Acura ILX vs. Acura TLX

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Automotive Editor

Justin Cupler has specialized as an automotive writer since 2009, and has seen himself published in multiple websites and online magazines. In addition to contributing to CarsDirect, Justin also works as editor in chief for a large performance car online publication. His specialty lays in the high-performance realm, but has a deep love and understanding for all things automotive. Prior to being an automotive writer, he was an automotive technician and manager for six years, but spent the majority of his younger life tinkering with classic muscle cars.

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, Automotive Editor - December 7, 2016

When shopping in the luxury segment, you’re bound to run into the quandary of opting for the larger, pricier model or loading up the more value-oriented entry-level model for that brand. This is precisely what you can run into when shopping Acura, as both the ILX and TLX are tempting luxury sedans.

Which of these two Japanese luxury cars is the better value, though?

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

What the ILX Gets Right

First, the ILX starts out at a significantly lower price than the TLX. Sure, you’re giving up some roominess and quietness in this entry-level ride, but it is plenty well-equipped with its standard faux-leather heated seats, auto LED headlights, 17-inch wheels, dual-zone climate control, a multi-view backup camera, a six-speaker audio system, and more.

Despite its small size, there is not too much sacrifice in terms of roominess in the ILX, as it gives up just a half-inch of rear-seat legroom, 0.8 inches of rear-seat headroom and 0.9 cubic feet of luggage room.

Under its hood, the ILX has the same 2.4-liter base engine as the entry-level TLX, but it is down 5 horsepower and 2 pound-feet of torque relative to the bigger sedan. This engine pairs with the same eight-speed dual-clutch transmission as the TLX too. Altogether, this powertrain makes the ILX a bit quicker than the base TLX, and it gets an extra mpg in the city.

Finally, the ILX is, surprisingly, the safer of these two cars, earning a Top Safety Pick+ designation from the IIHS.

What the TLX Gets Right

As a more premium model, the TLX has a far higher ceiling regarding price and features, making it the best choice for someone with a larger budget. You also get a quieter and more refined ride from the this larger model, which is a huge deal for many luxury-car buyers.

Powering the higher-trim TLX models is a 3.6-lter V6 that’s good for 280 horsepower and 267 pound-feet of torque. This engine pairs with a smoother nine-speed auto transmission, making for a more comfortable ride. While this engine does give up a good bit in fuel economy, it easily beats the ILX in performance.

In the TLX, you’re also getting a little extra rear-seat shoulder room for growing children and a slightly larger trunk for the added luggage that comes with this family.

ILX Gets Close, But Not Quite There

Yes, the ILX is cheaper and can be just as well-equipped and faster than the base level TLX, but there is a certain something it lacks: comfort. The ILX feels too much like the Civic shares much of its DNA with, killing the luxurious feel buyers expect from this type of car.

Verdict: Acura TLX

On paper, the ILX looks like the winner, but the comfort of the TLX makes it well worth the few extra grand. After all, what’s the point of buying a luxury car if it rides like a mainstream compact rig?

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 seen himself published in multiple websites and online magazines. In addition to contributing to CarsDirect, Justin also works as editor in chief for a large performance car online publication. His specialty lays in the high-performance realm, but has a deep love and understanding for all things automotive. Prior to being an automotive writer, he was an automotive technician and manager for six years, but spent the majority of his younger life tinkering with classic muscle cars.

Follow On: Google+ | Website