2015 Acura ILX Review

ILX

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2015 Acura ILX Overview

For its third year in production, Acura’s entry-level compact sedan loses the newborn Hybrid option and offers a new paint color. That might not sound terribly exciting, but read all the ecstatic driver commentary over the last 2 years. Professional reviewers were critical of its paper stats—like boasting a mere 150 ponies in the base 2-liter engine—but drivers found plenty of giddy-up in the pedal of their ILX and frequently got better-than-advertised fuel economy. The only ILX not getting huge acclaim was that ill-positioned Hybrid.

So rather than making a second year of its 111-hp Hybrid, Acura chose to keep the ILX its most value-laden model without compromising the maker’s performance standard. To offer a luxurious part-electric gas miser just a couple miles-per-gallon better than the model’s (ironically) more powerful base engine just didn’t make much business sense, especially with the Honda Civic EV fetching far better fuel economy at a more economical price with similar equipment.

For most drivers, 150 hp and 140 lb-ft/torque with real-world fuel economy ranging closer to 40 mpg than the advertised 24 mpg city/35 highway is better than 111 hp and 127 lb-ft/torque and roughly 2 mpg better. Sure, it’s not badged as a sports car, nor does it bounce around on road imperfections like one, but drivers will take all-gas at 8 seconds to 60 mph over potential double-digits to the same when the fuel numbers are that close in a vehicle designed for extensive use.

If you prefer something more like 7 seconds to 60 mph and a 6-speed manual over the base engine’s 5-speed automatic with paddle shifters, the 2.4 Premium offers a 2.4-liter 4-cylinder pushing out 201 hp and 170 lb-ft of torque for a pretty reasonable 22/31 estimate. Here again, the advertised estimate seems a bit low to real-world drivers, but bear in mind that all ILX powertrains require premium fuel to get that economy and performance.

Highlights of standard equipment include keyless ignition/entry, leather upholstery, an 8-way powered driver seat, heated front seats, active noise cancellation, dual-zone automatic climate control, a 5-inch infotainment display, Bluetooth / Pandora connectivity, SMS texting, and 7-speaker stereo with CD player, integrated USB/iPod interface and satellite radio. Yes, it’s really less than $30,000. Don’t pinch yourself too hard—Acura keeps increasing that MSRP every year, so it won’t be such a steal for much longer.

Stepping up to the 2.0 Premium or 2.4 Premium adds xenon headlamps, foglights, a rear-view camera and an auto-dimming rear-view mirror. The 2.0 Technology adds to the Premium a navigation system, voice commands and a 10-speaker ELS Surround Sound system with digital storage. Note that Technology package is not available with the more powerful engine, and most options are not available individually, but perhaps it’s worth going a little slower to thoroughly enjoy this cozy commuter.

True to Acura’s hard-won reputation, the ILX is a buttery smooth operator with just enough engine and steering feedback to keep you honest. Typical of its class, the rear seat is best reserved for that coworker who always hogs the printer or your least-liked in-law, trunk capacity is barely a hair above 12 cubic feet, and performance purists will criticize its light steering and protective suspension, but the ILX is built to be easy on the eyes and the driver—and that it does, exceptionally well.

Updated

Your prototypical "Tom Girl" Patricia got her start digging into Ford engines before she aged into double digits. Gifted with a mechanical mind, her favorite pass-time in the summer is picking up a fixer-up'r at the local public auction and massaging its every ailment until it's primed for a new lover. From dirt bikes to land yachts, every partner offers something truly special in her love affair with the road - just don't tell her husband.

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