Acura RLX: Add Another Grave to the Sedan Cemetery

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
acura rlx add another grave to the sedan cemetery

Yes, it’s true. The news that marred your sunny and/or drenching weekend cannot be ignored: the slow-selling, highly complex Acura RLX flagship will not stage a return for 2021.

If it did, would anyone have noticed?

That’s doubtful, given the model’s shrinking sales volumes.

In a statement reported by Car and Driver late Friday, Acura said, “Today, we informed Acura dealers of our plan to discontinue sales of the RLX sedan in North America at the conclusion of the 2020 model year, as we make significant investments in the core models that represent Acura’s future.”

Acura’s sedan future now lies in the compact ILX and midsize TLX, the latter of which gains a new generation for 2021. Honda’s premium division previewed the car with its Type S concept vehicle last year, heralding the return of the Type S designation to the brand.

But back to the RLX, which split from its predecessor, the RL for the 2014 model year. Front-drive in base models and boasting all-wheel steering, the RLX offered a 3.5-liter V6 and 10-speed automatic. Any benefit to handling realized by its steering system failed to catch the attention of consumers, who stayed away in droves. The same can be said for the uplevel RLX Sport Hybrid SH-AWD, which combined the same 310-horse V6 with a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic and a triple-motor all-wheel drive hybrid powertrain.

This complex affair doled out one electric motor up front, with two more independently powering the rear wheels. Shades of NSX, only in a forgettable, largish midsize sedan. Acura used a fleet of these to shuttle us to an MDX first drive event a few years back — an event that included a toe-dip in the supposedly DNA-sharing NSX.

While Acura’s powertrain tech should have set it apart from some rivals, it didn’t. The brand sold just 205 of these sedans in the first four months of 2020; even factoring in the pandemic, that’s a tiny amount. Last year saw Acura unload just 1,019 of them. In its first full year of production, some 3,413 RLXs made it out of showrooms.

[Images: Acura]

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  • Varezhka Varezhka on May 18, 2020

    Expensive and not particularly luxurious inside, outdated, looks and drive like a large FWD barge that it is. At the very least the car needed a clear differentiation from the TLX that justified paying the 20K premium (and TLX is not exactly setting the showroom on fire either).

  • Brn Brn on May 18, 2020

    I'd comment on the particular vehicle, but the Acura naming convention is nonsensical and I wouldn't know which car I was talking about.

    • Sgeffe Sgeffe on May 20, 2020

      I’m that way with the SUVs — is the MDX or the RDX the top-drawer offering? I’ve had to look it up more times than I care to admit!

  • Tassos Before you rush to buy this heap of rusty metal, maybe you should wait a day or two.I hear Tim will have an Model T next time.
  • Redapple2 I d just buy one already sorted. Too many high level skills (wiring, paint, body panel fitment et. al.) that i dont have. And I dont fancy working 100 s of hours for $3 /hour.
  • 28-Cars-Later I'm actually surprised at this and not sure what to make of it. In recent memory Senator Biden has completely ignored an ecological disaster in Ohio, and then ignored a tragic fire in Hawaii until his handlers were goaded in sending him and his visit turned into it's own disaster, but we skipped nap time for this sh!t show? Seriously? We really are through the looking glass now, "votes" no longer matter (Hillary almost won being the worst presidential candidate since 1984 before he claimed the crown) and outside of Corvette nostalgia Joe doesn't care let alone know what day it happens to be. Could they really be afraid of Trump, who AFAIK has planned no appearance or run his mouth on this issue? Just doesn't make sense, granted this is Clown World so maybe its my fault for trying to find sense in a senseless act.
  • Tassos If you only changed your series to the CORRECT "Possibly Collectible, NOT Daily Driver, NOT Used car of the day", it would sound much more accurate AND TRUTHFUL.Now who would collect THIS heap of trash for whatever misguided reason, nostalgia for a much worse automotive era or whatever, is another question.
  • ToolGuy Price dropped $500 overnight. (Wait 10 more days and you might get it for free?)