The 2019 Acura ILX gets a much needed face-lift this year, giving it a familial look that prevents it getting lost in a sea of competitors. The ILX still has a tough road ahead, however, as buyers fall out of love with sedans and newer, more powerful competitors lay waiting to lure away a shrinking pool of potential customers. But, for those who favor bulletproof reliability over performance and pedigree, the ILX may still have a garage to call home. A big price cut over the 2018 model may also motivate those sitting on the fence.
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 $27,000, 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 2019?
Along with its lower price and new front and rear-end styling, the ILX now features the AcuraWatch suite of active safety and driver assists as standard equipment.
What We Like
Full feature set; engaging 2.4-liter engine; pleasantly premium interior; strong reliability ratings; standard AcuraWatch
What We Don’t
No manual-transmission option; modest trunk space; lacking any meaningful sense of individualism
$26,895 — $33,000
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 24 miles per gallon in the city, 34 mpg on the highway and 28 mpg in combined driving.
Standard Features & Options
The 2019 Acura ILX comes in one model with four possible options packages.
Standard on the ILX ($26,895) are 17-in alloy wheels, a sunroof, keyless entry with push-button start, automatic climate control, automatic LED headlights, a tilt-and-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 adds adaptive cruise control, lane-keep assist, lane-departure warning, collision-mitigation braking and forward-collision warning.
The Premium package ($26,645) 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, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a power passenger seat and a 2-position driver’s-seat memory feature.
The Technology package ($30,545) includes the Premium package plus an 8-in display, a multi-view rearview camera 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 ($32,545) or the Premium ($30,645) 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. Also standard is the AcuraWatch suite (see standard equipment). 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 last generation 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 2019 ILX, but its handling is certainly secure.
Other Cars to Consider
2019 Cadillac ATS Coupe — The ATS comes in coupe form only this year, but it offers more engine and luxury options, available AWD and a manual transmission. It’s also a much more engaging driver’s car.
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.