The 2013 Acura ILX is a fresh entry into what is becoming one of the hotter segments of the premium market: entry-level compacts that don't make any sporting pretensions but rather deliver a comfortable, high end ride at a reasonable price point. The Acura ILX is an interesting gambit from the Japanese premium brand, one which seems aimed not just at competitors from its homeland but also new rivals that have swooped in from Europe and North America.
Let's take a look at 10 things you need to know about the 2013 Acura ILX.
The 2013 Acura ILX isn't based on any platform currently offered in the Acura stable. In fact, it shares its basic suspension and parts of its chassis with the Honda Civic, which allows Acura to keep the vehicle's price affordable. Visually, however, the four-door sedan stands apart from its more pedestrian cousin, offering striking styling differences including a much longer hood as well as a shortened rear deck and altered glass in order to create a distinctive appearance for the model. A number of tweaks have also been made to the Civic-derived running gear in order to give the Acura ILX a better feel from behind the wheel.
The 2013 Acura ILX is positioned as the most accessible model in the luxury brand's lineup. In this way, the Acura ILX replaces vehicles like the Acura Integra and the Acura RSX, the last two truly compact options available from the automaker. Acura has priced the ILX roughly $5,000 cheaper than the next step up - the Acura TSX sedan - and it has been careful to focus on a smooth ride rather than making the ILX a sporty, performance-oriented model like the slow-selling RSX that came before it. The absence of a two-door or hatchback body style bearing the ILX badge further reinforces this market position.
Although it might boast exterior dimensions that are on the small side, the 2013 Acura ILX doesn't squeeze passengers with a tight interior. The Acura ILX offers front and rear seating arrangements that are supportive, not restrictive, and interior materials throughout the vehicle have been carefully selected to help the sedan convey its up-market message. This means that soft-touch plastics abound throughout the ILX'x interior. The suspension system, which as previously mentioned is tuned for smooth road-holding and not maximum performance, is also in on Acura's game plan for the sedan. Trunk space is listed at 12.4 cubic feet, and the rear seat can be folded down to help accommodate larger items.
The 2013 Acura ILX starts out with a 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engine installed under the hood. This unit delivers 150 horsepower and 140 lb-ft of torque, and it is matched exclusively with a five-speed automatic transmission. Those seeking more lively acceleration will want to order the Acura ILX with its available 2.4-liter, four-cylinder motor. Featuring 201 horsepower and 170 lb-ft of torque on tap, this unit does a much better job of motivating the small sedan. It also opens up the possibility for more engaging performance via its six-speed manual transmission - the only gearbox that can be mated to the 2.4-liter unit. All version of the ILX are front-wheel drive.
The 2013 Acura ILX provides fuel efficiency numbers that make it one of the least thirsty entry-level luxury sedans on the market. When ordered with its base 2.0-liter, four-cylinder mill the Acura ILX consumes fuel at the modest rate of 24-mpg in stop and go driving and 35-mpg on the highway. Stepping up to the 2.4-liter unit doesn't mean having to sacrifice that much at the fuel pump, either, as the 201 horsepower motor provides fuel mileage of 22-mpg around town and 31-mpg during highway cruising. These performances are accomplished without the use of turbochargers or trick aerodynamics.
If fuel economy is the most pressing concern when shopping for a luxury sedan, then it only makes sense to consider the Acura ILX Hybrid edition. The Acura ILX Hybrid is the very first gasoline / electric vehicle to be offered by the premium automaker, and it comes with a 1.5-liter, four-cylinder engine that is paired with a single electric motor. Essentially the same Integrated Motor Assist system that is offered in the Honda Civic Hybrid, when installed in the ILX's slightly heavier platform it returns gas mileage of 39-mpg city and 38-mpg highway. A continuously-variable automatic transmission is standard with the ILX Hybrid.
Acura calls its trim levels 'Packages,' with the base version of the car featuring no particular package name - just a list of equipment that includes a sunroof, keyless entry and ignition, dual automatic climate control, power windows and door locks, Bluetooth connectivity, a CD player, USB audio input (and an iPod interface), and a leather-wrapped steering wheel. The Acura ILX Hybrid base model is very similarly turned out.
Moving up to the Premium package adds HID headlights, heated leather seats (with power adjustments for the driver), 17-inch rims to replace the base model's 16-inch wheels, a louder stereo system, a quieter interior, and a different rearview camera than is found with the most affordable ILX model. The Technology package further adds a navigation system, the ability to store digital music files on a hard drive, and surround sound.
Not all 'packages' (or trim levels) offered by the 2013 Acura ILX can be combined with all drivetrains. The most glaring example of this particular practice is the way the Acura ILX separates its performance model - the version featuring the 201 horsepower engine and six-speed manual transmission - from its uber-luxury model. The 2.4-liter motor can be ordered in Premium package trim, but it is not possible to purchase the fastest version of the car with the Technology package installed. This means that if buyers require surround sound audio or a navigation system they must restrict themselves to either the Hybrid or the 2.0-liter drivetrains.
The 2013 Acura ILX is outfitted with all of the modern safety equipment that premium sedan buyers have come to expect. The Acura ILX is loaded with seat-mounted side airbags for front passengers, dual forward airbags, and side curtain airbags that deploy along the entire length of either side of the cabin. Electronic stability control is also present and accounted for, as are traction control, anti-lock brakes, electronic brake distribution, and brake assist. On top of this, a standard tire pressure monitoring system keeps an eye on each wheel to make sure that any air leaks are detected before they become catastrophic.
The 2013 Acura ILX is in the unique position of taking on a domestic rival as its most direction competition. The Buick Verano is in many ways similar to the Acura ILX, and both are going after the same fuel and budget-conscious crowd that wants a higher level of equipment than what one might normally expect from a compact car. With its Hybrid model on the table, the Acura ILX is also looking to steal sales from the Lexus CT 200h, a vehicle which comes in hatchback form and which is priced slightly higher than the Acura option.