Finally, an Interesting Car from Acura: the ILX

April 27th, 2012

For at least ten years now, Acura has been unable to decide what it wants to be. It made cars with beak-like fronts, no style and no mechanical personality. Remember the Vigor? The company never could produce what it claimed to want—a well-made entry-level luxury car with its own drivability and style.

I had a 1990 Legend coupe, a great car and one of the last of the Acuras that wasn’t dull and uninspired. Most recent Acuras are rebadged Hondas with pasted-on luxo features. The RL, which replaced the Legend (sort of), has been a sales disaster, with only 1,096 sold in 2011.

The company is still fumbling, as is its parent, Honda, but there are glimmers of hope. The new ILX, from the reviews I read, is not in any way a bad car and certainly an improvement in terms of getting Acura into a new market segment where it can compete with the Buick Verano. There is a long conversation here about which of these is best.

The Acura is probably the better-engineered car and certainly has a nicer interior. Flaws: Reviewers complain about the no-feel electric steering, the slow hybrid version (three powertrains are available) and—most damning—that it’s just an upgraded, overpriced Civic Si.

2013 Acura ILX 2.4, interiorWell, these kinds of comparisons just go on and on. You could also fault the Si for not being quite up to the Volkswagen GTI.

What I like about Acura’s new ILX is that it gives lux-market entry to young wannabe snobs for prices beginning at $25,900. If you opt for the higher-powered option, you’ll be spending close to $30K—and you can do better than this car for that money. Premium and Technology packages cost $3,300 and $2,200 respectively.

The hybrid version, starting at $28,900, is a slug, though it gives you 38/39 mpg. So the standard 150-hp/140-lb-ft engine is the one to get, and the power is adequate.

Acura has gotten together a well-made car with good, though conventional, looks, nice features, decent performance and a standout interior. It’s a good value, even if it probably won’t revive the old Acura reputation for building true driver’s cars with the luxury touches.

Will the ILX outsell the Buick Verano? Why, or why not?

—jgoods

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  1. November 1st, 2012 at 22:29 | #1

    The ILX will definitely outsell the Buick. I kind of like what Acura is doing here, trying to appeal to younger drivers by offering an attractive and fun car at competitive prices. Getting into a brand new Acrua for under $25k? Now that’s not bad at all.

  2. Randy
    April 28th, 2012 at 17:26 | #2

    Acura shows the of the same problems with sub brands that I mentioned, like Scion. Why? Especially when you cheap out, like Honda, and produce GM-style “cookie cutter” copies. The price is OK, and it shouldn’t be too hard to beat Buick, which is still struggling with it’s image as “old peoples” cars.

  3. panayoti
    April 27th, 2012 at 22:58 | #3

    I don’t see anything interesting here for a gussied up Civic. Hell if its demographic is young ‘uns, they would probably opt for a cheaper Civic. Agree with you about shortcomings. The reviews I read a while back carp about poor visibility, too much body roll, poor visibility, and no headroom. Curious about what you see in this that is “interesting”. Hell, for damn near the price, you could step up to a TSX. I personally believe that Honda has “lost its way” and with the earthquake and tsunamis they are a fish out of water. I can assure you however, that they will be back.

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