NEW FOR 2016:

– New exterior styling
– Revised suspension and steering tuning
– New infotainment system
– Standard AcuraSense radar-based active safety features
– Hybrid, 2.0 and 2.4 powetrains discontinued
– New A-Spec trim level

With a lineage that carries forward from the 1.6 EL of the late ‘90s, Acura’s ILX is arguably one of the entry level luxury segment’s original contenders. But in the three years since the latest generation was launched, Acura has seen stiff competition from Audi, Lexus, Mercedes-Benz, and yes, even Buick. For 2016 the ILX has been given one of the most thorough mid-life makeovers we’ve seen in recent years to help it keep pace with the Jonses.

Although the ILX remains based on the Honda Civic’s platform, much of the car has been re-thought, from its styling (now razor-sharp) to its powertrain (streamlined into one available configuration). Now wearing Acura’s signature Jewel Eye LED headlamps, pointier front-end styling, and neatly tailored tail-end, the ILX now has the look to back up its premium branding. This is especially true for the range-topping A-Spec model with its ninja-star 18-inch alloy wheels.

The interior of the ILX is mostly carried over, although the centre stack has been completely reworked to accommodate Acura’s dual-screen design. The lower screen is touch-operated, while the upper one uses a dash-mounted controller. Impressively, all ILXs – even the sub-$30,000 base model – receive lane-keeping assist, road departure mitigation, forward collision warning, collision mitigation with auto-brake, and radar cruise control as standard.

Though the ILX’s sole powertrain might look like the former mill from the ILX Dynamic, it’s completely new. Borrowed from the bigger TLX, the 2.4-litre four-cylinder has direct injection and i-VTEC, and generates 201 hp and 180 lb-ft of torque. It’s paired to a unique eight-speed dual-clutch that features a torque converter for added smoothness (Mercedes-Benz, take note). Unlike some of its rivals, the ILX is exclusively offered with front-wheel drive.

Unique and beefier new front subframes, tweaked steering, better suspension bushings and larger anti-roll bars further distance the driving experience from the humble Civic, while added sound insulation and active noise cancelation make for a quieter experience down the road.

The ILX is offered in four trims: ILX (base), Premium, Tech, and A-Spec.

The base model features 17-inch aluminum wheels, six-way manually adjustable cloth seats, LED headlamps, body-coloured door handles and power mirrors with expanded view driver’s mirror, cloth upholstered seats, leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, fold-down rear seat, power moonroof, active noise cancellation, auto on-off headlamps, illuminated vanity mirrors, dual-zone climate control, Bluetooth, Siri Eyes-Free, maintenance indicator, multi-angle rear-view camera, remote starter, proximity key with push-button start, tilt and telescoping steering column, six-speaker AM/FM/CD/USB with aux-in jack, lane-keeping assist, road departure mitigation, forward collision warning, collision mitigation with auto-brake, and radar cruise control.

Opting for the Premium model adds an auto-dimming rear-view mirror, eight-inch LED VGA display, eight-way power driver’s seat with memory, four-way power passenger seat, blind-spot monitoring, cross-traffic alert, leather upholstery, heated front-seats, on-demand multi-use display, and a premium seven-speaker sound system with satellite radio.

The Technology Package adds navigation with voice recognition, rain-sensing wipers, AcuraLink connectivity, garage door opener, and a 10-speaker Acura/ELS premium sound system with hard drive and Dolby Pro Logic II.

The top-shelf A-Spec package offers additional sporty visuals including a full body kit, rear spoiler, 18-inch alloy wheels, fog lights, metal pedal covers, and Lux-Suede seat upholstery.

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