Acura's entry-level premium sedan gets its first redesign since its 2013 debut. Although the ILX isn't radically different than before, this year's changes make it a legitimate alternative to compact luxury cars costing thousands more.
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2016 Acura ILX Overview
What's New for 2016
The ILX gets revised styling at the front and rear, an eight-speed automatic transmission and a bundle of available safety technology. The 2-liter base engine and manual transmission have been dropped.
Choosing Your Acura ILX
The first thing you'll notice about the refreshed ILX is its set of "Jewel Eye LED" headlamps, an upscale Acura signature that instantly makes the ILX look like part of the family. The interior benefits from the addition of active noise cancellation, contrasting upholstery stitching and silver-tone trim pieces.
Last year's optional 201-horsepower 2.4-liter four-cylinder is now standard and comes with a new eight-speed automatic transmission. It's the only powertrain available on the revamped ILX.
The ILX starts out with heated front seats with driver power, leatherette upholstery, a rearview camera, dual-zone automatic climate control, keyless access and ignition, a sunroof and a six-speaker sound system. All optional equipment is bundled into a series of progressive option packages:
There are no individual factory options for the ILX beyond the usual dealer-installed accessories.
The Premium package provides you with a properly equipped luxury car at just under the $30,000 mark, something we didn't think was still possible. The value isn't as good above this point -- a fully-loaded ILX with Technology Plus and A-Spec is only $610 cheaper than a four-cylinder TLX with the Technology Package.
2016 Acura ILX Review
Acura's compact sedan gets its first redesign since its 2013 debut. Although the basic recipe is the same, the ILX is now a viable alternative to entry-level luxury sedans from Europe and America costing thousands more.
Pricing and Equipment
The ILX is offered in a single trim level with a series of option packages:
- The ILX starts at $27,900, which includes plenty of equipment for the price, including a rearview camera, a sunroof, keyless ignition and heated front seats (leatherette) with driver power.
- For $29,200, you can get the ILX with AcuraWatch Plus, a bundle of advanced safety features such as collision mitigation with automatic braking, lane keeping assist, adaptive cruise control and front seatbelt pretensioners. You also get an integrated compass and a second display screen.
- The ILX with Premium Package ($29,900) builds on the base ILX with leather upholstery, front sports seat with driver memory and passenger power, an upgraded sound system with integrated smartphone apps, blind spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert.
- For those who want it all, the ILX with Technology Plus Package ($32,900) comes with AcuraWatch Plus and the Premium contents, plus additional upgrades like a 10-speaker ELS surround-sound system, navigation, solar-sensing climate control and an enhanced rearview camera display.
- Available on the Premium and Technology Plus for $1,990, the A-Spec Package adds sport-themed trim throughout, foglamps and low-profile tires on 18-inch wheels.
Last year's base 2-liter four-cylinder is gone, a wise move since it was seriously underpowered for this class. The previously optional 201-horsepower 2.4-liter four-cylinder (revised for more torque) now comes standard, along with a new eight-speed automatic transmission. It's the only powertrain available on the revamped ILX, and perfectly appropriate for a 3,100-pound car with luxury aspirations.
Performance highlights include:
- Handling/steering: Both the suspension and electric power steering unit have been firmed up for improved response to inputs and surface conditions. We like the result -- a decidedly controlled, confident driving experience.
- Transmission: The new eight-speed automatic is a far better match to the engine than any of last year's gearboxes, and paddle shifters come standard.
- Fuel Efficiency: The ILX achieves 36 mpg on the highway, on pair with some economy cars. You can expect 29 mpg in mixed city and highway driving.
- Unlike most competitors, there is no optional turbocharged engine. That means even the cushy Buick Verano can be equipped to outrun the ILX.
- The A-Spec package with its "upgraded" wheels and tires can disturb the ILX's otherwise excellent ride quality. We frankly prefer the ILX without it.
- The newly standard active noise cancellation system does an outstanding job of keeping the cabin luxury-car quiet.
- The rear seat is fully up to the task of accommodating full-size adults, something we can't say of many compact sedans.
- Inexplicably, you can't adjust the height of the passengers seat, a very un-luxurious quirk.
- The standard sunroof cuts down too much on front headroom for our liking.
The Most Pleasant Surprise
You can equip the ILX like a no-excuses luxury car for just under $30,000. That's simply not possible elsewhere in the market.
The Least Pleasant Surprise
While the ILX is attractive, there's no visual hook, either inside or out, to grab your attention. We can see how some observers might actually consider it bland.
The Bottom Line
The ILX comes off as classic Acura: well-built, tech-savvy and a relative bargain. A status symbol it's not, which is probably part of the appeal among those devoted to the brand.
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