Take one part car shoppers' desire for improved fuel economy, add two parts automakers' never-ending quest to bring younger buyers into the fold, shake well, and you have the Acura ILX.
Although based on the Honda Civic platform, the Acura ILX has enough different about it to fully justify its position as Acura's most affordable luxury sedan. It starts with sleeker styling as well as a higher-quality interior. There's also an impressive list of standard and optional luxury features that aren't offered on its more affordable cousin. The suspension has also been reworked for a better balance of ride comfort and sporting handling. Under the hood not much changes from the Civic, but there's still a choice of three different powertrains including the Acura brand's first gasoline-electric hybrid.
Put it all together and you have an entry-level luxury car that is both the smallest and most fuel-efficient model in the Acura lineup. For shoppers looking to step up to a small sedan that's notably nicer than the norm yet is still very budget-friendly, the ILX should work out nicely.
Current Acura ILX
The Acura ILX is a new compact sedan that debuted for the 2013 model year. It's offered in two main trim levels: base and Hybrid.
Standard equipment on the 2.0L base model includes 16-inch alloy wheels, automatic headlights, a sunroof, keyless entry/ignition, dual-zone automatic climate control, Bluetooth phone and streaming audio capability and a six-speaker audio system with Pandora Internet radio. The optional Premium package (not available on the Hybrid) bundles 17-inch alloy wheels, xenon headlights, foglights, leather upholstery, heated front seats, a power driver seat, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, a rearview camera and an upgraded audio system with satellite radio and seven speakers. Acura also offers the Premium-packaged equipped ILX with a larger, 2.4-liter engine.
An available Technology package (not available with the ILX 2.4) builds on the equipment of the Premium package with a voice-controlled navigation system, digital music storage and a 10-speaker surround-sound audio system.
Powering the base ILX model is a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 150 horsepower and 140 pound-feet of torque. Power is sent to the front wheels through a five-speed automatic. The performance-oriented ILX 2.4 gets a 2.4-liter four-cylinder good for 201 hp and 170 lb-ft. This engine comes mated to a close-ratio six-speed manual gearbox.
The Acura ILX Hybrid model is powered by a 1.5-liter four-cylinder working in concert with an electric motor for a total of 111 hp and 127 lb-ft. The latter employs a continuouslyvariable automatic transmission (CVT) that's tuned for crisper response compared to the unit used in the Civic Hybrid. As expected, EPA fuel economy estimates are quite good with the Hybrid.
Inside the cabin, upscale touches like a thick leather-wrapped steering wheel give the ILX a noticeably more premium feel than the Honda (http://www.edmunds.com/honda/) model on which it's based. The long list of standard features and range of high-tech options like the multiple-view back-up camera and the surround-sound system further separate it from its more plebeian cousin.
The driving experience depends largely on which model you're looking at. The 2.0-liter engine is more than adequate, though it obviously feels less powerful -- and less fun to drive -- than the spirited 2.4L version. The Hybrid feels surprisingly peppy for a small-displacement hybrid, and its excellent fuel economy will certainly make it attractive to many buyers.
Read the most recent 2014 Acura ILX review.
If you are looking for older years, visit our used Acura ILX page.