2019 Acura RLX vs. 2019 Nissan Maxima

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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The RLX’s pre-crash front seatbelts will tighten automatically in the event the vehicle detects an impending crash, improving protection against injury significantly. The Maxima doesn’t offer pre-crash pretensioners.

The RLX Sport Hybrid has all-wheel drive to maximize traction under poor conditions, especially in ice and snow. The Maxima doesn’t offer all-wheel drive.

Both the RLX and the Maxima have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, front wheel drive, height adjustable front shoulder belts, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, rearview cameras and available around view monitors.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does 35 MPH front crash tests on new vehicles. In this test, results indicate that the Acura RLX is safer than the Nissan Maxima:







5 Stars

5 Stars

Neck Injury Risk



Neck Stress

222 lbs.

328 lbs.




5 Stars

4 Stars

Chest Compression

.6 inches

.7 inches

Neck Injury Risk



Leg Forces (l/r)

318/533 lbs.

840/589 lbs.

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does side impact tests on new vehicles. In this test, which crashes the vehicle into a flat barrier at 38.5 MPH and into a post at 20 MPH, results indicate that the Acura RLX is safer than the Nissan Maxima:





Front Seat


5 Stars

5 Stars




Chest Movement

.7 inches

.9 inches

Abdominal Force

175 G’s

188 G’s

Hip Force

275 lbs.

286 lbs.


Rear Seat


5 Stars

5 Stars





Into Pole


5 Stars

4 Stars

Max Damage Depth

14 inches

16 inches




Spine Acceleration

39 G’s

53 G’s

Hip Force

678 lbs.

997 lbs.

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.


The RLX comes with a full 4-year/50,000-mile basic warranty, which covers the entire car and includes 24-hour roadside assistance. The Maxima’s 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty expires 1 year and 14,000 miles sooner.

Acura’s powertrain warranty covers the RLX 1 year and 10,000 miles longer than Nissan covers the Maxima. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 6 years or 70,000 miles. Coverage on the Maxima ends after only 5 years or 60,000 miles.


The engines in the RLX have a single overhead cam for simplicity. The engine in the Maxima has dual overhead cams, which add to the number of moving parts and the complexity of the cylinder heads.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Acura vehicles are more reliable than Nissan vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Acura 1 place higher in reliability than Nissan.


The RLX’s standard 3.5 SOHC V6 produces 10 more horsepower (310 vs. 300) and 11 lbs.-ft. more torque (272 vs. 261) than the Maxima’s 3.5 DOHC V6. The RLX Sport Hybrid’s standard 3.5 SOHC V6 hybrid produces 77 more horsepower (377 vs. 300) and 80 lbs.-ft. more torque (341 vs. 261) than the Maxima’s 3.5 DOHC V6.

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the RLX Sport Hybrid gets better fuel mileage than the Maxima (28 city/29 hwy vs. 20 city/30 hwy).

An engine control system that can shut down half of the engine’s cylinders helps improve the RLX’s fuel efficiency. The Maxima doesn’t offer a system that can shut down part of the engine.

Regenerative brakes improve the RLX Sport Hybrid’s fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. The Maxima doesn’t offer a regenerative braking system.

In heavy traffic or at stoplights the RLX Sport Hybrid’s engine automatically turns off when the vehicle is stopped, saving fuel and reducing pollution. The engine is automatically restarted when the driver gets ready to move again. (Start/Stop isn’t accounted in present EPA fuel mileage tests.) The Maxima doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.

To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Acura RLX uses regular unleaded gasoline (premium recommended for maximum performance). The Maxima requires premium, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.

The RLX has a standard cap-less fueling system. The fuel filler is automatically opened when the fuel nozzle is inserted and automatically closed when it’s removed. This eliminates the need to unscrew and replace the cap and it reduces fuel evaporation, which causes pollution. The Maxima doesn’t offer a cap-less fueling system.

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the RLX Sport Hybrid’s brake rotors are larger than those on the Maxima:


RLX Sport Hybrid


Front Rotors

13 inches

12.6 inches

Rear Rotors

12.2 inches

12.13 inches

The RLX stops much shorter than the Maxima:





70 to 0 MPH

166 feet

168 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

112 feet

125 feet

Motor Trend

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

138 feet

141 feet

Consumer Reports

Tires and Wheels

The RLX’s tires provide better handling because they have a lower 40 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Maxima’s standard 45 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the RLX has standard 19-inch wheels. Smaller 18-inch wheels are standard on the Maxima.

Suspension and Handling

The RLX has standard front and rear gas-charged shocks for better control over choppy roads. The Maxima’s suspension doesn’t offer gas-charged shocks.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the RLX’s wheelbase is 2.9 inches longer than on the Maxima (112.2 inches vs. 109.3 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the RLX is 1.9 inches wider in the front and 1.8 inches wider in the rear than on the Maxima.

The RLX handles at .84 G’s, while the Maxima Platinum pulls only .81 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

Passenger Space

The RLX has 3.6 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Maxima (102.1 vs. 98.5).

The RLX has 1.7 inches more front hip room, 2.9 inches more front shoulder room, .2 inches more rear headroom, 4.6 inches more rear legroom, 1 inch more rear hip room and 1.3 inches more rear shoulder room than the Maxima.

Cargo Capacity

The RLX has a larger trunk than the Maxima (14.9 vs. 14.3 cubic feet).

Servicing Ease

The RLX has a maintenance free battery for long life without checking the battery’s water level. The Maxima doesn’t have a maintenance free battery, so the water level in the battery’s cells must be checked often to prevent damage.


The RLX Sport Hybrid has a standard heads-up display that projects speed and tachometer readouts in front of the driver’s line of sight, allowing drivers to view information without diverting their eyes from the road. The Maxima doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

The RLX’s front and rear power windows all open or close fully with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside the car. The Maxima’s rear power window switches have to be held the entire time to open or close them fully.

The RLX’s rain-sensitive wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically based on the amount of rainfall on the windshield. This allows the driver to concentrate on driving without constantly adjusting the wipers. The Maxima’s standard intermittent wipers change speed with vehicle speed, but can’t turn on and off or change speed based on changing rainfall.

The RLX’s standard outside mirrors include heating elements to clear off the mirrors for better visibility. Nissan only offers heated mirrors on the Maxima SV/SL/SR/Platinum.

© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.

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