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12 August 2017

Refreshing or Revolting: 2018 Acura RLX

From too boring to too bold?

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When it was introduced for the 2014 model year, the Acura RLX was criticized for playing it safe when it came to its styling. Though it was subtly bolder than the completely forgettable RL flagship it replaced, it still didn’t stand out in the crowded luxury sedan segment. For the car’s mid-cycle refresh, Acura has made the RLX more distinctive. But has it gone too far?

The 2018 Acura RLX receives the diamond pentagon grille we first saw on the 2016 Precision concept, before appearing on the 2017 MDX. The grille is larger than the shield or “beak” design of the pre-refresh RLX, but it features about as much chrome as before. The headlights sport an updated take on the “Jewel Eye” LED headlight theme, and the housing shape draws inspiration from both the Precision concept and the NSX sports car. The hood is also more sculpted, featuring bulging curves at the sides.

The profile hasn’t changed much, but the 2018 model receives new wheel designs. In back, the taillights have been reshaped and now feature 3D LED elements that update the rear end look. The horizontal chrome bar bridging the taillights remains, but the rear bumper has been redesigned with new molded exhaust tips, chrome accents, and reflectors.

Inside, the changes will be harder to spot. The center stack continues to use Acura’s dual-screen setup, with a flush lower screen and inset top screen. Acura says the seats have been redesigned with new piping and contrast stitching, and that the interior as a whole receives improved materials and touchpoints. An Espresso interior option is new for 2018.

We wished the RLX looked a bit more interesting when it first came out, but is this too big a step for a car that has historically showcased subdued, conservative styling? Tell us your thoughts on the refreshed 2018 Acura RLX.

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