12.03.2016

Virtue Ignored: The 2016 Acura RLX Sport Hybrid

Front 3/4 view of 2016 Acura RLX Sport Hybrid
The 2016 Acura RLX Sport Hybrid.
I may have said this before (as TireKicker closes in on 1,000 posts, it's hard to be sure), but some cars seem to show up in the press fleet at about the same time every year.  And, sure enough...51 weeks ago, I was in the 2016 Acura RLX Sport Hybrid.



Rear 3/4 view of 2016 Acura RLX Sport Hybrid
2016 Acura RLX Sport Hybrid.
I loved it last year, as it kept me safe and sane through a then-rare Northern California downpour as I drove from Folsom to San Francisco and back.   Well, rain has become much more frequent here (thank you, Lord!) and this time, the RLX (identically equipped to the one I drove last year...only the date of manufacture and the odometer convinced me it wasn't the same one) was once again a foul-weather friend as Mrs. TireKicker and I did a one-night over-and-back to her hometown of Ukiah.

Interior view of 2016 Acura Sport Hybrid
2016 Acura Sport Hybrid interior.
As before, it was supremely comfortable, sure-footed on wet roads and delivered terrific gas mileage.  I averaged 27.2 miles per gallon for the week.  The EPA estimate is 28 city/32 highway, so I fell short of that by a bit, but the winding, twisting parts of CA 20 in Lake County take their toll, especially with the transmission in "Sport" mode.  For 377 horsepower, that's exceptional economy.  Thank the hybrid and the 7-speed automatic transmission.  The sure-footedness can be credited to the all-wheel drive.  Five-star safety ratings all-around and the quality and attention to detail that you'd expect from a Honda product are just icing on the cake.

Spectacularly well-equipped at one price...$65,950.  Just add $920 destination and handling and you're done at $66,870.

So why aren't more people spending that $66,870?  I wrote last year about the RLX's dismal sales. In 2015, its best month was 239 sold.  The worst was 120.  For 2016, only four months have topped 120 and it's fallen below 100 twice.  The RLX is the 259th best-selling car in America...and the list only goes to 299.

It does outsell the car I'd buy instead of it, the similarly-priced (when loaded) Volvo S90, but it's trailing such four-wheeled unicorns as the BMW i8, the Maserati Quattroporte and the Honda CR-Z.

Bottom line: It's a much better car deserving a much better appreciation of its virtues.



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