Acura RLX Sport Hybrid

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The Acura RLX Sport Hybrid is an AWD vehicle that’ll pamper you while being surprisingly nimble.

The top-of-the-line Acura sedan takes cues from the automaker’s NSX supercar. Make no mistake, these are two different cars, and the chances of seeing an RLX drifting around a corner during a track day are pretty much nil. But what the car lacks in pole-position cred it makes up for in solid AWD (all-wheel drive) handling, comfortable accommodations and aggressive styling.

At its core, the RLX has all the attributes of a luxury car: a smooth ride that all but eliminates rough roads, a quiet cabin that forces you to open the window if you want to actually hear the engine and steering that has a casual relationship with the road.

In the switchbacks, the RLX surprises with its ability to stick to a line around tight corners. Yes, there is body roll but nothing near what you would expect from a big sedan. On twisty roads, it’s almost like two cars: an interior that reminds you where all your money went and an AWD system that’s up to the task of keeping the wheels planted onto the asphalt.

That impressive cornering has a lot to do with parent company Honda’s Super Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD). It might be a feature that sounds like it was coined by an eight-year-old, but the tech behind it (especially in the RLX hybrid) makes a potentially boring car almost exciting to drive in the mountains. The system dynamically sends torque to the wheels to adjust for a corner. At a basic level, it pushes more torque to the outside wheels during a turn. On the RLX the electric motors are used to deliver that extra power.

The RLX’s combined power output of 377 horsepower and 341 pounds of torque.

The RLX only has a normal driving mode and Sport as opposed to many other  hybrids that offer a plethora of options to fine-tune their gas versus electric driving. The RLX, not so much, but after a day were are fine with it. Sometimes you just want the car to figure it out, and the RLX does that with aplomb.

It also does a fine job pampering its occupants. The seats are plush and comfortable. Long hours in the car melted away with nary an ache or pain while the headrest felt more like a pillow than protection against whiplash (it’s still protection against whiplash). All four seats have adequate legroom and warmers so that driving home after a day on the slopes is an opportunity to raise your core temperature via your butt.

Acura’s sport sedan makes for a comfortable cruiser. Thanks to Honda’s stellar SH-AWD, the car will pleasantly surprise you in corners. Plus will likely to give you peace of mind in inclement weather.


Tommy Milner, Corvette Racing Driver, 24 Hours of Le Mans Champion & Win Your New Car Spokesperson