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2018 vs. 2019 Acura ILX: What’s the Difference?

  • The compact Acura ILX got more appealing and more affordable for 2019.

  • The new front end of the 2019 Acura ILX adopts the brand’s new corporate face.

  • More standard safety tech adds value to Acura’s entry-level sedan.

Acura’s most affordable car is also one of the more forgettable vehicles in the luxury brand’s lineup. The ILX is a front-wheel-drive compact sedan that competes with the likes of the Lexus IS and the Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class. What’s unique about the ILX is the value proposition it offers.

The ILX gets a face-lift for 2019 that makes it much more attractive. The ILX isn’t trying to be the fastest or the fanciest entry-level luxury sedan, but it is one of the best values in the luxury segment today. Let’s take a look at what’s new for the 2019 Acura ILX and what makes it a good bargain.

2018 vs. 2019 Acura ILX exterior

Exterior

The first thing you’ll notice about the 2019 Acura ILX is its new face. Acura has been gradually doing away with the controversial pointed grille and replacing it with a handsome "diamond pentagon" design that we think is a big improvement — it’s especially effective on the new Acura TLX sport sedan. There are a few other areas of the car that have been redesigned to keep the ILX looking fresh and modern, too.

There are a couple of new wheel designs, our favorite of which is a set of 18-in wheels in what Acura calls a "Shark Gray" finish that’s exclusive to the A-Spec trim. A-Spec is a sporty appearance package that adds some dark chrome trim to the front of the car, LED fog lamps and a gloss black rear spoiler. Unfortunately, the A-Spec package doesn’t include any performance upgrades. We mention this only because the TLX in the A-Spec trim is noticeably different with a more aggressive feel.

The exterior dimensions of the new ILX remain the same as the 2018 model, which firmly puts it in compact-sedan territory.

2018 vs. 2019 Acura ILX interior

Interior

Not much is new on the inside of the Acura ILX for 2019, but there is a new Espresso brown interior color. The interior of the ILX isn’t bad, but it is one of the car’s weak points when comparing it to competitors. This Acura is reasonably comfortable for four people, and the interior materials are nice in the higher trims.

The 2019 Acura ILX A-Spec comes with your choice of two available interior options: red or ebony leather. The red interior adds a sporty look with red seats and tastefully appointed red touches throughout the rest of the interior. A-Spec also gives you sporty seats with black suede inserts, additional metal interior trim and aluminum pedals. Your friends will be impressed.

2018 vs. 2019 Acura ILX mechanicals

Mechanicals

The 2018 and 2019 Acura ILX share the same sole engine option. It’s a naturally aspirated 2.4-liter inline four that makes 201 horsepower and 180 lb-ft of torque. The only transmission option is an 8-speed DCT automatic. Fuel economy is about average for this segment at 24 miles per gallon in the city, 34 mpg on the highway and 28 mpg in combined driving.

Every Acura ILX is FWD without an all-wheel drive option. With AWD quickly becoming more common on luxury vehicles, it’s a little surprising that it isn’t available on the ILX. However, FWD makes it adequate for most driving conditions, even in snowy climates.

The ILX might not be the most thrilling car in its class, and it’s not exactly the enthusiast’s choice, but it has a reliable and a reasonably efficient engine with adequate performance numbers that will satisfy most drivers. Want a much quicker car? We can’t blame you, but it’s going to cost extra, and few automakers balance comfort and performance as well as Acura.

2018 vs. 2019 Acura ILX safety

Safety and Technology

Safety tech is where you’ll find one of the biggest improvements to the 2019 ILX over the 2018 model. The brand’s AcuraWatch safety tech suite, which was previously optional, is now standard on the ILX for 2019. AcuraWatch gives you forward-collision warning, lane-departure warning, lane-keeping assist and adaptive cruise control. On top of AcuraWatch, you also get a multi-view backup camera and available blind spot monitoring, as well as rear cross-traffic assist.

The ILX has what Acura calls On Demand Multi-Use Display, which is newly available for 2019. It’s an infotainment system with two vertically stacked screens, which is supposed to make the center stack less cluttered. It has improved graphics over the 2018 model, and it includes Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.

With a generous host of standard safety tech and an improved available infotainment system, the 2019 ILX is a big technological improvement over the 2018 Acura ILX.

2018 vs. 2019 Acura ILX pricing

Pricing

Here’s where you’ll find another big difference between the 2018 and the 2019 ILX. Acura slashed the pricing significantly, dropping the MSRP of the 2019 ILX down to $25,900 compared to the 2018 model, which starts at $28,100. That’s about an eight percent price reduction for the newer, better model.

On the high end, a fully loaded 2018 ILX will set you back around $35,000, while a range-topping 2019 model is closer to $32,000. That’s for the A-Spec appearance package and improvements like leather seats, navigation, premium audio and blind spot monitoring.

2018 vs. 2019 Acura ILX conclusions 

Conclusion

Like we said earlier, the ILX is not at the top of its class and you can find more luxurious and better-performing compact luxury sedans out there. But if you’re looking for one of the best values in the luxury-car segment, the often-overlooked Acura ILX is a serious contender, especially with its new look, extra standard equipment and more affordable price tag for 2019.

We took an A-Spec ILX on some backroads recently and were impressed with the car’s overall demeanor. The car is quick enough around corners to be fun and is also comfortable on the highway. The interior has an appropriate level of luxury for the price. The addition of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto is sure to add to the ILX’s sales numbers — having a luxury car without the life-changing infotainment feature just doesn’t make sense in 2019.

The ILX has always been competitive at its price point, but the fairly significant decrease in pricing for the better-equipped 2019 model makes it a bargain that’s hard to ignore. If you’ve been wondering which one is a better deal, we strongly recommend the 2019 ILX over the outgoing 2018 model.

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