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1,199 Posts
Discussion Starter #1

Honda's stab at reviving its luxury Acura line will be a new, made-in-Indiana compact sedan with a lower sticker price than you'd expect from an Acura.

The Japanese automaker said Monday it will begin making a new Acura sedan, the ILX, priced at less than $30,000, next spring at its plant in Greensburg.

No new jobs come from the move, but putting production of the Acura model in Greensburg should solidify its standing within Honda's global system and help justify the decision to double the plant's workforce earlier this year, said plant spokeswoman Anita Sipes.

"It's a great opportunity for us," she said Monday. "It brings some stability, job security. This proves in one more (way) that we're here to stay."

Opened in 2008, the Greensburg plant makes Honda's value-priced Civic cars. Honda has invested $550 million in the plant and in October doubled its employment to 2,000.

Greensburg was picked to make the Acura ILX in part because the new car will be built on the same compact-size chassis as the Civic. That reduces the cost to Honda to retool the production line. Sipes wouldn't say how much Honda is spending to buy equipment and make other changes to the Greensburg plant.

Without revealing the name of the vehicle, Honda has been training some of the Greensburg plant's employees to assemble a new car model. On Monday, the plant's managers revealed the Acura name to employees at morning meetings, Sipes said.

There was no ceremony attached to the announcement and, in fact, employees and the public won't even see what the Acura ILX looks like until the design is unveiled Jan. 9-10 at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

The ILX, which will be the 5th Acura model made in North America, is critical to Honda's attempt to reignite buyer interest in its 25-year-old Acura line.

"The brand is in trouble," said Jessica Caldwell, an analyst for researcher "The consensus for many of the current models is the vehicles just look bland. They have to do something to capture people's emotions with styling."

Acura, like the overall Honda brand, is struggling this year from reduced production triggered by natural disasters and a model line that hasn't drawn as much attention as those of Volkswagen's Audi, Bayerische Motoren Werke's BMW and Daimler's Mercedes-Benz.

Acura sales slid 6.7% through November, to 110,170. That compares with gains of 15% for Audi, 12% for BMW and 12% for Mercedes' luxury models in the 1st 11 months.

Acura sales peaked in 2005 at 209,610.

Sipes wouldn't say how many Acura ILXs Honda wants to make each day in Greensburg. Civic production of 800 a day is close to the plant's 2-shift capacity, she said, so Civic production will have to be reduced to produce the ILX.

"It'll be an easy change," she said. "It's on the same production line."

Both gas and gas-electric hybrid Acuras will be made at Greensburg.

Sipes wouldn't reveal Honda's hoped-for production numbers for the ILX, but industry sources put the number at 40,000 annually once sales ramp up.

Although baby boomers account for the majority of luxury sales, Honda is bringing out the Acura ILX to prepare to sell to the children of boomers, who are entering the auto market, said Michael Accavitti, Honda's vice president of U.S. marketing. The group, born since about 1980, covers as many as 80 million people, he said.

"Gen-Y consumers aspire to luxury still, but they need some help getting there," he said. "They are projected to be the first generation in the modern era to earn less than their parents."

Call Star reporter Jeff Swiatek at (317) 444-6483.​


1,199 Posts
Discussion Starter #6

Acura is less than 2 weeks away from revealing its production-ready ILX compact sedan at the Chicago auto show, but our spy shooters spotted a test vehicle and managed to take a clear picture of the car’s dash. The ILX concept, which appeared in January in Detroit, was an exterior buck with no interior.

Surprise, surprise: The interior is pretty standard Acura stuff. The button-smothered center stack borrows a few pieces from the Honda Civic—it shares a basic platform with the ILX—including the climate-control knobs at the bottom. It looks like Acura won’t use this car as an opportunity to stray from its current infotainment setup, which involves a giant control knob protruding from the middle of the dashboard. We’re not fans of the setup as a whole, but we’ve at least been promised that the software will receive a significant upgrade. Since the ILX is targeted at younger shoppers (think people under 40), there’s a lot at stake in having quick, modern, and seamless phone integration and navigation.

The pictures don’t convey material or assembly quality, but we hope significant attention has been given to the ILX’s cabin: The cheap-feeling interior in the ILX’s Civic sibling is a big disappointment. Honda heard us—and the rest of the car-buying public—and is fast-tracking updates said to enrich the experience. That hopefully bodes well for the ILX’s trappings.

Acura previously announced that the ILX would get 3 powertrain configurations. A 2.0-liter 4 making 150 to 160 hp will be paired exclusively with an automatic transmission. The enthusiast’s choice will be the 200-ish-hp, 2.4-liter 4 sold only with a 6-speed manual gearbox. Finally, an ILX hybrid will be offered and borrow its 1.5-liter 4 from the Civic hybrid; the electric motor probably will be shared with the Honda, too. Exact specs for the 3 powerplants should accompany the car’s official debut.

As for the ILX’s sheetmetal, it should be nearly identical to that of the Detroit concept. A few of the smallest details—wheels, the shape of the side mirrors—could change, but in essence, what we saw is what we’ll get. It looks decent in person, and the Civic roots aren’t obvious. While we and the rest of the enthusiast community want a new Integra with aggressive styling, we are a minority of the car-buying public. This car should be attractive to the Millennial yuppies that Acura’s trying to court.

Check back on February 8 and 9 for our live coverage of the ILX and the rest of the debuts from the Chicago show floor.


1,199 Posts
Discussion Starter #7

Typical Acura design but it does look like a lot less buttons in the center ... not so much on the steering wheel. Really liking the 6-sided shape around the navi & how the non-navi has an extra frame around it to make up for the smaller screen. Guess Acura is going the way of uncovered cup holders ...


2 Posts
I think it's a cute car and really considering it as my next purchase. But I would have to trade in my MDX. I hope the rear seats fold down for extra cargo space like the Honda Civic.

1,199 Posts
Discussion Starter #11

Honda Motor Co. (7267), seeking a 46% jump in U.S. Acura brand sales this year, priced a new “near premium” compact sedan to attract car buyers in their 30s and keep them out of competing BMW and Audi models.

The 2012 ILX which goes on sale in May starts at about $27,000. It’s aimed at older “Generation-Y” customers who aspire to own a luxury vehicle and have limited income, Jeff Conrad, vice president of Honda’s Acura unit, said this month. Honda’s U.S. sales target is 40,000 annually of the ILX, which shares underpinnings with the Civic compact.

The target “seems pretty ambitious,” because younger drivers have been hurt the most by weakness in the job market since 2008, said Jessica Caldwell, an analyst for researcher “It’s a bit risky aiming your new vehicles at this group is that’s basically falling off the map.”

Acura was the 1st U.S. premium brand from an Asian carmaker. Sales have been volatile, peaking at 209,610 in 2005 before plunging to 105,723 in 2009. The company sold 123,299 Acuras in the U.S. last year, less than half the 247,907 luxury vehicles sold in the U.S. by Bayerische Motoren Werke (BMW) AG’s BMW, No. 1 seller last year of luxury cars and trucks.

Honda says the recession left consumers more cost-conscious and potentially open to Acura vehicles that sell for less than BMW, Volkswagen AG (VOW)’s Audi and Toyota Motor Corp. (7203)’s Lexus. Honda wants to raise total Acura U.S. sales to 180,000 vehicles this year.

‘Gateway’ Model

“They are making more-rational purchase decisions within the luxury category,” Conrad told reporters in Scottsdale, Arizona, this month. Both the ILX and new 2012 RDX compact sport-utility vehicle which goes on sale in April are for people with “aspirational goals, but affordability is an issue.”

Along with ILX, the company is targeting annual sales of 30,000 RDX SUVs annually. Next week, Acura also will show a revamped large sedan at the New York auto show that will replace the current RL late this year, followed by a new NSX supercar due in about two years.

“The ILX will act as the gateway to the Acura brand,” said Lee DaSilva, a senior product planner for Tokyo-based Honda.

A median Acura buyer is 49, male and married, according to San Diego-based Strategic Vision, a consumer research company. The median age for all luxury auto buyers is 56, said Alexander Edwards, president of Strategic Vision’s automotive practice.

Audi and Nissan Motor Co.’s Infiniti attract a slightly younger customer, with a median age of 48. Lexus buyers have a median age of 58, according to Strategic Vision.

With ILX, Acura will offer 4 sedans, including the $29,810 TSX, $35,605 TL and $47,700 RL, Conrad said. There are no plans to discontinue any of those models, he said.

ILX Options

The base ILX has a 2-liter, 4-cylinder engine with standard “connectivity” features including Bluetooth, Pandora and text messaging function. For about $30,000, buyers can choose a 2.4- liter, sport version or 1.5-liter, hybrid ILX, Conrad said.

The car is positioned against small models, including Audi’s A3 hatchback, General Motors Co. (GM) (GM)’s new Buick Verano sedan and Lexus’ CT 200h hybrid hatchback, Conrad said. Base prices for are $27,270 for the A3; $23,470 for Verano; and $29,120 for the CT 200h, according to company websites.

The ILX will be built at Honda’s Greensburg, Indiana, plant and arrives at dealerships May 25, the company said. The factory also assembles Civic compacts. The hybrid ILX, with a lithium- ion battery pack, gets a combined 38 miles per gallon in city and highway driving and will be Honda’s 1st gasoline-electric auto built in North America.

Acura is based in Torrance, California. Honda’s American depositary receipts fell 1.6% to $38.20 at 12:06 p.m. New York time.

To contact the reporter on this story: Alan Ohnsman in Los Angeles at [email protected]

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jamie Butters at [email protected]

1,199 Posts
Discussion Starter #12

The 2013 Acura ILX is the smallest sedan in Acura's lineup since the Integra, but it's not a spiritual successor to that car.

Although the ILX is efficient and lightweight like the Acura Integra, the ILX is a more polished sedan for grown-ups. It has a well-damped ride, an upscale interior and plenty of electronics to placate smartphone users. It's priced sanely, too, with a base MSRP of $26,795.

It's the kind of small car you enjoy driving to work more so than wringing it out on a back road. And while that's not exactly what old-school Honda guys want to hear, the ILX marks a return to the less-is-more philosophy that defined Acura in its early years.

It's a Civic, Right?
Much like the dear old Integra, the 2013 Acura ILX shares its wheelbase (105.1 inches) and platform architecture with the current-generation Honda Civic sedan. But it isn't a straight-up badge-and-paint job.

Acura engineers lengthened the car's nose, fitted an aluminum hood and set the windshield farther back to lessen the pronounced cab-forward feel of the Civic, while adding nearly 2 inches to overall length (179.1 inches). In addition, the ILX is 1.6 inches wider (70.6 inches), and its roof line is 1 inch lower, reducing overall height to 55.6 inches. The result is a sedan that wears the current Acura beak more naturally than any other car in the lineup.

Inside, the Civic's controversial, digital-over-analog gauge pack has been banished in favor of more traditional instrumentation. We immediately notice the upgraded materials, all of which look and feel good, including the metallic trim. Quality isn't quite at TSX levels, but it's easily on par with the Honda Accord. Of course, the ILX comes with more amenities than the Civic, like standard dual-zone climate control, Bluetooth connectivity, a rearview camera and a leather-wrapped steering wheel, all of which push the curb weight up to 2,900 pounds on the lightest version. That's about 100 pounds more than a 2012 Civic EX-L Navi, or if you're curious, an automatic-equipped 2000 Integra GS sedan.

The 2013 Acura ILX is close in size to the Buick Verano and Volkswagen Jetta, but company officials don't consider either of those cars key competitors. Instead, they have their eyes on the Audi A3, Volvo S40 (well, whatever latent demand it left behind when Volvo discontinued it) and Lexus CT 200h.

Pick Your Drivetrain
Honestly, it's hard to pinpoint the 2013 ILX's competition, because Acura is offering three very different drivetrains on this car. The company expects 75 percent of customers (and it's hoped there will be 35,000 of them annually) to go for the ILX 2.0L model, and that's the one we're driving on this sunny morning in Scottsdale.

It features a single-overhead-cam, 2.0-liter inline 4-cylinder engine that's essentially a longer-stroke version (81mm bore diameter, 97mm stroke) of the 1.8-liter engine in the Civic (81mm by 87mm). Compression remains 10.6:1, and the engine uses variable intake valves to improve power and efficiency. The 2.0-liter is rated at 150 horsepower at 6,500 rpm and 140 pound-feet of torque at 4,300 rpm — up from 140 hp and 128 lb-ft at the same thresholds in the Civic. In a nod to reality, Acura is only offering this engine with a 5-speed automatic transmission driving its front wheels. As in the TSX, you get a manual mode and paddle shifters.

While we're busy talking, our co-driver hits the highway and the ILX 2.0L gets up to freeway speed easily enough. It's light on low-end grunt, but it feels stronger than the Civic EX we tested, and we expect it to beat that car's 9.2-second 0-60-mph time when we eventually test it. Acura estimates the ILX's EPA fuel economy ratings at 24 city/35 highway/28 combined mpg versus 28/39/32 for an automatic-equipped Civic.

As this is a Honda 4-cylinder, it feels most potent up high and revs freely to its 6,700-rpm redline. Upshifts are smooth, and downshifts come when we need them in "D," though Mazda's new 6-speed automatic provides quicker gearchanges (whether you want to acknowledge Mazda as a competitor or not). Overall, this five-speed auto gets the job done, and we even detect some attempt to match revs when driving with more gusto.

What Are My Other Choices?
Next up is the 2013 Acura ILX Hybrid ($29,785), which is expected to account for the greenest 20 percent of ILX buyers. It shares its drivetrain with the Civic Hybrid and features a 1.5-liter inline-4 engine with a small 17-kilowatt, front-drive electric motor mounted in parallel behind it, and a continuously variable transmission (CVT) behind that. Forty 3.6-volt lithium batteries occupy the trunk, reducing capacity from 12.4 cubic feet to 10 even, but surely you can order a set of custom cloth grocery bags.

Total system power is rated at 111 hp at 5,500 rpm (exactly 1 more hp than the Civic), while torque tops out at 127 lb-ft from 1,000-3,500 rpm. Acura engineers have fiddled with the software, so you get a sharper throttle response for any given pedal input. This, along with the ILX's extra weight, takes a toll on fuel economy ratings, which the company pegs at 39 city/38 highway/38 combined versus 44/44/44 for the Honda.

Of course, like the Honda, the Acura ILX Hybrid feels sluggish if you're thinking about anything other than reducing your environmental footprint. However, we end up enjoying our time on Phoenix's 101 freeway, because the ILX Hybrid has paddle shifters, as well as seven (yes, seven) simulated forward gear ratios. Yank the paddle a couple times and you have enough juice for passing even if you're cruising around in Econ mode.

And if you want something completely different, there's the 2013 ILX 2.4L ($30,095). Acura expects just 5 percent of you to go for this model, the main reason being you can get it only with a six-speed manual gearbox.

The engine is the same sweet-tempered 2.4-liter inline-4 offered in the TSX and Civic Si, and it's rated at 201 hp at 7,000 rpm and 170 lb-ft of torque at 4,400 rpm. We get only 10 minutes in this car, but predictably, this is our favorite engine and we're ripping off heel-and-toe downshifts at 20 mph in the parking lot. Fuel economy estimates are 22 city/31 highway/25 combined.

Solid Chassis
Probably the most impressive thing about the 2013 Acura ILX is how it rides. Mind you, we're only speaking for Arizona highways, which seem to get more love from the state coffers than our California roads. But there's a new level of compliance here, and it doesn't come at the expense of control over bumps and ruts. It's also a quiet ride, as the ILX has all sorts of noise-reduction measures not found on the Civic, including laminated glass and active noise cancellation (via the audio system).

Suspension design is the same as the Civic's, but Acura engineers have upgraded the dampers and bushings, and those new dampers incorporate rebound springs, which are a means of reducing body roll without resorting to aggressive damping or massive stabilizer bars. It sounds good, but there aren't any serious curves on our route, so we'll reserve judgment on handling until we instrument-test the ILX.

All ILXs get the same basic suspension calibration, which we think might be too soft for the 2.4L model and its high-revving engine. (Along with this caveat comes another: The ILX 2.4L is the only 1 of the ILX models that can't be equipped with a navigation system, though you can at least have a Premium package with HID headlights.)

You get 17-inch wheels and P215/45R17 Michelin Pilot HX MXM4 all-season tires standard on the ILX 2.4L. These tires are optional on the ILX 2.0L, which along with the ILX Hybrid, comes with standard P205/55R16 Continental ContiProContact all-season rubber. Front brake disc diameter varies by model: The Hybrid has 10.3-inch rotors, the 2.0L has 11.1-inch rotors and the 2.4L gets 11.8-inch rotors. Everybody gets 10.2-inch solid discs in back, and the cast-iron calipers are strictly of the single-piston, sliding variety.

The steering system uses electric assist, but it has a quicker ratio than the Civic — 15.1:1 versus 16.1. It's precise, with good stability on-center, but we wish it had more feel.

Inconspicuous Consumption
If you're still giving unsolicited eulogies to the Integra at dinner parties, then the 2013 Acura ILX probably isn't your car. But if you want a refined compact car that has everything you and your smartphone need and not 1 cubic foot more, there's a case to be made for the ILX over the larger, less efficient cars in this price range.

And we're cautiously hopeful that the ILX might point the way to a renaissance of smaller, lighter cars for the Acura brand.

"Most of the sales growth is at the entry level, and that requires us to move beyond our volume midsize models, the TL and MDX," Jeff Conrad, Acura's vice president of sales and service, told media assembled in Arizona.

Great, we say. Bring on the ILX Type R.

Specs & Performance
Year Make Model 2013 Acura ILX 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl 5A)
Vehicle Type FWD 4dr 5-passenger Sedan
Estimated MSRP $26,795 (base price), $32,295 (as tested with Technology package)
Assembly location Greensburg, IN
Configuration Transverse, front-engine, front-wheel drive
Engine type Naturally aspirated, port-injected inline-4
Displacement (cc/cu-in) 1,997/122
Block/head material Aluminum/aluminum
Valvetrain SOHC, 4 valves per cylinder, variable intake-valve timing
Compression ratio (x:1) 10.6
Horsepower (hp @ rpm) 150 @ 6,500
Torque (lb-ft @ rpm) 140 @ 4,300
Fuel type Premium unleaded (recommended)
Transmission type 5-speed automatic with console shifter and steering wheel-mounted paddles
Transmission ratios (x:1) I = 2.79, II = 1.68, III = 1.13, IV = 0.77, V = 0.59, R = 2.00
Final-drive ratio (x:1) 4.44
Suspension, front Independent MacPherson struts, coil springs, twin-tube dampers, stabilizer bar
Suspension, rear Independent multilink, coil springs, twin-tube dampers, stabilizer bar
Steering type Electric-assist, speed-proportional, rack-and-pinion power steering
Steering ratio (x:1) 15.1
Turning circle (ft.) 36.1
Tire make and model Michelin Pilot HX MXM4
Tire type All-season
Tire size P215/45R17 87V
Wheel size 17-by-7-inches
Wheel material Cast aluminum
Brakes, front 11.1-inch ventilated disc with single-piston sliding cast-iron caliper
Brakes, rear 10.2-inch solid disc with single-piston sliding cast-iron caliper
Fuel Consumption
Fuel economy, mfr. est. (mpg) 24 city/35 highway/28 combined
Fuel tank capacity (U.S. gal.) 13.2
Audio and Advanced Technology
Stereo description Standard AM/FM tuner with in-dash CD player, six speakers and 160-watt amplifier; test car has optional ELS audio system with CD/DVD player, 10 speakers, 365-watt amplifier and Dolby Pro Logic II simulated surround-sound
iPod/digital media compatibility Standard USB and auxiliary inputs; Pandora app integration for smartphones
Satellite radio Included with Premium package on test car
Hard-drive music storage capacity (Gb) 15GB, included with Technology package on test car
Bluetooth phone connectivity Standard; includes audio streaming and, for MAP-enabled smartphones, SMS text-to-speech capability
Navigation system Included with Technology package on test car; hard-drive-based system with traffic and weather data; 8-inch display (measured diagonally)
Smart entry/Start Standard
Parking aids Back-up camera standard; multi-view back-up camera included with Premium package on test car
Blind-spot detection Not available
Adaptive cruise control Not available
Lane-departure monitoring Not available
Collision warning/avoidance Not available
Dimensions & Capacities
Curb weight, mfr. claim (lbs.) 2,910 (base car), 2,970 (as tested with Technology package)
Length (in.) 179.1
Width (in.) 70.6
Height (in.) 55.6
Wheelbase (in.) 105.1
Track, front (in.) 59.4
Track, rear (in.) 60.3
Legroom, front (in.) 42.3
Legroom, rear (in.) 34.0
Headroom, front (in.) 37.9
Headroom, rear (in.) 35.9
Shoulder room, front (in.) 55.6
Shoulder room, rear (in.) 53.5
Trunk volume (cu-ft) 12.4 (base car), 12.3 (as tested with Technology package)
Bumper-to-bumper 4 years/50,000 miles
Powertrain 6 years/70,000 miles
Corrosion 5 years/Unlimited mileage
Roadside assistance 4 years/50,000 miles​


1,199 Posts
Discussion Starter #13

When Acura introduced its 2013 ILX sedan at the 2012 Chicago Auto Show, we wondered why the company would add another small sedan, just under the TSX in size and price. We also wondered if the demand truly exists for a luxury car of this size and price, which was projected by Acura as "well under $30,000." (We published complete pricing information last night.) But I had wondered the same thing about the Buick Verano, and once I drove that model and saw the differences between it and the Chevrolet Cruze on which it's based, I couldn't deny its appeal.

To make a decision on the ILX, I'd have to drive it. Yesterday I did—all 3 variants: the 2.0L, 2.4L and 1.5L Hybrid.

For one, the ILX is lower and about 1.5 inches wider than the Civic, and its torsional rigidity (the body's resistance to twisting) is greater, by 18% in front and 11% in rear. The ILX uses different shock absorbers, called amplitude reactive dampers, typically found in European luxury cars. The 2-piston systems are said to provide a soft ride without sacrificing sharper bump absorption or cornering performance.

The ILX also has a faster steering ratio and upgraded hardware, such as a larger-diameter steering shaft, for improved feel. There's more noise abatement as well: thicker window glass, more insulation and active noise cancellation in models with 17-inch wheels, among other measures.

How does this all translate to the driving experience?

1st I drove the 2.4, which is most like the Civic Si in that it has a 201-horsepower. 2.4-liter 4-cylinder engine and comes only with a 6-speed manual transmission. As expected, it's quick, though the torque peak of 170 pounds-feet doesn't give the car the urgency some drivers want off the line. The engine and exhaust sound pretty good, but it gets loud and intrusive as the revs climb to where you'll get the most out of it.

The manual is satisfying, once you get beyond the unreasonable expectations evoked by its shift lever. (The sight of that shifter always recalls the Honda S2000, but alas nothing has ever matched that car's rifle-bolt precision.) The gear ratios are well-matched to the cause.

Despite the special provisions, the steering feel is lacking. Torque steer is under control, though it seems to come with a stiffening of the steering wheel, which is perhaps a countermeasure enacted through the electric power steering.

Where the ILX 2.4 is most like the Civic Si is in the most disappointing way: body roll. This trim level has the same suspension tuning as the other models, and it simply needs more control over body lean. Without the confidence and roadholding that comes with competent body control, the 2.4's extra power is mostly wasted.

The ride quality is pretty good, though, exhibiting the road-surface awareness we expect from Acura—without undue punishment on one extreme or wallow on the other.

I also drove the ILX Hybrid, Acura's first, whose mileage (originally estimated at 35/38 mpg city/highway) is now an officially EPA-estimated 39/38 mpg. It's significantly lower than the Civic Hybrid, at 44/44 mpg.

Though the powertrain hardware is the same and the ILX Hybrid has a rear spoiler and low-rolling-resistance tires, the Acura doesn't make as many aerodynamic concessions. It's also about 100 pounds heavier and its hybrid system is tuned for greater responsiveness.

On the road, the hybrid doesn't exhibit too much of the delayed acceleration response we've come to tolerate in many hybrids—known as the rubber-band or motorboat effect—at least not when accelerating from a stop. There's more of it if you nail the gas once already in motion, but three drive modes let you trade mileage for responsiveness: The Econ button makes the car reticent to rev the engine, the Sport mode keeps the revs higher all the time and the normal Drive mode, as you'd expect, is right in between. Not a bad arrangement. If those don't work for you, you can use the steering-wheel paddles to select among 7 fixed ratios for the continuously variable automatic transmission.

The ILX Hybrid isn't quick and the brakes have a dreadfully mushy pedal, but if you go into it with proper hybrid expectations (quirky acceleration and braking, not much liveliness or fun), it should satisfy you.

With a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder rather than the Civic's 1.8-liter, the ILX 2.0 strikes a good balance, which is what Acura intended. It didn't feel demonstrably quicker than the Civic to me, though, perhaps because of the increased weight—about 145 pounds more than the automatic-equipped Civic EX. The 5-speed automatic is well-behaved, providing smooth shifts and quicker kickdown when it's time to pass.

The ILX is definitely quieter than the Civic, though not exceptionally quiet, and if memory serves, not as serene as the Verano. Rather than a pitter-patter when traversing pavement cracks and tar patches, the tires emit more of a distant low-frequency drumbeat.

It goes without saying that the ILX's interior quality is better than the Civic's widely criticized cabin (which Honda has acknowledged). All of the test cars I drove had at least the Premium option package and thus perforated leather-and-vinyl seats, which are well-executed. The dashboard has low-gloss soft surfaces, and the center control panel has an interesting finish. Less impressive is the silver-gray trim elsewhere and the black plastic at the front of the armrests and around the door handles.

A little more consistency would help, as would some color, especially when the ILX is up against the Verano. With the exception of the optional ivory-colored seats and select surfaces in our 2.0 test car, this Acura is characteristically black and gray.

My day of driving ILXes ended with an interstate trip back to with the 2.0 for further evaluation, and the seats proved comfortable even after five hours of highway driving. Did Acura produce a better Civic? Of course. But is the $25,900 ILX better than the $22,585 Verano or other competitors? I'm skeptical, but I and the other editors will scrutinize this volume model and publish a full review in the near future.


1,199 Posts
Discussion Starter #14

The ILX proves most fit as a hybrid, not as strong a challenger in non-hybrid form

The launch of a hybrid is always an exciting event and the launch of the 2013 Acura ILX is no exception [1][2][3]. In a week of driving I was able to test every variant of the ILX -- the base 2.0L model, the 2.4L manual, and the 1.5L hybrid variant. I came in with relatively high expectations for the new luxury hybrid. Which model, if any might appeal to you? Read on for some first impressions.

I. Acura's Bid at Entry Level Luxury Buyers

Acura, the luxury division of Honda Motor Comp. (TYO:7267), has created a brand new model with the ILX. The ILX inherits the legacy of the CSX, a model that sold only to the Canadian market. The compact sedan is very closely related the Civic, being built on the same platform. Thus there's some resemblance in the overall body shape, though the styling has been made much more aggressive with swooping lines along the flanks.

The hybrid variant inherits a bit extra from the Civic platform -- its hybrid internals. Again, here we see a bit of tweaking, but as they say, the apple never falls too far from the tree.

Deciding exactly what the ILX is competing with is a bit tough -- tougher yet for the hybrid. Acura wants to promote the vehicle as a competitor to Audi's (the luxury brand of Volkswagen Group (ETR:VOW3)) A3 or the Volvo’s (owned by Hong Kong's Geely Holdings Group (HKG:0175)) S40. These are favorable comparison in price, but not in features.

A more favorable (and practical) luxury comparison in terms of price and features is the Buick Verano, an entry-level luxury entrant from General Motors (GM).

To conjure up a couple of non-luxury comparisons, the car is about the same size as a Ford Focus or Toyota Motor Comp.'s (TYO:7203) base Prius. However, both of those vehicles have a higher/more swooping roof and the ILX seemed a bit longer body-wise and a bit wider.

Probably the closest competitor to the hybrid model would be Lexus' (Toyota's luxury brand) CT 200h. But again, the swooping roof and hatchback body style of the CT 200h makes for a decided visual difference from the more traditional styling for the ILX.

The swooping lines convey a sporty feel, the grill says "luxury", and the more traditional top is less visually offending to my eyes than the swooping roofs of the Prius, Focus, and CT 200h. I'm relatively tall (~6 ft. 3 in.) but I did not have any trouble with the lower roof. Honestly, having test driven the Prius and having a family member that owns a 2010 Prius, I can say that the Prius has a ridiculously high ceiling.

Perhaps the ILX will suffer aerodynamics-wise from its lower, less bulbous/tear-drop shaped design. But it does look better to me.

Inside you have the expected bare necessities of entry-level luxury, namely lots of leather. The trim is largely hard molded plastic though, betraying the "entry" in entry-level luxury. Overall the interior is modest, but does not wow, styling wise.

I did appreciate the relatively large amount of legroom in the rear seat. Sitting in the Prius (if you're tall like me) can be a painful experience. There's definitely a bit more legroom in the Acura ILX, but it's kind of like moving up from economy class to business class -- there's a little extra leg room, but you're not exactly stretching out.

The vehicle's standard features include keyless access, power moonroof, push-button start, and 16-inch aluminum wheels. The car also carries Acura's MyFord Touch/SYNC challenger, Handsfreelink, which integrates Bluetooth handset syncing, SMS text messaging support, USB MP3 player support, and Pandora.

A premium package adds heated leather seats, fog lights, HID headlights, and larger 17-inch aluminum wheels into the mix. It also adds a multiview rear camera. This basically makes the plain of view behind the car much wider.

As I said with the new RDX (which also features multiview), this is a terrific feature. I still feel that the kind of narrow backup cameras found in Fords and many other vendors’ models create some safety hazards, even as they prevent other hazards. Specifically, narrow-range cameras help to see things immediately behind and underneath the vehicle, but often distract/prevent the driver from looking to the sides to see oncoming people, pets, etc. Multiview can pick of many of these peripheral objects and is hence much safer.

The premium package (which is not directly available in the hybrid variant) is finished off with a 360-watt sound system.

A technology package upgrades the center stack interface adding a HDD-based navigation system, Homelink remote control, 365-watt ELS surround sound audio, 15 GB of music storage, and Acuralink Traffic & Weather. The technology package for the hybrid is more expensive adds all the premium package features except for the larger wheels.

The technology package is available on the base model and the hybrid, but not for the manual (2.4L). Overall the features are decent, but there's some definite missing items such as rain-sensing wipers, Active Park Assist (APS), Blind Spot Information System (BLIS), dimming mirrors, adaptive cruise control.

The voice control on HandsFreeLink is actually surprisingly good, however, I do take issue with the fact that the system (unlike MyFord Touch) locks you out of inputting navigations while rolling. This could easily be done with a voice command (as in MyFord Touch), but Acura just nixes it. As a result the navigation is a lot less useful than Ford's as spur-of-the-moment destinations require you to pull over and stop somewhere and then input your new destination.

Also the system overall lacks the visual polish and cohesive menu structure of MyFord Touch. I still feel Ford has the best infotainment system out there. But the HandsFreeLink is a passable infotainment entry and gets the job done, adding value to the vehicle.

Oh, of course, the price. Pricing starts at $25,900 USD for the inline-4 cylinder 2.0L base model and jumps up to $29,200 USD for the base model with the premium package. For the latter price you can get the 2.4L inline-4 manual variant, which also comes with the premium package. The hybrid starts at $28,900 USD.

A fully equipped 2.0L with the tech package will run an additional $2,200 USD for a total of $31,400 USD, while the fully equipped hybrid minus the larger wheels will cost an extra $5,500 USD, for a total of $34,300 USD. Note, again the manual comes up a bit short in features, not having access to the tech package.

II. Scoping the Competition

So we mentioned the price, now how does that stack up to the competitors mentioned. Let's look:

The 2013 Acura ILX does not stack up very favorable to the 2012 Buick Verano on paper. Its only advantage is mpg, but will 150hp be enough? Read on.

As for the ILX hybrid, it's somewhat more competitive with the Lexus CT 200h. The Lexus leads in the mpg and power dept., but the ILX has a more “mainstream” design and it leads in the price department.

Without further ado, let’s move on to the driving impressions.

III. On the Road -- Impressions for Each Variant

Handling is a perennial strength for Acura, and the ILX is no exception. It features sporty handling. Unfortunately the base model does not feel very sporty, due to the sluggish acceleration -- the model feels underpowered in "drive".

Sport Mode, however, breathes some life into the otherwise boring 5-speed and accentuates the handling, which is very good, as seen in the shots taking below as the vehicle hurdled down dusty desert mountain highways.

Acura seriously needs to to a 6-speed to improve the ILX's performance and fuel economy.

Evidence of this can be found in the 6-speed manual, which is, in a word, "fun". All the promises that fell short in the base model are mostly fulfilled in the manual. While this variant sadly can't get the technology package, it does offer a much improved driving experienced.

Of course, Acura says that manuals only account for a tiny percentage of purchases -- 3 to 4 percent of purchases was one unofficial estimate I heard bandied about -- so that could explain why the manual (sadly) isn't getting the tech package.

The hybrid variant lived up to the estimated fuel economy. Driving it conservatively on a mix of highway/city, I averaged around 39 mpg.

At the end of the trip I decided to have a bit of fun and test the hybrid's power. Unsurprisingly, the low horsepower motor struggled, but it didn't really feel that much more underpowered than base 2.0L non-hybrid version. And given that I expect hybrids to feel somewhat underpowered, I didn't really have any complaints performance-wise.

While the Lexus 200h and third generation Prius beat the Civic/ILX hybrid in horsepower, I find that the Honda vehicles don't feel noticeably less powerful. Perhaps this has something to do with the torque delivered at various RPMs, but whatever the reason, the ILX Hybrid and Lexus 200h feel roughly equivalent power-wise despite the on-paper spec favoring Toyota.

IV. Conclusions

The 2013 Acura ILX is an interesting duck.

First, let's consider the base model. It certainly fulfills a niche with tremendous potential -- entry-level luxury and offers a decent combined package.

The problem is that the competitors are bringing their A-game to this segment, so an otherwise nice vehicle may come up a bit short. The ILX certainly looks terrific and gets good MPG, but the 2012 Buick Verano beats it in most key metrics, including power and price. That beating is expected to get a whole lot worse when the 2013 Buick Verano Turbo -- rumored for a fall launch -- lands. That Verano Turbo is expected to pack 250 hp -- ouch.

Perhaps, Acura deserves a bit more credit for allowing customers to choose between an underpowered, higher-MPG driving style, and a more-powerful, lower-MPG driving style. For some this will be an attractive combo.

I think the 2.4L manual ILX is a much more solid competitor to the 2012 Buick Verano. However, the issue is that Acura thinks people don't necessarily want manuals. Maybe this is true, maybe not, but the net result is that this superior model will be scarce, so I'm basing my non-hybrid ILX v. Verano comparisons on the base model.

But ultimately the big question is why Honda is late to gasoline direct injection (GDI) or using low-displacement 4-cylinder engines coupled with turbochargers like GM, Ford, and Hyundai. Either improvement could have added to the power without subtracting from the fuel economy. Likewise, a 6-speed could have allowed for better power delivery while also improving fuel economy.

I honestly expect these features to be adopted with next ILX model. But Acura definitely suffers from being a latecomer to the GDI/turbocharging game.

As for the hybrid, I have warmer feelings about it, and feel that it could be somewhat of a winner. I always thought the luxury market makes the best sense for hybrids, given the small premium. Mass-market hybrids that aren't named "Prius" have struggled. The luxury segment may prove a much more natural sales fit, given that the small cost impact is more easily absorbed in a higher sticker (of course some evidence points to the contrary).

The 2013 Acura ILX hybrid trades blows with the Lexus CT 200h in power. It also
handles much better than the 3rd generation Prius I drove, so I would expect it to handle better than the Lexus CT 200h. I also personally vastly prefer the styling of the Acura to the more bloated, bulbous Prius-like look of the Lexus.

Are these advantages enough offset the ~2 mpg lead the Lexus holds? Well, it depends. If all you care about is mpg, you should be buying a Prius anyway. But for the luxury buyer who cares about both mpg and looks, the Acura ILX hybrid at least doesn’t look like it stepped off the set of a sci-fi movie.

When it comes to entry-level, compact luxury sedans, the ILX doesn’t really make a strong case for itself, especially when compared to new competitors like the Buick Verano or even the existing Acura TSX. But the hybrid model is a worthy addition to the Acura lineup and a valiant competitor to Lexus’ CT 200h.

1,199 Posts
Discussion Starter #15

Acura has a long and storied history of being an innovator since its creation in 1986. As the 1st luxury brand from Japan, the marque brought with it the 1st variable valve timing technology, the 1st drive-by-wire electronic throttle, the 1st in-dash navigation system and the 1st instance of torque-vectoring all-wheel drive.

Laudable accomplishments, all of them, and Acura reaped rewards for the technological advancements it brought to the automotive realm. Venerable nameplates like Legend and Integra launched Acura into 1st place in the premium luxury car segment in 1987, the brand's first full year of sales.

And then things started to go downhill. The Legend was replaced by the poorly received RL and the discontinuation of the Integra in 2001 and the RSX a few years later in 2006 left Acura without a proper entry-level model. Acura sales peaked in 2005 and have floundered ever since.

Is Acura's new ILX the machine it needs to inject some much-needed life into its lineup?

Walking around the new 2013 Acura ILX, there's little to tip off the casual observer that this car shares its platform with the Honda Civic. This is a very good thing, as nobody who's shopping the entry-level premium segment wants their vehicle to look like a mainstream compact.

By now, you've surely developed an opinion on the sharp creases and bold look of modern Acura products, so we're not going to dwell on its beak-like fascia other than to say it's been downsized on the ILX and that it mostly blends in with its overall design ethos. We wouldn't expect the face of the ILX to deter many buyers if they are happy with what the rest of the car offers, which is not something we could say of some recent Acura designs.

A look at the ILX in profile tells you that Acura isn't backing all the way down from its somewhat controversial styling theme, known at the automaker as Keen Edge Dynamics. The ILX is a bit softer overall than the TSX and TL sedans while retaining plenty of familial ties. New to Acura are the ILX's upswept rear haunches and ersatz fastback roofline. Despite that flowing rear window, this car is not a hatchback.

In front of the driver sits a pair of gauges flanking an electronic multi-information display that can show upcoming maintenance requirements, average speed, instant and average fuel consumption or estimated range with the current fuel load. Acura says this cluster is designed to help the driver concentrate on the task of driving, while the passenger enjoys a deeply carved dash that gives the impression of space and roominess.

All the interior bits and pieces are well integrated into an overall look, and are all crafted from upscale materials. The upper dash pad is soft to the touch and offers a pleasant contrast to the metallic look of the lower dash and center stack. The steering wheel is nicely styled, with a thick rim that feels good in the hand. We were a bit put off by the sheer number of buttons on either side of the wheel, but managed to figure them all out in time.

The steering wheel is also home to a pair of paddle shifters on models equipped with an automatic transmission, which shamefully still has only 5 forward ratios. We didn't get a chance to sample the standard cloth interior, but the optional leather hides were plenty comfortable and are available in either ebony or parchment. The red anodized start/stop button is a nice, sophisticated touch.

There are 3 interior packages offered in the 2013 ILX, including an unnamed base model that offers a CD player with six speakers and a USB port, Bluetooth connectivity that includes an SMS text messaging feature and a Pandora Internet Radio interface. A 5-inch color LCD screen in the center of the dash comes standard with the base and the middle-rung Premium package, and we didn't care for the large plastic housing required to fill the void left by not splurging for the Tech pack's eight-inch screen, as it cheapens the feel of an otherwise well-done interior. All models deserve the larger screen if its placement is going to be made so prominent.

In any case, the Premium package does get the buyer XM satellite radio (plus one extra speaker) and the multi-view rear camera that offers 3 views of what's behind the car, including a very helpful wide-angle shot. Heated leather seats (with eight-way power adjustments on the driver's side), HID headlamps and 17-inch wheels round out the Premium package.

Stepping all the way up the ladder by choosing the Technology package is the only way to get an ILX with navigation or Acura's Real-Time Traffic and Weather. This top-level spec also includes a 10-speaker, 365-Watt ELS Surround Sound system and a 15-gigabyte internal hard drive.

Opting for an ILX powered by the 2.4-liter 4 cylinder will net the buyer different gauges with red illumination; stainless pedals; silver stitching on the seats, door panels and steering wheel; and a nicely weighted alloy and leather shift knob. In one glaring omission, however, it is impossible to order an ILX with the 201-horsepower 2.4-liter engine and the Technology package. So, if you want navigation and its 8-inch screen, you need to stick with the smaller 2.0-liter engine and 5-speed automatic. Bummer.

Fortunately, the 2.0-liter engine's 150 horsepower (at a high 6,500 RPM) and 140 pound-feet of torque (at 4,300 RPM) is satisfying enough around town and for daily commuting duties. The engine is smooth, quiet and generally unobtrusive, which we figure is exactly what many ILX buyers will be looking for. Fuel mileage comes in at an estimated 24 city, 35 highway. That's pretty good when compared to its only natural competitor, the Buick Verano, which scores EPA ratings of 21/32, though with a larger and significantly more powerful (180 hp, 171 lb-ft) 2.4-liter engine. Again, we point an ET-sized finger at the aging 5-speed automatic, if for no other reason than Acura could have eked additional performance and/or economy out of a unit with 6 or more speeds – a trick seemingly every other automaker has figured out.

If you want the best fuel efficiency you can get from an ILX, you need to opt for the Hybrid, whose 1.5-liter engine and continuously variable gearbox are shared with the Civic. With 91 horsepower from the engine and a maximum of 23 more horses from the electric motor, the ILX Hybrid is predictably passive in its pace. Slapping the shifter into Sport mode helps a little, but there's just no way the combined torque of 127 lb-ft from 1,000 to 3,000 RPM will get the vehicle moving in a hurry. It's not horrible when meandering away in urban settings, but that's the most praise we can offer its ability to get the show on the road, and we twice found ourselves puckering tightly as we goaded the ILX Hybrid into turning across traffic – once as a driver and once as a passenger.

What really matters with a hybrid is efficiency, though, and the ILX Hybrid is rated at 39 mpg in the city and 38 on the highway. That's not exactly bad, but it's uncompetitive with the 43/40 rating of the Lexus CT200h. If you plan to do most of your driving on the superslab, the Audi A3, when equipped with its optional turbo diesel engine, manages 42 mpg on the highway. Both of those models are in the same ballpark as the ILX Hybrid's $28,900 (*add $895 to all prices quoted for destination) starting price, which jumps to $34,400 when optioned with the Technology package. Add it all up and we'd be hard pressed to recommend the slow and not-so-stunningly efficient ILX Hybrid to fuel-conscious buyers shopping in the entry-level premium segment.

On a brighter note, the 2.4-liter powerplant, coupled to a sweet-shifting 6-speed manual gearbox, has enough gumption to make the ILX legitimately entertaining when the road opens up a bit. There aren't any changes to the suspension with the larger engine, but the standard MacPherson struts up front and multi-link arrangement in back are more than up to the task when the going gets twisty. Acura has fitted the ILX with the same rebound spring and Amplitude Reactive Damper system that we liked so much in the 2013 RDX. Coupled to a steering ratio that's 6.8-percent quicker than the one used in the Honda Civic it's based on, plus a more rigid steering shaft with a forged yoke joint, the hardware underpinning the Acura ILX is capable of delivering on the sporty promise of its 2.4-liter engine and manual transmission. The 2.4 model also gets larger brake rotors (11.8 inches versus 11.1 for the 2.0 and 10.8 for the Hybrid) up front.

Sadly, as with many such systems, the electronic power steering provides only a vague sense of what the front wheels are doing and it takes time to get used to the artificial feel provided by the tiller's e-brain.

As we mentioned before, Acura won't let you order an ILX with the 2.4-liter engine if you want the Technology package. That means the enthusiast buyer will have to go without navigation or the high-output stereo system. If you can live without those bits, an ILX 2.4 with the Premium package will cost $29,200 and delivers estimated fuel mileage of 22 city and 31 highway.

That leaves us with the standard ILX configuration – a 2.0-liter 4 cylinder with an automatic transmission. Starting at $25,900 in base trim with 16-inch wheels and pegging the fully loaded meter at $31,400 with the Technology kit and its 17-inch alloys, this is the ILX we think will suit the majority of shoppers. At least those shoppers who don't think Acura is charging too much for its smallest product...

We, on the other hand, do think Acura is charging too much for the 2013 ILX. The car itself, while not terribly exciting to drive, is a pretty nice way to get from point A to point B, but so is the Buick Verano, which, with a starting price of $23,470, is several thousand dollars cheaper. If you want a sportier option, we suggest you wait for the upcoming turbocharged Verano that will be available with a six-speed manual – we predict that car will come pretty well equipped for about the same price as the ILX 2.4, except that it will have navigation, a big LCD screen in the dash and considerably more than the ILX's maximum of 201 horsepower.

If you don't care about driving a car wearing a "premium" badge, the Ford Focus Titanium can be had with all the goodies you can get in an ILX – plus a bunch of technology, such as Active Park Assist, that you can't get at all in the Acura – for the same price as the base ILX. And if you do care about having that badge (and the expected reliability and high resale value that goes along with it), the larger and more entertaining TSX sedan can be had for $30,010 – and it includes the bigger 2.4-liter engine and leather as standard equipment.

Acura hopes to find 35,000 buyers for the ILX sedan per year, and they very well may hit that figure. If you're in the market for an entry-level vehicle from a premium automaker, by all means have a look at the ILX... just be sure to check out its competition before signing on the dotted line. As much as we'd like to tell you that the ILX heralds a return to Acura's roots – innovation, value and technology – we can't, because it simply doesn't.

1,199 Posts
Discussion Starter #16

2013 Acura ILX Review
Meta Rating: 7.4/10
Bottom Line: The 2013 Acura ILX is a balanced, if compromised, entry-level/near-luxury sedan that combines fun and style for an affordable price.

Acura has had a hard time building and maintaining a brand identity over the past decade. Itself unsure of whether it should strive for "Tier 1" luxury status or position itself as a near-luxury, high-tech brand for up-and-coming professionals and hip retirees, its product has reflected this lack of direction. The 2013 ILX continues this confusion, especially in light of the coming reborn NSX, but it's worth evaluating the smallest Acura sedan on its own merits.

Based not-so-loosely on the latest generation of the Honda Civic, the ILX nonetheless has its own face: a more toned-down, widely-palatable version of the chromed plastic grille Acura introduced a few years ago. The fenders swell gently from the sides, there are character lines to accent its shape, and the greenhouse arches gracefully ove the passenger compartment. On the whole it's a handsome, if not lust-inducing, sedan. Inside, it looks like a typical Acura: edgy curves, contoured surfaces, and easy-to-read gauges. It's a pleasant place to travel.

There are 3 versions of the ILX available, named for their drivetrains: the 2.0L, the 2.4L, and the Hybrid. The 2.0L offers a 4-cylinder, 2.0-liter engine rated at 150 horsepower and 140 pound-feet of torque. A 5-speed automatic with paddle shifters is standard. It scores an EPA-estimated gas mileage rating of 24 mpg city and 35 mpg highway.

The 2.4L is the sporty model, with what is essentially the Civic Si's 201-horsepower, 170-pound-foot 2.4-liter 4-cylinder mated to a six-speed manual transmission--no automatic is offered with this model. It's the fun-to-drive version, but you'll have to sacrifice more creature comforts than the automatic transmission to get it, but more on that later. It's rated at 22 mpg city and 31 mpg highway.

Finally, the ILX Hybrid gets its go from a 1.5-liter 4-cylinder engine paired with an integrated hybrid drive system and continuously variable transmission (CVT). Total combined power is rated at 111 horsepower and 127 pound-feet of torque. The EPA estimates gas mileage at 39 mpg city and 38 mpg highway.

All 3 share the same basic lightweight chassis, which means all three feel nimble enough in the corners, and brake very well. The suspension tuning on the 2.4L the same as the other two models, and falls short of true sport-sedan feel. The 2.0L and Hybrid models put comfort above outright pace, and succeed in delivering smooth, even ride quality. While the 2.4L is the sportiest model, the 2.0L is also fun-to-drive, with enough pep for most people and somewhat better gas mileage. The Hybrid, on the other hand, feels very slow in many situations--too slow even for fast-flowing suburban traffic at times.

Inside, the cabin is comfortable and spacious--surprisingly so in the rear seats, with enough room even for taller adults to fit comfortably. Ergonomically, things are laid out very well, with all controls easy to identify and use without taking one's eyes from the road. Fit and finish is also very good, with solid-feeling construction and quality materials (plastic, rubber, and leather) in all touch-points. Cabin noise is low, though not quite mausoleum-quiet like you'll find in some luxury cars a bit farther up the ladder, including Acura's own.

There's also a fairly roomy trunk, ample in-cabin storage in cubbies and door pockets, with well-placed cup holders. Cargo volume is a solid 12.4 cubic feet (10.0 cubic feet for the Hybrid, which places the battery pack behind the rear seats). Visibility is very good thanks to the large windows and well-placed seating position.

Features and options for the 2013 Acura ILX are grouped neatly into packages: Premium and Technology. The Premium Package includes leather seating surfaces; eight-way power adjustable driver seat; two-way heated front seats; a premium sound system with Bluetooth, USB, and Pandora functionality; an auto-dimming rearview mirror; a multi-view rear camera; and on non-Hybrid models, an active sound cancellation system that further damps noise within the cabin. The Technology Package includes: navigation with voice recognition, a rear-view camera, real-time traffic/weather, and AcuraLink satellite communications system; plus a premium sound system with Bluetooth, USB, and Pandora among its capabilities. The Premium Package is available on all ILX models, while the Technology Package is available only on 2.0L and Hybrid models.

Standard equipment on all 2013 ILX models includes a leather-wrapped steering wheel; cloth-trimmed front seats (2.0L base and Hybrid); dual-zone automatic climate control; Bluetooth hands-free phone interface; power moonroof; keyless entry with push-button start; rear-view camera; and a 12-volt power outlet. Available accessories include larger 17-inch alloy wheels, aerodynamic bodywork, fog lights, a remote engine start, and an engine block heater.

Though Acura doesn't like to dwell on the Honda Civic basis for the ILX, it's there--but it's all under the skin. On the outside, the ILX is its own car, with low and wide proportions, a long hood and short rear deck, aerodynamic character lines, and Acura's signature front-end look.

Riding a balance between crisp and fluid, edgy and smooth, the ILX's exterior is a more youthful take on a compact luxury car than you'll find elsewhere in the segment. The general proportions speak of sportiness (perhaps more so than the car's actual performance does), but also of refinement and confidence.

Inside, the ILX's cabin is simliarly youthful, at least in comparison with the competition, with cascading layers of surfaces in varied textures creating a flowing, connected feel across the dash and through the cabin. The driver's perspective is dominated by the focused, easy-to-read instrument and information display in the main panel, while the center stack is set high and forward for better eyes-up visibility.

The rear seat is more plainly finished, but nonetheless feels part of the overall cabin, and of the ILX's entry-luxury design aesthetic.

With 3 different powertrains available in the 2013 Acura ILX, it spans a wide range of performance characteristics, though underlying each is a balanced, relatively light chassis that makes the most of the desired tuning, be it comfort or sport.

The base model of the ILX is the 2.0L, powered by a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine rated at 150 horsepower and 140 pound-feet of torque. It's paired by default with a 5-speed automatic transmission with paddle-shifters mounted on the steering wheel. While the paddles add an element of fun, and even control in a passing situation, the overall demeanor of the 2.0L is relaxed and comfy--it doesn't encourage pushing the limits or exploring the capabilities of the road, much less the drivetrain. That said, it's powerful enough for daily duty, while returning a respectable 24 mpg city and 35 mpg highway.

The ILX 2.4L is the sportiest variant, with the Civic Si's 2.4-liter, 201-horsepower 4-cylinder engine under the hood. There's no automatic transmission option available with the 2.4L--it's a 6-speed manual only. Like the new Civic Si, the ILX 2.4L's power is available over a relatively broad range, but it lacks much in the way of character, and even more in the way of low-end or mid-range punch, and consequently feels a bit out of place in the otherwise laid-back ILX's form factor. The suspension is the same in the 2.4L as the rest of the ILX lineup, and it's not as sharp as we'd like in spirited driving with this engine. That said, it does iron out the bumps in a broken road quite nicely, while returning 22 mpg city and 31 mpg highway.

Finally, there's the ILX Hybrid, which gets a 1.5-liter 4-cylinder engine and an integrated hybrid electric system routed through a continuously variable transmission (CVT). Gas mileage ratings, per the EPA, are just 39 mpg city and 38 mpg highway, placing it firmly mid-pack amongst alternatives. The combined power output of 111 horsepower, however, leaves the ILX Hybrid feeling flat, and can occasionally be too little for comfort, as when merging with fast-flowing traffic. It's comfortable, but it's not much fun to drive, especially with the ultra-conservative Eco mode engaged.

Despite its entry-luxury positioning, Acura hasn't visibly skimped on the quality or construction of the 2013 ILX. While Acura's design and style may not be for everyone, it's nonetheless capable of producing very well-made, comfortable interiors--as it has in the ILX.

The front seats are roomy and comfortable, with good sight lines for the driver and plenty of adjustment for occupants both short and tall. The steering wheel, dash, and controls all feel well-made, are laid out in logical places, and respond with a sense of solidity and quality you'd expect from a more expensive car. In the back, it's equally roomy, particularly impressive for a compact car, luxury or not.

There's even a fair amount of trunk space, with the standard models ranging between 12.3 and 12.4 cubic feet, depending on options, and the Hybrid getting 10.0 cubic feet after placing the battery pack behind the rear seats. Fold-down rear seats on non-hybrid models add to the cargo area for larger items.

The 2013 Acura ILX hasn't yet been rated by either the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) or the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).

Standard safety equipment includes: Vehicle Stability Assist (stability and traction control); anti-lock brakes; electronic brake distribution; brake assist; and tire-pressure monitoring systems; plus dual-stage front, front-side, and side-curtain airbags; automatic tensioning seat belts; LATCH car-seat tether system; and design elements intended to mitigate pedestrian injury.

While the 2013 Acura ILX is priced very competitively and offers convenient packaging for a coherent set of features and equipment, it lacks some of the higher-end items you'll find in slightly more expensive sedans, such as radar-adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitoring, and heads-up displays.

The base specification of the 2013 ILX is fairly generous. It includes: Bluetooth hands-free phone interface; power moonroof; keyless entry with push-button start; rear-view camera; a leather-wrapped steering wheel; cloth-trimmed front seats (2.0L base and Hybrid); dual-zone automatic climate control; and a 12-volt power outlet. Available accessories include larger 17-inch alloy wheels, aerodynamic bodywork, fog lights, a remote engine start, and an engine block heater.

2 primary packages are available to upgrade from the base specification, the Technology Package and the Premium Package.

The Technology Package includes: premium sound system with Bluetooth, USB, and Pandora among its capabilities; plus a navigation with voice recognition, a rear-view camera, real-time traffic/weather, and AcuraLink satellite communications system; premium sound system with Bluetooth, USB, and Pandora among its capabilities.

The Premium Package includes leather seating surfaces; 8-way power adjustable driver seat; 2-way heated front seats; an auto-dimming rearview mirror; a multi-view rear camera; a premium sound system with Bluetooth, USB, and Pandora functionality; and on non-Hybrid models, an active sound cancellation system that further damps noise within the cabin.

The Premium Package is available on all ILX models (and is standard on the 2.4L), while the Technology Package is available only on 2.0L and Hybrid models.

Fuel Economy/MPG
Just a few years ago, the 2013 Acura ILX range would have been near the leading edge of gas mileage in the entry-luxury segment, but time and technology have marched forward quickly, and despite the ILX's relative light weight and compact size, it comes up a bit short in efficiency, particularly in the 2.4L and Hybrid models.

Though the EPA hasn't yet rated the 2013 ILX, Acura has provided its own projected figures for gas mileage. The base 2.0L model rates a respectable 24 mpg city and 35 mpg highway. The sporty 2.4L scores slightly worse at 22 mpg city and 31 mpg highway. The Hybrid tops them both--and outshines Lexus' HS 250h--but its 39 mpg city and 38 mpg highway are less than impressive in light of recent non-hybrid offerings from the likes of Ford, Mazda, and other non-luxury marques.


1,199 Posts
Discussion Starter #17

As the 2013 Acura ILX arrives in showrooms nationwide, Jessi Lang from Motor Trend examines the new luxury sedan to better understand the new model’s significance to the brand.

Why is it such a big deal? As Lang explains, the ILX is aimed at Gen-Y buyers who now have less disposable income than their baby boomer parents. As such, the ILX must meet Acura’s luxury standards while also being remaining affordable. Lang appreciates the 2013 ILX’s trim strategy, which includes three powertrains. There’s a base 2.0-liter, a hybrid, and a sporty 2.4-liter engine also found in the Civic Si. For this episode, Lang drives the hybrid and says it should definitely appeal to the eco-conscious. However, she’s more curious about the 2.4-liter that’s mated to a 6-speed manual.

Lang finds the sheetmetal simple, yet handsome and she appreciates the interior’s workmanship. She also points out the cabin’s low noise level, thanks to an active noise cancelling system and sound insulating glass. According to Lang, this car seems to say, “There’s no need to shout.” 1 part of the interior, however, could use improvement. Find out what that is in the video posted below.

Acura ILX Goes Back to the Basics - Wide Open Throttle Episode 13 - YouTube

1,199 Posts
Discussion Starter #18

Hey, that's 1 fancy Civic there!

Calling the 2013 Acura ILX a gussied-up Civic is, in many ways, completely fair, but in truth, Acura has come up with a mix of near-luxury style and feel crossed with a sporty-ish sensibility that is almost completely missing from the market at the moment, and that may be where it finds its success.

In the late-1980s through the mid-1990, small, sporty mostly-luxury sedans were pretty common items--from the BMW 3-Series (particularly in the E30 generation) to the Volvo S40 to even Acura's own Legend and Vigor, and of course the Integra and RSX. While the lower end of this sport-sedan spectra never really rose into full luxury status, it nevertheless pleased many buyers--especially younger buyers looking to move up from their parent's hand-me-downs without going the econo-box route.

Today, however, there's a dearth of sport in the entry-luxury segment, and even cars that used to be small and light are no longer either; BMW's 1-Series has perhaps the best claim to that mantle, and even the starter-model 128i weighs in at a slightly porky 3,208 pounds, measures 14 feet 4 inches long, and claims nearly 6 feet of lane width--without the mirrors.

The ILX is actually a tick longer and wider than the 1-Series--about 2 inches in either direction--but it weights in at just 2,910 pounds--a 300-pound savings. Despite lacking a punchy inline 6-cylinder (much less a stout turbo version) the ILX generates a slightly-frenetic 201 horsepower and 170 pound-feet of torque in 2.4-liter guise. The standard 2.0-liter model rates a more meager 150 horsepower and 140 pound-feet of torque, while the hybrid checks in at just 111 horsepower and 127 pound-feet.

But it's not all about power these days, even when it comes to sporty cars. Take Scion's FR-S, for example: it weighs about 200 pounds less but generates the same power as the ILX 2.4-liter. Sure, like the 1-Series, it delivers its power through the rear wheels instead of the front, but even so, there's a lot to be said for cars that are light yet just powerful enough to be fun and engaging.

Unfortunately, the math comes to a screeching halt once you're behind the wheel of the ILX. Like the Civic-in-a-fancy-dress jokes indicate, this really is just the new Civic Si's powertrain we're dealing with, and it shows. Gone is the truly zingy, free-revving, and somewhat temperamental feel of the previous Civic Si's zippy 2.0-liter. Instead, there's a 2.4-liter engine that's more tractable, delivering better torque down low with less of a VTEC crossover point, and about the same horsepower rating, but the delivery is just much less exciting. Even running the close-ratio 6-speed manual (the only transmission available with the 2.4-liter model) to red line through the 1st 4 gears, there's just something…missing. It's got spirit, but no soul.

That's not to say it's not a fun car, still. The slightly too-soft suspension takes the road's imperfections with aplomb, but fails to delivery in the twistier stretches like you'd hope it would. The steering is a bit vague and heavy at freeway speeds, growing too-light and almost completely numb at lower speeds. But despite these concessions to what most will find more palatable on a daily basis, the ILX will deliver a grin on the occasional quick on-ramp or off-ramp. It just won't goad you into the canyons come Saturday.

The 2 other versions of the ILX--the 2.0-liter and the Hybrid) offer somewhat less (2.0-liter) or markedly less (Hybrid) performance, with essentially identical feel otherwise. The 2.0-liter is actually fun to drive despite its relatively wimpy power ratings, due in part to the sheer pep and personality of the smaller engine. The Hybrid, on the other hand, while competent to get through traffic, is almost painfully slow and hesitant to accelerate--slow enough to be a bit unnerving when having to pull out onto a busy suburban throughway. For all of the laggardly performance, however, the ILX only ekes out an EPA rating of 35/38 mpg--better than the 24/32 mpg of the 2.0-liter or the 20/29 mpg of the 2.4-liter, but not seriously impressive in any duel with other similarly-sized hybrids.

Inside, the ILX is actually quite nice. Materials are on par with the rest of the Acura range, or at least the mid-segment stuff, meaning decent leathers, sturdy and durable-seeming plastics, and generally impressive fit and finish. It's a quiet place, too, though not quite so quiet as the studio-like RDX. A dash of wind and road noise seeps in, but never rises to objectionable levels.

The seats are very comfortable, though perhaps a touch too soft for those more used to true sports cars and sports sedans. The seating position, steering wheel shape, and shifter positioning are all very good, too, and the manual shifter's precise, if somewhat longish throws do nothing to discourage an extra downshift or two for fun's sake.

But if you opt for the sportiest of ILX models, the 2.4-liter, you'll have to forego navigation. Why? Because Acura says the vast majority (something like 95 percent) of all buyers that opt for a manual transmission in their cars turn down the navigation upgrade. That's a shame, because the system that's available in the 2.0-liter and the hybrid is actually quite good once you're used to it. And it's a great value as part of the Technology Package.

At the end of the day with the ILX, we were left impressed with what Acura is offering for the price (the 2.4-liter model starts from $29,200--about $2,000 cheaper than the 1-Series, and as little as $25,900 for the base 2.0-liter model), but underwhelmed by what was almost-but-not-quite achieved with the suspension and performance tuning, and simply flummoxed by some of the options and packaging decisions.

If we had to choose an ILX for our own garage, it would be the 2.0-liter model, simply because it costs exactly the same as the 2.4-liter model once loaded up with the Technology Package and delivers 95 percent of the fun with better gas mileage. The Hybrid delivers improved gas mileage, but does so at the cost of any sense of fun or spirit while driving, even dipping a toe in the slightly-too-slow-for-comfort pool.

So has Acura hit that sweet spot that's been missing for most of a decade? Not quite, but it's very close.

1,199 Posts
Discussion Starter #19

Inside Line tests hundreds of vehicles a year. Cars, trucks, SUVs, we run them all, and the numbers always tell a story. With that in mind we present "IL Track Tested," a quick rundown of all the data we collect at the track, along with comments direct from the test drivers. Enjoy.

In our 1st Drive of the 2013 Acura ILX we wrote, "The 2013 Acura ILX is the smallest sedan in Acura's lineup since the Integra, but it's not a spiritual successor to that car." So it's not, but the ILX 2.4L model is a kissing cousin to the 2012 Honda Civic, complete with the Civic Si's 201-horsepower 2.4-liter inline-4 and slick 6-speed manual transmission.

Acura may be excited about the prospect of having a high-volume car that returns good fuel economy while still offering Acura levels of luxury, but we're excited to see what the new ILX does on our track when equipped with the hottest of its 3 engines.

Vehicle: 2013 Acura ILX 2.4L

Date: 5/8/2012
Driver: Chris Walton
Price: $30,095 (base price)

Drive Type: Front engine, front-wheel drive
Transmission Type: Six-speed manual
Engine Type: Naturally aspirated, port-injected inline-4
Displacement (cc/cu-in): 2,354/144
Redline (rpm): 7,000 (fuel cutoff at 7,200)
Horsepower (hp @ rpm): 201 @ 7,000
Torque (lb-ft @ rpm): 170 @ 4,400
Brake Type (front): 11.8-inch ventilated discs with single-piston sliding calipers
Brake Type (rear): 10.2-inch solid discs with single-piston sliding calipers
Suspension Type(front): Independent MacPherson struts, coil springs, twin-tube dampers, stabilizer bar
Suspension Type (rear): Independent multilink, coil springs, twin-tube dampers, stabilizer bar
Tire Size (front): P215/45R17 (87V)
Tire Size (rear): P21545R17 (87V)
Tire Brand: Michelin
Tire Model: Pilot HX MXM4
Tire Type: All-season
As tested Curb Weight (lb): 2,954

Test Results:

0-30 (sec): 2.7 (2.8 w/ TC on)
0-45 (sec): 4.6 (4.9 w/ TC on)
0-60 (sec): 7.1 (7.7 w/ TC on)
0-60 with 1-ft Rollout (sec): 6.8 (7.4 w/ TC on)
0-75 (sec): 10.5 (11.2 w/ TC on)
1/4-Mile (sec @ mph): 15.3 @ 91.6 (15.7 @ 88.5 w/ TC on)

30-0 (ft): 30
60-0 (ft): 130

Slalom (mph): 65.5 (63.1 w/TC off)
Skid Pad Lateral acceleration (g): 0.83 (0.82 w/TC on)

Db @ Idle: 42.5
Db @ Full Throttle: 77.5
Db @ 70 mph Cruise: 65.6


Acceleration: There's a sweet spot of wheelspin the ILX enjoys that is good for more than a half second in acceleration. Engine sounds sweet and there's no audible/visceral cam phase. Shifter is excellent, accurate, short and well-oiled. Clutch uptake is intuitive and smooth throughout pedal travel.

Braking: Very little initial bite and meaningful slowing begins from +/-40 mph to 0. Pedal is firm, but there's no power here. Linear fade in distance, yet pedal feel remained constant.


Skid pad: With ESC off, the ILX goes into gentle yet stubborn understeer. Steering feedback changes very little with waning grip, and effort remains light-ish. With ESC on, it chopped throttle lightly below the car's true limit (prior to tire howl).

Slalom: I really like the steering: Friction free, just enough weight and good yaw reaction. Turns in predictably, tracks well, but the suspension is just a little reluctant in transitions and I end up "late" at the next cone(s) if I enter too hot. Best run is slow-in-fast-out with a small slide at exit and unweighted tire spinning free.


1,199 Posts
Discussion Starter #20

For 2013, Acura introduced an all-new compact sedan, the ILX, that's based on a modified 2012 Honda Civic. Like the Civic, the ILX seats 5, and even though its backseat is surprisingly roomy, it holds only 2 child-safety seats. This entry-level car has a starting MSRP of $26,795, including an $895 destination fee.

For the Car Seat Check, we use a Graco SnugRide 30 rear-facing infant-safety seat, a Britax Roundabout convertible child-safety seat and Graco high-back TurboBooster seat.

The front seats are adjusted to a comfortable position for a 6-foot driver and a 5-foot-8 passenger. The 3 child seats are installed in the 2nd row. The booster seat sits behind the driver's seat, and the infant seat and convertible seats are installed behind the passenger seat. We also install the infant seat in the 2nd row's middle seat with the booster and convertible in the outboard seats to see if 3 car seats will fit. If there's a 3rd row, we install the booster seat and a forward-facing convertible.

Here's how the 2013 ILX did in's Car Seat Check:

Latch system:
The ILX has 2 sets of lower Latch anchors in the outboard seats. They're not easy to get at because the seat cushions are in the way, and the anchors sit low in the seat bight, where the back and bottom cushions meet. It was just as difficult to use rigid Latch connectors with these anchors as it was with the traditional hook-like connectors. Three tether anchors are on the rear shelf behind the backseat's head restraints.

Booster seat: The ILX's seat bolsters pushed our high-back booster seat to one side and on top of the floppy seat belt buckle. To buckle up, the child or parent has to scoot the booster seat over before sitting down, an annoying addition to the buckling-up process.

Convertible seat: To get a good fit with the forward-facing convertible, we had to remove the head restraint. Because the head restraint behind the front passenger seat was jammed, we installed this car seat behind the driver's seat. The forward convertible fit well in the 2nd row.

We had to move the front passenger seat forward an inch or so to create enough room for the rear-facing convertible in the backseat. This left our 5-foot-8 tester's knees close to the glove box, but not touching it.

Infant-safety seat: To fit this rear-facing car seat, we also had to move the front passenger seat forward again - roughly an inch. The front passenger had the same legroom with about an inch of clearance between her knees and the glove box.

How many car seats fit in the second row? 2

Editor's note: For 3 car seats — infant-safety seat, convertible and booster seats — to fit in a car, our criterion is that a child sitting in the booster seat must be able to reach the seat belt buckle. Parents should also remember that they can use the Latch system or a seat belt to install a car seat.
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