CC Outtake: 2016 Acura RLX – Mask Of Invisibility

As William Stopford stated in his 2005-2012 Acura RL article, the RL’s successor, the RLX, has not improved upon the RL’s microscopic sales figures. In fact, since going on sale in the U.S. in early 2013, the RLX has sold less than 13,000 units total here in the states. Seeing an RLX in the wild is largely a semi-annual sight, though I’ve probably seen more of the RLX than most, having actually been behind the wheel of one.

It was back at the International Motor Press’s Test Days in upstate New York back in fall of 2015, and the RLX I drove was the Sport Hybrid Super Handling All-Wheel Drive model. With combined output of 377 horsepower and 341 lb-ft torque from its three motor system (3.5L V6 in the front and two electric motors in the rear), 7-speed DCT, and its advanced torque-vectoring all-wheel drive system, the RLX actually offered a highly dynamic and dare I say “sporty” driving experience, something uncommon for a car in its class.

Combine that with a smooth ride, comfortable interior, and numerous tech and safety features galore, and on paper, the RLX would appear to be a home run. So why doesn’t it sell in numbers that are at least respectable? Simply put, the RLX is a very nice, well-rounded $35,000 luxury sedan. There’s just one problem with that: the base RLX’s entry price is $55,000, and a fully-optioned Sport Hybrid SH-AWD model will put you within the $70,000 range.

Sure, the hybrid powertrain is advanced, and does warrant a small premium, but $70,000 for a car with an interior no better than a $35,000 TLX, and styling that from most angles actually does look a lot like an even less expensive Honda Accord? It just doesn’t add up.