Back in 1986, Honda did something totally unprecedented in the automotive marketplace. The company introduced two Japanese luxury cars. Further, Honda developed an all-new brand under which to market those cars, and in the process, created the first Japanese luxury car brand. Those first Acura models caused quite a stir—particularly the forerunner to the 2014 Acura ILX, the Acura Integra.
Immediately sought after, Acuras were coveted for their road skills and content just as much as they were for their remarkably competitive pricing. In other words, Acura became an overnight sensation.
During those early years, Acura outsold both Mercedes-Benz and BMW by significant margins. Of course, success breeds competition. Hot on the heels of Acura came Toyota’s Lexus and Nissan’s Infiniti brands. Mazda had plans for a luxury brand as well—and even went so far as to announce the nameplate; Amati—but those plans were stillborn.
Over the years, the Acura brand grew and prospered, and along the way offered the world’s first Japanese mid-engine exotic sports car—the NSX. Over time though, as competition became ever more fierce in this segment, Acura’s fortunes took a downturn.
Today, the brand is in something of a renaissance.
One of the cars tapped to lead the way back is the company’s ILX entry-level luxury sport sedan. A brazen attempt to recapture the youth-oriented market Acura used to own with its Integra model, the ILX represents an effort to return to the brand’s core principle of affordable luxury in a performance-oriented package.
Does it work?