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Answering The $30,000 Entry-Level Luxury Question



Twenty years ago, a comparison between an entry-level Buick and Acura would have matched a Skylark against an Integra.

Twenty years ago, a comparison between an entry-level Buick and its Acura equivalent would have matched a Skylark against an Integra. The unfair battle would have resulted in the compact American's defeat in nearly every measurable category, as the Japanese competitor was arguably at the height of its powers.

Yet the automotive industry has flipped, twisted and merged itself through more than just a recession over the past two decades – it's morphed into a whole different ballgame. Pitting a Buick against an Acura makes perfect sense today, as both automakers are peddling new entry-level models designed to scoop up buyers seeking premium features, luxury appointments and fuel efficiency in a reasonably priced compact sedan package.

Today's battle is between the Verano and the ILX. Instead of wringing out the base models and setting ourselves up for a day-long yawnfest, we chose the most powerful and dynamic variants of each, configuring them with six-speed manual transmissions to liven the pace. This unquestionably made our behind-the-wheel excursion more interesting, but we soon realized that our enthusiast-oriented decision would introduce a whole new set of headaches.


The Buick Verano was launched at the 2011 Detroit Auto Show as a new-for-2012 model. Although it shares Delta II platforms with the Chevrolet Cruze and Opel Astra, General Motors has gone the extra mile, giving the more premium Verano its own unique styling inside and out, and it's fitted the four-door sedan with laminated glass, triple door seals and a long list of other sound-deadening upgrades to separate it from its lesser sibling. Buick calls the cabin "library quiet," and its interior features an appointment level on par with its larger LaCrosse sibling.

Both the Buick and Acura are built in the United States.

The Acura ILX was launched at the 2012 Chicago Auto Show as a new-for-2013 model. The four-door sedan shares platforms with the Honda Civic, but the automaker resculpted its panels to change its proportions and imbued it with a more befitting interior complete with upscale switchgear. Signature Acura touches such as the dual arched instrument panel and a red push-button starter to the right of the steering wheel complete the transformation.

Both the Buick and Acura are built in the United States (the Verano in Orion Township, Michigan, and the ILX in Greenburg, Indiana), and each is offered in several trims with a choice of engines. While the base models of each start in the mid-$20,000 range, we chose to compare the range-topping trims, as they are similarly equipped and very closely matched in overall performance.



Our 2013 ILX, a six-speed manual with the Premium package trim, arrived painted in Silver Moon over ebony leather carrying an as-tested price of $30,095. The only addendum to its $29,200 MSRP was the mandatory destination fee of $895. Standard equipment includes full power accessories, an eight-way power-operated driver's seat, dual-zone climate control, Bluetooth and a 350-watt premium audio system. Navigation, conspicuously missing from our ILX, is not offered on this particular model (yet).

Navigation, conspicuously missing from our ILX, is not offered on this particular model.

Under the Acura's hood lies a naturally aspirated 2.4-liter four-cylinder rated at 201 horsepower at 7,000 rpm and 170 pound-feet of torque at 4,400 rpm. The transverse-mounted engine, basically shared with the Honda Civic Si and Acura TSX, sends its power through a close-ratio six-speed manual gearbox to the front wheels and earns an EPA fuel economy rating of 22 mpg city and 31 mpg highway. The suspension is an independent MacPherson strut design up front with a multi-link setup in the rear. There are disc brakes at all corners and its 17-inch alloys are wrapped in 215/45R17 Michelin HX MXM4 all-season grand touring rubber.

Our 2013 Verano, a six-speed manual in Premium trim, was painted in Luxo Blue Metallic over Choccachino (honest) premium leather and carried an as-tested price of $31,695. The base price ($29,105) was bumped up with the addition of a power sunroof ($900), satellite radio with navigation ($795) and a mandatory destination fee ($895). Standard equipment includes full power accessories, six-way power-operated driver's seat, dual-zone automatic climate control, Bluetooth, Bose premium audio and navigation bundled with Buick Intellilink connectivity.

2013 Buick Verano Turbo vs. 2013 Acura ILX

Nestled under the hood of the Buick is a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder rated at 250 horsepower at 5,300 rpm and 260 pound-feet of torque at 2,000 rpm. The transverse-mounted engine, shared with the Buick Regal GS, sends its power through a six-speed manual gearbox to the front wheels to earn an EPA fuel economy rating of 20 mpg city and 31 mpg highway. The suspension is independent with MacPherson struts up front and a torsion beam augmented by a Watts Z-link in the rear. There are disc brakes at all corners and its 18-inch alloy wheels are wrapped in 235/45R18 Continental ContiProContact all-season grand touring rubber.

Both are within an inch of each other in wheelbase, but the Verano is about four inches longer.

Parked side-by-side, the Buick Verano is wider, taller and longer than the Acura, but only marginally. A tape measure reveals that both are within an inch of each other in wheelbase (105.7 inches to 105.1), but the Verano is about four inches longer overall (183.9 inches vs. 179.1). Place each on a scale, and the Buick is the heavier of the pair with a curb weight of 3,300 pounds (compared to the ILX curb weight of 2,978 pounds), That said, both carry about 61 percent of their weight over the front wheels – typical for a front-drive car.

To compare the Verano against the ILX, I teamed up with Translogic contributor Kyle Thibaut and Autoblog photographer extraordinaire Drew Phillips and headed out on a nice day trip that would bring our near-lux sedans from sea level up to Southern California's snow line (about 5,000 feet elevation this time of year) and back down. The route offered plenty of urban driving, wide-open mountain canyon roads and mundane freeway travel. After loading the center consoles with Red Bull, Swedish Fish and beef jerky, we filled each tank with fuel and began our comparison.

2013 Buick Verano Turbo front view2013 Buick Verano Turbo rear view2013 Acura ILX front view2013 Acura ILX rear view

First impressions are critical – emotional appeal is what moves most cars out of the showroom – so after a brief orientation, we parked the two compact luxury sedans side-by-side and took a good look at each.

Between the two, it was the Verano's design that stole all of the attention.

Between the two, it was the Verano's design that stole all of the attention. The sedan has a fresh, upscale and purposeful design that we felt definitely projected a more premium vibe. Phillips: "At first blush, the Buick really stands out to me as an attractive car, in part due to the blue paint and the beautiful brown leather interior. I know Buick has made an effort to build a car for a younger demographic, and in this car, they've succeeded." Yet there was some dissent. Thibaut called out GM's platform sharing immediately: "It's clearly a Chevrolet Cruze... and I'm not sure if Buick's design language does enough to attract younger buyers, especially with those rear chrome eyebrows." We all felt that the Verano's "Angry Bird" rear lights were a bit distracting, and we also found it odd that GM declined to spill the beans on our tester's turbocharged powerplant. "There should be visual differentiators like wheels and fascia, and performance indicators like a lower sport suspension and brakes," said Thibaut. "The only indicator is a little red 'T' badge on the trunklid."

The Acura ILX isn't a bad-looking sedan either, but its bland overall design means it has an even more difficult time removing itself from its Honda roots. "Looks a lot like the Civic," said Thibaut before peering inside. "The styling appears to reflect a 'make it work' attitude and the interior design borrows from Acura's design language, but in a more minimal way," he added. Upon closer inspection, all of us agreed that the fit and finish were below what we expected from a premium brand. Everything from the inexpensive appearing headlight assembly to the unsubstantial sound of the doors closing reminded us more of a Honda.

2013 Buick Verano Turbo headlight2013 Buick Verano Turbo wheel2013 Buick Verano Turbo taillight2013 Acura ILX headlight2013 Acura ILX wheel2013 Acura ILX taillight

The ILX interior wasn't even as nice as the emergency-refresh 2013 Civic.

Buick also took top mentions for interior appointments, build quality and comfort with its warm and inviting cabin. "The interior is at the level of a luxury sedan, just smaller," said Thibaut in a subtle reference to its bigger LaCrosse sibling. We likewise expected premium materials in the ILX, especially as Acura is better established as a premium marque, but the small sedan let us down. Its interior wasn't even as nice as the emergency-refresh 2013 Civic. "I've seen better leather on a Kia," blasted Thibaut. Rumor has it that Acura will be making a few Civic-like upgrades to the ILX in the near future, and it can't come soon enough.

We settled into each of the cabins, turned on a pair of Motorola two-way walkie talkies, and aimed our hoods eastward.

The first part of the drive was an exercise in carving canyons as we forced each sedan to climb nearly a mile in altitude over a 20-mile distance. The two-lane road was free of traffic, so we were able to push the ILX and Verano to our comfort levels. As neither is touted as a sport sedan, our expectations were not particularly high.

2013 Buick Verano Turbo interior2013 Buick Verano Turbo front seats2013 Buick Verano Turbo rear seats2013 Acura ILX interior2013 Acura ILX front seats2013 Acura ILX rear seats

"This frustrating and awkward manual transmission is the reason people don't buy manuals anymore."

Buick's hot little turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine emerged as a workhorse, pulling the Verano strongly up each of the mountains. "Lots of power once the turbo kicks in," said Kyle over the radio, verbally expressing what each of us had been thinking the whole time. But a good engine is nothing without a competent transmission, and that's exactly where the Buick fell on its face. Its sloppy six-speed gearbox soon attracted a storm of complaints: "The manual transmission seems like an afterthought in the Verano Turbo, feeling vague and uncommunicative. In fact, the gearing of the six-speed transmission feels far too high, often leaving the turbo-four out of its powerband," said a frustrated Phillips. When the engine was spun to redline, the fuel flow was abruptly cut resulting in an immediate loss of power. This annoyed all of us, but it particularly chafed Thibaut: "The very aggressive rev limiter is incredibly annoying. This frustrating and awkward manual transmission is the reason people don't buy manuals anymore – why even offer a stick shift if it's going to be this bad?"

The engine in the Acura, an automaker long known for its wonderful naturally aspirated four-cylinder mills, screamed effortlessly all the way to its soft redline with each throw of its short-shift lever. Power was obviously down compared to the Buick, but the shorter gearing and more precise shifter action in the ILX made it the favorite in the mountains. "Great Honda engine note all the way past 7,200 rpm... and the manual transmission is fun – clutch and shifter are robust and offer quick shifts." More test notes: "The ILX sounds like a racecar for the street. While it may not be the most pleasant thing to listen to on the freeway as it hovers above 3,000 rpm, it's an addictive noise when you're engaged in spirited driving."

2013 Buick Verano Turbo engine2013 Acura ILX engine

After the first stop, everyone fought over the keys to the Acura.

After the first stop, halfway up the mountain, everyone fought over the keys to the Acura. It didn't seem to have the power or even the lateral grip of the Buick, but it was much more communicative in terms of steering, chassis and throttle response. "The ILX is undoubtedly the better car to throw around on a canyon road," said Phillips matter-of-factly. "Not that many buyers will purchase it for this type of mission, but the car is certainly capable of an entertaining Sunday drive." The steering on the Buick felt artificial and vague, and its superior cabin isolation was discomforting when pushed hard, as the drive felt disconnected from the pavement. Said Thibaut succinctly: "I can't communicate with the road in the Verano."

A similar lack of engagement was found with the Buick's manual gearbox, as it seemed out of place. The Verano's clutch pedal felt disconnected, and its shifter sloppy. Some of us complained about missing shifts. The Acura, on the other hand, was nearly perfect with a smooth clutch and tactile lever action. "The ILX's shifter is its saving grace, allowing for gear changes that are both accurate and lightning fast with a flick of the wrist," said Drew. Everybody agreed.

2013 Buick Verano Turbo shifter2013 Acura ILX shifter

In terms of real-world acceleration, the ILX is quicker off the line thanks to its slick shifter and lower gearing. The more powerful Verano bogs and chokes off the line, but its more powerful engine doesn't have any problem passing the Acura once it hits its stride. Passing maneuvers were much less stressful in the Buick too, thanks to the instant torque the turbocharger helped deliver. We estimate both will hit 60 mph in about 6.5 seconds, give or take a few a few tenths.

"Going from the Verano Turbo to the ILX, the first thing you notice is the noise."

After dropping down the other side of the mountain, we stopped for more road trip snacks before starting our 100-mile highway portion of the comparison.

Within minutes, the rosy hue encircling the ILX and it sporty demeanor began to fade as the Verano's vault-like chassis, whisper-quiet interior and suite of amenities began to win each of us over. With the Buick's agonizing manual transmission left untouched in sixth gear for the duration, we focused on its the audio system, navigation package and creature comforts. It was almost an unfair comparison. The no-nonsense cabin of the Acura, acceptable when focused on sporty driving, became noisy, with an annoying engine drone when cruising at highway speeds. Thibaut called it, "way too loud, and it seems as if there is a lot of coarse noise coming from the underbelly." Phillips mirrored his comments nearly spot-on. "Going from the Verano Turbo to the ILX, the first thing you notice is the noise. It's a loud car, with everything from tires to wind to the engine contributing."

2013 Buick Verano Turbo vs. 2013 Acura ILX

Both the Acura and Buick were competent freeway companions, but the ILX's engine was spinning about 1,000 rpm faster than the turbocharged engine under the hood of the Verano, and its cabin was much louder and more reflective – the noise just seemed to bounce around. There was no contest about which was the better cross-country cruiser, the Buick owned the highway portion of our comparison.

We longed for a Buick with a slushbox and wished for more amenities in the Acura.

The city schlep was interesting. Our three-man team preferred the Buick's cabin and connectivity, but once again, we didn't like its transmission. The Acura was more engaging, but it fell short on creature comforts and overall refinement. We longed for a Buick with a slushbox and wished for more amenities in the Acura.

We ended our drive at a gas station. Despite following each other nose-to-tail, the trip odometer of the Verano read 196.8 miles while the ILX had only counted 194.7 miles – chalk it up to a one-percent odometer error. We pumped 6.78 gallons of premium unleaded into the Acura and 7.77 gallons of premium unleaded into the Buick, for a trip fuel economy of 28.7 mpg and 25.1 mpg, respectively. The Buick cost us $4.60 more in fuel for the identical trip.

2013 Buick Verano Turbo gauges2013 Buick Verano Turbo infotainment system2013 Buick Verano Turbo start button2013 Acura ILX gauges2013 Acura ILX infotainment system2013 Acura ILX start button

A few minutes later, as Phillips set up his equipment for sunset photography, we mulled over which sedan won the comparison – as we don't hand out participation trophies at Autoblog, one of these two was going home a loser.

Our final vote was tallied, and the decision was unanimous...

Our final vote was tallied, and the decision was unanimous – we all preferred the Buick Verano Turbo over the Acura ILX Premium.

Throughout the entire comparison, the ILX simply couldn't shake its Civic roots. It was constantly referred to as "the Honda" during our radio chatter (we never once called the Verano "the Chevrolet"), and we couldn't stop thinking about the still-outstanding Civic Si each time we slid behind the Acura's wheel. "I want to like the ILX, but the car simply doesn't make sense to me. The interior isn't nice enough to appeal to me as an entry-level luxury sedan, and the performance isn't good enough to justify its lack of quality in the interior. At the end of the day, nothing about the car stands out enough to make me want to choose it," Drew observed. Thibaut questioned why the low-volume ILX Premium model was even offered. "This particular trim does not need to exist. The question is, are a few premium features hiding behind an Acura badge worth 125-percent of the price of the Si? The answer is a million times no."

2013 Buick Verano Turbo vs. 2013 Acura ILX

"The Verano feels like a cheap version of an expensive car, while the ILX feels like an expensive version of a cheap car."

None of us questioned the sticker price of the Buick. "The Verano Turbo is the better entry-level luxury sedan. It's more comfortable, quieter and a more practical powertrain." Premium materials aside, Kyle went out of his way to point out that the Verano had more useable interior space (especially in the rear seats), a larger trunk, bigger brakes, larger wheels and more horsepower. "Clearly, the Verano is the best value by a long shot," he concluded. So much so, that two of us questioned whether it was a better value than the only marginally larger, yet more expensive, Buick Regal.

But interestingly enough, none of us would recommend the Verano Turbo with its manual gearbox – nearly all of our gripes had to do with that lifeless transmission – the no-cost six-speed automatic is the proper entry-level luxury buyer's choice.

With the sun dropped below the horizon and the photography complete, we climbed back into our cars for the short drive back to our original meeting spot. After a few moments of silence, a voice came over the radio airwaves with an encapsulating sentence: "The Verano feels like a cheap version of an expensive car, while the ILX feels like an expensive version of a cheap car." Although our vehicles were hundreds of yards apart and moving down the highway at better than 70 mph, each of us realized that we were nodding our heads in agreement – it would be difficult to summarize our comparison more succinctly.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 443 Comments
      JasonERF
      • 1 Year Ago
      The only thing holding back the Buick is the styling. It's nice but the car (looks like it) sits too high and there's too much chrome to make it youthful. That being said, i agree with the review and the car is good value.
        Jesus!
        • 1 Year Ago
        @JasonERF
        Apparently the styling is just fine. I just read on Detnews.com Buick is the number one conquest brand at the moment. I am 34 and think chrome looks great.
          tiguan2.0
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Jesus!
          Does this mean someone other than AVIS is now buying Buicks?
          normc32
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Jesus!
          Nothing a little Plasti-Dip couldn't cover?
          Alfonso T. Alvarez
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Jesus!
          Buick sells almost nothing to fleet
          NightFlight
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Jesus!
          @ Alfonso T. Alvarez LOL The Lacrosse and the Regal disagree with that statement.
          carguy1701
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Jesus!
          Nightflight: you sure? I haven't seen any Buicks on the Enterprise lot that I pass.
        wooootles
        • 1 Year Ago
        @JasonERF
        It's the new thing for american cars---large ass pointing upwards.
        NPG MBR
        • 1 Year Ago
        @JasonERF
        I agree somewhat. Every time I see pics of the Verano, I think it looks entirealy too tame but I've now seen two of them on the road and had to do a double take to see if it was Regal. The Verano definitely looks better in person but I still have issues with the rear.
      Patrick
      • 1 Year Ago
      How does the Buick with 49 more hp and 90 more ft lbs make it 0.4 seconds slower to 60 than the Acura? I know it weights 322 lbs more but what the hell??
        godwhomismike
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Patrick
        A really bad manual transmission was gearing aimed solely towards MPGs.
        Jerry
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Patrick
        Look at the MT's gear ratios. The are geared for fuel economy, not performance. Not to mention the 1st to 2nd ratio jump is HUGE. The thing falls out of boost and flat on its face unless you make a redline shift. Then when you factor in the weight...
        Tom
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Patrick
        Well in general a 100 pounds is worth a .10 of a second..
        zizixx89
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Patrick
        Thats what i was thinking but Vtec I4's are runners
        normc32
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Patrick
        GM's "no-lift-shift" would solve that. Besides you have the Regal GS with similar power at around $10K more and the Cadillac ATS with similar power for $20K more, or almost double. The Verano Turbo is the perfect starting point for just adding power and can be tuned to 320 horsepower and 340 torque via Trifecta Tuning. Through BNR it is around $300 and uses premium fuel. Run E85 fuel and your looking at 400hp/torque. There is no Honda or Toyota that will run with that!
        over9000
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Patrick
        NA VTEC POWER YO.... but seriously it could be due to the gear ratios.
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Patrick
        [blocked]
      Stamina
      • 1 Year Ago
      You fought over keys to the ILX, yet the verano wins? Am i missing something? I'm a male car enthusiast in my 20's, and I think I speak for most of us when I say the ILX would be better suited to my needs. The verano would be better suited to someone who doesn't want to be connected to the driving experience. It seems like you guys were really gunning for the verano to win.
        Stamina
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Stamina
        Other Comments 1) The Acura interior doesn't look cheap. It looks like every other Acura. What lack of quality? You aren't very specific. 2) Looks are subjective, but you guys cannot state the acura is worse looking as a matter of fact 3) The Acura gets demerits cause it reminds you of the really good SI? You guys make it sound like the verano is worth the price and the Acura isn't when in all fairness neither are worth it. The review was a good read but the problem is the criteria you guys used to choose a winner. The problem with reviewing cards is its just to subjective.
        Michael Harley
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Stamina
        The best part about writing a review for Autoblog... is that nearly everything we write is subjective. Notice that we never (um... rarely) pull out test equipment and calculate numbers around here? Why allow digits to get in the way of a good opinion? Consumers buy cars base on emotion, not objectivity. If we didn't, we would all be driving a Prius. - Mike
          Taint
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Michael Harley
          Mike, autoblog reviews are not taken seriously largely because you guys don't instrument the cars like everyone else. The numbers matter, to buyers, the press and in the real world. Skidpad, acceleration, braking, quarter mile, mpg, etc. would make you guys much more credible and professional. I know AOL has enough money to get you guys some instruments. Digits give us a way of backing opinions, because some of the opinions in this article seem off and are not explained thoroughly.
          zoom_zoom_zoom
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Michael Harley
          So true, Autoblog calculating numbers....Like when Autoblog claimed they averaged 42.7 mpg in the CITY while driving a Chevrolet Cruze.
          carguy1701
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Michael Harley
          zoom: y'all wanna stick to the subject at hand, or do you want to keep pulling pointless thuings out of your ass?
          zoom_zoom_zoom
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Michael Harley
          I would love to see someone, ANYONE, duplicate your 42.7 mpg city average Autoblog claims they achieved in the Cruze. ANYONE.
          Michael Harley
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Michael Harley
          Taint, Pulling acceleration numbers is far from an exact science. Not only are there external influences (temperature, humidity, altitude, road surface, driver, etc...) but manufacturing differences between the vehicles that shave/add tenths of seconds. To date, we've left the instrumented tests to others... and you will note that their numbers are almost never identical. That said, and just to see how it all pans out, I will put some instruments on the next vehicles I compare and publish the numbers explaining that they are only relevant to our tested cars. Let's see if readers notice. We do calculate fuel economy, based on OBC data and manual calculations using the pump. - Mike
          TopGun
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Michael Harley
          The very fact your comment has a negative number beside them (I added a +1!) tells you all you need to know about, this place, and many others unfortunately. It's "echo-chamber 101" - if you agree with what's being said, it's great...if you disagree with what's being said, it's "wrong" and you're a moron. If this test voted the Acura the victor, there's no way there would be so many comments. It's what the echo-chamber has been reinforcing for years. Regardless of which way this test went, IMO, you're doing a great job Michael (on the Podcast too) - leave the measured testing to others...we're supposed to be enthusiasts here..
        Michael Harley
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Stamina
        Yes, you are missing the whole objective of this comparison. This was not a "sport sedan shoot-out," it was a "entry-level luxury car comparison." The ILX is the enthusiast's choice, obviously (but a wise enthusiast would get the Civic Si instead), but the Verano is a better luxury car. And, for the record, no enthusiast should be purchasing an ILX intent on raising their pulse. - Mike
          Taint
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Michael Harley
          " we soon realized that our enthusiast-oriented decision " - You guys chose the the sport models with manual transmissions. I was shocked that the verano won considering how sloppy it is.
          zoom_zoom_zoom
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Michael Harley
          Michael Harley, Sounds to me like you should have compared the Verano to a Toyota or Hyundai if all you are looking for is a cushy-comfy highway cruiser. Why would you put an Acura in a comparison if quite comfort is your goal. The ILX is not marketed towards old people like you.
          carguy1701
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Michael Harley
          zoom: you really can't find a leg to stand on, can you? The Verano is beating the ILX in sales. Just accept it.
          Michael Harley
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Michael Harley
          Maybe there was a better competitor to the Verano (my neighbor shopped a Hyundai Elanta before leasing a standard ILX)? Keep in mind that the ILX 2.4 Premium is most closely matched on price, performance and amenities. - Mike
          normc32
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Michael Harley
          Very well summed up Michael! Acura is trying to push up market with a faux near luxury and Buick Verano Turbo just realigned those goals posts. Acura tried to take their economy car and dress it up with out even the most important issue Hondas face is being noisy. GM stop a no-stopgap measure and just reshuffled the whole class. The result is a quiet car that competes well against cars many levels up.
      RomneyVader2016
      • 1 Year Ago
      I think I'd rather spend a grand more on a Fusion Titanium or a v6 loaded Honda Accord Coupe w/ leather & moonroof. There's also the lower price-point BMW 3-series that will be launching soon, in addition to the CLA, and Audi A3 so this category will soon be very competitive. Both of these car's do not really make a good case for themselves as is... only against each other, & perhaps if you compare them to down-market alternatives.
        zoom_zoom_zoom
        • 1 Year Ago
        @RomneyVader2016
        Yes to the Accord Coupe. The V6 is one smooth fine motor, and it comes with a slick 6-speed manual. Plus, the Accord Coupe is more luxurious than either of these economy car based pretenders.
          RomneyVader2016
          • 1 Year Ago
          @zoom_zoom_zoom
          And it's a looker... unlike these two wannabe's... The whole point of having affordable luxury is either to take the route of the Hyundai Genesis and be a very competitive, poor man's version of a more expensive car, or to be already an established luxury maker, trying to give people who can't afford your other products in your portfolio, a barebones model with a more palpable price-point. I do not understand the existence of these two cars, I think neither Buick and Acura want to do it right the first time around, then this is a waste of time and funds that could be better spent elsewhere. This is on top of the fact that decent products with great ride, handling, and luxury can be had before reaching 30,000. Like a lux'd up Ford Focus ST, a fully loaded Jetta TDI, Fusion, or Accord Coupe.
          Tom
          • 1 Year Ago
          @zoom_zoom_zoom
          Zoom zoom zoom in ur boom boom
        carguy1701
        • 1 Year Ago
        @RomneyVader2016
        >V6 Accord coupe >ricetastic rear bumper >'looker' Yeah, no.
      Brett
      • 1 Year Ago
      I think the ILX is a better looking car. It looks lower and longer, even if it's actually shorter. It seems a lot sleeker. If the midcycle refresh brings a better interior, I'll take the Acura.
        James
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Brett
        I'm with you on the Acura. I could leave the front, but the rear of the Acura is perfect, especially the ever so slight ducktail curve on the trunk lid. Absolutely fantastic curve right there.
          riserburn99andre
          • 1 Year Ago
          @James
          Until you realize that you paid so much more for this car and got a lot less for what you paid for.
        riserburn99andre
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Brett
        The ILX looks way too much like the Civic. The bad part is people will defend it while they have bashed GM for making cars that look too similar and what happens when they make products that differentiated enough from the same platform? People will say the not so good rebadge looks better. Can not win even when they do it right
      EverythingBagel
      • 1 Year Ago
      I can't believe you declared the Buick to be the better looking car! It looks like a shrunken granny mobile with really no sporting edge. I quite like the way the ILX looks.
        Naitik
        • 2 Months Ago
        @EverythingBagel

        I agreee with EverythingBagel! 

        I own an ILX 2.4L 6 speed, 201HP, so consider this a little biased if you'd like, but here's my take because i have rented a Verano for a weekend for work. I bought the ILX, 1 year used, at age 25 with my own money, exactly the demographic both companies are targeting: 


        1. IMHO, The Buick is ugly compared to the ILX, its too bubbly and boring, and hood vents? lame, not sporty. The ILX is still conservative and it has some missing features like a good exhaust, but the well designed wheels and chrome accents make a white or black version really pop, not to mention the aggressive side lines that go to the curved back. 

        2. The interior of the Buick screams GM with tons of buttons and doesn't feel well designed while it does feel luxurious; Acura's interior is very clean, mature, sophisticated with minimal buttons and an excellent steering wheel. only downside is the 2.4L model doesnt come with navigation, but i use my phone anyway so no big deal, it still has a great medium sized screen to show music information. 

        3. Buick is the quietest which i did appreciate for phone calls, but the ILX sounds aggressive which is what you want from a small luxurious sports car. They have similar power, but you can feel it more on the ILX because of its beautiful engine note (though the steering could be tighter). The ILX has a higher red-line (past 7) so you get excellent acceleration through the full rpm range, but yes that means h ighway cruising at 3 rpm which adds to the cabin noise if you care a lot about that.  

        4. I didn't try the stick shift version of the Verano but the ILX is by far the smoothest i have ever used of all the 10 or so manual cars ive tried in my life. It has a really light clutch which is great for high traffic use, and an excellent gearbox for easy shifting. Based on what ive heard, smoothes manual transmission you can find and that is what matters to a driver who cares about his car. 

        5. The sound systems on boths cars are excellent. I will say having owned the ILX, its subwoofer is beautiful and does have an active noise-cancelling system built in so while its not the quietest, it does drone out all noises when you are playing music.  

        6. People of my generation definitely recognize the Acura brand if you're into that. I don't care much for that but if you're looking for something that gives a luxury vibe the Acura badge will do it and plenty of people are impressed by the car when they see it or ride in it. They respect it, they connect it with the Integra. Even older people respect it. No one in my generation would respect a buick unless it tried much harder to impress. 

        Hope this helps if you are actually considering one or the other.

      sgentilejr
      • 1 Year Ago
      Different kinds of people buy different kinds of car and different types of cars. For an old couple in the 50's,60's, 70's the Buick matches their likes and their driving style and they do not want to "feel the road"___while younger more exuberant drivers are more likely to prefer the Honda for the feel of the road. So what is right for a guy in his 20's or 30's is not the same thing that is right for a guy in his 60's.I feel is what you want to the same price you can buy a base Mustang or Camaro and run circles around either of these two cars tested. But if youa 60 year old with a bad back you want the softer ride of the Buick and no feel.
      carguy1701
      • 1 Year Ago
      I'd take a Verano Turbo over an ILX.
      Mazdaspeed6
      • 1 Year Ago
      I personally would take the ILX if a gun was held to my head because it appeals to me. More responsive and comunicative, better handling, faster, better fuel economy, honda reliability. I would take those tradeoffs for the noise and lack of navigation.
        Taint
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Mazdaspeed6
        I agree for all the reasons you stated. I sat in the ILX and its a very attractive cabin, very similar to a co workers Acura TL.
        Mazdaspeed6
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Mazdaspeed6
        *I meant appeals to me MORE. Neither of these cars appeal to me.
      over9000
      • 1 Year Ago
      what's the target market for the Verano anyways? No young professional is going to buy a manual turbocharged compact car with geriatric styling...
        beanrew
        • 1 Year Ago
        @over9000
        I have to agree. Buick made the curves too soft with this, dare to dream buick.
          CJ_313
          • 1 Year Ago
          @beanrew
          Not to mention the name \"Verano\", which has no sporty or luxury pretensions what-so-ever.
          Tom
          • 1 Year Ago
          @beanrew
          But ILX is a very luxurious name. sure if you say so
        normc32
        • 1 Year Ago
        @over9000
        Going "Fast with Class" comes to mind.
      Eric
      • 1 Year Ago
      I love this review...there's way too many people who have drank the Honda Kool-Aid on the new ILX and still hate GM and the Verano. I'm the first to admit that I'd rather drive a Honda over a GM vehicle any day of the week....but I'm also not blind and blissfully unaware of reality. The ILX is half-baked as a product and the Verano needs a different transmission and maybe a new trunk...two very different types of flaws (one's built-in, the other are easily fixed). Personally, I'd skip both of these cars and get a Volkswagen GTI to get a fun car with a nice interior...but I'd wait for the new one that's coming just around the corner.
        thequebecerinfrance
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Eric
        A Jetta GLI (if I remember correctly) would be a better comparison. I hate the fact that the Buick feels disconnected but the Acura is out of its league. Acura needs to step it up, just like Honda does. Too bad Honda used to be for the fun-to-drive customers, now they are beaten by Mazda. The last fun to drive Honda makes (from what I read in a magazine) is the Honda Fit sport. I own one, it's slow, it has a choppy ride and yet it keeps me smiling. This is what Honda was all about.
          kcroc10077
          • 1 Year Ago
          @thequebecerinfrance
          Haven't driven one yet but the new Accord Sport seems like a nice fun to drive car.
          thequebecerinfrance
          • 1 Year Ago
          @thequebecerinfrance
          I thought the GLI also had an upgraded interior compared to the other Jettas.
          Eric
          • 1 Year Ago
          @thequebecerinfrance
          I used GTI because it still has a more upgraded interior to the GLI...but what will REALLY give these two cars a run for their money is the new Audi A3 which should start around the price point of these two cars....
          carguy1701
          • 1 Year Ago
          @thequebecerinfrance
          :thequebecerinfrance: it does, but the GTI has real leather seats, where the GLI has leatherette.
      Gubbins
      • 1 Year Ago
      Road/tire noise has been a Honda problem for years. In this segment they better get a handle on it or cars like the Buick Verano will continue to clean their clock. Good for Buick!
        zoom_zoom_zoom
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Gubbins
        It's an easy fix, add 400 lbs of insulation like the Buick has. But really, the target market for Buick is old people, and they don't want to hear the engine or exhaust. The ILX market, they do want to hear the engine and exhaust.
          Jesus!
          • 1 Year Ago
          @zoom_zoom_zoom
          Nice spin. It's called they cheaped out and Buick built a better car.
          Gubbins
          • 1 Year Ago
          @zoom_zoom_zoom
          Buick's four-inch length advantage (and superior cargo capacity) has a hell of a lot more influence on overall weight than added sound insulation. Honda's road noise problem is attributable to its low rolling resistance tires as well as a dearth of sound deadening. Yes, they do want to reduce weight but the tradeoff is road noise that wears on the occupants over time. Honda's devotion to low-torque, high-RPM engines makes it too buzzy on interstates, a negative attribute.
          carguy1701
          • 1 Year Ago
          @zoom_zoom_zoom
          Most luxury car buyers don't want to hear the engine or exhaust, son.
          DK
          • 1 Year Ago
          @zoom_zoom_zoom
          Yeah especially that 2.0/Auto combo!
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