My first car was a 1990 Acura Integra. Bought used in 1998, that car was the start to a long on-and-off love affair with Honda. While a 1990 Integra isn’t exactly a fire-breathing sportscar, it was certainly sporty enough for an 18-year-old to feel like Vin Diesel (wait, this was before The Fast and the Furious). That little car was the first of many little Japanese sportscars that have come and gone in my life. I still look very fondly upon most things VTEC but I’ll be the first to admit the old ILX did nothing to stir that same passion in me; the passion that anyone who’s “ripped tek” before can relate to. With the announcement of the new ILX I may just have to change my tune but I’ll reserve final judgement till I’ve actually driven it.

Acura have just announced pricing and new features for their mildly refreshed 2016 ILX. The biggest change is the 51-horsepower and 41-lb-ft increase in power. This power increase comes courtesy of the well-loved 2.4L, straight out of the Civic Si. All that extra power gets put to the ground via an eight-speed dual clutch transmission with flappy paddles. We can’t say we’re to sorry to bid farewell to outdated five-speed slushbox it’s replacing. The eight-speed tranny is a first in this segment and price range due to its advanced Sequential Sport Shift system optimized for quick shifts and get this – rev-matching downshifts. Now you can feel like a pro racer banging down eight gears in the grown-up Civic with seamless efficiency.

The combination of the updated 2.4L and eight-speed DCT nets you a fuel economy of 9.3 L/100KM city and 6.6 L/100KM highway – that’s good for an 8.1 L/100KM combined rating. Sounds good to us so far.

Acura seem to be going after the younger crowd in the under-35-with-an-actual-job segment. The affordable starting price of $29,490 in base trim gets you a pretty sharp looking vehicle with a pretty neat engine and transmission combination. To achieve the maximum potential of the new powertrain, Acura says they’ve updated the suspension and steering response to be more performance oriented.

To go with the hot new powertrain, they’ve updated the front end with LED headlights, a new grille, and a more aggressive lower fascia or lip. They’ve also reshaped the rear end with a new LED tail light combo and lower fascia design. New 10-spoke 17-inch wheels round out the aesthetics department. If you want to go full-sporty, the ILX A-SPEC Package has you covered with the addition of side sill garnishes, a trunk spoiler, front fog lights, and of course, 18-inch 10-spoke alloys.

Standard features on all 2016 models include Smart Entry/Push-Button Start keyless access system, a long-range remote engine starter, one-touch turn signals (a la Germany), and Bluetooth audio. Available high-end add-ons include heated front seats, GPS-linked automatic climate control, and rain-sensing wipers. A 7-inch On Demand Multi-Use Display™ (ODMD) touch screen is available on the Premium, Technology, and A-SPEC trims.

A pretty neat addition to the Premium Package trim is is a new tethered navigation system powered by the user’s compatible iPhone and data plan via the AcuraLink navigation app. This means you can run your phone’s GPS instead of messing around with the clunkier built-in GPS. Pretty neat. We’ll be sure to report back on what it’s like to actually use it in the real world. Premium models also come with Siruis XM radio and Aha integration.

The crown jewel to top it off is all trims come standard with AJAC’s pick for Best New Safety Technology – AcuraWatch. AcuraWatch includes Adaptive Cruise Control, Lane Keeping Assist System, a Multi-View Rear Camera with Dynamic Guidelines, as well as Road Departure Mitigation and a Collision Mitigation Braking System™ (including Forward Collision Warning) with sensor fusion technology that enables new capabilities, including pedestrian sensing. Premium grades and up also get Acura’s blind spot information and Cross Traffic Monitor feature.

How much will all this cost, you ask? The base model ILX starts at $29,490; the Premium starts at $31,990; the Technology starts at $33,490 and the flagship A-Spec will run you $34,890. Not too shabby and certainly a breath of fresh air in the ILX world.

Photo Courtesy of Acura

Photo Courtesy of Acura

Connect with