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

The Hybrid will generate only two percent of ILX sales. Its 1.5L engine makes 91 hp (110 combined with electric motor) and 127 lb-ft torque, which is the same as the Civic Hybrid. A lithium-ion battery is used, along with a CVT transmission. With an estimated fuel consumption of 5.0/4.8 L/100 km city/highway, the ILX Hybrid will have a sportier throttle response compared to the Civic Hybrid. Like the 2.4L, the Hybrid is a “Premium” equipped model, but it comes standard with the Tech package.

We drove all three ILX models and found the most obvious attribute to be their quiet and smooth ride. Very little road noise or wind noise intrudes into the cabin, which is spacious (especially longitudinally) and comfortable.

At 409 L, the trunk of the non-hybrid models is large for the compact segment, but the rear seat is not a split folding type; it folds, but the whole seatback is either up or down.

The exterior design is pleasant but unremarkable, looking most appealing from the rear, or rear three-quarter view. The car sits high on its smallish wheels, with too much space between the tire and the fender.

Performance from the 2.0L engine is similar to that of the Honda Civic (which uses a 1.8L engine making 140 hp). For a brand promoting its performance and technology, this engine with its aging five-speed automatic transmission doesn’t impress. The 2.4L engine has more punch, although it generates its power at a very high engine speed. Honda/Acura performance enthusiasts will like this and be familiar with the approach; they’ll enjoy driving this car, too, but could get the same experience from a Honda Civic Si for less money. And not being able to option up to a Tech package may make more sense in that vehicle.

The power of the 2.4L engine (although not necessarily this particular engine) is required for the entry-level model, in my view, where it should be mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. That would be more Acura-like and would better meet expectations for this vehicle.

The Hybrid version is positively snail-like to drive. One wonders why it’s worth offering this vehicle at all, given its minuscule sales projections.

The ILX is a comfortable, luxury-featured compact car that oversells and under-delivers. For a brand that’s all about technology, performance and luxury, the obsolete ELS surround audio, underpowered drivetrain, small wheels, and odd packaging subvert the brand’s aspirations. Acura describes the ILX as alluring, but I just don’t see it. Competitors are using turbocharged, direct-injected engines making well over 200 hp with twin clutch and/or transmissions with six or more gears. The ILX is more like a high-end Honda Civic than an entry Acura, which makes that retired CSX look like excellent value indeed.

The 2013 Acura ILX will go on sale May 25, 2012.

Pricing

ILX 2.0
$27,790
ILX 2.0 Premium
$29,990
ILX 2.0 Tech
$32,290
ILX 2.4 Dynamic
$29,990
ILX Hybrid
$34,990



About Paul Williams

Paul Williams is an Ottawa-based freelance automotive writer and senior writer for Autos. He is a member of the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC).