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U.S. News Best Price Program

2020 Acura RLX Performance Review


Performance: 7.8

The 2020 Acura RLX is available with capable gas-only and hybrid powertrains. Regardless of which one you choose, the RLX feels composed, but some rivals have smoother or sportier rides.

  • "The RLX is quick in a straight line, but other facets of its dynamic repertoire leave the driver disconnected. The frustrating brake feel and bump-sensitive handling undo any sporting pretensions suggested by the power delivery. But the hybrid system is smooth, and the transmission feels natural." -- Edmunds
  • "The range-topping 2019 Acura RLX Sport Hybrid has what the company calls 'super handling all-wheel drive' or SH-AWD. For once, this is not mere marketing. The handling really is super. Power comes in strong even at low engine speeds, thanks to the three electric motors, and apportioned to whatever wheels have the most traction." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "On a snaking road, the front end doesn't give up and wash wide into dull-and-predictable understeer like lesser vehicles. Instead, it holds a cornering line with a tenacity bordering on heroic. Then when the driver steers into another curve, the RLX does the whole thing again, time after time." -- Autotrader (2018)

Acceleration and Power

The RLX comes standard with a 3.5-liter V6 engine rated at 310 horsepower, and it's paired with a 10-speed automatic transmission. You could also opt for the RLX Sport Hybrid, which takes the same V6 and adds three electric motors and a lithium-ion battery pack, raising output to 377 horsepower. The hybrid also features a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission instead of the 10-speed automatic.

The V6 engine is powerful enough for most driving situations. The 10-speed automatic executes prompt shifts. The Sport Hybrid feels especially peppy.

At 20 mpg in the city and 29 mpg on the highway, the base RLX earns decent fuel economy estimates for a luxury large car. Sport Hybrid models earn higher fuel economy ratings of 28 mpg in the city and 29 mpg on the highway.

  • "The new 10-speed automatic transmission is responsive and quick to pick the right gear when extra throttle is administered." -- Autotrader
  • "Our preference is the all-wheel-drive RLX Sport Hybrid, which pairs the 3.5-liter V6 engine with three electric motors. … In addition to providing power, they can also apply negative torque vectoring through regenerative braking. All this happens behind the scenes, but the effect is smooth and can be engaging when pushed." -- Kelley Blue Book (2018)
  • "Very refined with plenty of power, the standard V6 powertrain is one of the car's best points. … We measured a quick 6.5-second 0-60 mph acceleration time -- just a tick behind most competitors. Steering wheel mounted paddle shifters allow 'manual' gear selections." -- Consumer Reports (2018)

Ride and Handling

Critics are divided regarding the RLX’s comfort, with some praising its silky ride quality and others knocking it for feeling occasionally jittery and rough. Its handling is generally favorable, though, with this sedan remaining stable and composed around turns. Front-wheel drive and Acura’s Precision All-Wheel Steer (P-AWS, which turns the rear wheels slightly for added stability) are standard. The Sport Hybrid gets Acura’s Super-Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD) system.

  • "Over long stretches of paved roadway, the RLX cruises effortlessly, almost serenely, as it absorbs bumps and blemishes and delivers a first-class luxury-car ride. … Where other luxury cars might wallow, with tires squealing at every turn, the RLX carves through S-shaped asphalt like a scalpel-wielding surgeon who's late for his tee-off time. The RLX model's electrically assisted power steering feels direct and precise." -- Autotrader
  • "This [Super Handling All-Wheel Drive system] allows the driver to take corners at sports-car speeds and not have the front tires gradually lose grip while squealing in complaint. The RLX Sport Hybrid goes where it's pointed and feels like it would take an earthquake to shake it off line. … Luckily, the ride quality can also be supple. And all-wheel steering endows the lower-powered RLX with impressive agility." -- Kelley Blue Book (2019)
  • "This is an area where the RLX falls short, with a ride nowhere near as comfortable and refined as the competition. While the suspension absorbs bumps with some isolation, on smooth pavement the RLX feels too jumpy and agitated with short, quick pitches. That kind of jitter is annoying and fatiguing in any car, let alone a luxury car costing this much. Suspension noise is also quite pronounced, further detracting from comfort." -- Consumer Reports (2018)
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2020 Acura RLX

MSRP: $54,900 - $61,900

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