Elder relative. The 2022 Acura ILX may be sold in dealerships as a new model, but its underpinnings go way back. The ILX shares its platform with the Honda Civic of ten years ago, two generations prior to the Civic currently sells. That makes the ILX a bit of a dinosaur. It’s due to be replaced — Acura hasn’t released official details, but the upcoming Integra is a likely successor to the ILX's place in the lineup.

Acura’s entry-level model is a bit of a ‘tweener when it comes to size. It’s larger than baby sedans like the BMW 2-Series or Mercedes-Benz A-Class, but smaller than a 3-Series or C-Class.

Fortunately, it’s cheaper than all four. Starting well under $30,000, the ILX offers a premium badge for far less than competitors from other luxury marques. The exterior doesn’t quite match the elegance of the Europeans, but a bold grille and an updated exterior mean the ILX isn’t completely outclassed.

Fun? Nearly... The ILX starts out on a strong note with its willing four-cylinder engine. The 2.4-liter powerplant makes a respectable 201 horsepower. It’s paired with an eight-speed dual-clutch transmission, which is the star of the show. It’s smooth and snappy, and every model comes with wheel-mounted paddle shifters.

Unfortunately, the fun ends there. The ride is soft, and the handling is uninspiring. Many of the ILX’s rivals manage to thrill the driver, but the ILX falls short on excitement.

Those limitations stem partially from the ILX's drivetrain configuration. Front-wheel drive is the only option, which hurts handling dynamics and all-weather capability. Although efficiency is decent, the ILX also has no hybrid or electric powertrain.

Safe, not spacious. Safety is a highlight of the ILX. Federal and independent testers gave the sedan top marks in crash testing, and the NHTSA bestowed a five-star overall rating.

Even better, a considerable suite of safety tech comes standard. That includes advanced features like lane-keeping assist and adaptive cruise control, which is unusual in this price range. The BMW 3-Series, which starts above $40,000, doesn’t even come with standard lane-departure warnings.

Passengers may be safe, but they won’t always be comfortable. The front seats offer decent room to stretch, but they’re short on head room compared to competitors. Rear legroom is limited to 34 inches, which is also poor for the class.

Punching up. The ILX's best value proposition is as an alternative to more expensive luxury badges. Its closest price rivals are mini-sedans like the Mercedes-Benz A-Class or Audi A3. The ILX is larger and substantially cheaper than either, and the standard safety features sweeten the deal.

To maximize value, we’d add the Premium Package for an upgraded infotainment system with smartphone compatibility. If you don’t mind the driving dynamics, an ILX Premium is a reasonable way into luxury-sedan ownership.

Unfortunately, the ILX’s value looks much less appealing against its sibling. The current Honda Civic is more spacious, more refined, and cheaper. A top-trim Honda Civic Touring costs about the same as an ILX Premium — but the Civic comes with leather seats, Bose audio, and a power moonroof.

Final thoughts. Amid the crossover craze of recent years, the ILX has not been Acura’s top priority. Although it’s a decent value as a luxury sedan, the ILX’s age is showing. It’s less spacious and less exciting than rivals, and it suffers by comparison to the updated Civic.

There are two silver linings. One is the upcoming Integra, which will likely include Type S and electrified variants. The other is that dealers will be eager to make room for the Integra by offloading the ILX, which makes for even bigger discounts.

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