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2013 Acura ILX

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Day by Day Review: 2013 Acura ILX Hybrid car test drives green reviews daily car reviews acura
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And now for something completely new: a new name on a new Acura vehicle for 2013. The 2013 Acura ILX is Acura’s entry level luxury vehicle, replacing the CSX and, before it, the EL, both based on the Honda Civic. The ILX is not a Honda Civic with a different badge as the previous CSX was; the ILX has its own sheet metal and interior refinements, and although the chassis is still shared with the Civic, it doesn’t look or feel anyway like one.

And this is a good thing, because Acura is really still trying to find their niche in the market, and they seem to be doing so as an entry level luxury maker at this point. The CSX was only available in Canada while the ILX is now available in the US, and should help Acura boost sales.

Day by Day Review: 2013 Acura ILX Hybrid car test drives green reviews daily car reviews acura
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My tester is the Hybrid version, a fully-loaded model that is powered by a 1.5-litre gasoline engine with electric assist. Power is output to the pavement through the front wheels using a CVT (Continually Variable Transmission) that offers virtual gearing in sport mode via paddle shifters mounted on the steering column.

Interior features and appointements are very much luxury-focused with a full leather interior, navigation system, heated and power-adjustable seating, dual-zone automatic climate control, reverse camera system, moonroof, rear trunk spoiler and more.

Will the market embrace this car, or has Acura found a small niche with an entry-level luxury vehicle? Acura is trying to attract younger buyers with this ILX, and although I do have some doubts, I’ll put it through its paces this week and see if I would be interested in having one in my driveway.

MSRP as tested (including destination): $34,990

For more information on Acura and the ILX Hybrid visit Acura Canada

For even more on this car FOLLOW James on Twitter

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Day by Day Review: 2013 Acura ILX Hybrid car test drives green reviews daily car reviews acura
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The ILX’s interior certainly is upscale and luxurious, as one would expect from an Acura vehicle. Like the rest of the Acura line-up, the ILX is fitted standard with leather everywhere and a well laid-out console of buttons and switch gear that lets you know that technology is at the forefront.

The ILX Hybrid features are that of an ILX Premium with Technology package, which means you get all the toys, although I’m not sure how that works out if someone is trying to save some coin by buying the Hybrid, only to have to shell out 34 large to get into it in the first place.

Day by Day Review: 2013 Acura ILX Hybrid car test drives green reviews daily car reviews acura
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Seating is comfortable, visibility is good all around, and the car looks expensive from both the inside and outside. Trunk space is limited slightly because of the batteries required to run the Hybrid drive system and you lose the folding rear seats (which are only a single-piece fold, not a 60/40 split in the regular versions).

For those who hate the Civic’s high-mounted digital speedometer, the ILX offers a more traditional gauge cluster with easy-to-read dials, that will appeal to luxury buyers.

I’m a little hung up on price, but I do have to remember this is the hybrid version of the vehicle. The interior certainly looks and feels like that of a high-end vehicle and will appeal to buyers looking to get into a smaller luxury model without giving up on many of the luxury features from larger, more expensive cars.

Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3 | Day 4

Day by Day Review: 2013 Acura ILX Hybrid car test drives green reviews daily car reviews acura
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When you first glance at the spec sheet for the ILX Hybrid you think: “Oh my gawd! This car has only 111 horsepower; it is going to be slow as molasses.” In fact, Paul Williams wrote that the Hybrid was snail-like in his first drive of the ILX. Perhaps when pressed for time and during a press event where the 2.4-litre version is also available, the hybrid does feel snail-like, but in the real world I feel different.

The combination of the “dreaded” CVT, electric assist (which adds a considerable amount of extra torque) and the vehicle’s overall smoothness, makes it feel like much more than 111 horsepower. When you stomp on the accelerator, there certainly is a lot of noise, and the 1.5-litre engine does sound as smooth as your typical Honda engine, but it does move.

Day by Day Review: 2013 Acura ILX Hybrid car test drives green reviews daily car reviews acura

Drive more sanely, though, and the ILX Hybrid feels perfectly adequate. Hit a few corners, and it feels quick again, as the chassis feels light, nimble and fun to toss around — akin to the first generation Acura TSX, really.

Out on the open highway, engine revs stay low enough, and although they will climb on hills, the engine is not noticeable. The suspension is smooth but firm enough to feel sporty and composed.

The electric assist, which, as previously mentioned, aids in acceleration, is barely noticeable otherwise. The engine will only shut off once you drop below 10 km/h coming to a stop but will immediately re-fire if you let off the brake pedal. If you put the car in park, the engine again comes back to life; I’ve mentioned this before regarding other Honda hybrids, and I find it very odd. Most of the time, while stopped, the engine will be also, but do not attempt to creep forward at lights as that will negate some fuel savings as the engine will come back on.

Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3 | Day 4

Day by Day Review: 2013 Acura ILX Hybrid car test drives green reviews daily car reviews acura
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Smooth riding, easy and fun to drive and luxurious throughout — all terms that describe the ILX well. While it tries to be a premium car at a premium price, the market is saturated with a lot of great choice over $30,000 these days, and it makes me wonder if the ILX will draw many buyers.

Fuel consumption was great: I averaged 5.9 L/100 km. The top of the tank was clearly larger than the bottom, as I covered more than 400km on the top half of the tank, only to see it drop the rest of the way after only another 150. What the ILX does have going for it is the fun-to-drive factor, but the hybrid powertrain kills that. The market for compact-classed luxury hybrids is small: the Lexus CT200h is a great comparison to this vehicle and would be my choice — although it is a little pricier when loaded, it has a lower starting price.

*Rating out of 5:

2013 Acura ILX Hybrid
Acceleration Day by Day Review: 2013 Acura ILX Hybrid car test drives green reviews daily car reviews acura
Handling Day by Day Review: 2013 Acura ILX Hybrid car test drives green reviews daily car reviews acura
Comfort Day by Day Review: 2013 Acura ILX Hybrid car test drives green reviews daily car reviews acura
Interior Day by Day Review: 2013 Acura ILX Hybrid car test drives green reviews daily car reviews acura
Audio System Day by Day Review: 2013 Acura ILX Hybrid car test drives green reviews daily car reviews acura
Gas Mileage Day by Day Review: 2013 Acura ILX Hybrid car test drives green reviews daily car reviews acura
Overall Day by Day Review: 2013 Acura ILX Hybrid car test drives green reviews daily car reviews acura

*Rating based on vehicle’s classification
MSRP as tested (including destination): $34,990

For more information on Acura and the ILX Hybrid visit Acura Canada

For even more on this car FOLLOW James on Twitter

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