By on April 20, 2015

2016 ACURA ILX A-Spec

For the entry-level Acura’s fourth model year, the ILX is undergoing a complete powertrain transformation. LED headlights and trim-line changes further differentiate the refreshed 2016 ILX, but the less visible changes are the real difference makers.


• U.S. Market Price As Tested: $35,810

• Horsepower: 201 @ 6800 rpm

• Torque: 180 lb-ft @ 3600 rpm

• Observed Fuel Economy: 29 mpg


Gone is the ILX Hybrid, the base ILX’s 2.0L four-cylinder, and Acura’s last remaining manual transmission. The sole powerplant is now a 201-horsepower 2.4L from base versions of the TLX.

The Honda Civic-based ILX therefore isn’t using the exact same engine as the range-topping Civic Si, and it’s certainly not using any of the Civic’s transmissions. Instead, the 2016 ILX is equipped with an 8-speed dual-clutch unit.

Honda figured out a way to make the DCT operate with a torque converter, and as a result, it’s a more refined dual-clutch transmission (especially at lower around-town speed) than you’ll encounter elsewhere in the dual-clutch universe, though without some of the hard-hitting edge of some competitors. There’s also an aggressive Sport mode for twisty roads and people who drive around downtown on Saturday nights, windows down, one gear too low, with revs wailing. To impress the ladies, maybe.

2016 Acura ILX A-Spec rearConsequently, compared with both the former base and up-level engines, the 2016 ILX is a significantly quicker car; the extra ponies enhancing the performance compared with the old 2.0L and the 8-speed transmission producing faster shifts compared with the outgoing 2.4L/manual combo. As you’d expect from Honda, the 2.4L revs sweetly and makes a pleasant noise.

At the very least, the ILX is now sufficiently powerful, but that’s only one element in terms of what could make an appealing entry-level luxury sports sedan. Don’t be fooled by the A-Spec package – aside from 18-inch wheels, it’s cosmetic.

2016 Acura ILX interiorThe ILX doesn’t turn-in with sports car gusto and the steering is generally lacking in feel. There’s noticeable body roll, but it’s not excessive in the real world. The car rides stiffly, especially out back, but not too stiffly. Grip and feel was likely limited during the car’s visit by the Bridgestone Blizzak winter tires on this Honda Canada-supplied press car, but those tires didn’t camouflage the fact that the ILX treads middle ground between performance sedans and conventional, mainstream small sedans.

The ILX also resides in a neutral territory inside, where the interior is a mix of upmarket Acura design and lower-tier Honda materials. The plastic surround on the centre tunnel, for example, is rock hard. The climate control unit would be suitable in a Fit. But the (unintuitive) dual screens, buttons for autonomous Lane Keeping Assist and adaptive cruise control, an effective Cross Traffic monitoring system, and “lux-suede inserts” on the seats would be suitable in an MDX.

2016 Acura ILX Perhaps of greater importance is the spacious back seat and flat rear floor, which aren’t at all the norm in this category. Parents who periodically move child seats between cars won’t be happy with the location of the LATCH anchors, but the overall sensation inside is of sufficient space, not claustrophobia.

In isolation, the ILX is not a disappointing car, particularly when luxed-up and body-kitted like this loaded A-Spec car. But the overly stiff rear suspension and the way the ILX crashes over harsh pavement imperfections reminds me of just how serenely the Buick Verano Turbo makes its way down the road. The ILX’s steering is too numb and its lack of outright athleticism too apparent not to bring to mind the Audi A3’s GTI-like ride and handling balance. And while the additional standard horsepower of the 2016 model finally makes the ILX a competitive car, the 2.4L is surely no torque-monster. These aren’t the VTEC high-revvers of yesteryear – the ILX feels decently quick before it’s revving past 6000 rpm – but with only 180 lb-ft of torque, it’s down by 78 lb-ft compared with Mercedes-Benz’s CLA250, a car which never wants for instant shove. There are ways in which the ILX is better than all these cars, but the Acura’s comparative deficiencies are more obvious than its advantages.

Acura ILX collageWe’ve yet to see the impact of the refreshed ILX’s launch, as this is a 2016 model year vehicle released early in 2015. It’s undoubtedly an improved car, but will near-luxury buyers even know that it’s an updated car? The ILX first arrived three years ago and this refreshed car isn’t obviously new.

U.S. sales peaked at 20,430 units in its first full year, 2013, but the ILX fell 13% in 2014 and first-quarter volume in 2015 is off last year’s pace by 15%. Year-to-date, the ILX sells less than half as often as the Buick Verano, Mercedes-Benz CLA, and Audi A3. This least costly Acura accounts for 25% of the brand’s car volume; 14% of total Acura sales.

2016 Acura ILX interior collageIn order for Honda to move the ILX up the leaderboard and make it a more meaningful product in Acura showrooms, it would need to feel a lot more special than this. “Not special” is a vague verdict, but it can be summed up this way: our test car was a (USD) $35,810 version of a car that starts at $28,820, and it’s abundantly clear that the foundation of that car is a sedan that starts below $20K.

Humble origins aren’t a problem. The failure to adequately mask those origins, however, in a $35K+ car, in an arena controlled by Germans which are afforded special status on the basis of their badges alone, is in fact a problem.

Timothy Cain is the founder of GoodCarBadCar.net, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures.

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111 Comments on “2016 Acura ILX Review: Big Changes Make The ILX Competitive, Not A Segment Leader...”


  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    “U.S. Market Price As Tested: $35,810”

    Whiskey Tango Foxtrot.

    • 0 avatar
      S2k Chris

      That’s with the BS A-Spec package, the way most people will buy these it’s $2-5k less.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        I agree, but I think its on the same level of absurdity as Cadillac’s pricing model. The MY13 model with the Si 2.4/manual started at 29,2 and seems to have come with nearly every feature per cars.com. This MY16 is essentially the “fixed” version which should have went to market in MY13 in the first place, but we jack the msrp 6K? Really, Honda?

        http://www.cars.com/acura/ilx/2013/standard-equipment/

        • 0 avatar
          S2k Chris

          Eh? The “base” premium model (everything but tech pack) is still $29k. The tech pack gets you to $33k.

          • 0 avatar
            JDM_CU4

            For 33k-35k I might as well get a 2016 BMNW 320i instead of a masked civic

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Leasing? Hell yes. In buying, eh not so much.

          • 0 avatar
            jrasero23

            I own a premium and I am convinced this should have been the base model and Acura Watch should have came standard. The car still would have been under $30k, Acura defiantly tries to hard to have their cake and eat it too. Sorry no one wants a base Acura, that’s a Honda man

    • 0 avatar
      Astigmatism

      Srsly. What’s the alleged reason for picking this over the _cheaper_ TLX, exactly?

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Cuz its grown up boy racer cool, yo!

        • 0 avatar
          Astigmatism

          Sorry, you’re right, good point. Allow me to rephrase with that in mind:

          “What’s the alleged reason for picking this over the _cheaper_ GTI Autobahn, exactly?”

          • 0 avatar
            djsyndrome

            It will start every morning?

          • 0 avatar
            Astigmatism

            @dj, ironically this is what’s keeping me from trading in my TL for a GTI.

            But if I were buying a car today from scratch, I have a hard time imagining plunking down $6k more on this than a GTI that looks better, drives better, feels better, sips better and fits better. That’s a lot of money and years of a compromised driving experience for a couple of really annoying mornings waiting for a tow truck four years from now.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Answering your question, I would say a buy-and-hold strategy vs a lease.

            Have you looked at TLX? (esp being a TL owner)

          • 0 avatar
            Zykotec

            If you spec a Jetta similarly to this ILX, how much of a price difference is there really? In my opinion, the design, brand and reliability easily makes the Acura worth more, but I’m not a new car buyer…
            (I really wish they could sell this car as a Euro-Accord over here)

          • 0 avatar
            djsyndrome

            I’m in the same market (looking for something in the mid-to-high 20s that can hustle a bit), and found the ’16 ILX to be pretty refined but ultimately a slug compared to the GTI. I’ve settled on the WRX, but the GTI only lost due to my prior poor experience with VWs.

            Ironically, the Civic SI feels far more alive than the ILX. If you can live without the accoutrements and prefer to row your own, it’s not a bad pick. Never mind the five grand you’ll be saving over a base ILX.

          • 0 avatar
            Astigmatism

            The question I’m currently facing boils down to (i) buy a GTI, because leasing a GTI costs about as much as leasing a 3-series, but risk it imploding years hence, (ii) lease a TLX, because you can get them for $299/month with everything you actually need on a comfortable, reasonably entertaining commuter, and because I could sell my TL for nearly the price of a 36-month lease, or (iii) shrug my shoulders and hold onto my TL for a little while longer.

            (iii) is currently running a very strong race.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            @Astigmatism

            What about CPO TLX next year? One of the benefits of a Honda product is the ability to keep it out of warranty, so why trade something you own outright for rented time in a product you can own outright less depreciation?

          • 0 avatar
            legacygt

            I guess the thinking is that you’re not shopping this against the GTI. You’re shopping it against the A3 in which case you’re saving a few bucks and maybe getting better reliability with the ILX. Still, I’d pick the GTI.

        • 0 avatar
          jrasero23

          I think either one. Leasing Acura is throwing around $3k+ for lease cash on 2016 and buying you can get them way bellow invoice. A course we are one year away from the 2018 ILX that will be much much better

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        LOL, I’m glad you pointed out the TLX is cheaper at this price, because I wouldn’t have thought of that.

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      1st, I’ve pointing this out since forever; Tim Cain gets some seriously insanely priced cars shipped to him. Only a f**king retard would pay anywhere CLOSE to 35k for this Civic in a suit.

      2nd, I’m starting a club that will publish articles/essays on the joys of those of us having paid for 5 to 10 year old, well-maintained, great vehicles, that are of a higher quality & more pure, as well as better styled, than MANY (not all), of the new garbage/scrap cars costing 30k to 60k that we all see in rush hour traffic.

      Debt slaves buying Mercedes Benz CLAs for close to 40k (an empirically worse car than a $21,000 Honda Accord) unite!

      • 0 avatar
        tuffjuff

        Stay classy, DW.

        • 0 avatar
          Mike N.

          He’s like a less well mannered Tavarish from Jalopnik

          • 0 avatar
            S2k Chris

            No, Tavarish says “buy this depreciated pile of garbage.” DW is advocating, and I agree, “buy something of decent quality, pay it off, and keep it for a long time.” There’s a huge difference between a car I bought long ago that now has 100k miles, and going out and buying a car with 100k miles.

          • 0 avatar
            DeadWeight

            The Honda S2k could be the symbol of my new club, as in the type of car that’s hard to impossible to to find as a new vehicle now in terms of quality, reliability, performance, styling, longevity, a truly special feeling, and offering all of this AT AN AFFORDABLE PRICE.

            This is why they hold their value so well.

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        You both know that I’m correct, as do all rational people, even if you’re refusing to admit it.

        During rush hour this am, I saw a sea of ugly-to-invisible/anonymous new vehicles, most insanely overpriced, 1/3 probably leased (that explains much), with unhappy, debt-crushed people behind the wheels of their disposable, character-less appliances, and it made me very sad.

        Dodge Darts with plastic wheel covers.

        Chevy Equinoxes.

        Mercedes CLAs.

        Acura whatever the replacement for the TL is.

        GMC Acadias.

        Pickup trucks with off road packages & nothing in the bed and a sole occupant.

        Jeep Cherokees with every option, looking exactly like Hyundai Santa Fe-Tucson hybrids.

        Audi Q5s.

        BMW 3 Series (the automatic, chubby 4 cylinders).

        Cadillac CTSs (I always pray that they got the Employee Price or the non-employee $17,500 off MSRP).

        Cadillac Escalades.

        I even saw an Acura RLX (maybe Alex Dykes was testing it).

        So sad.

        • 0 avatar
          Boxofrain

          Did you really see an RLX? Did you actually see that many Acura TLX’s? I rarely see any Acuras other than their SUV offerings.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            There is an RLX at the Aisin parking lot next by where I work. It’s usually parked near an LS. I can tell it’s an RLX by the 32 headlights.

            Since DW and I live in the same area. Since about 12 RLXs have been sold in total, I assume it’s the same one.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            @bball

            It’s my evil twin who happens to live in the D (and is plotting its takeover).

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            “happens to live in the D (and is plotting its takeover).”

            What does he want with the post industrial apocalypse that I call home?

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I think he wants to turn it into a real life “The Running Man” style show and sell it to HBO.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            I explored the Packard plant for the first time Saturday. It was the first time my wife has been over there and she convinced me to look around. It would be a perfect location for his pilot.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I’d stay off his sets, you don’t want to become a casualty or as he calls them, extras.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            The whole east side, minus Indian Village, is a Running Man set.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Amber: [after Richards cut Buzzsaw in half with a chain saw] What happened to Buzzsaw?

            Ben Richards: He had to split.

        • 0 avatar

          Saw an RLX in the showroom. Same price as a fully done up 3 or 4 series. Still bland-nice interior, but a 60k Honda sedan ? Probably a fantastic second hand buy after someone else gets spanked by depreciation.

          I don’t have an old car. I have a collection of parts of varying ages flying in formation.

          The biggest difference between the e46 and the Acura is that the quality of metal on the BMW is much higher. Breaking a bolt on the 12 year old BMW is usually easier than the same bolt on the 6 year old Acura-both cars live outside and get salted every winter. This is, of course back when they really meant “the ultimate driving machine”, not the current “Rolex for the Road”.

          Dealer repair pricing is done to send you back for a new one. After doing the valvetrain belt on the truck ($1000) soon after the computer pops lights for “flush trans/flush coolant/change oil”. Most normal folks would then go back to the dealer and wonder why they were laying out another $1000 for repairs. Suddenly the teaser rate lease ‘makes sense’ (not). I replaced all my fluids in the driveway for a small consideration, but again, at dealer rates, a second four figure day in quick succession.

          Likewise, no sane person would have kept my e46-each $200 repair job I do is a $1200 day at the dealer. Again, though, the prices of those jobs are set to approach the cost of a monthly on a new one….it is all marketing, which is why if you fix the car yourself, it costs about what a “normal” car does to fix.

          I always keep in mind the money lost (flushed) to sales tax on the new car is greater than any repair job on the old one.

          I’m totally with DW on this one….I too sit in lines of crappy cars, overpriced near-lux, and folks with dead looks on the face….

        • 0 avatar
          spreadsheet monkey

          Out of interest, what do you drive, DW?

          And what else besides the S2000 would make it into your list of recommended cars? I would definitely read a blog of “articles/essays on the joys of 5 to 10 year old, well-maintained, great vehicles”.

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            I too would like to see more user reviews of their used cars, like the Nissan Quest from a few days ago. Heck I’d love to take a stab it myself, I had talked to DK about writing something up for my Civic (the hated 2012 MY in bland LX sedan flavor), and my much ballyhooed (be me) 1996 4Runner Limited.

        • 0 avatar
          TMA1

          This is why I want a new V8 muscle car. Something to inspire a bit of passion during driving.

        • 0 avatar
          jrasero23

          Well I will agree there a lot of blah cars on the road but I will not agree that all these cars are overpriced.

          A Jeep Cherokee Sport, Acura ILX, older 2014 Cadillac CTS, have some of the best 5 year cost of ownership for it’s classes. Even a Toyota Tacoma TRD still has one of the lowest 5 year cost of ownership.

          Also, why would you want to BUY most of these cars? If you drive under 10k-15k you would be insane to drop $80k on an Escalade even if you make six plus figures.

      • 0 avatar
        jrasero23

        I think you and many people are missing the point about what buying a car is. Yes people spend more money than they should on cars and people unjustly lease cars at times, even though I believe in leasing, but buying a car is more than just a cost evaluation, or a vehicle that gets you to A to B, and acts like an appliance. A car is an experience and speaks volumes on who you are or want to be perceived.

        If someone rolls there cuffs up and you see a Rolex or IWC watch a million cogitations sum up in our brains and most of them are positive besides the few thoughts of, “this guy must be a prick”. In comparison a car is a lot like a watch, it’s utility is the same whether it is a Timex or a Rolex or a Corolla versus a CLA and not to mention both are not appreciating assets. Yet why is it more okay when a person wears a high end watch compared to a high end car? You are right a CLA isn’t that off from an Accord/Civic besides one thing: it’s a Mercedes. Hate this concept all you want but this is why the CLA has been so successful.

        I am not here to tell you how to spend your hard earned money, but people like you who try to rationalize buying something feature for feature or even on the concepts of value because (1) cars have an inflated worth so buying an Accord even is overkill and (2) as douchey as it sounds you are forgetting the power of brand equity.

  • avatar
    RideHeight

    *Premium* little crampy-ass car.

    Doesn’t change my aversion to the breed any more than Khan learning his nemesis was now “ADMIRAL Kirk!”.

  • avatar

    I think this is one of the few examples of a bad car, as few of those as we have today.

    It’s not actually bad, its just bad relative to its competitors.

    • 0 avatar
      APaGttH

      …I think this is one of the few examples of a bad car, as few of those as we have today.

      It’s not actually bad, its just bad relative to its competitors…

      This – especially the last sentence.

      The ILX was the Chrysler 200 (previous generation) of its class before it’s update. It is vastly better now (as the new Chrysler 200 is) but it still is toward the bottom of the pack.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      I like it, I just think HMC needs to come down to reality with price vs expectations.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        And flat floor tells me they have no plans for AWD, which is a mistake. Plenty of $35k little cars have AWD these days.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          That would require more investment than Integra, er “ILX”, is worth to HMC.

          This is aimed at entry level buyers who fail to understand TLX is a better buy, and Civic buyers who have more coin to spare at joint Honda/Acura dealerships.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Civic buyers should stop at SI! Just stahp!

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Should Cruze buyers stop at LTZ or Verano?

            I get why HMC spun this up now, and I’m happy they de-Cimmaroned it a bit. Just work on realistic pricing.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            I’m more approving of a Cruze to Verano jump than I am of this Civic to ILX jump.

            I feel like you’re getting a significantly different car with the Verano. Not so with this. Plus GM has always done the step-brand thing.

          • 0 avatar
            thornmark

            C&D ranks the TLX behind the Audi and BMW but ahead of the Mercedes and fifth placed Verano:

            http://www.caranddriver.com/reviews/2016-acura-ilx-first-drive-review

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            @Corey

            I think with Verano you get the “correct” Cruze from a content and motor standpoint. Prior the refresh, ILX wasn’t really competitive with Civic since it um, was Civic. Now they have at least bumped the powerstrain and changed more of the sheetmetal (essentially what GM had already done with Verano). I see the choices as being similar between GM and HMC, now.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            @28

            I could agree with that, certainly. GM did more at the outset to make sure that car was worth your while over the Cruze. I think the Cruze now is sort of a better compact starting base than the Civic *prepares for HMC haterade dousing.*

            But, how do you feel about the upcoming re-do of the Verano? I think it’s sort of ruined in the looks department. Given the new Verano or this ILX, I might go ILX then.

            They tried to make the Verano more China-friendly, while sticking on all the LaCrosse large details on a much smaller car. My detailed nitpick is already over on that post.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            ILX seems more aesthetically pleasing now than Verano, but I’d want to see both in person.

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            @ Corey

            ” I think the Cruze now is sort of a better compact starting base than the Civic *prepares for HMC haterade dousing.*”

            From a solid riding, minimal-NVH perspective, I agree absolutely. The Cruze is a tank. And for an entry level luxury/premium car, I’d say this is a good thing. The difference in weight between a plain-jane Civic and a Cruze is vast, on the order of 500lb. The Cruze’s downside in my mind is the relatively cramped passenger space, even compared to the Civic, let alone a similar weighing vehicle like, say, an Accord or Altima. Heavy, solid riding GMs are a Lutz legacy as I recall. He wanted to prioritize quiet, solid feeling and solid riding cars, even at the expense of fuel economy and performance.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            That makes me wonder, did he have much to do with the design on this car, since it was a Daewoo for so long before it was the Cruze? I should rent one sometime, I’m pretty interested in it overall vs. most compacts.

            I didn’t realize the weight difference, but the Cruze certainly looks the more substantial weight part. It’s kinda chubby.

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            Corey the difference in heft and highway ride between a Cruze and my Civic is vast. I really wanted a Cruze Eco 6spd when I was car shopping, but the $19k they wanted for a new one just didn’t fit my budget at the time. But I say this totally seriously, they ride like something German: smooth and just muffled thumps from bumps in the road, well controlled. The other big thing that pushed me more towards the Civic was the lack of ‘sitting in a coal bin’ sensation that I got with the Cruze. Black interior, and higher sills and dash made things feel dark and cramped.

          • 0 avatar
            DeadWeight

            The Cruze & Regal are two of the best/ most competitive cars GM makes (or imports) right now.

            I’d rather have a Regal 2.0T with leather than any Cadillac ATS, CTS or XTS, because it’s better finished and has a much more premium ride (chalk it up to genuinely German suspension design/tuning). And the Regal is fwd.

            The Cruze is better than most of its competitors in terms of ride quality, solidity and even ergonomics and interior materials. It’s like a baby Lexus in some ways, or maybe a baby Audi, even.

            The two things about the Cruze that gives me concern is the long term reliability of the 1.4 turbo mill, and the fact that GM half-a$$ed it in traditional fashion, only allowing cruise control (of all things) and disc brakes all around on the 2LT (or maybe the 1LT, at minimum). But at least a 1LT Cruze can be had for 16k plus TTL in thermometer Detroit area, which I’d honestly rather have given the minimum 15,000 dollar price difference than this ILX-Civic.

            Like I said, it boggles the mind that Acura has the balls to sell a redressed Civic for this kind of coin.

            For that matter, screw Acura in its entirety. The only remotely competitive vehicles they make is the RDX, and I’m not even very confident of that.

        • 0 avatar
          Sigivald

          … like an optioned-up 200, which honestly might be better than the ILX.

          Especially with the V6.

  • avatar

    The Acura ILX is actually what I’d look for in an entry-level luxury car from a reliability standpoint, although I’d probably be more-inclined to buy an up-level Golf. In fact, I did get a 2015 Golf SportWagen TDI SEL Friday, and I think that’s at least on par with this car.

    The problem is that the ILX does not have what most people want in a luxury car. The styling is, if we’re being generous, handsome, but it’s not exciting or eye-catching and you wouldn’t know that it was a luxury car from a distance. Then there are things like the cloth/leatherette combo, which no one wants to see on a “luxury” car. Full leatherette would have been better. And there’s that all-important brand cachet, which Acura is severely lacking. And it’s probably a bit cramped, too. Hopefully, Acura can do better with the newer bones of the upcoming, redesigned Civic.

    As for entry-level luxury buyers as a whole, a lot of them are looking for something that makes a statement. And to those buyers (and especially for $35K), I’d say to skip the A3 or CLA-Class and just get a 300 HEMI or Charger R/T, because at least *they* have some substance behind that ostentatious presence, and will actually last long enough to become Buy-Here-Pay-Here candidates.

  • avatar
    VW16v

    Premium gas for non-Premiun car is absurd. $35k is even more absurd for a fancy civic.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      Agreed. I would like to know the reason, I suspect it is emissions worship.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        Doing some numbers, this car really is pretty overpriced for the size and class of the thing.

        In 2003, an Infiniti I35 was $29,100. In 2015 dollars, that’s $37,121 per the BLS inflation calculator. Obviously this ILX has features not available in 2003, but the ILX is a much smaller car with less power, a smaller engine, and less brand prestige (especially in 2015, much less 2003).

      • 0 avatar
        VW16v

        By some sick way Acura thinks that stating their cars can only take Premium Fuel makes them a premium car company. But, on the other hand it looks like the engineering of a simple 4cyl is so poor that they have to use Premium Fuel to have it perform to spec. One of many reasons I have stayed away from the Acura brand.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          Perhaps it requires premium fuel in order to get a N/A 2.4 I4 to 200+ hp?

        • 0 avatar
          tlccar

          First off, premium is recommended, not required. Second, the A-Spec model priced at $35k is the rarest ILX to be built. The Premium model will be the volume leader for the ILX priced at around $30k. And for about $150 bucks you can get a hookup for navigation so it runs through your dashboard display from your phone, saving thousands over a tech/nav model.

          And last but not least, to be honest you all sound like a bunch of little kids with the Acura bashing. Grow up.

          • 0 avatar
            tjh8402

            @ticcar – if premium is recommended, that still means you lose some power going with regular. I wonder if regular drops the engine to Honda Accord spec (2.4L 185 hp). Speaking of which, I don’t see how it’s childish to point out that for even the $30k you recommend spending, you are still getting a Civic and then paying extra to put a premium badge on it, and so there are a lot of other much nicer cars available for the same price, or similar cars for cheaper. Sounds like a rather adult perspective to me.

          • 0 avatar
            tlccar

            I wonder how many of you have actually driven an ILX to back yourselves up? I owned 2 Civics and I can tell you the ILX is a lot more car for not much more money. Why don’t you tell someone looking at a Lexus ES to save money and go buy a Camry XLE? Or hey you Lincoln MKZ buyer, you’re wasting money, go buy a Ford Fusion? Auto makers have been doing this for years. And maybe some people actually like distinctiveness and more luxury. There is a price to be paid. Not everyone has to go along with it. Just stop the Acura bashing because it sounds childish and is not fair to what is a very sound, reliable luxury brand.

          • 0 avatar
            tjh8402

            tlccar – we’re not bashing the car. bashing would be saying this is a bad car, which we’re not and it isn’t. Saying that it’s overpriced or delivers poor value is a reasonable critique of any car. Give it 3 years and I’ll say it makes a compelling argument over a new Civic because why not get the Acura badge and looks for the same price. I would say tell a Lincoln buyer to go look at the equivalent Fords for almost any model (the MKZ/Fusion in particular) because I think the Lincoln brand suffers from the same issues as the ILX and Acura. I would not do the same for a Lexus ES because I think Lexus has done a good enough job differentiating it from the Camry and Avalon in the way it feels and drives to make it a justifiable expense. It doesn’t help that the Camry isn’t as posh as it used to be. if we were talking about a (then new) 90s Camry vs ES, I’d probably say the Lexus would be hard one to explain. Acura, has in the past, been able to command this premium. The two generations of TL starting in 1999 were well differentiated from their Accord brethren. The Integra and RSX were also worth looking at over the Civic.

  • avatar
    John R

    I wonder if the compact “luxury” sedan pool is something that the Japanese can play in. The Lexus CT doesn’t seem to be doing that well either (maybe if wasn’t just a hybrid alone).

    Buick has the advantage of being an American brand in North America and the Germans have the unfortunate advatage of having “dat badge” inspite of everything.

    The A3, CLA and the 2-series could be as much of a dog to drive as a Corolla (I think that argument can be made for the CLA) and there wouldn’t be any perceptible change in the bottom line.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      The mandatory 4-door hatchback of the CT (as well as the hybrid-only) will always relegate it to niche status. I feel this was very poor product planning on the part of Lexus.

      Unless it was in the plans to just have -something- to say the space is covered, without making it very desirable, so people buy something more expensive.

    • 0 avatar
      redav

      The CT200 is tiny–way too tiny to be a viable luxury car. It also is in no way sporty, exiting, or even interesting.

    • 0 avatar
      VW16v

      The CT is claustrophobic in all areas of the car. Fronts seats and back seats. Very cramped car.

  • avatar
    sproc

    I drove a GTI, A3 1.8T and a A3 2.0T Quattro back-to-back-to-back this weekend. While nice, neither A3 was anywhere as sharp as the GTI. Very disappointed to hear the handling is so much more numb in the ILX. Without an element of fun in the handling, much of the appeal of a small premium car goes right out the window.

    • 0 avatar
      hreardon

      Sproc,

      Exactly my take. I have lots of seat time in the A3 2.0T and the GTI and while the A3 is an outstanding vehicle, the GTI is the car you *want* to buy. Drive them back to back and take the whole sedan vs. hatchback difference out of the equation. You’ll choose the GTI every damned time.

      • 0 avatar
        sproc

        Great to hear! As a 13 year RSX Type S owner, I had high hopes that the ILX refresh might be a contender for replacing it. But everything about the GTI felt so right that it’s now at the top of my list, regardless of cost. Nicely equipped under $30k and it punches way above its weight.

  • avatar
    slow kills

    I saw the second one of these ever in the wild yesterday. I figured it was ~$25k. I still don’t know what the raison d’etre for it is.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    “‘Not special’ is a vague verdict”

    Yep. But accurate. Here’s what it would need to feel more special:

    – More upscale styling. The rendering of the new Civic sedan in another post looks more upscale than this. Part of it is the greenhouse and part of it is cheap-looking details.

    – BETTER INTERIOR MATERIALS. Cars based on econobox platforms have to overcompensate in this respect, because they need to avoid reminding of their roots. No one automatically thinks of a Civic when they touch the crap materials in a CLA250, even though the CLA250 is worse than this ILX. There shouldn’t be a single piece of hard plastic anywhere a driver can reach from the driver’s seat.

    – Make one model that will get good press. That could be a stickshift version, it could be a handling package with real chops, or it could be a model with extra power.

  • avatar
    Mike N.

    A loaded GTI Perf. Pack Autobahn (6MT, adaptive dampers, xenons, and driver assistance package), a 228i M Sport (metallic paint, 6MT), or a 320i (metallic paint, 6MT and sport package) sticker for $34,850, $36,600, and $35,850 respectively (incl. dest. charges). Any of those 3 would be a better choice for a sporty nice car in that price bracket.

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      A mid-spec manual trans VW GTI at 24k-25k real world pricing is twice the vehicle as the ILX in every way, at 4k to 6k less.

      Even a well equipped Golf (2015 version) is preferable, and it’s closer to 8k-9k cheaper.

      I say this as not the biggest fan of VW, too.

  • avatar
    blppt

    I honestly dont understand the point of bothering with a DCT if you are going to attach a torque converter to it. Its like the current trend of putting stepped “pseudo-gears” in a CVT.

    Now, granted, from what I’ve read this TC locks up almost immediately after launch, but it just seems like an awful lot of complexity for very little gain.

    • 0 avatar
      Truckducken

      I agree with you. However, since (as with CVTs) the biggest gripe about DCTs seems to be that ‘they feel different’, Hondacura is taking away the average buyer’s most likely powertrain objection. Too bad there’s not a delete option for those of us who understand how stuff works.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      The torque converter is only engaged on launch in first gear, to smooth out the rough-ish launches that are typical of DCTs. The transmission is directly connected the rest of the time.

  • avatar
    kvndoom

    Love the wheels.

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    I like this thing and think it has a lot of potential. If it had a more practical shape and a turbocharger I think people could look past its lack of brand cachet and all that horsecrap. Unfortunately someone else makes the vehicle I’m thinking of… Volkswagen. Once wifey’s Rabbit hits 150K we the first stop will be VW for that new Golf Sportwagen. I will gladly trade some “premiumness” for the added room and boost.

  • avatar
    Fred

    I’m a fan of Audi and the A3, but I’m not sure I’d buy a low spec A3 for a more loaded ILX. Especially if all I want is a nice upmarket compact car.

  • avatar
    Boxofrain

    Price wise, here in Canada, the ILX base model is $29,450. The GTI is only cheaper with respect to the 2 door base, which is $27,995, and includes a manual transmission. The 5 door GTI starts at $32,895. I’m not sure what trim level represents the best value in the ILX. The base or the second tier Premium trim that comes in at $31,990 would be my guess. You get the same drive train regardless of trims.

    The Civic Si is also going to get compared. The Si is very similar to the base ILX in features and only costs $26,850. Also, right now Honda is offering .99% financing for a 2015 Civic Si, while a 2016 ILX is going to run you 3.9%. That’s about $3000 or more in the difference over 60 months just in interest. Freight and pdi is $1495 on a Civic Si and $1995 on the ILX, so you can see how the Acura is going to cost someone a bunch more if they finance, which many do. There is no way I could justify the price difference, which in rough estimates has to be around $7000 between an ILX and a Civic Si. Also, no heated seats in the base ILX. Here in Canada that’s not good, when they are becoming standard on many cheaper vehicles, including many in Honda’s own line up.

    The Accord Sport is still out there also at about $26,000. Maybe not the same segment, but I’d consider it against an ILX.

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      Canadians get raped.

      Go on cars.com and do a wide area search for a mid-spec, manual trans 2015 GTI. They are plentiful at no-haggle dealers like Fitzmall for around 25k plus TTL (and available after haggling at other dealers for the same price).

      Hell, one can get an AWD torque monster, loaded Golf R for 34k in the U.S.

  • avatar
    tjh8402

    Aside from the premium badge, I don’t see what this car has going for it. Since small size no longer = sporting performance or fun to drive factor and with the manual gone, I see no reason to choose this car over the (sporty fun to drive good handling stylish more powerful) Ford Fusion Titanium, or even it’s excellent corporate cousin, a V-6 Accord.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      I think the toughest competitor is its own big brother. The TLX 2.4 is heavier and slower. It’s also worlds more refined, and has the same premium badge (which is why a Ford or a Honda won’t be on these buyers’ radar). And if you skip nav it’s priced similarly to a loaded ILX.

  • avatar

    It’s a nice car and I heard many good things about the new drivetrain, but the headroom is horribly small. I can’t imagine why. Honda Fit has a better headroom than ILX.

  • avatar
    wmba

    One of these decades, Honda will work out how to design a good rear suspension. For years and years, I’ve watched Hondas bounce over the expansion joints on our local suspension bridge. The rear end just boinks away and the rear of the car bounces up and down with it.

    Perhaps having more than 4 or 5 inches of travel would be a start. Being a Civic underneath, this car is trapped in a time warp of not particularly wonderful.

    The TLX shows Honda can certainly improve an Accord and remove that car’s hobbyhorse ride. So there’s some hope. But a Mazda3 to me drives better, if slower, than this new ILX. It’s really an underachiever especially compared to VW GTI and Audi A3 as other commenters have noted.

  • avatar
    Mandalorian

    Wow, this car is made in a year that hasn’t even happened yet and the seats look utterly disgusting already. Look at the driver’s seat, major stains.

  • avatar
    ravenchris

    Thanks for the report.
    You help me avoid the bottom tier.

  • avatar
    GeneralMalaise

    Big bucks for a Honda that continues the strange obsession with MechaGojira.

  • avatar
    TMA1

    I appreciate the fact that the center console isn’t 15 inches across. That must be why it feels pretty spacious in the driver’s seat.

    • 0 avatar
      gtemnykh

      This is worth mentioning. Resisting the current trend towards obnoxiously large (both wide and tall) center consoles, Honda is sticking with unobtrusive and minimal designs here, maximizing both real and perceived cabin space. The dashes too, are significantly lower and farther from the driver on Hondas than most other vehicles.

  • avatar
    gtemnykh

    My friend was just shopping this very sort of “sporty nice commuter” segment of the market. His requirements were a manual transmission, good dynamics, and good fuel economy. He was coming out of a 2011 WRX that sucked down a bit too much premium and was wound out on the highway, lacking the STi’s 6th gear overdrive. Not to mention future reliability looked a bit suspect, he had already had a few issues with it and had bought an extended warranty.

    He ended up with an Accord Sport 6spd, $21,200 plus TTL. I’ll be damned if those aren’t the best bang for the buck out there right now for a practical yet fun daily driver. Now, certainly there’s a few cheap bits and you’re not getting European quality paint for that price as well as the usual warping Honda rotors (silly place to try to save weight IMO), but you are probably buying a car that you can drive worry free for 10 years (and have some fun while doing it), then turn around and sell it for a very decent sum at the end of it all.

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      TOTALLY AGREED.

      And some higher quality Centric rotors + Akebono PROact pads for $160 (on sale) to $200 for all 4 wheels solves the brake issue (assuming someone’s hooning an Accord daily in such a way that it’d bring the Acura cIvicLX’s deficiencies to light).

      • 0 avatar
        gtemnykh

        My friend is also fortunate in that he sold his WRX for a mint. Non-thrashed, stock WRXs in good shape are in very high demand. The WRX’s sale paid for the Accord OTD almost exactly.

  • avatar
    Jacob

    A glorified civic. Dunno why anyone would buy this or TLX if offered a comparison side-by-side with a Honda Accord EX-L, or EX-L V6 touring.

  • avatar
    jrasero23

    Looked at an ILX in 2012 when it was first released and I was shocked how it was literally just a Civic, literally the leather felt the same, noise reduction, the same, ride the same, 1st year didn’t come with leather or powered seats standard, and even the driving experience the same, but you paid thousands of dollars more and it required premium fuel. You might have guessed I passed.

    The 2nd gen is much improved and looks a whole lot better and really this is what the 1st gen should have been. Now we can go on and on how a top of the line A-SPEC Technology Plus goes for $35,810 and you could get “x” car for that amount and that is true but that isn’t the whole story. When I was recently at the Acura dealer I considered getting an ultra low cost lease on an ILX but decided on a RDX but I saw the TrueCar price was $31,372. Now with that said does that change your tune? It does for me since the cars the ILX competes with start around $31,000 like the Audi A3 and Merecedes CLA and these are the base models.

    Okay so I understand people’s qualms about Acura. They aren’t exciting, they don’t have the cache of German cars, and they lack the details even found on a top of the line Chevy, but the word to best way to sum up why people buy them is: SAFE. I am not not just talking about a safe vehicle to drive which it is, but also a safe car to buy since it isn’t wildly/daringly styled, has good reliability, good gas millage, and great resale value. People like DeadWeight are out of their minds saying that a Buick Verano is better than this. While a Verano offers a few more features it’s frumpy looks, tacky side vents, piss poor reliability, and horrid resale is unbelievably bad. DeadWeight before you speak THINK. For a guy that is on here so much talking about cars you know nothing about them. I am not saying the ILX is a great car but to say a Buick Verano is better is well just insane.

    To put this in other terms, there is a big difference between MSRP and sale price. As I mentioned a fully loaded A-SPEC Technology Plus ILX on TrueCar is $31,372, a base Mercedes CLA is $32,050. A 2016 Turbo Verano in comparison TrueCar has it at $28k-$29k. In my humble opinion that extra $2k-3K grand for an Acura over a Buick is worth it’s price in residual value and reliability alone.

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