2013 Acura ILX 2.0 Tech
2013 Acura ILX 2.0 Tech. Click image to enlarge

DBDR: 2013 Acura ILX Dynamic
DBDR: 2013 Acura ILX Hybrid
First Drive: 2013 Acura ILX
Quick Spin: 2012 Buick Verano
Test Drive: 2011 Lexus CT 200h

Manufacturer’s web site
Acura Canada

Review and photos by Jonathan Yarkony

Photo Gallery:
2013 Acura ILX

The Acura ILX is a new compact luxury entry, though it is, in fact, a familiar product to us Canadians. For decades now, we’ve been treated to leathered up Civics going by the EL nameplate, and more recently the CSX, which also included an exclusive powertrain, front clip, and headlight treatment over the pedestrian North American Civic.

This all-new ILX features completely distinctive sheetmetal and interior—okay, some bits are familiar Civic switchgear, but the overall impression of the interior is Acura all the way, going with a more conventional gauge and dash layout to the Civic’s dash-top digital speedo. It’s also worth noting that the ILX has banished the flimsiness and horrible cost-cutting plastics evident in the current Civic’s interior.

2013 Acura ILX 2.0 Tech
2013 Acura ILX 2.0 Tech. Click image to enlarge

The Acura ILX’s interior is likely to be the key selling point, along with more conventional but sophisticated exterior styling. Don’t get me wrong, there are some powertrain goodies for the ILX, but nothing to really write home about. The interior, though, impressed me with its combination of quality materials, logical (if busy) layout and high-tech features, and this on a base ILX. Okay, base might be stretching it as I was driving the ILX Tech, an ILX with the base 2.0L engine and five-speed automatic transmission, but the Tech features the highest level of equipment available with the ILX, priced at $32,290 plus a hefty $1,945 freight charge.

That $34K will get you a premium compact stuffed to the sills with tech like HID headlights, automatic headlights, multi-angle rear-view camera, eight-way power-adjustable seats, keyless entry with push-button start, dual zone climate control, USB and auxiliary ports, Bluetooth phone and streaming audio, SiriusXM satellite radio, 365-watt premium audio system with 10 speakers and navigation on an eight-inch LED backlit display. It’s very much a luxury car, feature-wise, though it doesn’t jump in with any safety technologies like lane departure warning or pre-collision braking that are becoming common in luxury cars the next size up (ATS, 3 Series, C-Class), and even from mainstream brands like Ford and Chevrolet.

2013 Acura ILX 2.0 Tech
2013 Acura ILX 2.0 Tech. Click image to enlarge

This or the slightly less ILX Premium (lacking only the navigation, 8-inch display, and 10-speaker premium audio) will likely account for most ILX sales, as the Hybrid and manual-only Dynamic will appeal only to a small niche of customers. Both feature leather interiors, and in a range of tasteful colours (and by range I mean black or cream), but I was impressed by the level of quality in the leather and the plastics—the dashtop was soft to the touch, the knobs were trimmed in grippy rubber, and the primary infotainment buttons featured Acura’s familiar matte, sandpaper-y finish that is a treat for the fingers.

While Acura has reduced the number of buttons in the centre stack, and the aesthetic appeal has improved because of it, some of those buttons have simply been moved onto the steering wheel, which is sprouting buttons from seemingly every available space. While steering wheel controls were once considered intuitive when limited to volume and station, plus maybe cruise control, the 13 buttons and over 16 functions on the ILX Tech’s steering wheel might only become intuitive after a longer test period, but a week was not enough for me to judge that. The gauges behind the wheel may have erred on the side of simplicity, but they were very bright and clear, and the hood over the nav screen also prevented glare and kept the screen visible at all times.

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