Acura ILX vs. Acura TLX

By

Automotive Editor

Justin Cupler has specialized as an automotive writer since 2009 and has been published in multiple websites and online magazines. In addition to contributing to CarsDirect, Justin also hosts a web-series car-review show and dabbles in the world of personal-finance writing.

His specialty is in the high-performance realm, but he has a deep love and understanding for all things automotive. Before diving into the world of writing, Justin was an automotive technician and manager for six years and spent the majority of his younger life tinkering with classic muscle cars.

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, Automotive Editor - December 9, 2020

Acura has made strides recently in the luxury crossover space, but it remained behind in the luxury sedan segments. That was until the redesigned 2021 Acura TLX arrived with the styling, performance, and features shoppers crave. It can finally hold its own against the BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and Audi models of the world.

But what about the entry-level Acura ILX? What are the reasons to consider the entry-level Acura over the all-new TLX? Find out below in this comparison.

See a side-by-side comparison of the Acura ILX & the Acura TLX »

What the ILX Gets Right

As the entry-level sibling to the Acura TLX, the Acura ILX is a cheaper option. The ILX starts at $26,975 including destination, which is over $12,000 less than the $39,025 TLX. Buyers can move into the range-topping ILX A-Spec and still save over $8,000 compared to the base TLX.

Despite its lower price, the ILX matches many of the TLX’s standard safety features, including automatic emergency braking, lane keeping assist, and adaptive cruise control.

The ILX lacks in standard tech features relative to the TLX. However, with its lower price, you can get the ILX pretty close to the TLX with options like a 10-speaker audio system, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, navigation, GPS-linked climate control, perforated Milano leather upholstery, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, LED fog lights, blind-spot monitoring, 18-inch wheels, and more.

What the TLX Gets Right

The Acura TLX is an all-new sedan for the 2021 model year, boasting the latest in the brand's styling. This gives it a distinct leg up on the Acura ILX, which still looks like a warmed-over Honda Civic.

The TLX comes standard with a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that delivers 272 horsepower and zippy acceleration. Optionally, buyers can go with the Type S, which adds a 3.0-liter turbo V6 with 355 hp and hits 60 mph in 4.5 to 5 seconds.

The TLX also sheds its ties to the Honda Accord and arrives with a custom chassis with 50% more structural rigidity and an upgraded suspension. This delivers precise and predictable handling the last-generation TLX lacked. Plus, its torque-vectoring all-wheel drive helps it make up for its nose-heavy proportions in the corners.

Inside, the TLX offers more space than the ILX. Its 34.9 inches of second-row leg room is 0.9 inches more than the ILX, and its 13.5-cubic-foot trunk beats the ILX by 1.1. Plus, the TLX’s longer rear seat bottoms deliver better thigh support for longer-legged riders.

Finally, the TLX comes standard with legit luxury tech features that the ILX lacks. These include a 10.2-inch touchscreen, a 7-inch multi-information display, wi-fi hot spot capability, natural-language voice recognition, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, a 10-speaker audio system, satellite radio, 12-way power front seats, and much more.

Save Cash With the Acura ILX

The Acura ILX loses pretty handily to the Acura TLX, but it’s an excellent option for buyers who crave a premium name but can’t pull off the massive monthly payment that comes with a BMW or Mercedes. The ILX offers tremendous value in its class, from the base model through the range-topping trim.

Our Verdict: Acura TLX

The all-new Acura TLX is a huge step forward for the automaker, as it moves away from its Honda underpinnings and into a space where it can legitimately compete with the BMW 3-Series and Mercedes-Benz C-Class. The Acura ILX simply can’t come close to it, as it’s more of a sub-luxury model than a true luxury sedan.

Take a closer look at the Acura ILX »

Take a closer look at the Acura TLX »

Side-by-side comparison of features, pricing, photos and more!

, Automotive Editor

Justin Cupler has specialized as an automotive writer since 2009 and has been published in multiple websites and online magazines. In addition to contributing to CarsDirect, Justin also hosts a web-series car-review show and dabbles in the world of personal-finance writing.

His specialty is in the high-performance realm, but he has a deep love and understanding for all things automotive. Before diving into the world of writing, Justin was an automotive technician and manager for six years and spent the majority of his younger life tinkering with classic muscle cars.

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