When the Acura ILX arrived for 2013, even we had a hard time not dwelling too much on its civic-minded origins. Fortunately for Acura, the ILX did appeal to buyers; more importantly, to that holy grail of demographics, elusive younger buyers. So, let’s see if that group might find a new ILX even more appealing.
While the 2016 Acura ILX is not all-new, as far as mid-cycle re-freshing goes, this one is quite thorough.
Now assembled in Honda’s Marysville, Ohio plant right alongside the recently introduced mid-size TLX. And, much like it, the compact ILX takes the majority of its design cues from Acura’s flagship RLX, yet also adds enough sporty elements to keep those 20 and 30-somethings interested.
So understandably Acura’s Jewel-Eye headlights are now standard; as well as an aggressive looking front fascia with large air intakes down below.
ILX wheelbase is unchanged at 105.1-inches, as are most exterior dimensions, save for overall length which grows by almost 3-inches. A-SPEC trim adds a rear spoiler, sweet-looking 10-spoke 18-inch machined-finished alloy wheels with 225/40 tires, fog lights, and some tacked-on rocker trim.
Inside, it augments the seats with Luxe-suede coverings, and adds sport pedals to what has become a very roomy and increasingly premium feeling interior. Other highlights include adopting the familiar Honda/Acura dual screen center stack, and making a multitude of additional AcuraWatch radar and camera-based safety systems, like Collision Mitigation and Lane Keeping, available.
Push button ignition and a Multi-View rear camera are standard. The Tech Plus package adds navigation with AcuraLink, as well as a color Multi-Information Display in the sporty looking gauge panel and 415-watt ELS premium audio with 10-speakers.
The front seating area is indeed spacious, and surprisingly luxurious in feel; very reminiscent of the TLX and RLX. The seats are quite comfortable in back as well; but head and knee room are both insufficient for full-size adults. Cargo space is unchanged at 12.3 cubic-ft. and the area is well-finished.
A folding rear seatback is standard, but it’s a single piece, not split; and the only release is located in the trunk. It’s probably the only remaining real reminder of this ride’s economy car roots.
Perhaps because of the shorter attention span of all of those younger buyers, engine options have been simplified; with now just a 2.4-liter I4 available. The direct-injected piece outputs 201–horsepower and 180 lb-ft. of torque. Gone, are the base 2.0-liter I4 and, at least for now, the ILX Hybrid.
Attached to the 2.4 is an 8-speed DCT, but unlike most dual-clutch units; there’s a slushbox-style torque converter to maintain the feel of a traditional automatic, particularly when accelerating from a stop.
Most of our drivers had good things to say about the trans, and the overall surprisingly sporty driving experience as well; though like many 8-speeds, it can at times be in a hurry to find higher gears.
Of course you can learn a lot more about a car on the track, and here we were equally impressed with how nicely the ILX handled our slalom test. Accurate turn-ins without a peep of understeer, and a well-balanced chassis had us scooting through the cones with ease.
The body structure has been stiffened; and the MacPherson strut front, multi-link rear suspension re-tuned.
But, there’s not really enough power to get you into too much trouble; as we found out when doing straight-line runs.
It took us a leisurely - for a sporty sedan - 7.1-seconds to hit 60, and 14.7 to finish out the ¼ at 93 miles-per-hour. There was zero torque steer at launch, and not a lot of grunt either. But the engine does rev quickly, and like most 4’s pulls strongest in the upper rev ranges. Shifts were quick and firm.
Braking from 60 averaged a good 121-feet. Stability was excellent and fade minimal.
Government Fuel Economy Ratings are 25-City, 36-Highway, and 29-Combined. We averaged a very good 31.6 miles-per-gallon on Premium fuel. So, the Energy Impact Score is much better than average with 11.4-barrels of oil ingested yearly, while expelling 5.0-tons of CO2.
Pricing for the ILX starts at a very sensible $28,820. And even the top line A-SPECs starts at just $35,810.
It’s an unfortunate truism that the more successful you become, the harder it is to become more successful. But we think Acura is certainly heading in a great direction now. And injecting the 2016 Acura ILX with both more performance and more prestige will ensure that it not only stays appealing to those hip, young trendsetters, but it will become a whole lot more appealing to a broader spectrum of sport-luxury sedan buyers.
Engine: 2.4 liter
Torque: 180 lb-ft.
0-60 mph: 7.1 seconds
1/4 mile: 14.7 seconds @ 93 mph
EPA: 25 mpg city/ 36 mpg highway
Energy Impact: 11.4 barrels of oil/yr
CO2 Emissions: 5.0 tons/yr