The 2017 Acura ILX holds the spot in the Acura line once occupied by the beloved Integra. It's the small Acura; the one that carries a bit of luxury and sophistication to the market while still being accessible to people on a Honda budget. But while the Integra name is long gone, the ILX has entrenched itself into the Acura psyche. After all, 2017 is this sedan's fifth year on the market.
After a less-than-sizzling debut season, the ILX has evolved into a solid and distinctive car. The most significant advance came with the debut of the 2016 model that incorporated extensive revisions to the front-wheel-drive ILX's mechanical substance and electronic feature set. A 201-horsepower, 2.4-liter, direct-injection, high-compression four-cylinder engine is now the sole powerplant offered and it almost purrs out its 180 pound-feet of torque. The only transmission is a near-brilliant eight-speed automated manual that uses dual-clutch technology to perform precise, reassuring shifts. The suspension consists of simple MacPherson struts up front and a supple and sophisticated independent multilink system in the back, while the brakes are relatively large 12.3-inch diameter ventilated discs in front with 11.1-inch solid discs in back.
With only one engine and transmission offering, every 2017 Acura ILX sold is rated at 25 mpg in the city and 35 mpg on the highway, which combines for an average rating of 29 mpg.
Acura equips every ILX with LED daytime running lights and a "Multi-View" rear camera for easy monitoring of what's behind the car while backing up. And the stability, traction control and "Motion Adaptive Steering" all seamlessly work together to deliver a confident driving experience. OK, whatever that Motion Adaptive Steering is doing is imperceptible, but it's there.
There are five slightly different levels of trim offered in the ILX, ranging from an adequately fitted Standard model up through AcuraWatch Plus, Premium, Technology Plus and A-Spec. And if you want to go nuts, the A-Spec car is also available with a Premium package or Technology Plus package at the very tippy top of the line.
While there's plenty of attractive reasons to choose an ILX, there are limits to its charms, too. Much of the cabin feels more Honda-like than a serious luxury car with surface texturing that's more industrial than sumptuous. As sweet natured as the engine is, this is a naturally aspirated unit playing in an increasingly turbocharged world. So acceleration is, well, modest. And if road silence is a virtue, the tires need to quiet down some. Plus, though the electronic gizmos all function fine, the interfaces are showing some age and are often less than elegantly presented.
Beloved as the old Integra was, there's a bit of coldness in the ILX's soul that keeps it from being all cuddly-wuddly. But if it sounds like it fits your budget and needs, let Edmunds help find the perfect 2017 Acura ILX for you.
Edmunds attended a manufacturer-sponsored event, to which selected members of the press were invited, to facilitate this report.