2018 Acura RLX: midcycle styling, tech update

Acura gave its RLX large sedan a significant midcycle refresh for 2018 and then dropped the price by $4,050 on the sport-hybrid model, which Acura says is its most powerful model after the NSX supercar.

The 2018 RLX is now on sale with refining updates inside and out, including more advanced safety technologies and a new 10-speed automatic transmission.

Sold in a simplified lineup of just two trim levels, the front-wheel-drive RLX P-AWS, with all-wheel steering, starts at $55,865, a $450 increase over 2017 but with more content; pricing includes the $965 freight charge from Japan. It features a 310-horsepower, 3.5-liter direct-injection V-6 engine with the new 10-speed automatic transmission. Fuel economy ratings are 20/29/23 mpg for city, highway and combined driving, on the recommended premium fuel.

The RLX Sport Hybrid SH-AWD starts at $62,865 — a price cut $4,050 compared to the out-going model with the Advance Package. The Sport Hybrid integrates a direct-injected 3.5-liter V-6 with three electric motors and the brand’s Super Handling All-Wheel Drive. With 377-hp and a seven-speed dual-clutch automated manual transmission, the hybrid’s fuel economy ratings are 28/29/28 mpg city/hwy/combined on the recommended premium fuel.

The RLX has new front and rear styling and adopts Acura’s signature diamond pentagon grille. Other design updates include a more sculpted hood, new wheel designs, newly designed LED taillights, exposed dual exhaust tips and a gloss-black rear diffuser. There six new paint colors (seven total) and two new premium hues: Brilliant Red Metallic and Majestic Black Pearl.

Inside, there are new seats, more premium materials and touch points, including redesigned Milano leather seats with high-contrast, piping and stitching. There also is a new Espresso interior option with an option for a black headliner.

Standard safety technologies on both models includes adaptive cruise with low-speed follow, collision mitigation braking, forward collision warning, road departure mitigation with lane-departure warning and lane-keeping assist. New this year and a first for Acura is Traffic Jam Assist, which helps keep the vehicle centered in the lane and at a set interval from the vehicle ahead.

Standard Sport Hybrid features include a head-up display, 14-speaker Krell audio system, surround view camera, front and rear parking sensors, LED fog lights, remote engine start, ventilated and heated front seats, heated rear outboard seats and heated steering wheel.

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