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3/4 Front Glamour 2013 Acura ILX

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Expert's Rating


MPG 23 City / 33 Highway
  • Nimble handling
  • Good outward visibility
  • Impeccable fit and finish
  • Lots of standard features
  • Lackluster acceleration with base 2-liter engine
  • No automatic transmission with optional 2.4-liter engine
, Automotive Editor -
The Acura ILX fills a void that will eventually be left by the departing TSX, offering an upscale alternative to the Honda Civic while maintaining its bulletproof reliability and resale record.


Making its' debut for the 2013 model year, the ILX slots just below the TSX in Acura’s lineup and is the smallest, most fuel-efficient sedan the automaker offers. While based on the Civic, Honda’s luxury division has tastefully molded the five-seater to their own standards in hopes of attracting younger shoppers.

The interior is dressed in high-quality materials and is far from the plastic found inside a Civic. Adding to its’ appeal, a long list of standard features are equipped not only inside but on the exterior as well, with a style defined by well-placed and broad lines that disguise the ILX’s compact size.

Though without strict trim levels, Acura does offer grouped options along with two different powertrains (excluding the hybrid). The base ILX comes with a 2.0L 4-cylinder engine paired to a five-speed automatic transmission. For leadfoot drivers, Acura produces a 2.4L-powered ILX that puts out 250 hp. However, if you cannot drive a stick you will have to learn for the 2.4L ILX, as only one transmission is available, a six-speed manual. The Premium Package, one of two separate option groups, is standard on 2.4L ILXs and available for addition on the base model.

The second option group, named the Technology Package, is not offered on the 2.4L but does give a modern-makeover to 2.0L ILX’s interior cabin. Including an 8-inch VGA display, 10-speaker sound system and hard disk drive media storage, the technology package makes entertainment a cinch. Plus the navigation system with AcuraLink real-time traffic and weather provides drivers a glimpse of the road beyond what is seen through the windshield.

A newcomer to the luxury small car class, the ILX faces stiff competition from automakers with decades of experience. Similar to the Volkswagen GTI, the Audi A3 is a better performer than the Acura and provides high fuel-mileage when equipped with the available diesel engine. Furthermore, the A3’s five-door, hatchback body-style offers more cargo space than the four-door ILX yet less standard features. If you prefer a sedan to a hatchback, Buick produces the inviting Verano with an optional turbocharged engine that, like the 2.4L ILX, has a powerful 250 hp. Only 6.5-inches longer in overall length, Acura’s TSX wears a similarly upscale interior to the ILX while having 5.2-cu. ft. more in passenger volume.

With the lowest base price in Acura’s lineup, the ILX is ideal for entry-level shoppers interested in an upscale small car.

Which Style To Buy?

2013 Acura ILX
Starting price

2013 Acura ILX 2.0L

Recommended for: Shoppers interested in a small four-door that is fuel-efficient yet still adequately powered.

While not thrilling, the 2.0L engine is solid for daily driving and gets 24/35 mpg city/highway. Underpinnings include a four-wheel independent suspension with a MacPherson strut front and multi-link rear. Power is sent to the front wheels, which along with the two in the rear consist of 16-inch aluminum-alloy rims and all-season tires. Another feature involving all four wheels is the anti-lock braking system with Acura’s Electronic Brake Distribution and Brake Assist. Other safety features include dual-stage front airbags, traction control and motion adaptive steering. The list of interior features is impressive for an entry-level sedan and highlighted by a power moonroof and keyless access system with smart entry plus push-start ignition.

2013 Acura ILX
Starting price

2013 Acura ILX 2.4L

Recommended for: Drivers able to operate a manual transmission and seeking a small but sporty sedan.

The speedster of the ILX drivetrains, the 2.4L engine and six-speed manual come with other standard features as well. Adding to the performance-feel is red instrument illumination, special interior stitching and aluminum sport pedals. The Premium Package of options is equipped standard for 2.4L owners. While all seats are trimmed in perforated leather, the front two are heated and the driver’s is easily adjustable using 8-way power. Entertaining occupants is a 360-watt premium sound system with 6 speakers and a subwoofer. Besides the usual CD/MP3/WMA player, Acura adds XM Radio capability as well. Exterior upgrades included in the Premium Package are xenon HID headlights, fog lights and 17-inch wheels.

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