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.
Well, 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?