Acura's new ILX Hybrid model is the company's first-ever attempt at a hybrid-electric vehicle, and it holds its own fairly well. The Hybrid comes a base model, or buyers can upgrade to the Technology Package, which includes amenities like leather upholstery, heated front seats, a rearview camera, automatic climate control, and a seven-speaker ELS surround sound system.
Under the hood, the ILX uses an Integrated Motor Assist (IMA) hybrid powertrain and a continuously variable transmission (CTV) for optimal fuel economy. A 1.5-liter 4-cylinder 90-horsepower gas engine and a 23-horsepower electric motor provide a combined 113 horsepower -- respectable, but certainly not thrilling when compared to other small sedans.
Boosting fuel economy is a standard start-stop feature that shuts the engine down when the car stops, and restarts it when activated by the gas pedal. It's an imperfect feature, but can't be switched off. The ILX's electric mode isn't purely electric: it kicks in when the car accelerates, and restarts the gas engine from a standstill. All of this produces fuel efficiency of 39 mpg city and 38 mpg highway -- no better than a number of competitors, and worse than cars those like the Toyota Prius, which gets 51 mpg city and 48mpg highway.
It might not win awards for miles per gallon, but the ILX Hybrid achieves high marks in other categories. The cabin is quiet, the interior roomy, and Acura's trademark solid build gives it an edge over other sedans with lower reliability or resale values.
The list of standard features is substantial. Included are heated exterior mirrors, a leather steering wheel and shift knob, keyless entry, push-button ignition, speed-sensing wipers, a rearview camera, a sunroof, real-time weather monitoring, and power windows. Infotainment includes Bluetooth connectivity, Homelink, Pandora, a USB port, a 5-inch color display screen, voice recognition and Internet access.