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2016 Acura ILX: New Car Review

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ADDITIONAL MODEL INFORMATION

author photo by Autotrader June 2015

The 2016 Acura ILX is a luxury performance sedan in search of a rather niche audience. Its Honda Civic roots are well hidden thanks to its racy exterior design and upgraded interior, but in a class that contains heavyweights such as the Audi A3, BMW 1 Series and Cadillac ATS, even a well-disguised Civic is going to have a tough time. Acura knows this, which is why it has made a number of powertrain and feature improvements this year, all while keeping the ILX's price at an attractive level.

If you pay close attention, you can feel the Civic in the ILX model's soul. Last year's base 2.0-liter engine has been jettisoned in favor of the more powerful 2.4-liter engine pulled from the Civic Si. With 201 horsepower, it's more in line with the kind of power you'd expect from an Acura. Sadly, the 6-speed manual has also been shown the door, but in its place is a new 8-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission.

Considering the ILX model's enticing starting price of around $29,000, it may not have the commanding power and presence of past premium sedans, but it's a good fit for these fast-changing times.

What's New for 2016?

For 2016, the 2.0-liter engine is dropped, making the 2.4-liter standard on all trims. A new 8-speed dual-clutch automatic is now standard across the lineup, and significant improvements have been made to the car's chassis and steering. The ILX now offers the AcuraWatch suite of advanced safety and driver-assist technology.

What We Like

Full feature set; engaging 2.4-liter engine; pleasantly premium interior; strong reliability ratings

What We Don't

Loss of the manual-transmission option; modest trunk space; lacks any sense of individualism

How Much?

$28,820-$36,000

Fuel Economy

The ILX is powered by a 2.4-liter engine good for 201 hp and 180 lb-ft of torque. The only transmission is an 8-speed dual-clutch automatic with manual shift mode. Fuel economy is a respectable 25 miles per gallon in the city, 36 mpg on the highway and 29 mpg combined.

Standard Features & Options

The 2016 Acura ILX comes in one model with six possible options packages.

Standard on the ILX ($28,820) are 17-inch alloy wheels, a sunroof, keyless entry with push-button ignition, automatic climate control, automatic LED headlights, a tilt-telescopic steering wheel, an 8-way power driver's seat, leatherette seating surfaces, heated front seats, heated side mirrors, Bluetooth with streaming audio capability, a 5-in color display that controls many accessory functions (including a read-aloud SMS text feature), a rearview camera, a 6-speaker 160-watt sound system with iPod/USB connectivity, Pandora Internet Radio and active sound cancellation.

The AcuraWatch package on the base car includes adaptive cruise control, lane-keep assist, lane-departure warning, collision-mitigation braking and forward-collision warning.

The Premium package adds a 7-speaker 360-watt premium sound system, leather seating, rear cross-traffic alert, a blind spot monitoring system, a 7-in multiuse touchscreen, HD and Aha Radio, Siri Eyes Free, a power passenger seat and a 2-position driver's-seat memory feature.

The Technology Plus package includes the Premium and AcuraWatch packages, plus an 8-in display and a hard-drive-based navigation system that offers 15 gigabytes of music storage and a 10-speaker ELS audio system.

The A-SPEC package can be added to either the Technology Plus or Premium package and brings 18-in alloy wheels, sport seats with Lux Suede inserts, black headliner, fog lights, a rear spoiler and aluminum sport pedals.

In back, the ILX has plenty of room for a couple of adults, which shouldn't come as a surprise. The Civic has been similarly roomy for quite a few years, so although this is a compact sedan, your rear passengers won't necessarily feel the pinch.

You will, however, notice space limitations in the trunk, where maximum cargo capacity is a modest 12.3 cu ft.

Safety

The ILX comes with 4-wheel anti-lock disc brakes, electronic traction and stability control, and a full roster of airbags. The independent Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the ILX Good marks across the board in crash tests, while the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave it a top 5-star overall crash-test rating, including four stars for front impacts and five for side impacts.

Behind the Wheel

The ILX is softer than the Civic, and that's a good thing. It has a ride quality that we're comfortable calling premium, even if you still feel more impact than you might be used to in an Acura. Thankfully, road noise is also reduced. With the 2.4-liter under the hood, the story gets more exciting. Smooth and engaging, this is the little motor that could -- and with good reason. It's plucked from the Civic Si sport sedan, even though the handy limited-slip differential (for better cornering traction) didn't make the transition. Overall, we'd say that razor-sharp handling isn't a real highlight of the 2016 ILX (get a Civic Si if that's a concern), but it's certainly secure.

Other Cars to Consider

2015 VW Jetta GLI -- The GLI has more hp, a more engaging ride and better sport seats. Its interior is equally refined, and it has a lower base price.

2016 Audi A3 -- The A3 costs more but offers more power, more luxury features and more personality.

2015 Buick Verano -- The Verano has a lower base price, a smoother ride and an available 240-hp turbocharged engine.

Used Audi A4 -- A 2012-2014 Audi A4 provides more power, a larger cabin and trunk, the option of all-wheel drive and better quality materials inside the cabin.

Autotrader's Advice

We think the ILX with the Technology package brings all the high-tech luxury, audio and safety features expected of this class at a price that undercuts similar cars from Audi and BMW. Those seeking a sportier ride should add the A-SPEC package to the mix.

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This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
2016 Acura ILX: New Car Review - Autotrader