THE REFRESH WE SHOULD HAVE GOTTEN IN THE FIRST PLACE: 2019 ACURA ILX A SPEC
Being around for nearly a decade, the Acura ILX serves as an entry adolescent into the premium brand to help boost younger clientele. With the previous generation TL growing into a mid-size luxury sedan, the ILX also had some mighty big shoes to fill.
Based off the previous-gen Honda Civic Si, the ILX has quite the good bone structure under its belt. When it was first introduced in 2013, the offering of a six-speed manual matted to an energetic 2.4-liter i-VTEC four-cylinder, the ILX had superior, affluent performance that mixed a little bit of business with a little bit of pleasure. Unfortunately, after a slight refresh in 2015 to mimic the direction of the last generation RDX, the ILX began its spiraling downfall into a black hole.
Now in its third refresh for 2019, we think this could be the charm the ILX needed that could save it from total abomination. Influenced by the newest RDX, there is a sexy application to the ILX stature. Making a sassy comeback into the Acura brand, the sporty A SPEC sees its way into this entry sedan that elevates the ILX to a new level of lustful desire. A complete revamp to the front and rear styling offers a sophisticated, agile tactic that starts to represent a brand we thought was starting to lose its way.
Back in 2015, Acura dropped the dismal 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine from the ILX inventory leaving the 2.4-liter as the standard engine across the board. Sadly at that time, the six-speed manual was also cut for the more efficient eight-speed automatic. Even with 201-horsepower and 180lb-ft of torque, the ILX’s spirit appears a little lost. At full throttle, it takes roughly 6.5-seconds to 60-mph as the rpms climb upwards to 7,000 revolutions. Pushing the edge of rpms, you can hear the i-VTEC scurry to life inspiring a level of frisson as it exploits that last extra effort of performance boost.
For as sporty as the ILX A-SPEC looks, it handles the road quite securely. The chassis is well in tuned to the driver inputs with suitable responsive steering and porous suspension action over punitive impressions. Slide the gear lever into sport for the use of the steering wheel paddle shifters and we start to see where the engine has been hiding. The eight-speed transmission starts to come alive with animated tenders and crisp, receptive changes.
Inside, most of the ILX has been carried over apart from the A SPEC specific red leather with black suede inserts. This contrast uplifts the overall car into a more aesthetically pleasing comportment. There is a certain level of comfortbility to this interior that makes us feel relaxed and at ease with its surroundings. The use of plastic materials throughout the cabin give the ILX an economical presence, rather than a swanky impression; however, given its $25,900 starting price, this minor detail can be overlooked.
Technology was boosted in the ILX back in 2015 with the addition of AcuraWatch as an available option – bringing in Adaptive Cruise Control, Lane Departure Warning with Lane Keep Assist, Automatic High Beam Assist, and Forward Collision Warning with Automatic Emergency Braking. This now comes standard across all available ILX’s as of 2019. With the development of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto being ever so popular, it has been incorporated into this latest offering so the driver can always stay connected.
The drawback to the ILX faults with its just as premium sister brand, Honda. A Honda Accord Sport with its impressive 2.0-liter turbocharged, 252-horsepower engine starts just under $31,000. Our top-spec’d ILX with the $1750 Premium Package, $1900 Technology Package and $2000 A SPEC Package, the price of our ILX comes out to $32,545. Despite the fact that the Honda Accords 2.0t athletic abilities is just as worthy of the thirty-grand price tag, we have to admit, you won’t find any other premium brand for less than $35,000.
Model: 2019 ACURA ILX
Starting Price: $25,900
As Tested: $32,545
Color: PLATINUM WHITE PEARL
Engine: 2.4-LITER i-VTEC FOUR-CYLINDER
Horsepower/Torque: 201-HORSEPOWER / 180 LB-FT TORQUE
Transmission: 8-SPEED DUAL-CLUTCH AUTOMATIC
Drivetrain: FRONT-WHEEL DRIVE
Fuel Economy EPA RATED: 24-CITY / 34-HWY / 28-COMBINED
(AS TESTED: 25.5 MPG COMBINED)
Fuel Range: 360 MILES
0-60 MPH: ±6.5 SECONDS