There’s an peculiar dance to be followed when, as Acura is with a 2016 ILX, you’re rising a revamped chronicle of an existent car. On a one hand, we wish to prominence customarily how softened it is over a predecessor; on a other, we can’t be too critical, given afterwards drivers start seeking since we were so fervent – and are now so rigourously honest – about a comparison car. For a 2016 ILX, Acura is some-more blunt than many: a aged indication was designed before a horde of “entry reward sedans” strike forecourts, with Mercedes-Benz, Audi, Lexus, and others changing a diversion in a process. For a MY2016, then, a concentration is some-more rewarding driving, some-more luxury, and a inexhaustible injection of tech borrowed from Acura’s TLX.
The effusive ILX was of a time, and a time was ritzy Focus, Civic, and Mazda 3 models with well-ticked options lists in a midst of an mercantile crisis. Since then, cars like a CLA and A3 have clever high-end code names into ever-more affordable cost brackets, and being a purify designed yet frequency moving sedan was no longer enough.
Cue a 2016 Acura ILX, strictly a mid-model modernise yet unequivocally a acceptable volume some-more than that. It’s a new gateway to a Acura brand, partial of an try to not customarily sell people a automobile yet to make them so constant that they come true behind to a dealership when it’s time for a trade-in.
On a outside, a changes are in a detailing. At a front, many conspicuous are a new “Jewel Eye” LED headlights, that separate a side, main, and illumination using lamps into particular ice-cubes and strakes. Between them is a grille considerably identical to that on a nose of a new Acura NSX; a cosmetic muzzle competence still be a indicate of row for many, yet it gets some critical contouring for a 2016 car, and looks softened for it.
Underneath there are some-more tangible air-intakes with – on a new A-SPEC class – large haze lamps that, yet looking rather out of place, are positively striking. The A-SPEC gets meatier side sills, too, and a chrome-edged case spoiler; all new ILX get a redesigned posterior and fancier LED lamps.
The ILX was never an nauseous car, it customarily never unequivocally stood out. Sandwiched between Lexus’ love-it-or-hate-it IS, and Infiniti’s curvaceously superb Q40, a new ILX is still a many regressive of a three. There’s a patience there that creates adult in change what it lacks in controversy.
If Acura’s changes had been wholly aesthetic, it would have been left with a flattering sedan that didn’t utterly merit a “sports” billing. Happily, there’s some-more to a 2016 ILX than glitzy headlamps.
Previously, Acura offering dual engine options, kicking off with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder good for 150HP and interconnected with a five-speed involuntary transmission. It’s not, to be blunt, a many moving powerplant out there, yet while Acura also had a some-more engaging 2.4-liter with a six-speed automatic, 95-percent of buyers still opted for a entry-level engine.
Both are left for a 2016 car, and in their stead is a 2.4-liter, 16-valve DOHC i-VTEC from a new TLX, along with that car’s 8-speed DCT delivery with torque convertor. The outcome is 201 HP and 180 lb-ft of torque – adult 51 HP and 40 lb-ft over a aged 2.0-liter, respectively – while perversely delivering somewhat softened economy, too.
The EPA has weighed in with a final numbers, suggesting drivers will see 25 mpg in a city, 36 mpg on a highway, and 29 mpg combined, a indicate aloft on any than a effusive car. In my testing, admittedly spending some-more time in Sport+ mode that suits a ILX better, we saw between 22 mpg and 28 mpg, imperfect on a march of towering roads and nation lanes.
Engine and delivery aren’t a customarily changes underneath a hood, either. The IIHS Small Overlap tests have arrived given a final ILX, and so Acura increased physique acerbity with lashings of hot-stamped steel for a 12-percent boost in torsional rigidity. The potion is now 5mm thick, not 4mm, for softened sound insulation, while a exclusive circle pattern that has an integrated resonator also helps moderate highway noise.
When we expostulate aged and new automobile back-to-back, a differences are clear. The new ILX pulls divided smoother and some-more aggressively from a standstill, with a additional energy and torque any noticeable. The 8-speed gearbox needs to be tugged into “S” mode for anything some-more than acceptable highway cruising, yet once there it snaps between ratios with a purify eagerness.
Acura creates a large understanding about including a torque converter to well-spoken out some of a DCT jerkiness, yet it does seem to help, yet a stifle blip on downshifts – while acquire – means there’s no necessity of reminders that a change has taken place. In fact, “S” mode on a ILX is for me some-more convincing than a reflection Sport+ mode on a TLX: in a bigger car, it felt mad rather than eager, yet a mood suits a punchy four-cylinder ILX.
Is it “sporty”? That depends on your comparisons. A BMW will expected best a ILX for pristine pushing involvement, yet that’s not to boot what Acura has finished here. On some rigourously rambling towering roads with remarkable changes of betterment and some-more than their acceptable share of hairpin bends, it carried itself surprisingly well. True, after a few indeterminate stabs during a paddle-shifters it seemed easier to let a delivery do a possess thinking, yet doing and gait were both strong.
That doesn’t meant it lacks refinement, however. For a start it’s quieter inside, with additional soundproofing and that thicker potion adding adult to reduction highway and breeze sound creation it through. Unfortunately, that means you’re left with a sound of a engine, that is frequency a many grave when pushed hard.
The cabin blends a aged ILX with some of a cues from a TLX, not to discuss a acceptable volume of additional kit. One of a loudest complaints about a aged automobile was that it lacked some of a niceties that rivals propitious as standard, a accountability Acura has been certain to residence this time around.
So, we now get two-position motorist chair memory, and 4-way electric composition for a front newcomer seat. A rear-view camera is standard, as is a energy moonroof, and Bluetooth streaming. Step adult to a Premium trim and we get leather seats, blind-spot and cranky trade alerts, and Sirius XM radio. Adaptive journey control and line support that not customarily warns we if you’re flapping yet that kindly helps we behind into place are also optional.
They work surprisingly good together; in fact, if it wasn’t for a periodic sign to put your hands behind on a wheel, we could roughly leave a ILX to expostulate itself on a turnpike (I tried, and was soon scolded by a car’s computer). Still, you’ll wish to have your hands nearby a circle customarily to hoop a excess of buttons Acura has squeezed in: seventeen, in fact, if we don’t count a paddles.
There are some engaging options accessible for a core stack, too. The bottom indication – that we didn’t get to expostulate – creates do with a singular 5-inch display, CD player, 6 speakers, and Bluetooth/USB/aux-in, yet a fun starts with a Premium and Tech Plus tiers. There, as in a TLX, we get a incomparable 8-inch shade adult top, for things like GPS maps, while a smaller, 7-inch touchscreen is reduce down for control, yet there’s also a multi-function dial/joystick for those who cite to strech out and squeeze a knob.
It’s faster in use than a complement in a TLX, too, interjection to efficiencies in some-more new program builds: we found that utterly conspicuous when entering content with a on-screen QWERTY keyboard, that now no longer requires a vapid postponement between any practical button-press. Unfortunately, Acura tells me it has no stream skeleton to hurl out a newer infotainment program to a TLX.
Premium ILX models get 7 speakers, yet Tech Plus cars have a full 10 speakers good for 415W. Interestingly, while Tech Plus has navigation built-in, Premium offers an HDMI submit instead: supply your iPhone with an AV digital adapter, USB, and HDMI cables, and Acura’s $60 Navi app, and we can effectively retrofit a full navigation knowledge for underneath $200.
Why would we use it over, say, Google Maps or Apple Maps? There are a series of reasons, many visibly given we get all of a formation with a touchscreen, lope wheel, and steering circle controls like voice activation. It promises to be some-more accurate, too: plugged in, a Acura app gets entrance to a car’s some-more absolute GPS receiver, as good as real-time information on speed and streamer so that – even if you’re in a tunnel, where a smartphone navigation app competence get confused – a ILX still knows where it is on a map.
It’s not all good news, mind, and my query to find a “perfect” infotainment complement continues uncompleted. Neither CarPlay nor Android Auto are included, and while Acura primogenitor Honda was one of a initial to dedicate to Apple’s iPhone-based system, I’m told it simply wasn’t prepared in time to make it onto a ILX. we can’t assistance yet remember that’s a same forgive we was given about a TLX, too. You do get Siri hands-free mode, during least, yet Acura’s local voice approval valid possibly stubbornly tenatious or simply something of a dullard: possibly way, we occasionally got a authority we wanted carried out.
The dashboard feels softened put together than before, and there are some-more soft-touch materials in a places your fingers are expected to linger, yet a ILX cabin still doesn’t feel utterly adult to a class of some rivals. Audi’s A3 competence have some-more switch blanks than organic buttons in a reduce configurations, yet during slightest it has a “hewn” feel that a plastics of a ILX simply don’t match. Sure, it’s functional, yet a customarily symbol with any genuine attract is a red aluminum starter, with a silken black keys that fill a core smoke-stack some-more expected to collect adult greasy fingerprint smudges than pattern compliments.
Perhaps I’m awaiting too most for a price, given a ILX positively stays competitive. The bottom indication is $27,900, or $29,200 if we wish to chuck in a AcuraWatch Plus reserve package, yet my desire would be to skip that – eschewing a single-screen audio complement in a routine – and start during a $29,900 Premium model. $32,900 gets we a Tech Plus and still undercuts a Lexus IS, yet by that indicate you’re overlapping a bottom finish of a TLX line-up.
A-SPEC, with a 18-inch competition wheels, takes a Premium ILX to $31,890 or a Tech Plus ILX to $34,390, yet my tummy greeting is that customarily those utterly taken with faux-suede should apply. The 18-inch wheels done a float a small noisier for no conspicuous alleviation in handling, while a prominent haze lamps seem during contingency with a differently calm trapezoidal front spoiler.
“Affordable luxury” is arguably an oxymoron, and never some-more so than in a entry-level reward shred a ILX plays in. On a one hand, buyers are ever some-more perfectionist when it comes to style, gadgets, and performance; on a other, margins are parsimonious for manufacturers, and a fear of possibly out-pricing your automobile or overlapping too significantly onto your midrange – and customarily best-selling – indication place tough boundary on what, exactly, can be achieved.
What we get from a 2016 ILX for your less-than-$30k is, then, flattering astonishing. The list of pack in a Premium package is adequate to put German rivals several stairs adult a compensate ladder to shame, and AcuraWatch’s several collision warnings and such not customarily work good together, yet legitimately urge a bland knowledge behind a wheel.
It’s from there that Acura’s biggest improvements make themselves clear, however. To be sure, like a TLX before it, a new ILX isn’t a seething savage of a car, yet it now does during slightest have some of a proud impetus to compare a “compact oppulance sports sedan” billing. Whether it’ll find a association that “Acura for life” business it’s anticipating for stays to be seen, yet it’s a clever choice for a price-conscious motorist who wants to change reserve and speed.