by itself. The two rear electric motors provide instant torque to each or both of the rear wheels, acting as a torque vectoring system to provide better traction and cornering. The RLX can operate on electric power alone at slow speeds, but with a very impressive peak output at 377 hp and 341 lb-ft, straight line acceleration is a rush in this car and the transition between gas and electric is seamless. When you get up to highway speed, the rear motors deactivate, and the engine drives the front wheels. The 7-speed dual clutch gearbox offer fast, smooth shifts. Handling is fine, but the steering could be sportier. The brakes are also good, without the sponginess of some hybrids. Fuel economy (premium fuel recommended) is decent enough, and officially rated at 8.4/8.2/8.4L/100 km city/highway/combined.

To sum up, the RLX is more of a luxury cruiser than an agile sports sedan in my opinion. Still it does nothing to take away the fact, the RLX is a lot of car and technology for the money. Fast, spacious, comfortable, and very well equipped with the latest gadgets. Highly recommended.

2018 Acura RLX Sport Hybrid, priced from $65,490; Sport Hybrid Elite priced from $69,990 plus destination fees and taxes.