This 2013 Acura ILX is the best Honda Civic I have ever driven, as it should be for a Ben Franklin over $30,000. My test car was equipped with the same high-revving 201-horsepower engine and manual transmission as the Honda Civic Si, and its $6,500 price premium over the Civic Si is almost justifiable if for no other reason than the Acura’s superior interior design, layout, and materials.
Strangely, though, the Honda is offered with a factory navigation system, while this version of the ILX goes without. The ILX also goes without the option of an automatic transmission in combination with the more powerful 2.4-liter 4-cylinder engine, which is utter nonsense, and which also renders the most credible version of this car impossible to drive for the majority of the population.
These limitations further compound the new Acura ILX’s awkward position in the market, where it competes with equally well-equipped and refined, but larger, mainstream midsize sedans while simultaneously facing increased pressure from A-list brands that are bringing new models to market for about the same price.
Despite the product planning gaffes and the lack of a clear value proposition, the ILX convinces as a quality piece of Honda engineering that’s entertaining to drive with this larger engine and manual gearbox. The question is: Will that be enough to, as my wife wondered, convince loyal Civic fan-boys moving up the corporate ladder to switch allegiance to the ILX?