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Archive for the ‘facelift’ Category

PostHeaderIcon Land Rover Range Rover

A well-deserved update

The Range Rover is Jaguar Land Rover’s flagship SUV, offering surprising off-road capability wrapped up in a luxurious, premium package. The latest model year smartly keeps these basics intact, while also adding a dash of tweaked exterior styling, a heavy dose of the latest infotainment and driver assist tech, and most importantly, a brand-new plug-in-hybrid powertrain. If you prefer power rather than efficiency, a supercharged V-8 is on hand as well, as is a diesel option and a gas-powered V-6. Inside, the rear seat gets as much as 7.3 inches in extra legroom, which works wonders while relaxing in the high-end long-wheelbase iteration. Leather upholstery and wood trim pervade throughout. Read on for more.

Continue reading to learn more about the 2018 Land Rover Range Rover.

Exterior

left
right
“Hard to differentiate between the previous generation (left) and the new one (right) from a profile…”

Smartly, JLR didn’t make any dramatic changes to the highly successful Range Rover formula, and that includes the exterior styling. The same simplified design cues are present, with lots of straight lines and broad, flat surfaces. The details are made up of horizontal contours that add a sense of beefiness to the vehicle, a good complement to the squared-off, long-reaching rooflines and rear hatch.

“Our approach was to find ways of enhancing the Range Rover’s traditional appeal without making too dramatic a change,” says Gerry McGovern. “We therefore set out to create an uncluttered graphic that embodied a cleanliness and quality of design, with flush detailing and a greater emphasis on overall cohesion.”

Exterior equipment and styling upgrades vary between the various trim levels. For example, the high-powered SVAutobiography stands out thanks to the inclusion of a new mesh grille using a “Graphite Atlas” design with chrome inserts.

Meanwhile, all models in the range get an updated rear bumper with integrated exhaust tips, plus a reshaped front bumper with wider vent blades. Up top, you’ll find a new shape for the clamshell hood as well, which also gets longer dimensions than before.


2018 Land Rover Range Rover - image 737747
“Each new Range Rover comes standard with 24 LEDs, which includes the signature daytime running lights. Options include a high-beam assist feature.”

In front, you’ll notice headlight housings that are more pointed and thinner than before, with LEDs used as the primary lighting element. In fact, each new Range Rover comes standard with 24 LEDs, which includes the signature daytime running lights. Options include a high-beam assist feature.

Moving to the flanks, we find new lower side elements that gain fresh accents and new vent graphics. Various hues offered include a Satin Body-Colored look and an Atlas Accent Finish. Six new designs for the alloy wheels are also on hand, which, depending on the trim level, get sizing up to 22 inches in diameter.

Two exterior colors were added to the lineup, now including Rossello Red and Byron Blue. Further exterior customization can be had with the optional design packs, the first of which is the Black Exterior Pack. Opt into this and you’ll get Narvik Black coloring for the lettering front and back, grille insert, front tow eye cover, side view mirror covers, side vent graphics, and more. There’s also the Shadow Exterior Package, which applies upgrades to the same areas, but in a Shadow Atlas color, rather than black.


2018 Land Rover Range Rover - image 737733
“Tail lights and rear bumper are the most obvious part of the 2018 gen facelift.”

Finally, the body panels were made from aluminum in order to keep weight down, resulting in a body that’s 39-percent lighter than before. The styling changes also affect how the SUV moves through the atmosphere, with the coefficient of drag reduced to 0.34.

Interior

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“The redesigned cabin (right) is finally up to par with the competition in this price range.”

Step into the Range Rover’s cabin, and you’ll find even more space than what was offered before. This includes a redesign for the rear bench as well, where a substantial amount of legroom was added – up to 7.3 inches, bringing the grand total up to 47.5 inches of legroom total in long wheelbase variants. JLR even managed to accomplish this without putting a dent in the rear cargo room. The rear seats are wider as well, and they get a recline function. With one touch, the rear bench will fold flat to accommodate larger objects you might wanna move. A 60/40 split for the rear bench offers other cargo arrangement options, while smaller storage bins were added here and there.

As for the passengers, ambient road noise sees a decline thanks to 20-percent thicker glass. Rear-seated passengers will also enjoy the power-deployable center console, which enables easier ingress and egress for those climbing in and out. When deployed, the center console provides soft touch leather surfaces and additional storage. It’s all part of the Range Rover’s Rear Executive Seating feature, which essentially turns the SUV into a premium limo, especially when folding down the front passenger seat for ever more rear legroom.


2018 Land Rover Range Rover - image 737750
“Rear-seated passengers will enjoy the power-deployable center console, which enables easier ingress and egress for those climbing in and out.”

Speaking of seats, there are 16-way adjustable units as standards, while options toss in either 20-way or 24-way adjustable units. Hard-button controls were added to the arm panels. The seat frames were made wider and now get deeper foam, plus there’s a heating function and cooling function. Heating can also be found on the armrests, feet rest, and calf rest. The seats also get 25 different massage programs and even eight different settings for the headrests. All of these various settings can be customized via the Range Rover smartphone app.

In terms of materials, expect copious leather upholstery, with grained leather as standard, plus oxford leather and semi-aniline leather as available options. There are also seven different options for interior veneers, four of which are new for this latest model year.


2018 Land Rover Range Rover - image 737753
“In terms of materials, expect copious leather upholstery, with grained leather as standard, plus oxford leather and semi-aniline leather as available options”

That’s all to be expected though, right? What about this technology JLR is boasting about?

Well, long story short, the new Range Rover gets the “most advanced infotainment system yet created by Jaguar Land Rover.” Providing the platform is an InControl Touch Pro Duo system with two 10-inch HD touchscreens in the center console, offering smartphone-esque operation (pinch, swipe, etc.) and a high degree of customizability for whatever features you need to control.

Providing the instrumentation is a 12-inch Interactive Driver Display, plus a heads-up display that projects info onto the windshield. In back is an optional 10-inch display.

Expect the usual array of app support, plus a 4G Wi-Fi connection for up to eight devices. There are also 17 connection points, with normal power sockets, USB connections, HDMI ports, and 12-volt sockets.


2018 Land Rover Range Rover - image 737751
“Expect the usual array of app support, plus a 4G Wi-Fi connection for up to eight devices.”

Meridian provides the audio equipment. Standard spec is a 13-speaker system with 380 watts, 19 speakers with 825 watts, and 29 speakers with 1,700 watts. Each options includes a dual-channel subwoofer.

Further technology upgrades include a full suite of safety and driver’s assists. Kicking it off is stuff like adaptive cruise control, traffic sign recognition, lane departure warning, emergency braking, and more. Even more can be had with the optional Drive Pack, which adds a Blind Spot Monitor, Adaptive Speed Limiter, and a Driver Condition Monitor, among others. There’s also a Park Pack that adds a 360-degree parking aid, Reverse Traffic Monitor, Clear Exit Monitor, and other things.


2018 Land Rover Range Rover - image 737742
“Further technology upgrades include a full suite of safety and driver’s assists.”

More luxury-oriented options include a cooler box and refrigerator in the center console capable of holding four 16.9-ounce bottles. There’s also a new cabin air ionization system, plus LED ambient lighting divided into three distinct “zones” in 10 different colors.

Finally, passengers will enjoy the gesture control for the sunblind – just swipe your hand in front of the rearview mirror to open or close the blinds, although normal button operation is also in place if desired. A smart function will automatically close the blinds after passengers get out, keeping the cabin cool in hot, sunny climates.

Drivetrain


2018 Land Rover Range Rover - image 737741
“One of the most important headlines with this latest update is the addition of a new PHEV (plug-in hybrid electric vehicle) powertrain”

Let’s kick off this section with the range-topping Range Rover SVAutobiography Dynamic, offered as the most powerful Range Rover model ever made. Equipped with the same all-aluminum supercharged V-8 as the Range Rover Sport SVR, peak output is rated at 557 horsepower, which is enough to propel the large SUV to 60 mph in just 5.1 seconds.

That said, one of the most important headlines with this latest update is the addition of a new PHEV (plug-in hybrid electric vehicle) powertrain. This latest electrified Land Rover makes solid progress towards Land Rover’s goal to offer an electric powertrain option with every new model released after 2020.


2019 Land Rover Range Rover P400e - image 737714
“The hybrid starts with a 2.0-liter Ingenium four-cylinder internal combustion engine making 296 horsepower. It then adds a single electric motor making 114 horsepower.”

Dubbed the Range Rover P400e, the hybrid starts with a 2.0-liter Ingenium four-cylinder internal combustion engine making 296 horsepower. It then adds a single electric motor making 114 horsepower. The ICE is mounted longitudinally under the hood, while the electric motor is placed inside the ZF eight-speed automatic transmission. Total output for the hybrid system is rated at 398 horsepower and a stout 472 pound-feet of torque. With output reaching the pavement through a permanent 4WD system, acceleration from 0-to-60 mph takes 6.4 seconds for short-wheelbase variants, while top speed is pegged at 137 mph. What’s more, the eight-speed gearbox is adaptive, changing its shifting patterns to better suit your particular driving style. For example, if you like driving with bit more enthusiasm, the gear changes will compensate with quicker cog swaps.

Mounted under the floor in the rear of the vehicle is a 13.1-kWh lithium-ion battery. Charging it up is a 7-kW charger, connected via a charge point placed just behind the grille. Plugged into a standard household outlet, JLR says a full charge can be achieved “overnight.” There’s also an included public charger cable, and the option for pulling power from the grid during off-peak hours. The current charge status is indicated via light strips placed next to the socket behind the grille. Buyers can also monitor the charge status via the Range Rover smartphone app.


2018 Land Rover Range Rover - image 737754
“As you probably expect, there are multiple driving modes to suit the conditions at hand”

As you probably expect, there are multiple driving modes to suit the conditions at hand. The first of these is the default Parallel Hybrid mode, which kicks in both the gas and electric power sources. Then there’s the SAVE function, which maintains a specific battery charge based on your stated destination and onboard GPS navigation data, creating a smart efficiency plan to make the most of the available energy, maximizing mpg as a result. For example, the system will save electric power to help navigate through stop-and-go traffic.

Then of course there’s the EV mode, which draws motivation exclusively from the battery pack. Top speed while in all-electric mode goes down to 85 mph, while max range before the ICE kicks in is 31 miles.

Drivers can select their preferred mode via a button on the console. Regenerative braking also helps to keep the battery pack at full.


2018 Land Rover Range Rover - image 737732
“In addition to a supercharged V-8 and hybrid four-cylinder, the Range Rover is also offered with a few powerplants to fill the gap, including a diesel option and a supercharged 3.0-liter V-6 in two states of tune”

In addition to a supercharged V-8 and hybrid four-cylinder, the Range Rover is also offered with a few powerplants to fill the gap, including a diesel option that makes 254 horsepower from a turbocharged V-6, returning 28 mpg on the highway. Finally, there’s a supercharged 3.0-liter V-6 in two states of tune, either with 340 horsepower or 380 horsepower.

Chassis And Handling


2018 Land Rover Range Rover - image 737743
“In addition to providing more economic driving options, the new electric powerplant provides the Range Rover with enhanced off-roading chops as well”

In addition to providing more economic driving options, the new electric powerplant provides the Range Rover with enhanced off-roading chops as well. It uses something called the Land Rover Terrain Response system, which will precisely distribute the available 0 rpm torque from the electric motor across all four corners, enhancing traction as a result.

Further grip is provided by the low-traction launch mode, which is ideal for surfaces like wet grass, gravel, or snow. Hill Descent Control comes as standard. There’s also plenty of ground clearance and a smooth underfloor, and if necessary, Land Rover says the Range Rover can wade into water up to 35.4 inches (nearly 3 feet) deep.

“Hill Descent Control comes as standard. There’s also plenty of ground clearance and a smooth underfloor, and if necessary, Land Rover says the Range Rover can wade into water up to 35.4 inches (nearly 3 feet) deep.”

Further improvements to the new model include an optimized chassis thanks to improved stiffness, plus a refined variable-ratio, speed-sensitive steering system. The construction utilizes aluminum for the construction, which keeps it as lightweight as possible. The set-up is independent at all four corners, with double wishbones in front and a multi-link in the rear.

The Range Rover comes standard with air suspension components, which allows it to automatically lower or raise the ride height by as much as 3.5 inches. This is particularly useful when adapting to certain driving situations, for example, lowering for high-speed freeway cruising, or rising up for off-roading adventures. Max ride height is also great for hitching up to a tall trailer. Further towing capabilities are provided by optional Advanced Tow Assist, which will automatically countersteer as necessary to guide the trailer where intended.


2018 Land Rover Range Rover - image 737745
“The Range Rover comes standard with air suspension components, which allows it to automatically lower or raise the ride height by as much as 3.5 inches.”

A Dynamic Response system allows drivers to fine tune their suspension set-up, with independent front and rear axle control and an active roll system. An active rear-locking differential and Adaptive Dynamics system with variable damping rounds out the handling equipment.

Various drive modes make the most of it. There’s a Comfort mode for cruising, as well as a Dynamic mode for spirited driving, plus modes like Grass/Gravel/Snow, Mud/Ruts, Sand, or Rock Crawl. There’s even an Eco mode, which will provide feedback and tips for eking out more mpg, while also softening the throttle response, short shifting the transmission, and deactivating the heating function for the side view mirrors, steering wheel, and seats.

Finally, ducts in the front bumper help to keep the brakes nice and chilly.

Prices


2018 Land Rover Range Rover - image 737737

Order books for the Land Rover Range Rover are open now, with deliveries scheduled for the end of 2017, depending on the market in question. Meanwhile, buyers interested in the Range Rover P400e won’t get availability until the 2019 model year.

Pricing for the base model SE starts at $87,350, while the turbodiesel option will run you $89,350. Step up to the V-8 and you’re looking at $104,850, while the range-topper SVAutobiography gets a price tag of $177,200. Go for the long wheelbase iteration and prepare to dish out $207,900.

Land Rover declined to announce pricing for the P400e, but if we were to guess, a figure of $95,000 feels about right.

TRIM POWERTRAIN – OUTPUT MSRP
SE 3.0L S/C V6 Gas – 340hp $87,350
HSE 3.0L S/C V6 Gas – 380hp $94,050
SE Td6 3.0L T/C V6 Diesel – 254hp $89,350
HSE Td6 3.0L T/C V6 Diesel – 254hp $96,050
Supercharged 5.0L S/C V8 Gas – 518hp $104,850
Supercharged LWB 5.0L S/C V8 Gas – 518hp $108,895
Autobiography 5.0L S/C V8 Gas – 518hp $141,995
Autobiography LWB 5.0L S/C V8 Gas – 518hp $148,295
SVAutobiography Dynamic 5.0L S/C V8 Gas – 557hp $177,200

Other Options

Lexus LX


2016 Lexus LX 570 - image 640375

When it comes to boldly styled luxury SUVs, the Japanese-brand Lexus makes a tempting offer with its LX model line. Introduced for a third generation in 2007, the last refresh was shown at the 2015 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. Outside, the LX advertises itself with an utterly unique exterior. The look is quite different from that of the Range Rover, with sharp cuts, many geometric forms, and highly angular features. Chrome lines the surrounds for the grille and windows, while the proportions are classic SUV in their appearance.

Mercedes-Benz GLS Class


2017 Mercedes-Benz GLS-Class - image 654033

If you’re looking for high-end luxury in a big SUV package, the Germans definitely have the right stuff. Mercedes-Benz offers the GLS Class to scratch that particular itch, available in three individual trim levels. Kicking it off is the GLS 450, which gets 362 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque from a turbocharged 3.0-liter V-6. Next is the GLS 550, which throws in another two cylinders and 1.7 liters for 449 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of torque. At the top of the heap is the AMG GLS 63, which mounts a 5.5-liter V-6 good for 577 horsepower and 561 pound-feet of torque. Pricing starts at $69,550 for the 450, and ranges up to $125,300 for the AMG.

Read our full review on the 2017 Mercedes-Benz GLS Class.

Volvo XC90 T8 Hybrid


2016 Volvo XC90 T8 - image 581681

Volvo has been making significant moves in the hybrid space as of late, with the XC90 T8 SUV offering both high-end interior luxury and powerful (yet fuel-efficient) technology under the hood. Big screens, leather upholstery, and wood trim are in the cabin, complemented by the latest safety and assistance features. A twin-charged 2.0-liter four-cylinder is mounted in the nose. Assisting the ICE is a pair of electric motors, which boost output to 400 horsepower. At the same time, return figures are estimated at an impressive 53 MPGe in the city.

Read our full review on the 2017 Volvo XC90 T8 Hybrid.

Conclusion


2018 Land Rover Range Rover - image 737765

I’ll be perfectly honest, no one is gonna buy a $95,000 luxury SUV to save on gas, even if it does get a hybrid powertrain under the hood. Rather, the electrification of the Range Rover is a clear indicator that Land Rover is expecting some pretty big changes in the future, and when they happen, the automaker will have the experience needed to continue offering its most iconic model.

That said, the rest of the Range Rover line looks as good as always. The interior luxury and features are all top-notch, whether you’re behind the wheel or in the back seat relaxing. Premium SUV motoring is very much in effect here, and by all accounts, the off-roading chops are as strong as ever. It’s a solid foot forward for the nameplate, and we expect it to carry the JLR torch for quite some time to come.

  • Leave it
    • Can get very, very expensive very, very quickly
    • Will folks really care about the hybrid?
    • Will folks really go off-roading?

References

Land Rover Range Rover


2019 Land Rover Range Rover P400e - image 737903

Read our full article on the 2018 Land Rover Range Rover P400e.


2018 Land Rover Range Rover Sport P400e - image 736061

Read our full article on the 2018 Land Rover Range Rover Sport P400e.

PostHeaderIcon Car Throttle Looks At Six Fantastic Facelifts: Video

As we get deeper and deeper into auto show season (get ready for Tokyo!), we are often reminded of that age-old industry practice known as the facelift. In order to keep older models feeling fresh and new, automakers will often apply an update wherein certain exterior design features get tweaked ever so slightly, thus creating a somewhat different appearance. These design reworks are usually pretty mild – an extra crease here, a larger intake there, you know, that sort of thing. But sometimes, a facelift works some real magic for a car, giving it just the right sort of aesthetic, the sort of style that makes you stand up and shout “Yes! That’s what it’s supposed to look like!” In the above-featured three-and-a-half-minute video, our friends over at Car Throttle highlight six such instances when a facelift was just done right.

Included in the video is the Ford Mustang, the Nissan GT-R, the BMW E46 3-Series, the Jaguar XF, the Peugeot 306, and the Mazda MX-5 2.5. Throughout, Car Throttle points out what’s different in the new model versus the old model, highlighting why it works along the way. Indeed, the art of the facelift is in subtle effectiveness, with tweaks done that result in a whole that’s greater than the sum of its parts. Synergy is the key, boosting what works, and diminishing what doesn’t. We think Car Throttle is on to something here, and as we dive headlong into a fresh batch of revisions and updates for the upcoming model year, it pays well to take note of what a good facelift looks like.

References

Ford Mustang


2018 Ford Mustang - image 711448

Read our full review on the 2018 Ford Mustang.

Nissan GT-R


2017 Nissan GT-R - image 670479

Read our full review on the 2017 Nissan GT-R.

BMW E46 3-Series


1999 - 2005 BMW E46 - image 30627

Read our full review on the BMW E46 3-Series.

Jaguar XF


2014 - 2015 Jaguar XF - image 513713

Read our full review on the Jaguar XF.

Mazda MX-5 2.5


2016 Mazda MX-5 - image 614586

Read our full review on the 2016 Mazda MX-5.

PostHeaderIcon Acura RLX

Introduced in 2013, the RLX is one of Acura’s newest nameplates. Designed to replace the severely outdated second-generation RL, the RLX was received with mixed reviews. While praised for its powerful V-6, hybrid drivetrains, and technology, the full-size sedan was criticized for its bland looks and relatively high prices compared to its rivals. This is probably why Acura is introducing a new styling for the RLX only four years after the original model hit the market. The redesigned sedan was just previewed ahead of the Monterey Car Week, where it will make its public debut on August 15.

Although a four-year-old vehicle usually gets a mild facelift, the RLX was redesigned from the ground up on the outside, now reflecting the company’s new Precision Crafted Performance styling language. Granted, the interior carries over unchanged save for additional equipment and the drivetrain options all have the same specifications, but Acura solved one of the RLX’s biggest issues: the dull design. Let’s have a closer look at what it brings to the table in the review below.

Updated 11/06/2017: Acura announced prices for the 2018 RLX which is now on sale at dealer nationwide. Check the “Prices” section for the full details.

Continue reading to learn more about the 2018 Acura RLX.

Exterior


2018 Acura RLX - image 726089
“The RLX's new exterior design is familiar if you've seen the new TLX and MDX, but it's a significant departure from the current sedan.”

The RLX’s new exterior design is familiar if you’ve seen the new TLX and MDX, but it’s a significant departure from the current sedan. Up front, the most notable change is the new “beak” grille with sharper corners and a wider center section. The mesh grille design is also new, and it appears to combine elements seen on Lexus and Mercedes-Benz models. I’m not saying that Acura took inspiration from those cars, but it’s the best way I can describe it. My other option is that it looks as if tiny UFOs shoot out of the Acura badge toward the headlamps. How’s that for PR, Acura?

Speaking of the headlamps, their sharp inner corners have been reversed, so the car gets a more aggressive, frowning appearance. The outer corners are also sharper than before, while a new, L-shaped LED strip adds a unique look. Below, we have large chrome inserts at each corner, a significantly wider lower intake with integrated daytime running lights, and a larger splitter. The engine hood also looks more muscular thanks to the extra creases on each side.

Exterior Dimensions

Wheelbase (Inches) 112.2
Length (Inches) 196.1
Height (Inches) 57.7
Width (Inches) 74.4
Track front/rear (Inches) 64.3 / 64.2

Interior


2018 Acura RLX - image 726094
“Unlike the exterior, the interior design remains largely unchanged.”

Unlike the exterior, the interior design remains largely unchanged. This isn’t a bad thing, but the cluttered center stack with the two small displays and HVAC control above the center console needs a redesign. I’m also not a fan of the A/C vents placed all over the dashboard, but other than that, the current RLX still feels fresh on the inside.


2018 Acura RLX - image 726095
“The seats have been revised for improved comfort, while both the gasoline and hybrid models now come with the enhanced AcuraWatch.”

There are few changes to talk about it though. The seats have been revised for improved comfort, while both the gasoline and hybrid models now come with the enhanced AcuraWatch suite of technologies as standard. The package includes Traffic Jam Assist, a first for Acura, Collision Mitigation Braking System with automatic emergency braking, Lane Departure Warning, Forward Collision Warning, Lane Keeping Assist, Adaptive Cruise Control with Low-Speed Follow, and Road Departure Mitigation. AcuraWatch uses a millimeter wave radar and monocular camera sensing technology to detect other vehicles as well as lane markings.

The Sport Hybrid models also includes a premium Krell audio system, Surround View Camera, parking sensors, remote engine start, ventilated and heated front seats, heated rear seats, and heated steering wheel as standard. Acura upgraded the materials too, including high-contrast piping and stitching for the seats and a new Espresso upholstery color option with light wood veneer.

Interior Dimensions

Headroom front/rear (Inches) 37.6 / 36.9
Legroom front/rear (Inches) 42.3 / 38.8
Shoulder Room front/rear (Inches) 59.6 / 57.0
Hiproom front/rear (Inches) 55.9 / 54.5
EPA Passenger Volume (cu ft) 102.1
EPA Cargo Volume (cu ft, w/o Krell / with Krell) 14.9 / 14.7

Drivetrain


2018 Acura RLX - image 726098
“While V-6 engine cranks out the same 310 horsepower, it now mates to a 10-speed automatic.”

Under that sexy shell, there’s a blend of old and new. While the 3.5-liter V-6 in the gasoline model cranks out the same 310 horsepower as in the outgoing car, it now mates to a 10-speed automatic transmission that improves acceleration. Unfortunately, there are no performance figures to back this claim yet. The sedan also gained rear-axle steering for improved stability.

The Sport Hybrid model returns too, with a 3.5-liter V-6 gasoline engine and three electric motors, just like the NSX supercar. However, the configuration is a bit different, as two of the three motors are on the rear axle, giving the sedan all-wheel drive. Ouput is rated at 377 horsepower and Acura claims that the Sport Hybrid is its best performing sedan to sedan. We’re still waiting for performance figures on this model too.

Drivetrain Specifications

Engine Type Direct Injection V-6
Displacement (liters) 3.5
Horsepower 310 HP @ 6,500 RPM
Torque 272 LB-FT @ 4,500 RPM
EPA Fuel Economy Ratings (City/Highway/Combined) 20/30/23
Curb Weight (lbs without/with AcuraWatch Plus) 3,955 / 3,962
Transmission 10-speed automatic

Prices


2018 Acura RLX - image 726099

Pricing for the new RLX starts from $54,900 for the P-AWS model. This sticker makes it only $450 more expensive than the outgoing model. Opt for the RLX Sport Hybrid and the sticker jumps to $61,900 before options. The price gap compared to the old model is bigger here, translating to a $1,950 increase. All told, the new RLX is some $4,000 more expensive than its main competitors. But more about that below.

Trim MSRP MSRP Including $965 Destination Charge EPA MPG Rating City/Highway/Combined
RLX P-AWS $54,900 $55,865 20 / 29 / 23
RLX Sport Hybrid $61,900 $62,865 28 / 29 / 28

Competition

Lincoln MKZ


2017 Lincoln MKZ - image 726178

Acura’s goal for the RLX is to compete against the big German three and give cars like the BMW 5 Series, Mercedes-Benz E-Class, and Audi A6 a run for their money. However, the general consensus is that the RLX compete with vehicles that usually bridge the gap between affordable and premium. The Lincoln MKZ is one of them. Introduced in 2012, the current MKZ has been revised in 2016, when much like the RLX, it received a significant overhaul on the outside. Now sharing styling cues with the larger Continental, the MKZ sports a similarly rich interior, but benefits from a larger infotainment display. It’s also doing well in the technology department, being equipped with everything one needs in a big sedan, including navigation, smartphone connectivity, and an instrument cluster packed with information. Drivetrain options include a 2.0-liter EcoBoost with 188 horsepower, a 2.0-liter Atkinson-cycle hybrid with 240 horses, and a new 3.0-liter turbo V-6 rated at 400 horses and 400 pound-feet of torque. Pricing starts from $35,170, but in order to get a model that matches the RLX’s output, you’ll have to go with the V-6-powered Black Label model, which retails from $50,580. The good news is that you pay some $4,000 less and you get 90 extra horsepower.

Read our full review of the Lincoln MKZ.

Infiniti Q70


2015 - 2016 Infiniti Q70 - image 548895

The Q70 is yet another Japanese full-size aimed at the big German sedan that so far has yet to make a big impression. Launched in 2013, it has already gained a few updates, and much like the RLX, it has a sporty yet styling exterior that’s not as understated as the MKZ. Technology is abundant inside the cabin, which in my opinion has the best looking design of the three. The leather and contrast stitching is combined with loads of wood veneer, which adorns large portions of the dashboard, center stack, and center console. The drivetrain is as diverse as they get and includes only high-output engines. The range begins with the 3.7-liter V-6 rated at 330 horsepower and 270 pound-feet, but Infiniti also offers a 5.6-liter V-8 good for a whopping 420 horsepower and 417 pound-feet. Finally, we have the hybrid version that combines a 3.5-liter V-6 with electric power for a total output of 302 horsepower and 258 pound-feet. The Q70 retails from $50,100, which makes it a bit more affordable than the Acura RLX.

Read our full review of the Infiniti Q70.

Conclusion


2018 Acura RLX - image 726092

The RLX was never a high seller compared to other offerings in this niche, but it did pretty good compared to other vehicles in Acura’s lineup. But, things have gone really stale in recent months, and it was very obvious that Acura had to do something about it. While a redesign is definitely the better option, Acura did the right thing to turn this mid-cycle facelift into a styling overhaul. The sedan’s exterior was rather dull, while the cabin and the drivetrains remain competitive with both German and Japanese rivals. It’s safe to assume that the RLX will stay fresh for a few more years, but it remains to be seen how customers will react to the slightly revised drivetrain and the performance gains that come with them.

  • Leave it
    • Still more expensive than the competition
    • Needs a new interior soon

Exterior Side-by-side Comparison


2014 Acura RLX - image 484035

2018 Acura RLX - image 726089

2014 Acura RLX - image 484036

2018 Acura RLX - image 726090
2014 Acura RLX 2018 Acura RLX
“Overall, the RLX is a big improvement design-wise. Not only stylish and sportier at the same time, it also exudes a premium look.”

Moving onto the sides, not much has changed save for the chrome trim on the side skirts, the chrome door handles, and the new wheel design. However, we can see more modifications around back, starting with the crisper taillights and the thicker chrome trim on the trunk lid. Both elements give the RLX a more premium look, as do the larger exhaust tips and the chrome bumper inserts below. The new exterior is rounded off by three new colors choices, including two premium paint offerings: Brilliant Red Metallic and Majestic Black Pearl.

Overall, the RLX is a big improvement design-wise. Not only stylish and sportier at the same time, it also exudes that premium look Acura has struggled to achieve for many years.


2014 Acura RLX - image 484045

2018 Acura RLX - image 726094
2014 Acura RLX 2018 Acura RLX

References

2017 Acura MDX


2017 - 2018 Acura MDX - image 670503

Read our full review on the 2017 Acura MDX.

2017 Acura TLX


2018 Acura TLX - image 717347

Read our full review on the 2018 Acura TLX.

2014 Acura RLX


2014 Acura RLX - image 484027

Read our full review on the 2014 Acura RLX.

PostHeaderIcon BMW 2 Series Coupe

A few years back, someone at BMW thought it would be fun to place the magical name game. Instead of the 1 Series being sold as a coupe, convertible, three-door, or five-door, BMW decided to take the coupe and convertible models and call them the 2 Series. It was a little confusing at first, but a lot of good came out of it. The 2 Series coupe is larger than the model it replaced and came complete with a four-cylinder that was more powerful and offered better fuel efficiency compared to the V-6 in the old 1 Series coupe. And, of course, don’t forget that we were also blessed with the gorgeous BMW M2. Come the 2018 model year, and the entire 2 Series lineup is due for an update. BMW’s PR talk would leave you to believe that we’re talking about a new generational model, but truth be told, the changes are quite thin for 2018. Exterior changes are limited to new lighting units, while the interior gets a mildly revised dash and updated iDrive infotainment system. As far as motivation goes, you’ll have your choice of three-, four-, and six-cylinder mills (depending on market) that deliver between 136 and 340 horsepower.

Just to be clear, BMW says the 2018 2 Series is a new-gen model, but all evidence points to the contrary. Changes are minimal, and the 2 Series has really only been around since 2014, so it wouldn’t make sense for a new-gen model to be ushered in so quickly. With that said, let’s take a closer look at what the 2018 model will offer when it goes on sale in July of 2017.

Continue reading to learn more about the 2018 BMW 2 Series Coupe.

PostHeaderIcon 2018 GMC Yukon Denali Gets a New Grille and Two Extra Cogs

The popular GMC Yukon and Yukon XL Denali are getting a few welcomed updates for 2018. General Motors’ new Hydra-Matic 10-speed automatic transmission makes its first appearance in a GM SUV, first appearing in the 2017 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1. Denoting the model-year changes are a new Denali “cheese grater” chrome grille and a new, real-wood interior trim called Mastique Ash. As before, the Denali comes standard with GM’s powerful 6.2-liter V-8 derived from the Corvette Stingray’s LT1 small-block V-8.

The remainder of the Yukon Denali remains unchanged. That’s not completely terrible, as the Yukon still feels fresh, having debuted for the 2015 model year. The new transmission features a wider, 7.39 overall gear ratio that offers a shorter first gear of 4.70:1 and taller 10th gear of 0.64:1. Combined, the result is better acceleration off the line and improved fuel economy at highway speeds over the outgoing eight-speed automatic’s 4.56 and 0.65 respective ratios. Helping the 420-horsepower V-8 keep cool are larger openings in the new Denali grille. As before, active grille shutters ahead of the radiator close when extra cooling airflow isn’t needed in order to improve aerodynamics for fuel efficiency.

Continue reading for more information.


PostHeaderIcon Acura MDX – Driven

The Acura MDX has been roaming streets since the turn of the new millennium. It has held fairly strong sales numbers, with 2014 being its best year with 65,603 examples finding homes. That makes since, as the 2014 model year marked the first year of the current generation. But sales have slowly slipped, with Acura only moving 49,252 MDX models in the first 11 months of 2016. However, the three-row crossover has a new hope – a heavily refreshed face for the 2017 model year.

The new MDX looses the unloved “shield” or “beak,” as some called it, trading it in favor of a pentagonal grille with a massive Acura logo affixed front and center. It takes after the Acura Precision Concept. A revised rear fascia and chrome rocker panels further add a level of luxury not present before.

Matching the updated looks are a slew of updated safety systems. AcuraWatch is now standard on every MDX, and includes Forward Collision Warning, Automatic Emergency Braking, Lane Departure Warning, Lane Keep Assist, and Adaptive Cruise Control. Thanks to these new systems, along with the LED headlights that scored an “Acceptable” rating with the IIHS, the MDX made the IIHS’ Top Safety Pick+ list for 2017.

The underpinnings continue almost unchanged, however, including the 3.5-liter V-6, nine-speed automatic transmission, and Acura’s available Super Handling AWD system. That’s not a big deal, as the V-6 continues to offer excellent power and efficiency. The i-VTEC and direct-injection 3.5-liter makes 290 horsepower and 267 pound-feet of torque while achieving 19 mpg city, 26 mpg highway, and 22 mpg combined on models equipped with SH-AWD.

To get a feel of the refreshed 2017 MDX, Acura sent me an example to test for a week. I used it as a daily driver – chauffeuring the kid to school, picking up groceries, and making runs across town. Here are my thoughts and impressions.

Continue reading for the full driven review.


PostHeaderIcon Volkswagen to Reveal Updated Golf in November

Volkswagen has just announced that the updated version of the seventh-generation Golf will make its official debut in early November 2016. The German brand describes the facelift, which is less than a month away, as a “major update,” but gives no specific information as to what the new hatchback will bring to the table. Instead, Volkswagen brags that it has sold more than 32 million Golfs between the nameplate’s introduction in 1974 and the end of 2015, whle also listing other records the hatchback has broken so far.

For instance, it reminds us that the Golf outsold the iconic Beetle in 2002 and that it is being built in five different factories and exported to 155 countries. Volkswagen also takes pride in the Golf being the only car in the world that is available with five drivetrains: gasoline (petrol), diesel, hybrid, electric, and gas.

Pretty impressive, but this says nothing about the upcoming update. So what will change with the facelift?

To be honest, not much. The Germans may view it as a “major update,” but the facelifted Golf VII won’t get more than just a few nips and tucks. If the past is any indication, Volkswagen will only meddle with the front grille, add new wheel designs, and maybe a couple of new exterior colors. More changes are in store inside, but mostly in the technology department, with the design layout to remain unchanged. If previous reports are accurate, the Golf should get the infotainment system and instrument cluster from the Golf R Touch Concept. The 9.2-inch display should also include gesture control, a feature that Volkswagen debuted at the 2015 Consumer Electronics Show.

Continue reading for the full story.


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