2013 Acura ILX Dynamic
2013 Acura ILX Dynamic. Click image to enlarge

Test Drive: 2013 Acura ILX 2.0

Manufacturer’s web site
Acura Canada

Review and photos by Grant Yoxon

Photo Gallery:
2013 Acura ILX

The Acura ILX is a new compact sedan from Honda’s luxury division. It replaces the CSX in the Acura lineup, a Honda Civic–based Acura that was sold only in Canada. Unlike the CSX and the EL before it, the ILX will also be sold in the US. It is essentially the same car continuing with a new moniker.

Acura has always been the most accessible of the luxury brands, but with the ILX, Acura has inched up the price of admission. The base ILX with automatic transmission starts at $27,790, $2,200 more than the outgoing CSX (2011). That is still several thousand dollars below the cost of the TSX in Canada and for the US, it means having a new vehicle that will appeal to less affluent buyers at the top and bottom of the demographic ladder. The CSX was Acura Canada’s biggest selling model and Acura, like other upscale manufacturers, is discovering a market south of our border for luxury compacts.

This week’s tester is the 2013 Acura ILX Dynamic, essentially an ILX Premium equipped with the higher performance engine and manual transmission from the Honda Civic Si. It is the sport ILX and amazingly, it is available at no extra charge over the ILX with Premium package equipped with the base 150-hp 2.0L four-cylinder and five-speed automatic transmission.

2013 Acura ILX Dynamic
2013 Acura ILX Dynamic
2013 Acura ILX Dynamic
2013 Acura ILX Dynamic. Click image to enlarge

For $29,990, $2,200 more than the base $27,790 price, the buyer gets an Acura ILX equipped with 17-inch alloys, fog lights, HID headlights with auto on and off, auto day/night rear-view mirror, rear-view camera with smallish five-inch display screen, premium sound system, eight-way power driver’s seat, leather-trimmed seating, heated front seats, a 201-hp 2.4L four-cylinder engine, and a six-speed manual transmission. Metal racing pedals are also a part of the Dynamic package.
The ILX Dynamic is not available with an automatic transmission and an auto is only available with the smaller engine. I don’t really comprehend this strategy, as the TSX is available with the 2.4L engine and an automatic.

The Acura ILX is very conservatively styled. Although signature style cues, like Acura’s corporate beak are still there, they are just not as in your face as they are on other models. The ILX is even more toned down than the TL after a nose job. Acura may feel this will appeal to America’s more conservative consumer, but I fear the ILX has just become less noticeable.

There is an extra cost $2,700 aero kit, but our press car wasn’t wearing it. Otherwise, there is nothing on the exterior to differentiate the Dynamic from any other ILX trim or to tell anyone at all that this car is anything other than just another compact four door sedan with really nice wheels.

And the prospective buyer, on opening the ILX’s doors, might be confused about the sedan’s role in life too. Amid the monotone black luxury of leather-trimmed this and leather-trimmed that rests a manual transmission shifter. It looks out of place, but then you realize it is out of someplace else. It is the Honda Civic Si shifter with black stitching (the Si has red stitching) and a different plastic doodad in the knob.

At least when you open the door of a Civic Si and sink into its tight, logo-stitched sport seats you know the little sedan is meant to be driven. With the ILX Dynamic one does not sink into the seats and they cannot be described as tight. They are the same seats found in all but the base ILX trim, seats that should have wide appeal, as wide and flat as the butts that will likely sit in them.

Connect with Autos.ca