The 2018 RLX Sport Hybrid. Super Handling Review

Posted by Car Reviews by Rob Davidson about 10 months ago
When a car is badged with “SHAWD” or Super Handling All Wheel Drive you’d be forgiven for thinking it’ll handle itself well in snow and slush.
But you’d be wrong.

The 2018 Acura Sport Hybrid RLX is a big car. The biggest car in their lineup. Also very heavy – at 4380 lbs that’s 403 pounds heavier than the non hybrid version of the same car. (and that’s in spite of getting rid of the differential and replacing it with two electric motors. Those electric motors are damn heavy!) A lot of the weight tends to ride on the front of the car and I suppose that might contribute to the tendency of the vehicle to surrender to inertia , but whatever the reason I can tell you I had to be mighty careful negotiating corners on my slushy neighbourhood roads.

The RLX Sport Hybrid uses a lot of the same technology developed for Acura’s supercar the NSX. First they built an electric motor INTO the V6 gasoline engine (Premium fuel alert!) at the front of the car. This is connected to two electric motors mounted at the back of the car. Each of those motors propel the two rear wheels. Most of the time the vehicle is biased to Front Wheel drive , but when the computer detects slippage or even just hard cornering, the electric motors kick in and turn the appropriate wheel. (you can see how this works in this animation )
Until normal , highway driving conditions this is a very good set up with ample road feel and feedback. I was mostly disappointed in the SHAWD system.

The new RLX also has lots of driver aids , the newest of which is the Traffic Jam Assist , a semi autonomous driving mode: in congested traffic jams the TJA will keep the car in its own lane , while the Adaptive Cruise Control will keep it from bumping into the car in front. I tried this in rush hour traffic and it works very well , though I’m uncertain it reduced my stress level: obsessing about semi autonomous driving is more stressful than simply driving the damn car.
The car also has a veritable alphabet soup of acronyms : Collision Mitigation Braking System (CMBS) with Forward Collision Warning (FCW), Lane Keeping Assist (LKAS), Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) with Low-Speed Follow, and Road Departure Mitigation (RDM) with Lane Departure Warning (LDW). 

The interior is very comfortable , both front and back , and the entertainment system has lots of connectivity way beyond what I’m capable of or interested in. It p[aired up nicely with my phone and played my music. There. That’s all it care about. Oh , and it uses knobs. Knobs are always nice.

Sales of the Acura RLX have never been strong – it’s an expensive car , after all. The new body cladding and all new front and rear are very attractive.
You can see my video review of this car here.

2018 Acura RLX Super Hybrid, Review , new car , used car, technology, slush and snow, drive by wire, SHAWD

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