Sedans & Coupes

Reliable To the Death — the 2020 Acura RLX

After several rumors foretold its death, the Acura RLX is finally being discontinued. Acura stated that it needs to shift its focus toward vehicles that actually sell, unlike the consumer-neglected RLX. For the first quarter of 2020, under 200 RLX models were sold in the United States, according to Car and Driver.

The Acura RLX may be going away, but Consumer Reports says it’s still a great car. Site editors placed the RLX at the top of its list for most reliable discontinued models. What makes the Acura RLX such a great used car?

The Acura RLX is highly efficient

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The Acura RLX comes with a 3.5-liter V6 capable of 310 hp and paired with a 10-speed automatic transmission. It also gets great mileage, estimated for 20 mpg on city roads and 29 mpg on highway lanes. During real-world testing, Consumer Reports rated its highway mileage for 36 mpg.

Consumer Reports also estimated that the Acura RLX has an annual fuel cost of $1,450. The Lexus GS, another discontinued model for this year, costs $1,600 in fuel each year. Bad gas mileage contributes to higher ownership costs. Since reliable cars can last many years, it’s important to find one that consumes less gas.

Packed with many safety features

An Acura RLX on display at a film festival
An Acura RLX on display | Michael Kovac/Getty Images for Acura

Every Acura RLX comes with the AcuraWatch suite of useful driver’s aids. It has lane-keeping assistance, blind-spot monitors, collision-mitigating brakes, forward-collision warning, road departure warning, and adaptive cruise control. Consumer Reports said that each function works well and the lane-keeping technology can be recalibrated if needed.

The RLX Sport Hybrid has some extra niceties, like a surround-view camera system and parking sensors. While safety features often inflate the base price, it’s probably worth the investment, and not just for the driver’s well-being. Blind-spot monitors and parking sensors can prevent a lot of fender benders, which saves you money on body damage repairs.

Acura offers top-notch interior quality

Consumer Reports praised the Acura RLX for its interior, filled with upscale materials and no hard plastics in sight. A classy cabin makes for great presentation, but it also contributes to the RLX’s longevity. Cheap, flimsy materials are likely to break over time, and these components can be expensive to replace on luxury models.

The Acura RLX can also seat five people on supportive and plush leather upholstery. The front seat is highly adjustable and visibility is excellent for the driver. In the backseat, there’s plenty of legroom for passengers of above-average height.

What you should know before buying an Acura RLX

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The Acura RLX is built to last, but there are a few reasons why it’s not very popular. Consumer Reports cautions that it might not be the best value compared to other luxury sedans. Several desirable features like AWD are only available on the Sport Hybrid trim, which retails for almost $62,000.

In comparison, the Lincoln Continental offers an AWD upgrade on all trims for only $2,000 extra. This car also comes with several standard features that the RLX lacks, like smartphone integration. Consumer Reports also said that the RLX’s infotainment interface is outdated and hard to use.

The Acura RLX has a dual-screen setup, plus a digital display in the gauge cluster. However, none of the controls are clearly labeled and there’s a delay between switching menus. Even basic controls like turning up the audio system may require the driver to consult their owner’s manual first. 

The RLX also doesn’t handle as well as many other cars in the Acura family. The base powertrain isn’t very lively, the cabin is noisy at high speeds, and the suspension jolts over even pavement. Although these flaws don’t detract from its reliability, the Acura RLX is definitely not perfect in every aspect.