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Luxury Sedans, Off-Road Specialists, Hybrid Crossovers And More

This week, the Autoblog staff has been driving fullsize sedans, HD trucks, hybrid crossovers and off-road specialists. Here are some thoughts on them.

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The New Civic Is Hot, The Hatchback Returns And Acura Doesn't Suck

It's a great time to be an enthusiast. From high-horsepower Hellcats to the purist BRZ, engaging automobiles are found in nearly every segment of the market. Everyone wants to join the performance parade. Everyone it seemed, but Honda.

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The latest intel suggests that Acura could slot the 2.0-liter turbo four from the new Honda Civic Type R into the ILX to make for a 300-plus-horsepower performance sedan. But it may take a while.

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An Underdog No More

What's an aspiring Japanese automaker to do in 2015's golden age of affordable luxury? If you're Acura, you scramble to release a mid-cycle upgrade to elevate the status of your 2016 ILX sedan.

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Restyled Compact Goes 2.4L-Only, Loses 6-Speed Manual, Adds 8-Speed DCT

Unfortunately, the slick-shifting six-speed manual transmission has been discontinued.

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Honda has already showcased its new Fit-based crossover around the world. We've seen it in Tokyo wearing the Vezel name and we've seen it in Paris in 'prototype' form. We've even seen photos of the US-spec version. We just haven't seen that North American model in the flesh, but that'll all be fixed next month at the Los Angeles Auto Show.

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The Acura ILX just can't seem to catch a break. The Japanese automaker recently decided that the ILX Hybrid would no longer be offered in the US for the 2015 model year. Now, a possibility for fires has also cropped up in the compact luxury sedan. Acura has announced a recall of 14,078 examples from the 2013 and 2014 model years because the headlights could overheat and ignite the car. The company also issued a stop-sale for examples still at dealers until they can be repaired.

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Earlier today, Acura issued a press release detailing its entry-level 2015 ILX range, but something was missing. Honda's luxury arm listed all of the information about the naturally aspirated 2.0-liter and 2.4-liter ILX models, but nothing was said about the Hybrid – a model that, when we reviewed it in 2013, left us utterly cold. But now we know why: Acura has confirmed to Autoblog that the ILX Hybrid will be discontinued for the 2015 model year.

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Somewhere between a Lexus CT 200h and an Acura ILX. But a little quieter and definitely bigger than a breadbox. That's the best comparison we could come up with when trying to get an idea of how big Tesla's more moderately priced sedan will be when it hits the market sometime around 2016.

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Honda and Acura North America have announced a major restructuring of operations in hopes of turning around Acura's flagging business. For 2013, sales for Acura's sedans dropped 10.4 percent, while its CUV sales grew by 21 percent. The newly formed Acura Business Planning Office will attempt to right the ship.

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There's a fun cliche for all-black cars based on an old Chevrolet Impala SS advertisement - "Lord Vader, your car is ready." It's been reproduced seemingly every time an automaker comes out with a menacing, black car. This Acura Street Performance ILX is for a different movie villain, though. Its advertisement should read, "Goldmember, your car is ready."

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This Is Not The Acura You're Looking For

This Is Not The Acura You're Looking For

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Like many others, we were openly disappointed with Honda after driving its lackluster 2012 Civic, a model so ill-conceived that the Japanese automaker was forced to put together a far-reaching facelift after just one year on the market. We found the resulting 2013 Civic to be much improved, putting the sedan back into the thick of the economy-car hunt.

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The short life of the Acura ILX has been vexed by one glaringly odd standard equipment choice, mediocre reviews, getting outsold by its competition as it posted slower-than-projected sales and a pledge by Honda to upgrade its supposedly upgraded offering. Therefore, when Automotive News reports that just 91 of the Civic-based Acura sedans were manufactured last month – after a string of production months in double-digits – it would be easy to press the button for the alarm bells.

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Answering The $30,000 Entry-Level Luxury Question

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Lamborghini Veneno, Geneva Motor Show, Jaguar 3 Series challenger, Cheaper Corvette rumors

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Honda has partnered up with Apple to bring Siri to the Accord, Acura RDX and ILX. Owners who have an iPhone running iOS 6 will be able to ask the software to perform a number of tasks via voice command using the vehicle's on board microphone and speaker systems. What's more, the tech will put the iPhone into an "eyes free" mode, which turns the screen off to help reduce distraction while driving. Honda says it has reworked its Bluetooth and HandsFreeLink systems to accommodate the Siri functiona

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Less than 12 months since Apple announced "Eyes Free" Siri integration, we have another automaker officially jumping on board.

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Going Mainstream Has Its Privileges

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The not-yet-ready-for-primetime 2012 Honda Civic saw it quickly returned to sender for refurbishment, now the Acura ILX is headed in the same direction in its very first year. Automotive News reports that the small, Civic-based sedan from Honda's luxury brand isn't meeting sales expectations, with an annualized rate of 22,000 to 24,000 sales instead of the 30,000 the company is after. More telling is that the ILX "is being outsold by the Buick Verano, Volkswagen CC and Audi A4," and, except for

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Acura has used the occasion of this year's SEMA show to unveil a 2013 ILX that is remarkably different from the road-going car that we are familiar with. A far distance from the rather mildly performing street car, this ILX Endurance Racer is actually prepped to race at the grueling 25 Hours of Thunderhill in Willows, California.

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