2014 ILX New Car Test Drive
Acura ILX is a premium compact sedan introduced as a 2013 model. For 2014, Acura ILX gets more standard features, including upgraded 17-inch alloy wheels, new leather seating surfaces and leatherette door liners. An eight-way power driver's seat is now standard, along with heated front seats, a Multi-Angle rear-view camera and a new subwoofer. Active Noise Cancellation is another new standard feature, promising a quieter cabin. Most of these features were previously part of the optional Premium Package.
The Acura ILX is reasonably roomy by compact car standards. Two average-size adults can ride comfortably in the rear, with only minimal cooperation from front seat occupants. Like almost all sedans in this premium compact class, the ILX is rated for five passengers, but that center rear position is only suitable for someone of diminutive stature, or someone you don't like.
Acura ILX shares its the basic structure and powertrains with the Honda Civic though there are as many hardware distinctions as there are similarities: The styling is different and exterior dimensions are different. Inside, the Acura cabin benefits from premium materials. The Acura gets more powerful engines and a more advanced front suspension. So they are hardly the same.
The ILX rides a shorter wheelbase (105.1 inches versus 106.3), and is longer, lower, and wider than the Civic sedan: The ILX measures 179.1 inches overall, 70.6 inches wide, and 55.6 inches tall. Also, the ILX is distinguished by its more sophisticated double-wishbone front suspension.
There is no shared sheetmetal between the Honda and the Acura. The Acura ILX cabin is furnished with high-grade materials, with no sign of the interior cost-cutting that diminishes the latest Civics, and the ILX benefits from more sound-deadening measures. Acura also claims higher rigidity for the ILX's unibody, which results in a smoother ride and better handling.
The entry-level Acura ILX 2.0L comes with a 150-horsepower 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine and a 5-speed automatic with Sequential SportShift and Grade Logic Control.
Stepping up a notch, the Acura ILX 2.4L is motivated by a 201-horsepower 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine paired with a 6-speed manual gearbox (no automatic option).
There's also a gasoline-electric ILX Hybrid, a first for Acura. In the hybrid, a 111-horsepower 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine is augmented by a 23-horsepower electric motor, sandwiched between the engine and the continuously variable automatic transmission. The basic combination is identical to the one used in the Civic Hybrid, but with an intriguing distinction. In the ILX, computer management is programmed for a little more punch when tramping hard on the throttle. That extra punch, which is all but intangible, comes at the expense of fuel economy. The Civic Hybrid carries EPA ratings of 44/44 mpg City/Highway. The ILX is EPA-estimated at 39/38 mpg. Like the Civic, the ILX Hybrid includes a little dashboard button marked Eco. Punch the button, and the system computer adjusts its mapping to make the hybrid more miserly.
Acura ILX competes with the Audi A3, Buick Verano, and Volkswagen CC.
The 2014 Acura ILX lineup offers a choice of three powertrains. The ILX 2.0L ($26,900) comes with a 150-hp 2.0-liter four-cylinder. The ILX now comes standard with leather seating surfaces and leatherette door liners, as well as automatic climate control and a 160-watt audio system with six speakers and a subwoofer, AM/FM/CD with RDS readout and MP3 and WMA compatibility. Also standard are a USB interface for iPod, auxiliary input jack, Pandora internet radio interface, Bluetooth HandsFreeLink, and SMS text messaging. The Keyless Access System includes smart entry and pushbutton start. Each ILX also has a tilt/telescope steering column, 8-way power driver's seat, heated front seats, rear-view camera, Active Noise Cancellation, power moonroof, and 17-inch aluminum alloy wheels.
The Premium Package ($2,300 extra) upgrades the ILX with a premium 360-watt stereo system that includes satelllite radio, Pandora and Bluetooth connectivity, and SMS text messaging. HID headlights and foglights are available. (All prices are Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Prices, which do not include $895 destination charge and may change at any time without notice.)
The ILX 2.4L ($29,200) comes with a 201-hp 2.4-liter engine and includes the Premium Package with all the other features listed above.
An optional Technology Package ($2,400) upgrades the 2.0-liter ILX with the premium 360-watt audio system including AcuraLink Satellite Communication System, Acura Navigation System with Voice Recognition, AcuraLink Real-Time Traffic with Traffic Rerouting, AcuraLink Real-Time Weather with radar image maps and HomeLink garage door opener. The navigation system makes use of a hard disk drive (HDD) with 60 gigabytes of storage capacity, including 15 gigabytes that can be specifically allocated for music storage.
The ILX Hybrid ($28,900 in 2013) features the gasoline-electric hybrid powertrain with a continuously variable transmission (CVT). The Hybrid comes with cloth upholstery and the standard 2.0L features. A Technology Package ($5,500) for the ILX Hybrid adds all of the Premium Package and Technology Package features listed above except that the Hybrid comes only with 16-inch aluminum wheels that hold 205/55HR16 Continental ContiProContact M+S tires.
Safety features include driver- and front-passenger dual-stage front airbags, front side-impact airbags, active head restraints, three-point seatbelts for five passengers, front seatbelts with automatic tensioning and load limiters, LATCH Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children, Vehicle Stability Assist with Traction Control System, ABS, EBD, Brake Assist, rearview camera, tire-pressure monitor.