Vital Stats

Engine:
1.5L I4 + electric motor
Power:
111 HP / 127 LB-FT
Transmission:
CVT
Drivetrain:
Front-Wheel Drive
Curb Weight:
2,987 LBS
Seating:
2+3
Cargo:
9.8 CU-FT
MPG:
39 City / 38 HWY
Base Price:
$28,900
As Tested Price:
$35,295
This Is Not The Acura You're Looking For



Mid-level luxury brands have always had to do a bit of leg work to distance themselves from their more common cousins. Thanks to generation after generation of pervasive badge engineering (much of it from the Big Three), buyers can't be blamed for looking at brands like Buick, Lincoln, Infiniti, Lexus and yes, Acura as tarted up versions of Chevrolet, Ford, Nissan, Toyota and Honda products. For much of its lifetime in the automotive landscape, however, Acura has excelled at putting distance between its offerings and that of its parent company thanks to cars with superior driving dynamics, quieter cabins and clean, attractive aesthetics.

Yes, outliers and dull spots can be found in the company's recent track record, but by and large, Acura products remain situated well above the Honda rabble. When the brand announced it was getting serious about the luxury small car game with the ILX, those of us with a set of the company's keys in our past couldn't help but envision an honest successor to the long-dead Integra. Turns out, that wasn't what Acura had in mind.

As you've likely heard by now, the ILX is the least premium vehicle to wear the Acura badge in some years, but where the standard car falls flat, the ILX Hybrid may have room to excel. Hybrid buyers are typically willing to sacrifice some measure of handling, cabin refinement and performance for fuel economy, and that seemingly lends this model a real shot at giving hybrid hardware from Lexus a run for its money.
2013 Acura ILX Hybrid side view2013 Acura ILX Hybrid front view2013 Acura ILX Hybrid rear view

Acura kept hybrid badging to a minimum with a simple pair of emblems on each fender paired with another on the trunk lid.

From the outside, the ILX Hybrid hides its Civic roots well enough. That's thanks to an attractive take on Acura's corporate fascia. With the shield grille somewhat tamed and an upkick along the lower valance, the vehicle's nose is fairly attractive. Swept-back projector headlamp arrays pull the eye toward the sedan's side, where a character line wanders from just behind the front wheel well to just north of the taillamps. Acura also kept hybrid badging to a minimum with a simple pair of emblems on each fender paired with another on the trunk lid. Visually, they're the only indication this is anything other than a standard ILX.

Well, those and the tiny 16-inch alloy wheels on our tester. We haven't seen rollers this petite on a luxury car since velour was a regular contestant on option sheets. The sizable sidewalls on the 205/55 R16 all-season tires certainly don't do anything to make the car look premium, though we don't have any harsh criticism for the split five-spoke wheel design.

From the rear, it's clear Acura designers have finally begun to move back to basics, choosing clean lines and attractive taillamps over an abundance of angles. The look won't stand out in a crowd as particularly attractive or memorable, but it won't send the contents of your stomach scrambling for air, either. Given creations like the ZDX, we're grateful for small mercies.

2013 Acura ILX Hybrid grille2013 Acura ILX Hybrid headlight2013 Acura ILX Hybrid wheel2013 Acura ILX Hybrid taillight

The cabin is choked with materials that are unbecoming of a vehicle with a price tag over $35k.

But it's indoors where the ILX Hybrid begins to show its common blood lines. The cabin is choked with materials that are unbecoming of a vehicle with a price tag over $35,000. While the steering wheel, shift knob and handbrake lever receive nice leather and the dash is attractive enough, everything onboard simply feels half a step below the rest of the Acura line – it doesn't feel cheap so much as thoroughly Honda. The leather seats are comfortable enough, but seem to be wrapped in the same hide found in a top-trim Accord. That's fine for a budget midsizer, but it's more problematic for a sedan with an Acura badge on the nose.

The good news is that there's plenty of space inside. The ILX Hybrid delivers ample head- and legroom for front-seat passengers, and the rear bench serves up 34.1 inches of rear legroom. That's over an inch more than the comparably priced 2013 Lexus CT 200h hatchback, though the Lexus comes out on top in rear headroom. Still, with 35.9 inches worth of space for lofty hair, the ILX Hybrid isn't exactly cramped. Where the model does suffer, though, is cargo capacity. Engineers have trimmed the trunk capacity from 12.4 cubic feet to 10 cubes to make room for the battery pack, and that number drops even further with the addition of the optional Technology Package. The extra gear cuts trunk space to 9.8 cubic feet. For comparison's sake, that's nearly five cubic feet less than a pint-sized Nissan Versa.

2013 Acura ILX Hybrid interior2013 Acura ILX Hybrid front seats2013 Acura ILX Hybrid gauges2013 Acura ILX Hybrid shifter

Our best seat-of-the-pants guess puts the machine at a little over 10 seconds to 60 mph.

But the ILX Hybrid has larger concerns. While this is the first hybrid ever sold under the Acura banner, Honda has plenty of experience wedging electric motors and batteries into the company's products. The ILX Hybrid makes use of Honda's fifth-generation Integrated Motor Assist hybrid system, combining a 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine with a small electric motor and a continuously variable transmission. The combination is good for 111 horsepower at 5,500 rpm and 127 pound-feet of torque from 1,000 rpm. Unfortunately, this sedan tips the scales at nearly 3,000 pounds. That's a good amount of heft for so little power, and the ILX Hybrid can't help but feel slow on the road, especially when getting away from a complete stop. Our best seat-of-the-pants guess puts the machine at a little over 10 seconds to 60 miles per hour.

The good news is that the drivetrain is as smooth and quiet as we've come to expect from Honda, and the CVT is entirely tolerable. The transmission doesn't feel awkward or out of place here, simply putting the driveline where it makes the most power when the driver needs it. Unfortunately, the ILX Hybrid still suffers in the noise, vibration and harshness department. There's no missing the road noise that makes its way into the cabin at highway speeds, and we noticed plenty of racket from the rear suspension over uneven pavement. Whether this is the ILX showing its Civic roots or simply the Acura notion of an entry-level hybrid, the experience falls far short of our expectations of a car with a price tag of $35,295.

2013 Acura ILX Hybrid engine

Combined driving routinely saw our fuel economy sit dead on 39 mpg, with occasional jumps into the 40-mpg realm.

That's not to say there aren't bright spots in the driving experience. The ILX Hybrid doesn't commit any crimes against driving in the steering, brakes or handling departments. The ride is appropriately soft while retaining a certain level of confidence. While the suspension doesn't exactly goad you into hammering from apex to apex, body roll and understeer are all kept at bay. And then there's the fuel economy. The Environmental Protection Agency estimates the 2013 ILX Hybrid will return 39 miles per gallon city, 38 highway and 38 mpg combined. Refreshingly, those numbers are right in line with what we observed during our week with the hybrid. Combined driving routinely saw our fuel economy sit dead on 39 mpg, with occasional jumps into the 40-mpg realm.

Even so, those numbers still fall behind the CT 200h at 43 mpg city and 40 mpg highway. The base, non-hybrid ILX starts at $26,900, and at that price, we'd be willing to forgive some of the vehicle's quirks. But stepping up to the hybrid will cost you an additional $2,000, and, as was mentioned earlier, our Tech Package-equipped tester rung the bell at $35,295 with an $895 destination fee. That price tag will net you navigation, a 10-speaker surround sound system and leather trimmings, but the similarly sized, more efficient CT 200h can be had for less money, and it doesn't remind us of a Toyota like the ILX reminds us of a Honda.

2013 Acura ILX Hybrid rear 3/4 view

Some buyers will inevitably prefer the sedan styling of the ILX hybrid over its hatchback Lexus competition, and in that respect, Acura has quietly cornered the efficient entry-level luxury compact (sedan) segment. We just wish they'd done a better job of it. The 2013 ILX Hybrid lacks that feeling of something special that buyers expect to find when they move up to a brand like Acura. This model doesn't differentiate itself in handling, performance or refinement in any substantial way from its less-expensive family members on the Honda lot, and that's a shame.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 123 Comments
      Focused Driver
      • 1 Year Ago
      "Sizeable sidewalls"? I live in the land of the frost heave, and wish more cars came with tires like that, especially since so many carmakers are doing away with spare tires.
      Fred
      • 1 Year Ago
      I own a Acura ILX Hybrid, I have owned an Accord and a Civic, The ILX beats then both hands down. It's a great little car for the price, terrific gas mileage and loaded with all the bells and whistles, if your tall and over weight, try a Land Rover, this is not for you.
      shobhit jain
      • 1 Year Ago
      awesome
      Scooter
      • 1 Year Ago
      Lastly, I will admit that Acura's iteration of "entry" is too entry, and not cheap enough to justify the offerings. I think many things could've been done better with the ILX, although its a segment where "entry" cars get to $40,000+ very quickly. Benz's CLA gets quite pricey when optioned to a respectable appearance, and BMW's 1 series starts around $31k. Either of which can jump quickly in price. It "could" be one of the cheapest entry level luxury cars, and yes, Honda could've made the car more potent, along the lines of 200hp base engine instead of 150 or w/e it is. Well at the end of the day it is what it is.
        Rob
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Scooter
        Acura is not a luxury car. it is a premium car so comparing it to MB and BMW is pointless
          telm12345
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Rob
          I don't think its pointless if they cost the same. It just shows how terrible Acura is.
      al4gg10
      • 1 Year Ago
      The ILX. Hard to build on a design the car enthusiasts do not like. The price, the engine power in the base model, lack of Navi in the 2.4L manual 6 speed. Acura has fallen in design & leading technology. Now this Hybrid version of the ILX shows us WHY ACURA ? Why have you given the disdain to the lower market levels of your brand ? I still own a GSR Integra that when it was designed, had state of the art technology built into it. It was the lowest of the Acura line at the time but offered everything that consumers wanted. Highly reliable, decent price for performance plus gas mileage & big fun driving (at least for me) ! Today I find the Acura lineup looking very different from the days when it was on the cutting edge of technology & leading the way ! Like the Honda Accord design but still nothing leading edge. Just wish Acura can find its Mojo again !
      Fred
      • 1 Month Ago

      My high tech ilx hybrid is one of the best cars I have ever owned.  I usually keep a car 3 years and trade it off, looking at whats out there compared to my 2013 I would find it hard to trade it off.

      • 1 Year Ago
      [blocked]
        Spartan
        • 1 Year Ago
        Because hondasacuras.com is an unbiased source and MPG at 55 MPH is the only thing people look at when buying a car.
          mchica
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Spartan
          At least the Accord is built in Ohio, so gotta give props for that over the Mexican made Ford. But ya, tie and win, 2 different things.
          The Wasp
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Spartan
          Also that site says the Accord tied the Fusion Hybrid...so it's not really the winner at 55mph.
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Spartan
          [blocked]
        • 1 Year Ago
        [blocked]
          • 1 Year Ago
          [blocked]
          • 1 Year Ago
          [blocked]
        Gordon Chen
        • 1 Year Ago
        Yeah. I used to be a fan of hybrids, but it seems improved gasoline cars are a way smarter option. I mean combined 39 mpg of this car is impressive, but Cruze Eco M/T drivers observe a combined of 41+ mpg and costs ten thousand less.
      tool0117
      • 1 Year Ago
      Dear uneducated consumer, please be aware that this is a Civic hybrid with an ugly shield grille that will cost you a lot more.
      mikemaj82
      • 1 Year Ago
      $35K!!!!!!!!! LOL
      hayato
      • 1 Year Ago
      Before anybody knocks a Honda based hybrid, I took a trip to Austin, Texas yesterday in my Honda CR-Z, and averaged 54 MPG on the way there and 50 MPG on the way back (traffic thru Austin got heavy). Consider the average Honda states is 39 MPG highway, getting 50 MPG average for a 150 mile trip is pretty amazing. I don't know much about the ILX, but I'm sure restrained driving can yield above average results. Performance wise, I have to say that, while the CR-Z is not a lightening bolt, its performance is more than ample. I think we have become so obsessed with 0-60 times we can't appreciate a good car for what it can do. I've never had any issues with acceleration, and sport mode makes the driving pretty fun. As for the ILX, its knocked for its 0-60 times being a bit high compared to non-hybrids in the luxury segment. Its a great looking car, definitely looks like an Acura. While some Honda's will post less than thrilling 0-60 times, that's hardly an issue. Mid to high level acceleration for these cars is perfectly fine. I've found my Honda CR-Z to be faster and smoother with mid to high range acceleration than my other higher horse power cars. If the ILX is anything like a typical Honda, acceleration is most likely no issue, besides, the ILX Hybrid is not a performance sedan. There are all these "barks" about power and 0-60 with Hybrids. Its all pretty silly when you consider the specs they post and what's actually necessary for daily use. Granted a 6 second car is fun, its hardly necessary, and is more than ample for daily tasks. Any 8-10 second car is perfectly capable of handling all situations on the road. Besides, Honda's engines perform very well at highway speeds, even if the initial "launch" isn't stellar. I've driven and owned higher horse power cars than my CR-Z. With that said, of course my CR-Z can't deliver a drag-worthy launch but it does accelerate very well and smooth. My other cars will require more "push" on the throttle with a shakier kickback while my Honda does the job very smooth with little recoil. I have to say though, to be able to drive on $10 worth of gas for days in my CR-Z, where as in my other gas cars I would have to pump almost twice as much gas doing the same tasks, the hybrid is definitely the winner for me. Heck even on the open highway I do well, I can do 70mph+ and get great numbers, while my non hybrid would quickly drop to under 24 MPG. I think potential buyers should just test the car thoroughly on the highways before basing a purchase on "0-60" times. Point in case, your getting a handsome Acura (seen it in person many times, looks very "Acura" with a sleek luxurious appearance) with hybrid MPG numbers that I'm sure will beat the EPA estimates. Seriously, we give way too much consideration to "0-60" times. Like I said before, 8-10 second cars are perfectly capable to tackle the duties of daily driving, and most Honda's have good pick up at highway speeds regardless.
        tool0117
        • 1 Year Ago
        @hayato
        Speak for yourself, a 10 second 0-60 car is definitely capable of handling the average road situation but it is definitely NOT fun. In fact, it's frustrating as hell. I'm happy you enjoy your CR-Z hybrid and you seem to be getting decent mileage, but it is not a performance car in ANY way outside of looks.
        tool0117
        • 1 Year Ago
        @hayato
        CR-Z is a wannabe performance car and a wannabe hybrid. 50 MPG really isn't that great for the tradeoffs you get with the CR-Z. Buy a diesel... get more performance, more torque, and better gas mileage. As far as your comments on this particular Acura, it may look "sleek and luxurious" to you but I see a Honda Civic with an ugly shield grille.
          Rob Mahrt
          • 1 Year Ago
          @tool0117
          A Golf TDI starts at $25,200 and is listed at 30/42 mpg on vw.com, the CRZ starts at $19,900 and is listed at 36/39. The TDI, at this weeks prices will cost $3.83 for every gallon vs $3.51 for the Honda. So $1,242 in fuel costs per year for the TDI (@37 mpg, 12,000 miles) and $103 less for the hybird (@37 mpg, 12,000 miles) that would be an additional cost of ownership of $5,918 for the VW, plus extra costs of parts etc if you ever have issues (German cars are always more to maintain, I have a Golf and just had a CRZ). So for $6k over 6 years you get a back seat and more performance (7.8 sec 0-60 for TDI vs. 9 seconds for CRZ) for all those times you must get to 60 mph 1 second faster (drive the two cars in normal traffic on a normal day, the average driver will not notice a difference).
          Gizmo
          • 1 Year Ago
          @tool0117
          You should buy a RLX and ZDX and get it over with.
        • 1 Year Ago
        @hayato
        [blocked]
        graphikzking
        • 1 Year Ago
        @hayato
        I know you may have averaged 50-54 mpg in that car, but in the past I've averaged 60mpg in my wife's prius. Lifetime is 49.6mpg over 56,000 miles. (Trip computer usually shows about 1.2 mpg higher than fillup/miles driven hand calculations). So if I went by "the computer" it would be 50.8 lifetime. 10 second cars are perfect on the hwy and merging - it's the drivers that come to a dead stop when they see cars 150 yards back and don't want to "merge" they think yield means STOP and wait for a 1/2 mile opening. I think this Acura is overpriced for what they are giving you. The car doesn't invoke a feeling of luxury one bit. It felt like a slightly nicer civic but nothing like a $30,000 car should feel. 1 Series, A3 and CT200h felt much more premium in every way imaginable.
      chirowolf
      • 1 Year Ago
      Wow and I thought Toyota had cornered the market on beige. anonymity of wheels
      JeepinBen
      • 1 Year Ago
      Entry-Level luxury... I think that both Audi and Mercedes are jumping into this playground with $30,000 models in the A3 and CLA. Once that happens, good luck moving these ILXs.
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