The refreshed model is getting a bold makeover.
Acura has a snazzy new look for its 2018 RLX sedan, which the automaker hopes will boost sales of its not-really-loved full-size four-door. Styling follows the edgy lines we saw some time ago on the Precision Concept, and more recently on the refreshed TLX.
The biggest change is obviously in the looks department, and we’ll say it certainly adds a bit of aggression to the RLX’s demeanor. The brand’s diamond pentagon grille is front and centre, surrounded by a completely new front fascia and a sculpted hood. In the back, new LED taillights with dual exhaust exits down low are joined be a shiny black rear diffuser. It would seem Acura is quite serious about recasting this car with a bit more attitude.
With that in mind, one might expect to see something equally bold under the hood but that’s not quite the case. The 2018 RLX soldiers on with its 3.5-litre V6 that produces 310 horsepower to the front wheels, though it does get a gearbox upgrade thanks to a new 10-speed automatic. It also features all-wheel steering, and with the extra cogs, Acura says acceleration and passing times are improved. All-wheel drive aficionados will continue to choose the Sport Hybrid, which offers the same 377 horsepower as last year's model courtesy of the V6 mated to a pair of electric motors.
Inside, Acura says the redressed RLX gets upgraded materials as well as redesigned seats. The company’s AcuraWatch suite of tech is also included as standard equipment, which includes tidbits such as auto braking, lane departure warnings, lane keep assist, and adaptive cruise control. Supplementing that is Traffic Jam Assist, which uses the aforementioned systems to help maintain safe distances during slow-speed situations. It should be noted, however, that the automaker stops short of calling it an autonomous system.
Acura sold just over 100 RLX sedans in Canada last year, so the company is certainly hoping this refresh will bring buyers back to dealerships. The official reveal for the new RLX will happen next week in Monterey, but we won’t know how buyers respond until November, when it officially goes on sale.