Thursday, February 4, 2016

Acura's upscale, green machine hits the right notes

Mark Glover’s AutoGlo car reviews also can be seen on the Business page of The Sacramento Bee’s website

Sacramento, California ­– Getting a top-flight Acura sedan is serious business.

It’s a major investment with a lot of moving parts, and you must do your homework to make sure a particular Acura four-door model is precisely what you want amid a sea of equally pricey competitors.

Just getting the name right can be a challenge.  Believe me, I know.

I spent a recent week in a 2016 Acura RLX Sport Hybrid SH-AWD with Advance Package sedan.

Get all that in one take?  If so, you’re likely smarter than I’ll ever be.

Long name aside, my week in the tested RLX was utterly enjoyable, even though it did take me the full week to sample and semi-master all of the RLX perks and features, which are generous.

For a starting price of $65,950 – enough to get my attention – a buyer of the tested RLX gets a giant ball of wax, all standard.

Safety features include high-tech air bags covering seemingly every inch of the interior cabin, vehicle stability assist, a super-grippy braking system with electronic brake distribution, a forward collision-warning system, a lane departure-warning system and much more.

Interior comfort and convenience features are decidedly five-star.  You'll spend a fair amount of time with the owner's manual just getting the hang of everything.

The exterior look is upscale classy, but that is sported up with a power moonroof, 19-inch alloy wheels and stunning “jewel eye” headlights.

Looks good, feels good (quiet and roomy) and drives good.

The driving part is enhanced by a unique hybrid power train system matching a 3.5-liter V-6 with THREE electric motors.  Acura says the combination nets a max 377 horsepower.

This significantly enhances driving pleasure.

With most hybrids, a cautious attitude and a light right foot will serve you well.  After all, there’s no sense in slicing a hybrid around among internal-combustion beasts.  But you can throw that out the window with the RLX Sport Hybrid.

It has plenty of pop off the line or maneuvering on the fly.  I’ve had similar experiences in Lexus hybrids, and this Acura stacks up well against that competition.

Fortunately, because the RLX Hybrid’s three electric motors are making a contribution, the advertised gas mileage is a very nice 28 miles per gallon in the city and 32 mpg on the highway.

That goes a long way toward negating aggressive driving guilt.

Obviously, starting at nearly 66K, this Acura is not for everybody, but it’s a player for prospective buyers of sedans that combine luxury, power and green characeristics.

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