2017 Acura RLX Driving Impressions

The acceleration of the 3.5-liter V6 is steady, quiet and composed, with a pleasant small snarl when you try to kick some urgency into it. It could use a bit more urgency when pulling away from a stop with its light 272 pound-feet of torque. Upshifts with the six-speed automatic are smooth, and downshifts a bit more aggressive.

Rear-wheel steering adds stability on the freeway, especially during quick maneuvers. Acura calls it Precision All-Wheel Steer (P-AWS). It only turns the rear wheels a couple of degrees, but that makes a big difference; you might not feel it, but the car responds considerably more sharply and securely.

The suspension was re-tuned for comfort for 2016, so the 2017 RLX corners casually. Don’t expect the FWD RLX to be a sports sedan. The variable steering has a light touch at slow speeds, appreciated in parking lots, where P-AWS helps turn tighter. The steering resistance increases at speed, rising to the need. All of this, however, works out to a solid commuter for mindless slogging through traffic on a daily basis.

If it’s more of a sports sedan you want, the Sport Hybrid with SH-AWD is a contender; 377 horsepower with 377 pound-feet of torque is V8 territory. It’s more fun to drive, with quicker response and a sharper turn-in. You can feel the power in the seat of your pants, as you should; but not in the steering wheel, where you shouldn’t. The seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission works through a smart rear differential to erase any jerkiness in the shifts. The rear-wheel power transition is smooth and secure in winter slippery conditions. It’s extremely responsive to stabs of the throttle, and it accelerates almost like an electric car, uninterrupted thrust. It makes turbocharging seem obsolete.

**Based on current year EPA mileage ratings. Use for comparison purposes only. Your actual mileage will vary, depending on how you drive and maintain your vehicle, driving conditions, battery pack age/condition (hybrid models only) and other factors.

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