Oh boy. Where to begin? The biggest foible of the RLX is the sheetmetal. It's vanilla ice cream or store-brand shredded-wheat cereal. It's plain, pure and simple. And in the RLX's segment, the only thing worse than a bad design is no design at all.
One redeeming point is that for this year the front-end has lost the much-maligned beak which has been around for about a decade or so. In its stead is a black diamond-pattern grille, which brings it in line with the de-beaked MDX and TLX. There are also new LED taillights and more character lines stamped into the hood, all of which try to bring a bit of flair to the otherwise staid RLX.
Unfortunately, it hasn't really done the trick. The RLX still has all the character of a roll of paper towel. There's no elegance, or sportiness, or allusion to heritage, or anything else that might bestow it with distinct design. It is just too inoffensive, and for a $55,000 car, that's a problem.
Inside, the same trend of generically nice continues. If you're willing to look past that, there is a fairly impressive list of standard features. These includes navigation, heated and 12-way power front seats, tri-zone climate control, and voice recognition for the infotainment and climate controls. Sport Hybrid models add to that a heated steering wheel and rear seats, head-up display, and a surround-view camera. Notably, all models include the AcuraWatch suite of active-safety features. It bundles adaptive cruise control, emergency braking, lane-keep assist, road-departure mitigation, and traffic-jam assist.
The front seats are quite comfortable, and there's plenty of room for legs and elbows. However, the back seat headroom was disappointing; the scalps of taller rear-seat passengers will be rubbing the headliner. Also underwhelming is the dual-screen infotainment setup, which isn't intuitive or as easy to use as typical single-screen systems. A final nitpick of ours is that there's no Apple CarPlay or Android Auto - a surprising omission for a 2018 luxury car.