New & Used Acura ILX: In Depth
2016 Acura ILXEnlarge Photo
Shopping for a new Acura ILX?
GET A FREE PRICE QUOTE
The Acura ILX is a compact sedan that was new to the brand's lineup for the 2013 model year. Based on the Honda Civic, the ILX is Acura's smallest car; it shares no sheetmetal with its Honda sibling and now has completely different powertrain options.
Designed to be attractive to a younger, 'entry luxury' crowd, the ILX has a great deal more equipment than the Civic, and a much-upgraded interior, both in design and materials. Rivals include cars like the Buick Verano, as well as German models like the Audi A3 and Mercedes-Benz CLA.
MORE: Read our 2015 Acura ILX review
The ILX launched with three different powertrain options, each offering its own character. All are front-wheel drive, and the most popular is likely to be the base model, powered by a 150-horsepower, 2.0-liter four-cylinder paired with a five-speed automatic transmission. The sportiest offering carries a 201-horsepower 2.4-liter four-cylinder, available only with a six-speed manual. A third option, which is now gone from the lineup, was the ILX Hybrid, which was decidedly slower but greener, using the same 1.5-liter four-cylinder and integrated hybrid drive system as the equivalent Civic model. Its total output was just 111 horsepower, but it was rated at an EPA estimated 38 mpg highway.
The standard ILX 2.0L rates an EPA-estimated 24 mpg city, 35 mpg highway, and 28 mpg combined. The sportier ILX 2.4L, not surprisingly, doesn't do that well. It's rated at 21 mpg city and 31 mpg highway, while the fuel-sipping ILX Hybrid gets an EPA-estimated 39 mpg city and 38 mpg highway.With comfortable ride quality, a still-somewhat-sporty demeanor in the turns, and the performance-oriented ILX 2.4L, the newest Acura offers a taste of sport-sedan in the entry-luxury arena. If you choose the 2.0L model, you'll get a relatively efficient commuter, while the Hybrid ekes out better-than-average fuel economy, though it's short on both power (against other small luxury cars) and gas mileage (against the most efficient hybrids).
Rather than focusing on any one of these aspects, the ILX seeks to deliver a balance of luxury, performance, style, and efficiency that appeals to the younger professional. There are three main trim specs for the ILX: the base model, the Premium Package, and the Technology Package. The standard ILX specification includes cloth seats with a leather-wrapped steering wheel, dual-zone climate control, Bluetooth hands-free calling, a power moonroof, keyless entry with pushbutton start, rear-view camera, and more.
The Technology Package adds navigation with voice recognition plus real-time weather and traffic, premium audio, and and the satellite-enabled AcuraLink system. The Tech Package isn't available on the 2.4-liter ILX, unfortunately. There's also a Premium Package, which is included on all 2.4-liters and available on the base car, including leather seats with heat up front, an eight-way power driver's seat, a rearview camera, and premium audio.
The ILX received only minor changes into 2014. For the 2015 model year, the slow-selling ILX Hybrid was dropped from the lineup.
Acura has already announced a thoroughly refreshed ILX for the 2016 model year. The two current engines will be replaced by a single option—a revised 2.4-liter making 201 hp—that's paired with an eight-speed dual-clutch automatic; the same combination can be found in base versions of the new TLX sedan. The front and rear styling have been updated, as has the interior and tech options, and Acura says it has retuned the suspension and stiffened the body structure to improve dynamics and comfort. When the ILX makes the changeover, it will be the end of manual-transmission options in the lineup, something that has been available since the very early days of the brand.