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2018 Acura RLX Review

The 2018 Acura RLX has plenty of standard safety features, but dull handling and a clunky infotainment system drag it toward the bottom of the luxury large car class.

Pros & Cons

  • Stellar fuel economy estimates
  • Capable engine
  • Spacious seats
  • Not as sporty as rivals
  • Tiny trunk
  • Clunky infotainment interface

New for 2018

  • 10-speed automatic transmission replaced six-speed (gas models only)
  • Traffic Jam Assist made standard
  • Refreshed interior and exterior styling




Critics' Rating: 6.4
Performance: 6.7
Interior: 6.6
Total Cost of Ownership: 7.5
Safety: 10.0
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

2018 Acura RLX Overview

Is the 2018 Acura RLX a Good Used Car?

The 2018 Acura RLX is a decent luxury large car, but it’s overshadowed by most of its classmates.

The 2018 RLX has a few positives:

  • Below-average select ownership costs
  • Great fuel economy
  • Long list of standard safety features

It also has several weaknesses:

  • Fewer modern tech features than competitors
  • Cumbersome infotainment system
  • Unimpressive cabin materials
  • Small trunk
  • Not as sporty as rival sedans
Why You Can Trust Us

Our goal 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 vehicle in our comprehensive Acura RLX review. It combines concrete data (like predicted reliability ratings, crash test results, and cargo space dimensions) with professional evaluations from 38 automotive sources.

We’ve been reviewing cars since 2007, and our Best Cars team has more than 75 years of combined automotive experience. We also award the Best Cars for the Money, Best Cars for Families, and Best Vehicle Brands on an annual basis. To ensure our impartiality, a third party handles our advertising, and we don't accept expensive gifts from automakers.

How Much Is the 2018 Acura RLX?

Used 2018 models are beginning to appear on dealer lots. Based on listings for the 2018 Acura RLX on our site, the average price is $43,300. Prices range from $39,000 to $56,300 and vary depending on the vehicle’s condition, mileage, features, and location.

See the Best Used Car Deals »

How Much Does the 2018 Acura RLX Cost to Own?

The 2018 RLX’s five-year costs for gas, insurance, repairs, and maintenance are projected to be around $30,590, or $6,118 per year. That’s below-average among luxury large cars.

Is It Better to Buy a Used or New RLX?

Acura made no major changes to the RLX for 2019. You'll likely spend less and get a virtually identical vehicle by purchasing a used 2018 model instead.

Read about the new RLX »

Acura released the RLX as an all-new vehicle for the 2014 model year. The 2018 RLX underwent a refresh, gaining new exterior and interior styling and more standard safety features such as Traffic Jam Assist. Also for 2018, a 10-speed automatic transmission replaced the six-speed in gas-only models, but it didn’t improve fuel economy.

If those updates don’t interest you, consider an older sedan. The AcuraWatch suite of driver aids became standard in the 2017 RLX. It includes lane keep assist, lane departure warning, a pre-collision braking and warning system, adaptive cruise control, and blind spot monitoring. A 360-degree parking camera and rear cross traffic alert became available for 2016.

Compare the 2017, 2018, and 2019 RLX »

See the Best New Car Deals »

See the Best New Car Lease Deals »

How Reliable Is the 2018 RLX?

J.D. Power gives the 2018 RLX a predicted reliability rating of three out of five, which is about average.

Read more about RLX reliability »

2018 Acura RLX Recalls

As of this writing, there are no recalls for the 2018 Acura RLX.

See more information on Acura RLX safety recalls »

Which Used Acura RLX Trim Is Right for Me?

The RLX sedan is available in two trim levels: The RLX and RLX Sport Hybrid. The RLX – also called RLX P-AWS with Technology Package because of its all-wheel-steering system – comes with a gas engine and front-wheel drive. Performance-wise, the hybrid model – also called SH-AWD because of its Super-Handling All-Wheel Drive system – benefits from its three electric motors. The base trim is nicely equipped with plenty of safety and comfort features.

  • Acura RLX: The base RLX sedan features a 3.5-liter V6 engine, leather-trimmed seats, heated front seats with 12-way power adjustments, tri-zone automatic climate control, an 8-inch upper display, a 7-inch lower touch screen, navigation, HD Radio, satellite radio, a 14-speaker stereo, a USB port, Bluetooth, a moonroof, and proximity keyless entry. Several safety features come standard too, including blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning, brake assist, lane departure warning, lane keep assist, a rearview camera, and Traffic Jam Assist.
  • Acura RLX Sport Hybrid: The Sport Hybrid features all-wheel drive and a hybrid powertrain: a 3.5-liter V6 engine and three electric motors mated to a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. It also gains a 14-speaker Krell stereo, a heated steering wheel, ventilated front seats, heated rear outboard seats, a head-up display, front and rear parking sensors, and a surround-view parking camera.

See 2018 Acura RLX trims and specs »

What Does Acura's Certified Pre-Owned Warranty Cover?

Acura offers a certified pre-owned program for cars six years old or less and with fewer than 80,000 miles. Eligibility is determined by the vehicle’s initial sale date. Qualifying vehicles get a limited warranty that is good for up to two years or 100,000 miles after the four-year/50,000-mile new-car warranty has expired. Acura covers the powertrain for seven years or 100,000 miles. These CPO models must pass a 182-point inspection. Additional benefits are available, including roadside assistance and the first scheduled maintenance, so read Acura’s warranty page carefully.

Among luxury car manufacturers, Acura’s CPO program is about average, according to our research. You’ll find better programs from Lexus, Audi, and Infiniti.

See the best CPO programs »

How Safe Is the RLX?

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety named the RLX a 2018 Top Safety Pick, giving it the highest rating of Good in five crash tests, a top rating of Superior for front crash prevention, and the second-highest rating of Acceptable for how well the headlights illuminate the road ahead.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave the base RLX an overall safety rating of five out of five stars. It earned five stars in the frontal and side crash tests and five stars in the rollover evaluation. Sport Hybrid models earned five stars in side crash and rollover tests but did not receive an overall safety rating.

Standard advanced safety features:

  • rearview camera
  • forward collision warning
  • automatic emergency braking
  • blind spot monitoring
  • rear cross traffic alert
  • lane keep assist
  • lane departure warning
  • Traffic Jam Assist (keeps the car centered in its lane and at a set distance from vehicles ahead)
  • adaptive cruise control
  • rain-sensing windshield wipers

Available advanced safety features:

  • 360-degree parking camera
  • front and rear parking sensors
  • head-up display

See RLX safety scores »

2018 Acura RLX Versus the Competition

Which Is Better: 2018 Acura RLX or 2018 Mercedes-Benz CLS?

The 2018 Mercedes-Benz CLS shares many of the RLX’s flaws, including a small trunk and a slightly outdated interior design, but it compensates in other areas. Its brawny engines provide plenty of power, and it tackles turns with confidence. The CLS also has more modern connectivity features, such as standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Neither car is a top pick, but the Mercedes is better overall.

Which Is Better: 2018 Acura RLX or 2018 BMW 5 Series?

The 2018 BMW 5 Series is one of the best luxury midsize cars you can buy. It has more trunk space than the RLX and is available with a range of powerful engines, including a brawny V8 and a plug-in hybrid powertrain. Dynamic handling and great fuel economy make the 5 Series great to drive, and it has a stellar predicted reliability rating. On average, the BMW costs about $6,500 more, but it’s the superior luxury sedan.

Compare the RLX, CLS, and 5 Series »

2018 RLX Performance

How Does the 2018 RLX Drive?

Both the standard V6 engine and the available hybrid powertrain provide ample power for daily driving. The transmission shifts smoothly regardless of powertrain. The nonhybrid RLX comes with front-wheel drive and Acura’s Precision All-Wheel Steer (P-AWS), which turns the rear wheels for added stability. Even so, this Acura lacks the responsiveness, steering feedback, and agility of its rivals. The Sport Hybrid’s ride quality is comfortable thanks to Acura’s Super Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD).

  • Base engine: 310-horsepower 3.5-liter V6
  • Available powertrain: 3.5-liter V6 and three electric motors with a combined 377 horsepower
  • Drivetrain: front-wheel drive (gas-only); all-wheel drive (hybrid)
  • Transmission: 10-speed automatic (gas-only); seven-speed dual-clutch automatic (hybrid)
Does the 2018 RLX Get Good Gas Mileage?

The gas-only RLX gets great EPA-rated mileage for a luxury large car. As you’d expect, the RLX Hybrid is even more fuel-efficient.

  • RLX: 20/29 mpg city/highway
  • Sport Hybrid: 28/29 mpg

Read more about RLX performance »

2018 RLX Interior

How Many People Does the 2018 RLX Seat?

This luxury sedan seats five people in two rows. Critics were divided regarding the supportiveness of the seats on longer drives, but most agreed that there was ample head- and legroom in both rows. The cabin has soft-touch surfaces, but most critics found it to be dated and generic compared to rivals.

Standard seating features:

  • leather upholstery
  • 12-way power-adjustable front seats
  • heated seats

Available seating features:

  • ventilated front seats
  • heated outboard rear seats
  • heated steering wheel
How Many Child Car Seats Fit in the 2018 Acura RLX?

This Acura has two complete sets of LATCH car-seat connectors on the rear outboard seats and an upper tether on the rear middle seat. For ease of use, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the system the second-highest rating of Acceptable. The lower anchors are set deeply in the seats, but otherwise the setup is mostly easy to use.

2018 Acura RLX Features

Using the infotainment system can be challenging, in part because of its dual-screen setup. Even after you get comfortable with the system, it doesn’t feel very straightforward. It takes time to input information on the screens, the setup feels dated compared to rivals, and features such as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are unavailable.

  • Standard infotainment features: an 8-inch upper display, a 7-inch lower touch screen, navigation, Aha and Pandora smartphone integration, Bluetooth, satellite radio, HD Radio, a USB port, and a 14-speaker premium stereo
  • Available infotainment features: a 14-speaker Krell sound system
  • Additional standard features: proximity keyless entry, push-button start, tri-zone automatic climate control, and a moonroof
  • Other available features: remote start and a head-up display

See 2018 Acura RLX specs »

Read more about RLX interior »

2018 Acura RLX Dimensions

Acura RLX Cargo Space

This luxury sedan has a 14.9-cubic-foot trunk, while the Sport Hybrid has 12 cubic feet. Both figures are small for the luxury large car class. The rear seats don’t fold down, but there is a pass-through to accommodate longer items.

These cargo dimensions are for comparative purposes. There is no substitute for visually examining the storage area in any car you’re considering.

2018 Acura RLX Length and Weight
  • Length: 16 feet, 6 inches
  • Curb weight: 3,977 to 4,380 pounds

Where Was the 2018 Acura RLX Built?

Acura built the 2018 RLX in Japan.

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