reviews

2017 Acura RLX Walk Around


It’s easy to find acceptability in the styling, but it’s hard to find creativity. The front end was freshened in 2016, resulting in a clean fascia. Its roofline copies the BMW slope without showing it. We don’t have a problem with the looks of the Honda Accord, but to say the RLX looks like the Accord is no compliment. It costs twice as much. It neither offends nor thrills.

Interior

If you like the cabin of the Accord, you’ll like the RLX, assuming you don’t expect twice as much style. It’s functional, outfitted well, and nicely detailed, and has refinement down pat; but it’s also muddy, uninteresting, and lacking in passion and enthusiasm. The cabin of every other midsize luxury sedan we can think of makes the driver feel more special than the cabin in the RLX. It’s not like an Audi, precise, modern, almost sterile, nor like a Volvo S90 with its elegant whimsy.

Well, there is some whimsy and creativity. When you open the door, the RLX emits a little musical jingle and shimmers its dual screens, an emotional display that comes across like a small act of rebellion from a spirited designer.

There’s a two-tier dashboard with twin screens, LCDs.

The front seats are like broad-backed executive desk chairs with 12-way adjustment and standard heating; ventilation is optional. They’re fantastic over a long haul. There’s also good headroom.

The rear seat has thick cushions, but doesn’t offer much room for passengers who are tall or long-legged; the good headroom in front goes away in the rear, thanks to that BMW-like roofline. However, large door openings make it easy to climb in and out.

Storage for small things is decent, and the trunk in the RLX is acceptable at 14.9 cubic feet (14.7 with Advance), but the RLX Sport Hybrid’s 11.6-cubic-foot trunk is dinky. Those two electric motors that add performance take away function.

The roof pillars are thin, the rear glass decent-sized, and the beltline low, so there’s good rearward visibility. The standard rearview camera shows a 180-degree view, while a 360-degree version is optional.

The available adaptive cruise control can be useful, but it’s poorly calibrated. Even at the closest setting, there’s too much space between the RLX and the car ahead, which means it drives you crazy with its over-reacting. When a car pulls into your lane, even though there might be a no-worries margin, the system slams on the brakes to the chagrin of the person behind you.

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