Entry Price: $27,990
Price as tested: $34,980
This week, it’s the 2017 Acura ILX compact sport sedan we’re driving, one of many choices in the now crowded compact luxury market. Offering consumers a doorway to Acura opulence, this car competes where heavy hitters like Cadillac, Infiniti, Lincoln, Lexus, Mercedes-Benz and BMW all vie for consumer support.
Following a needed redesign in 2016, Acura ILX is built in Marysville, Ohio, and hopes to better impact the aforementioned competitive market. Although still behind such stalwarts as Cadillac, BMW and Audi, ILX now features a better engine and unique “automatic-manual” dual clutch eight-speed transmission that gives the car a more sporty personality and enhances its fun to drive factor.
Additionally, a host of both standard and optional safety features now lift Acura ILX higher when buyers do direct comparisons. Pricing, too, can many times be in Acura’s favor as few offer entry prices as low as $27,990. Pricing then moves up to Acura Watch Plus ($29,290), Premium ($29,990), and Premium A-Spec ($31,980). Once you hit our tester’s Tech Plus $32,999 range, you have a car that is pretty much fully loaded.
Our tester included a $1,900 optional “A-Spec” feature that adds fog lights, side-sill extensions, rear spoiler, 18-inch tires on alloy wheels, contrast color stitch interior, red instrument illumination, aluminum pedals and an Ebony headliner. I recommend the A-Tech package, as it really adds to the ILX footprint and gives it the official Acura “sports car” stamp of approval. Notable is that the A-Tech is only available on the Premium and higher priced models.
Outwardly, there are a few tweaks for 2017 while inside even the entry level standard features are noteworthy. Buyers will appreciate 17-inch tires on nice alloy wheels, power tilt sunroof, LED headlights, keyless entry and ignition, heated mirrors, tilt-and-telescopic steering, eight-way power driver seat, heated front seats, fold-down rear seat, dual-zone climate control, five-inch display, a multi-view backup camera, Bluetooth, six speaker stereo, USB/iPod, and more.
The Premium package adds blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alerts, power passenger seat, Milano premium leather seating, driver memory settings, voice command Navigation, enhanced rearview safety camera, auto-dimming rearview mirror, eight-inch upper information display, additional seven-inch touch screen and a seven-speaker audio system with HD radio and Sirius/XM satellite.
Our tester’s Technology Plus package adds Acura’s adaptive cruise, forward collision warning with braking mitigation, lane departure warning, lane keep assist and road departure mitigation. This system helps drivers avoid veering into objects by applying the lane keeping assist and collision mitigation systems and it’s very impressive. Also included in the Tech Plus package is a unique GPS-linked, solar-sensing climate control interior environment. Our Acura with the Tech Plus feature also adds the ELS premium audio 10-speaker surround sound stereo system that is clearly outstanding.
Under the hood sits Acura’s 2.4-liter, 11.6 to 1 compression direct-injection four-cylinder that develops 201 horsepower and 180 pound-feet of torque. It’s hooked to an industry first eight-speed dual-clutch “automatic-manual” with torque converter. Notable are steering wheel mounted paddle shifters that allow rev-matched downshifting making for a more fun experience. This eight-speed automatic really elevates the Acura ILX to much higher performance standards of gear shifting not found in the competition.
The EPA numbers are good with 25 city and 35 highway the expected results. As for acceleration, zero to 60-mph arrives in about seven seconds flat and the overall driving experience is decent to very good thanks to the bigger tires and sport tweaked suspension.
Standard safety features, meanwhile, receive top grades. Included are four wheel disc antilock brakes, stability controls, all the airbags, rearview safety camera, electronic brake distribution and much more. This Acura safety build results in outstanding overall “Five Star” government safety ratings, something every buyer should be aware of when making his or her final decision. Your Acura dealer will explain everything in detail when you visit for a test drive along with impressive incentive programs that run through January 3, 2017.
Other Acura ILX notables that the Tech Plus feature adds are a bigger touch screen that makes handling the menu of items from air conditioning to stereo and satellite radio easier to see. I’d like to say it’s a breeze to operate, but again the only item I really like is the stereo volume knob, along with a similar volume control on the steering wheel. Other than that, I still wish the manufacturers would get as far away from these modern-day main “touch control” touch screen necessities that are difficult to navigate through.
Important numbers include a wheelbase of 105.1 inches, 3,115 lb. curb weight, 12.3 cu. ft. of cargo room, 5.3 in. ground clearance, 36.8 ft. turning radius, and a 13.2 gallon fuel tank.
In summary, ILX continues to improve against the competition and the 2017 model is Acura’s best effort yet. With a bit more tweaking to the interior and perhaps a turbo version around the corner, the Acura ILX sport compact just might be one of the better luxury compacts on the road.
Likes: Sporty looks, good handling, attractive pricing, transmission.
Dislikes: Some road noise, infotainment touch screen controls.
— Greg Zyla writes weekly for More Content Now, BestRide.com and other Gatehouse Media publications. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Test Drive: 2017 Acura ILX
Entry Price: $27,990