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2018 Acura ILX: New Car Review

If you’re looking for information on a newer Acura ILX, we’ve published an updated review: 2019 Acura ILX Review

The 2018 Acura ILX rolls on with little change, which for Acura lovers is fine but in the big scheme of things makes the ILX’s job all the more difficult. It’s not that the ILX’s Honda roots don’t serve it well — it’s just that in a field filled with newer, more powerful and more technologically advanced luxury performance sedans, the ILX is simply outgunned. However, for those who favor bulletproof reliability over performance and pedigree, the ILX may still have a garage to call home.

If you pay close attention, you can feel the previous-generation Honda Civic’s presence in the ILX’s soul. Power is derived from a 2.4-liter engine offering up 201 horsepower but only 180 lb-ft of torque. Sadly, there’s no 6-speed manual, but in its place is an excellent 8-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. Considering the ILX’s enticing starting price of around $29,000, it may not have the commanding power and presence of some premium sedans, but it’s a good fit for anyone looking to get Acura luxury at a Honda Accord price.

What’s New for 2018?

A new Special Edition package debuts, sporting new 18-inch wheels, A-Spec aero body moldings and a rear spoiler. See the 2018 Acura ILX models for sale near you

What We Like

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

What We Don’t

No manual-transmission option; modest trunk space; lacks any sense of individualism

How Much?


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 a manual-shift mode. Fuel economy is a respectable 25 miles per gallon in the city, 35 mpg on the highway and 29 mpg in combined driving.

Standard Features & Options

The 2018 Acura ILX comes in one model with seven possible options packages.

Standard on the ILX ($29,050) are 17-in alloy wheels, a sunroof, keyless entry with push-button start, 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 Special Edition package brings 18-in wheels, A-SPEC side moldings and a spoiler.

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, a 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.


The ILX comes with 4-wheel antilock disc brakes, electronic traction and stability control and a full roster of airbags. The independent Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the ILX Good ratings 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 old Civic it’s based on, and that’s a good thing. It has a ride quality 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 previous 2015 Honda Civic Si sport sedan, even though the handy limited-slip differential (for better cornering traction) didn’t make the transition. Overall, we’d say razor-sharp handling isn’t a real highlight of the 2018 ILX, but its handling is certainly secure.

Other Cars to Consider

2018 Volkswagen Jetta GLI — The GLI has more power, a more engaging ride and better sport seats. Its interior is equally refined, and it has a lower base price.

2018 Audi A3 — The A3 costs more but offers more power, more luxury features and more personality.

2018 Cadillac ATS — The ATS also costs more than the ILX at the base level, but it offers more engine and luxury options, available all-wheel drive and a manual transmission. It’s also a much more engaging driver’s car.

Used Audi A4 — A 2013-2016 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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