First Drive: 2013 Acura ILX reviews luxury cars acura first drives
2013 Acura ILX. Click image to enlarge
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Acura Canada

Review and photos by Paul Williams

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2013 Acura ILX

Phoenix, Arizona – Acura Canada has big plans for 2012 and beyond. Sales are expected to rise by 25 percent, and a completely refreshed model lineup will roll out over the next 36 months. Sedans will be the primary focus, with the all-new ILX representing 20 percent of Acura’s projected annual sales here.

It’s a lot of responsibility for a new car representing a “modern gateway” to the brand, “first in a line of sport sedans focusing on timeless, beautiful design,” as described by Acura. It comes at a time when Acura is re-evaluating its approach to the luxury segment, consolidating its top-tier credentials, and sharpening its image as a purveyor of vehicles that offer performance, technology, luxury, and value.

The ILX is a conceptual evolution of the now-discontinued, Canada-only CSX. That car was clearly a rebadged, premium Honda Civic with an Acura engine that offered excellent value but lacked a distinctive Acura identity.

First Drive: 2013 Acura ILX reviews luxury cars acura first drives
First Drive: 2013 Acura ILX reviews luxury cars acura first drives
2013 Acura ILX. Click image to enlarge

In contrast, the Acura ILX has its own body style, interior and instrument panel. Based on Honda’s “global small car platform,” (as is the Honda Civic) the design is described by Acura as “aero-fused dynamics” representing what the company describes as “individuality and taste that stand out in urban settings.” It uses an aluminum hood and bumper beam to manage weight, and the suspension is reworked (friction reduction, rebound springs, amplitude reactive dampers with dual pistons) compared with the Civic.

The target market is the rather broad “premium” buyer, younger, with a mindset that straddles youthfulness and maturity, individuality and social responsibility, sophistication and fun. As such, the ILX comes in three flavours, enabling the target buyer to self-select into an entry or premium 2.0L model, a sportier 2.4L model, or a 1.5L hybrid.

Specifically, the entry 2.0L model is mated to a five-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters, and makes 150 horsepower at 6,500 rpm and 140 lb-ft of torque at 4,300 rpm. Fuel consumption is estimated at 8.6/5.6 L/100 km, city/highway, and its emissions rating is Tier 2, Bin 5. The entry model arrives with 16-inch alloy wheels, smart entry and a sunroof, but can be optioned to a Premium specification that adds 17-inch wheels, fog lights, HID headlights, rearview camera, heated leather seats (front) and premium audio. A Tech Package is available on Premium models, which adds ELS Surround Audio, Homelink, and Navigation. At an expected 70 percent of projected sales, the 2.0L Premium will be the most popular ILX.

The 2.4L model should represent about 10 percent of ILX sales. It makes 201 hp at 7,000 rpm, and 170 lb-ft torque at 4,400 rpm and returns 9.8/6.8 L/100km, city/highway. It is a “Premium” model but is only available with a six-speed manual transmission, and cannot be optioned with the Tech Package.

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