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2020 Acura RLX Review

The 2020 Acura RLX ranks near the bottom of the luxury large car class. It has outdated infotainment features and a small trunk, and its cabin lacks the opulence of its rivals.

Pros & Cons

  • Robust powertrain choices
  • Lots of standard features
  • Outdated infotainment system
  • Some dull cabin materials
  • Small trunk

Rankings & Research

The 2020 Acura RLX ranked #7 in Luxury Large Cars. Currently the Acura RLX has a score of 7.3 out of 10 which is based on our evaluation of 40 pieces of research and data elements using various sources.

7.3

Overall

Scorecard

Critics' Rating: 6.6
Performance: 7.6
Interior: 6.5
Safety: 9.9
Reliability:
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

Is the Acura RLX a Good Car?

No, the 2020 RLX is not a good luxury large car. It’s not terrible, but with its aging design, this Acura simply comes up short relative to its competitors. For example, it has a generous helping of standard features, but it lacks smartphone connectivity via Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and its infotainment system can be frustrating to use. Most competitors outclass the RLX with larger trunks and more premium cabin materials. To its credit, this vehicle does have decent horsepower and fuel economy ratings.

Should I Buy the Acura RLX?

Other than its low starting price, there’s no reason for us to recommend the RLX over rival luxury vehicles. The Kia K900 costs a bit more, but it has a more modern and straightforward infotainment system. For something that costs a little less, you might consider the Honda Accord. As a distant cousin of the RLX, the Honda Accord actually has a larger trunk despite being a slightly smaller vehicle. It also has more-modern tech features in its higher trims, as well as some nicer cabin materials.

Compare the RLX, K900, and Accord »

Should I Buy a New or Used Acura RLX?

The 2020 Acura RLX belongs to a generation that debuted for the 2014 model year. Acura made no major changes for 2020. You might be able to find a similar used vehicle for less money. The 2019 RLX was largely unchanged too, but the 2018 model gained refreshed interior and exterior styling, standard Traffic Jam Assist, and in the gas-only models, a smoother 10-speed automatic transmission in place of the earlier six-speed automatic. If these updates are important to you, shop for a 2018-or-newer model.

Be sure to read our 2017, 2018, and 2019 Acura RLX reviews to help make your decision. Also, check out our Used Car Deals page to learn about savings and discounts on used vehicles.

Compare the 2018, 2019, and 2020 RLX »

We Did the Research for You: 40 Reviews Analyzed

By researching Acura RLX reviews, our hope is to provide you with the information you need to make car shopping a breeze. You'll find everything you need to know about this car in our comprehensive review. It combines concrete data (like fuel economy estimates, horsepower specs, and cargo space dimensions) with professional evaluations from 40 Acura RLX reviews. This RLX review incorporates applicable research for all vehicles in this generation, which spans the 2014 through 2020 model years.

Why You Can Trust Us

U.S. News & World Report has been reviewing cars, trucks, and SUVs since 2007, and our Best Cars team has more than 75 years of combined automotive industry experience. We care about cars, but we care more about providing useful consumer advice. To ensure our impartiality, an independent party handles our advertising, and our editorial team doesn’t accept expensive gifts from automakers.

How Much Does the Acura RLX Cost?

The 2020 RLX has a base MSRP of $54,900, which makes it one of the most affordable luxury large cars. The Sport Hybrid has a retail price of $61,900.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Acura dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Acura deals page.

Acura RLX Versus the Competition

Which Is Better: Acura RLX or Mercedes-Benz CLS?

The Mercedes-Benz CLS outclasses the RLX in most areas. It has a gentle ride and premium cabin materials, as well as plenty of standard and available tech features. The Mercedes-Benz also has two robust mild-hybrid powertrains, and the base CLS is more fuel-efficient than the base RLX. We estimate the base CLS costs around $14,300 more to buy. That's a hefty lift, but if it's in your budget, then the Mercedes is the way to go.

Which Is Better: Acura RLX or Acura TLX?

The Acura TLX is essentially the midsize variant of the RLX. Despite that, its trunk is nearly as large. The TLX also has a few more modern tech features, such as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. If the TLX’s base four-cylinder engine feels too weak for you, you can always upgrade to its V6. On top of that, the TLX is more fuel-efficient and costs around $21,900 less to buy. Unless you really want the RLX Sport Hybrid, you’re better off with the TLX.

Compare the RLX, CLS, and TLX »

RLX Interior

How Many People Does the RLX Seat?

The RLX seats up to five people. Leather upholstery, 12-way power-adjustable front seats, and heated front seats are standard. Ventilated front seats, heated rear outboard seats, and a heated steering wheel are available.

The seats in both rows are supportive and comfortable even on long trips. However, a large hump eats into legroom for anyone sitting in the rear middle seat. 

RLX and Child Car Seats

This luxury sedan has two full sets of LATCH car-seat connectors in the second row, as well as a third tether-only anchor for the rear middle seat. 

RLX Interior Quality

Although this vehicle has mostly upscale cabin materials, its overall styling looks and feels bland compared to what you’ll find in rivals.

RLX Cargo Space

The RLX has 14.9 cubic feet of space in the trunk, and the Sport Hybrid has a smaller 12 cubic feet. Both figures are poor for the segment.

RLX Infotainment, Bluetooth, and Navigation

The Acura RLX's standard dual-screen infotainment system features an 8-inch upper display and a 7-inch lower touch screen. It also comes with a 14-speaker stereo, a navigation system, satellite radio, HD Radio, a USB port, and Bluetooth. A 14-speaker Krell stereo is available.

The RLX lacks Android Auto and Apple CarPlay smartphone connectivity, and it can take time to figure out which screen controls which functions. Just about every rival has a more intuitive infotainment system.

Read more about interior »

RLX Performance

RLX Engine: Strong and Capable

You have a choice between two powertrains in this Acura. The nonhybrid model has a 3.5-liter V6 engine that makes 310 horsepower and 272 pound-feet of torque. This engine comes mated to a 10-speed automatic transmission. The Sport Hybrid pairs this V6 with three electric motors and a lithium-ion battery to produce a combined 377 horsepower and 341 pound-feet of torque. It swaps out the 10-speed transmission for a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic.

Both engines are capable, and the hybrid powertrain feels especially energetic. You’ll have little trouble getting around town or climbing up to speed on the freeway. The 10-speed automatic transmission draws praise for its responsive shifts.

RLX Gas Mileage: From Decent to Good

The gas-powered RLX sedan earns EPA estimates of 20 mpg in the city and 29 mpg on the highway. That’s barely above average. The hybrid model has the same highway rating but gets a much better 28 mpg in the city.

RLX Ride and Handling: Balanced

This Acura feels composed on the road, and Sport Hybrid models could even be called mildly agile. Ride comfort receives more mixed reactions from reviewers, though. Some critics dislike how jittery and loud the car feels, while others commend it for having a cushioned ride. Front-wheel drive is standard, and Acura’s Super-Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD) is standard in the Sport Hybrid, but it's not available in the gas-only model.  

Read more about performance »

RLX Reliability

Is the Acura RLX Reliable?

J.D. Power gives the 2020 RLX a predicted reliability rating of three out of five, which is about average.

Acura RLX Warranty

Acura covers the 2020 RLX with a four-year/50,000-mile basic warranty and a six-year/70,000-mile powertrain warranty.

Read more about reliability »

RLX Safety

RLX Crash Test Results

At the time of writing, neither the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration nor the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has crash tested this luxury car.

RLX Safety Features

Standard driver assistance features in the base RLX include forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, Traffic Jam Assist, lane keep assist, a rearview camera, a road departure mitigation system, and adaptive cruise control.

Front and rear parking sensors, a surround-view parking camera system, and a head-up display are available.

Read more about safety »

Acura RLX Dimensions and Weight

The 2020 RLX sedan is about 16.5 feet long. Its curb weight ranges from 3,977 to 4,380 pounds.

Where Is the 2020 Acura RLX Built?

Acura builds the RLX and RLX Sport Hybrid in Japan.

Which Acura RLX Model Is Right for Me?

The RLX comes in two variants: RLX and RLX Sport Hybrid. The main difference between the two is the powertrain each comes with. The RLX has a V6 engine that makes 310 horsepower, and the Sport Hybrid adds three electric motors that raise output to 377 horsepower. Hybrid models also gain all-wheel drive.

Acura RLX

The entry-level RLX comes richly equipped. For its base MSRP of $54,900, you’ll get a dual-screen infotainment system, a navigation system, a 14-speaker premium stereo, Bluetooth, satellite radio, HD Radio, and a USB port. Also included are Milano leather seats, 12-way power-adjustable and heated front seats, GPS-linked tri-zone automatic climate control, proximity keyless entry, and a moonroof.

Some safety features come standard too, such as Traffic Jam Assist, adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist, a collision mitigation and braking system, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, road departure mitigation, rain-sensing windshield wipers, and a rearview camera.

Acura RLX Sport Hybrid

In addition to the stronger powertrain, the Sport Hybrid gains all-wheel drive (SH-AWD) and an Advance package, which includes a 14-speaker Krell stereo, a head-up display, ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, a heated steering wheel, remote start, front and rear parking sensors, and a surround-view parking camera system. Retail prices for this sedan start at $61,900.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Acura dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Acura deals page.

See 2020 Acura RLX specs and trims »

The Final Call

The Acura RLX is an affordable luxury large car, but that doesn’t make it a great value. It’s not a bad choice if you’re looking for a moderately comfortable cruiser, and the Sport Hybrid even feels a touch lively. However, the RLX is overshadowed by some of its rivals, which have nicer cabin materials and more-modern connectivity features. Before picking the RLX, it’s best to examine rivals like the Kia K900, which is a better value despite costing a bit more.

Don’t just take our word for it. Check out comments from some of the reviews that drive our rankings and analysis.

  • "The 2020 Acura RLX is the company's largest and most luxurious sedan. It's also one of its oldest designs. For this reason, the RLX isn't considered a full-on performance sedan in the same way a BMW 5 Series or a Mercedes-Benz E-Class is. But what the RLX does have in its favor are solid luxury car credentials, an impeccable reputation for reliability, good driving dynamics and a powerful set of engine choices. And, if all this isn't enough to sway potential buyers, Acura packs the 2020 RLX sedan with the type of standard equipment that's often optional on other cars, then lowers its price thousands below comparably equipped competitors. The RLX's roomy cabin and wide seats are also a welcome respite from sedans that are seemingly built to accommodate only the svelte. Move up to the RLX Sport Hybrid and you'll find a much more dynamic driving experience, with 377 horsepower and Super-Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD)." -- Autotrader
  • The Acura RLX is a car in need of a redesign. Acura's large luxury sedan boasts some unique features. But beyond some minor tweaks, it hasn't changed much since it launched in 2013, and even then it didn't feel cutting-edge. The RLX is roomy and comfortable, and the interior materials and craftsmanship have a distinctly luxury feel. The design and technology, however, feel generations behind what you'll find in a new Audi or Mercedes-Benz." -- Edmunds
  • "Acura's flagship sedan fails to match the standards of its luxury car competition. Even worse, multiple alternatives, costing around $40,000, surpass the RLX's level of luxury, room and performance." -- Consumer Reports (2018)
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