2018 Acura RLX vs. 2017 Acura RLX

2018 Acura RLX vs. 2017 Acura RLX


Acura is on a mission to transform its line-up. It started with the 2017 MDX, moved on to the 2018 TLX, and now the brand has unleashed the all-new 2018 Acura RLX. And after this, the brand will move on to the 2019 RDX, and we’ll see more and more upgrades over time.

But with the 2018 model comes a choice: upgrade or stick with the 2017 model?

In this comparison, we’ll take a look at the ways the 2018 model is different and how it’s similar to the outgoing 2017 model.

Exterior Styling

The most notable change to the 2018 Acura RLX compared to the 2017 model should be familiar to those that follow Acura. The brand’s new exterior design scheme, with the distinctive pentagon grille and aggressive jewel-eye LED headlights are a change from the classic design scheme Acura has employed across its line-up over the past several years.

With the new design, the latest RLX commands a more sports car-like stance compared to the executive luxury car of years past. While still a luxury car at heart, the brand’s new styling is a perfect mix of aggressive design and the professional look many who choose a full-size luxury sedan are looking for.

The 2018 RLX also now features exposed chrome exhaust tips and exposed lines through the side body panels. Like many of the other changes compared to the 2017 model, these add to the sports car look and feel that the brand is heading towards with many of its newly-redesigned models.

Finally, the 2018 RLX features new wheel designs exclusive to the RLX. One for the standard front-wheel drive model and one for the Sport Hybrid model. Both wheels are 19-inch designs, and perfectly contrast the new Acura design scheme.


Under the hood, the 2018 RLX hasn’t changed much from the 2017 model. But when there’s a great mixture of performance and efficiency, why mess with a winning formula?

For the Sport Hybrid model, the 2018 RLX features the same NSX-inspired powertrain. Three electric motors combine with a gas-powered 3.5-liter V6 to improve torque and overall fuel efficiency. And thanks to the Super Handling All-Wheel Drive system, the electric motors can send a quick jolt of power to the rear wheels throughout curves, or when the system detects slippage in traction.

The non-Sport Hybrid 2018 RLX also features the same engine and other features, but does have an upgraded transmission. Out is the 6-speed from the 2017 and in is a brand-new 10-speed automatic transmission, allowing for improved acceleration and overall performance refinement.

Interior and Technology

On the inside, the RLX may not look as different as it does on the outside at first glance; however, there are a lot of improvements that provide the balance of luxury to the exterior’s sporty new design scheme.

The first big change are the seats. Available in four premium colors, these real Milano Leather seats include incredible contrast stitching and piping with bolsters offer a new level of quality that typically require pricey upgrades in many of competitors’ models.

With the Advance Package upgrade, buyers can expect the same six-level heated and ventilated seat options on the 2018 model from the 2017 model. There’s also a brand-new Heads-Up Display added to the interior of Advance Package-equipped 2018 RLX model. Nicknamed HUD for short, this feature projects a transparent image as close to eye-level as possible on the lower part of the windshield to display information to the driver. For things like speed, navigation directions, and even status of cruise control and lane keep assist systems, you don’t have to take your eyes off the road.

New features in the Advance Package also include tri-zone electric air conditioning with air quality sensor and a front windshield de-icer.

Technology on the 2018 model remains as solid as it was on the 2017, retaining available AcuraWatch, GPS-linked climate control, Surround View camera system, and more.

Overall, the 2018 RLX is an incredible upgrade, with the new design and incredible retained features, it’s still one of the best choices in its segment!