The Acura ILX is an entry-level compact luxury sedan designed to entice Generation Y buyers looking to move up to a premium brand. Though based on the Honda Civic, the ILX distances itself from its plebeian roots with distinct styling, additional tech and convenience features and a more coddling cabin.
Ford the latest model year, Acura has added a number of previously-optional niceties to the standard features list - including leather upholstery, heated front seats, noise-cancelling sound system technology and more.
The ILX's front end is unmistakably an Acura design, though the controversial "beak" grille is more gracefully incorporated than in some of the brand's other vehicles. The flanks feature a pair of eye-catching character lines: one runs relatively straight from the front headlight to the back of the rear window, while the other starts aft of the front wheel and sweeps up to create a "hip" above the rear wheel were the two meet. Around back, the taillights are reminiscent of the units on the brand's crossover vehicles.
Aside from Acura's familiar three-spoke steering wheel, the ILX gets a unique cabin with a relatively simple center stack, a centrally-mounted navigation/information screen and asymmetrical A/C vents dotting the dashboard.
The ILX is offered with a pair of four-cylinder motors in addition to Acura's first hybrid system.
The base motor is a 2.0-liter four-cylinder with 150 horsepower and 140 lb-ft of torque. Paired exclusively with a five-speed automatic transmission, this powertrain combo is said to be good for an estimated 24 mpg in the city and 32 mpg on the highway.
Those looking for a sportier compact luxury sedan can opt for a 2.4-liter inline-four that produces 201 horsepower and 170 lb-ft of torque. Essentially the same motor found in the larger TSX (and the Civic Si), the 2.4-liter engine comes hooked up to a six-speed manual transmission (the only available gearbox) and returns estimated mileage of 20/29 mpg.
Those seeking optimal fuel economy will want to check out the ILX Hybrid, which features a 1.5-liter gasoline engine (with stop-start technology) teamed with a CVT transmission and a 20 horsepower electric motor that draws power from a lithium-ion battery pack. The setup, which is shared with the Honda Civic Hybrid, is good for a combined 111 horsepower and 127 lb-ft of torque, while mileage is estimated at 35 city, 38 highway mpg.
All ILX models ride on standard 17-inch wheels.
Standard and Optional Features
All models come standard with leather upholstery, heated front seats, a power-adjustable driver's seat, a rearview camera, leather-wrapped steering wheel with illuminated controls, tilt and telescoping steering wheel, power glass moonroof, keyless entry and push-button start, a 60/40 split fold-down rear seat with trunk pass-through and center armrest, dual-zone automatic climate control, Bluetooth HandsFreeLink interface and a seven-speaker, 360-watt AM/FM/CD stereo system with noise cancelling technology and USB and auxiliary inputs.
More features can be had with the Premium Package, which is optional on the 2.0-liter-equipped ILX, standard on the 2.4-liter and not available on the Hybrid. Additional kit includes HID headlights and foglights.
The top-spec Technology Package is available on 2.0-liter and Hybrid models, and includes all of the Premium Package's features plus an ELS Surround audio system and a navigation system with voice recognition, AcuraLink real-time traffic with traffic rerouting, AcuraLink real-time weather with radar image maps and HomeLink.
Newly available as a dealer-installed option is a package that fully integrates Apple's Siri virtual assistant with the ILX.
Using Apple's new Eyes Free mode, ILX drivers can access Siri via their iPhone without taking their eyes off the road or hands off the wheel. The Eyes Free function uses the vehicle's steering wheel-mounted buttons to access Siri's voice commands, which Honda says reduces distractions behind the wheel. Eyes Free also turns off the iPhone's screen so drivers aren't tempted to look at their device.
All ILX models come standard with dual front, front side and full-length side curtain airbags in addition to traction and stability control systems and electronic brakeforce distribution.
As the entry-level offering from Acura, the ILX competes with the Buick Verano and the Audi A3. Buyers can also consider cross-shopping it against Acura's own TSX, which is a size larger yet only marginally more expensive.