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2016 Acura RLX

Motor Trend logo Motor Trend 5/29/2015
© Acura

New for 2016

AcuraWatch, Acura's suite of active safety systems, is now available in the 2016 Acura RLX. AcuraWatch bundles together adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking, forward collision warning, lane departure warning, lane keep assist, blind spot warning, road departure mitigation, cross-traffic alert, and a multi-view rear camera. The 2016 RLX also gains new 19-inch wheels with bright finish on all models and improved chassis tuning for better ride quality.

Vehicle Summary

The 2016 Acura RLX is a front-drive midsize luxury sedan powered by a 310-hp 3.5-liter V-6 mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. Acura's "Jewel Eye" LED headlights and four-wheel steering are standard equipment on all variants. Fuel economy is competitive for the class at 20/31 mpg city/highway. A hybrid model will join the RLX lineup in the near future.

Overview

When it comes to performance, the 2016 Acura RLX provides strong straight-line acceleration for a large front-drive sedan. The 3.5-liter V-6 is lively and willing to rev while the six-speed automatic is well-tuned, doesn't get confused, and chooses gears appropriately. Handling, on the other hand, is stable and confident thanks to the car's all-wheel steering system and Amplitude Reactive Dampers, which keep the car flat in corners. Still, the RLX is no sports sedan and isn't as agile as competitors such as the Lexus GS 350 and Cadillac CTS. On the road, the RLX excels as a quiet and comfortable cruiser, preferring relaxed driving over carving twisty canyon roads.

The 2016 RLX's interior is spacious for front and rear passengers, and comes with a long list of tech gadgets when optioned with the Technology or Advance packages. Two audio systems are available, Acura's 14-speaker ELS unit, which is available as part of the Technology package, and the 14-speaker Krell sound system, which is bundled in the Advance package. The Advance package builds upon the Technology package and adds convenience features such as heated and ventilated front seats, heat rear outboard seats, heated steering wheel, power rear sunshade, manual side rear sunshades, remote engine start, 360-degree view multi-camera system, front and rear parking sensors, power-folding side mirrors, and rear footwell lighting. Trunk space is acceptable for the class at 14.9 cubic feet with the Technology package and 14.7 cubic feet with the Advance package. Split-folding rear seatbacks are not available in the 2016 RLX, limiting its ability to carry cargo.

What We Think

As a long distance cruiser, the 2016 Acura RLX excels, offering a comfortable ride, stable handling, and a roomy, upscale interior packed with plenty of tech features. In a comparison test that also included the Cadillac XTS, the Acura RLX won because it delivers an outstanding blend of comfort, ride quality, speed, frugality, refinement, and technology that's "far more accessible on a daily basis."

Additionally, we also noted that the car' willing and well-sorted powertrain made passing and accelerating even at high speeds a breeze. The car's "crazy conservative" styling, however, is a weak point because it remains anonymous especially when compared to more dramatic competitors like the Cadillac CTS and Jaguar XF. One of the notable features of the RLX is the new AcuraWatch suite of active safety systems, which give a good preview of autonomous cars coming in the future.

You'll Like

  • Spacious and well-built interior
  • Long list of available tech gadgetry and convenience features
  • Comfortable ride and stable handling

You Won't Like

  • Ultra-conservative exterior styling
  • No split-folding rear seats

Key Competitors

  • BMW 5 Series
  • Mercedes-Benz E-Class
  • Audi A6
  • Lexus GS 350
  • Cadillac CTS

Rating

3 star

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