“A Powerful Contradiction”
For 2015, we have the Acura RLX Sport Hybrid on the chopping block for discussion. Acura’s flagship Sedan is a tremendously sophisticated automobile with technological advances from Acura’s Enhanced Super Handling All-Wheel-Drive (SH_AWD) to an abundant amount of driver assistance features giving the driver an intuitive relationship with the car. Not to mention a refined interior boasting luxury and which should all combined have you impressed to a pretty high degree, if you give it the chance. Priced at $69.990 the RLX is fully loaded and ready to go.
The Interior in the RLX is that of something one would expect from a luxury vehicle. Refined with tones of cool technologies like a full color HUD (heads up display) with easy adjustability. Acura Navigation System with Voice Recognition and 8″ display and Krell ultra- premium audio system with 14 speakers that sounds very pleasing. The electronic button gear selector with brake hold just adds to the futuristic yet innovative design of the overall interior. Then there is the tiny subtle features that one may look past like ambient cabin, door handle and drivers/passenger foot well lighting to set the perfect mood, active noise cancelation to keep the outside noises, well outside of course. 12-way power adjustable driver’s and front passenger’s seat including 4-way power lumbar support, heated seats for front and rear passengers. The RLX is fitted with cameras literally all the way around the vehicle giving you options like bird’s eye view and parallel parking assistance that automatically pops up while in reverse. You can also scroll through the cameras at any given time very easily by the push of one button to give you an all-around view if need be. The list of features inside the RLX goes on and on but these were some cool features that caught my eye and made the RLX a strong competitor in the segment of midsized luxury sedans.
The RLX Hybrid is powered by 3.5 liter, 24-valve i-VTECH v6 engine producing 310 horsepower and 273 lb.-ft. pounds of torque in junction with 3 electric motors and a powerful Lithium-ion battery. Two of the electric engines are located at the rear of the vehicle individually powering each wheel with a one-way clutch and the third one is directly mounted onto the engine and 7-speed dual-clutch transmission with Sequential Sport Shift producing a combined 377 horsepower and combined 341 lb.-ft. of torque. Rumor says that the highly anticipated Acura NSX will be using the same type of technology flipped around for a mid-engine setup. What makes this technology so fascinating is the fact that the two rear electric motors can transfer separate amounts of power to each wheel, why is that important you may ask? Well it is important to eliminate understeer, it works like this; when you steer to the right a tiny computer tells the rear inside (right) wheel to slow down while simultaneously telling the outside (left) wheel to speed up causing much more rapid pivot of the vehicle allowing you so perform tight and sharper turns. It does not end there however, under moderate driving conditions the hybrid can coast to about 80km/h on just the 2 electric motors alone and if need be the engine can kick in at any time by simply just putting your foot down further. While under consistent driving conditions the computer will shut off the rear 2 motors and have only the engine and 1 electric motor powering the front 2 wheels only, although the rear motors are always ready for when that extra traction is needed.
When it comes to safety features and safety technologies, the RLX has plentiful. From Forward Collision Warning (FCW) systems warning you with flashing yellow lights warning from possible accidents. Collision Mitigation Braking System (CMBS), Departure Mitigation (RDM) and Lane Keeping Assist System (LKAS) which guides you back into your lane if you start to drift, Blind spot Information systems (BSI) and parking assist. Auto dimming side view mirrors and rear view mirror.
In addition to everything mentioned above, the RLX is also a pretty rare car. With only on average about 300 sales a month in the US compared to one of its competitors the Audi A6 which generates about 2000 sales per month, the exclusivity adds a cool overall factor to the RLX. Acura’s Goal on the RLX was to make the vehicle perform like a V8 with fuel economy of a 4 cylinder engine. The RLX is rated for 7.7L/100Km and weights 1980 kilograms. With that in perspective that actually is a pretty reasonable average.