2018 Acura ILX

2018 Acura ILX Review

The Acura ILX falls well short of expectations for entry-level luxury sedans.
3 star edmunds overall rating
author
by Mark Takahashi
Edmunds Editor
In regards to price and feature content, the 2018 Acura ILX undercuts other entry-level luxury sedans by a considerable margin. That alone should get shoppers' attention. Unfortunately, the notion of value begins to fade when you realize that the ILX falls well short of the standards set by its more expensive rivals. The ride quality is overly stiff, the interior lacks refinement, the engine is comparably weak and the infotainment system leaves much to be desired. For these reasons, we don't consider it worthy of competing against Audi, Mercedes or BMW. Instead, we think of the ILX as a slightly nicer Honda Civic.


what's new

A new Special Edition package with minor cosmetic additions debuts. Otherwise, the ILX returns unchanged.

we recommend

Acura's collision alerts tend to be overly sensitive and annoying, so we suggest skipping the AcuraWatch package in favor of the Premium package that delivers more useful features. We also caution against the A-Spec package's 18-inch wheels that can hurt ride quality without any appreciable gains in performance.




trim levels & features

The 2018 Acura ILX is an entry-level luxury sedan that is available in seven different trims: base, a new Special Edition, AcuraWatch Plus, Premium, Premium A-Spec, Tech Plus and Tech Plus A-Spec. All trims are powered by a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine (201 horsepower, 180 pound-feet of torque) that sends power to the front wheels through an eight-speed automatic transmission.

The base ILX comes with 17-inch wheels, automatic LED headlights, rain-sensing wipers, heated mirrors, keyless entry and ignition, cruise control, dual-zone automatic climate control, simulated leather upholstery, heated front seats, an eight-way power driver sport seat, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, a folding rear seatback, a rearview camera, limited text messaging functions, Bluetooth phone and streaming audio, and a six-speaker stereo with active noise cancellation, streaming internet radio and USB/auxiliary input.

The Special Edition trim adds 18-inch wheels, extended side sills and the rear spoiler from the A-Spec package. The AcuraWatch Plus trim starts with the base trim's features and adds adaptive cruise control, a forward collision warning and mitigation system, lane departure warning and lane keeping assist, road departure mitigation and an updated driver information screen.

The Tech Plus includes all of the AcuraWatch Plus items along with a multiview rear camera and a 10-speaker premium audio system. The Premium reverts back to the base trim features and adds an iPhone-based navigation system and a seven-speaker audio system. Both the Tech Plus and Premium trim levels also include leather upholstery, a four-way power front passenger seat, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, Siri Eyes Free phone control, a universal garage door opener, a touchscreen display, blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, satellite and HD radio, and additional internet music apps.

The A-Spec is added to either the Tech Plus or Premium models and includes the Special Edition content as well as foglights, suede seat inserts with contrasting stitching, a dark headliner and metal sport pedals.



trim tested

Each vehicle typically comes in multiple versions that are fundamentally similar. The ratings in this review are based on our full test of the 2016 Acura ILX Technology Plus Package (2.4L inline-4 | 8-speed dual-clutch automatic | FWD).

Edmunds Scorecard

Overall3.0 / 5.0

Driving

3.5 / 5.0

Acceleration3.0 / 5.0
Braking3.5 / 5.0
Steering4.0 / 5.0
Handling3.0 / 5.0
Drivability3.0 / 5.0

Comfort

3.0 / 5.0

Seat comfort3.5 / 5.0
Ride comfort2.5 / 5.0
Noise & vibration3.0 / 5.0

Interior

3.0 / 5.0

Ease of use3.0 / 5.0
Getting in/getting out3.5 / 5.0
Roominess2.5 / 5.0
Visibility4.0 / 5.0
Quality3.0 / 5.0

Driving

edmunds rating
The ILX is available with only one powertrain, a 2.4-liter four-cylinder with 201 horsepower mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters. It's about midpack acceleration-wise. Handling is decent, but at-the-limit responses should be better for a sport sedan.

Acceleration

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With a 0-60 mph time of 6.9 seconds, the ILX is slower than the Audi A3 and Mercedes CLA 250. Power feels soft at low rpm, and the automatic upshifts early, keeping revs low. The engine sounds great at high rpm, though.

Braking

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It stopped in a straight and controlled manner during our 60-0 mph panic test with some minor pedal fade on later stops. The brakes felt strong enough around town. The pedal is a bit soft, but the action isn't the least bit touchy.

Steering

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Steering is direct if lacking the precise feedback enthusiastic drivers crave. It goes where it's pointed with an intuitively quick turn-in when driven below its rather modest grip limits. The thick-rimmed steering wheel feels good in your hands.

Handling

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It feels sporty up to a certain point. It turns into corners with some eagerness and stays planted and secure. The suspension copes well with minor bumps. Near its grip limits, it becomes considerably less responsive to driver inputs.

Drivability

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The transmission can get confused at low speeds, and there were some midthrottle hiccups leaving a stop. We needed two downshifts to maintain 70 mph on a grade. The cruise control overshoots by up to 7 mph.

Comfort

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Although the ILX's front seats are comfortable and should fit a wide variety of bodies, they're completely lacking in lateral support, which is odd for a luxury or sport sedan aimed at enthusiastic drivers. Ride quality can be surprisingly bad over bumpy surfaces.

Seat comfort

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The front seats are comfortable; the cushions are firm but not overly so. The seats are wide and flat with near-zero lateral support. The door armrests are hard and positioned too low. The rear seats have soft cushions with decent contouring.

Ride comfort

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It seems hard to believe Acura could get the ride-to-handling compromise so wrong, but it did. The ILX is stiff-legged in general, and big highway bumps will literally bounce you out of your seat. Tall folks will hit their head on the ceiling.

Noise & vibration

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Either the tires are really noisy or there's minimal sound deadening because there's considerable noise in the cabin. The engine can be heard often, and the transmission causes vibrations at lower speeds. The engine is never thrashy and sounds great above 4,500 rpm.

Interior

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Honda/Acura keeps clinging to its central dual-screen infotainment setup. And we keep disliking having to look at two different screens. Headroom is lacking front and rear, partly because the ILX comes with a sunroof. Outward visibility is excellent for the segment.

Ease of use

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The gauges are clear and legible, and the climate control knobs and buttons are well marked and placed for easy operation. The secondary controls on the steering wheel and center stack take some getting used to.

Getting in/getting out

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The front doors are large and open wide. You have to duck your head a bit, but overall it's a decent entryway for the class. The rear doors don't open as wide; you really have to duck your head to miss the roof.

Roominess

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Headroom is tight front and rear for anyone near average height. The standard sunroof doesn't help matters. Rear legroom is reasonable, and footroom under the front seats is excellent.

Visibility

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The windshield pillars partially obstruct through corners due to the high driving position. Otherwise pillars are narrow all around. The rear three-quarter view is excellent, and the side views are good despite the short windows. Wide-angle backup camera.

Quality

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The interior doesn't give off same quality vibe as Audi, BMW, Mercedes. There's a fair amount of hard plastic trim, though most controls have reasonably good action. Soft-touch dash. We heard a couple of creaks from some trim pieces.

Utility

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The door pockets, which are placed well forward, are too small. The front bin is tiny but has a security door. The center armrest bin is large. The cupholders make an attempt at anti-tip function. The trunk is competitive at 12.3 cubic feet, but the pass-through opening is tiny.

Technology

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We don't love the stacked dual-screen infotainment setup. The top one is far away, though it's well-shrouded to prevent issues with glare. The bottom screen has low-rent graphics but the buttons react well.

edmunds expert review process

This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.

We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.