Review 2013 Acura ILX National Cars Examiner com

28 Май 2014 | Author: | Комментарии к записи Review 2013 Acura ILX National Cars Examiner com отключены
Acura ILX Electric Cars

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To Honda’s credit, the ILX looks and feels nothing like a Civic. Acura’s typical design cues have been adapted sharply onto a smaller sedan, and the interior look and feel is more Acura than Honda. The driving dynamics, too, are sharper than the Civic’s and betray no economy car feel – as well they shouldn’t in a compact car that’s priced from $26,000 and can surpass $35,000.

But it’s hard to give the car a wholehearted recommendation, primarily because of its powertrain. The 150-horsepower 2.0-liter four-cylinder equipped on most ILXes is an upgrade over the Civic and is perfectly acceptable for an economy car, but it’s lacking in pep and refinement for an entry-luxury car. A small car doesn’t need to be a smooth, silent rocket, but more is expected at this price point.

Acura is so close to making a big difference, though. One version of the ILX combines a larger 2.4-liter engine with a six-speed manual transmission, which delivered zesty acceleration that complements the sharp handling. The slick manual transmission further adds to the driving enjoyment, but even the engine would transform the ILX into a thoroughly impressive product.

But if you don’t want to shift your own gears, you’re out of luck – ILX automatics are sold only with with the smaller four-cylinder and as an even slower (and pricier) gas-electric hybrid version. Furthermore, the 2.4-liter ILX isn’t offered with such the navigation system and upgraded audio available on other ILX versions.

Surprising as it might seem, the ILX truly sheds most of its Civic roots. With a competitive powertrain, it offers a premium feel in a compact size for buyers who favor luxury and sportiness over size for the money. If you like a manual transmission and want only the particular set of features Acura will sell you with the 2.4-liter engine, it carves out a unique niche in the market and fills it ably.

Otherwise, though, it’s hard to excuse an economy-car engine at sticker prices exceeding $30,000.

Unless you’re seeking out the stripped-down cloth-seat version of the ILX (not offered with the 2.4-liter engine), you’re not shopping this cars for its cost savings over Acura’s larger TSX midsize sedan; the difference is less than $1,500.

Rather, you’re seeking out the sort of handling responses that you just can’t get from a larger car. The longer, wider, and taller TSX outweighs the ILX by nearly 500 pounds, and does not shed its size on the road. The ILX delivers quicker responses and well-weighted steering.

It could do little to challenge a top-tier model like a BMW 3-Series on a racetrack, but this Acura does quite well in routine driving. Drivers are reminded they’re in a sporty car even when they aren’t seeking out its limits – a quality some pricier cars lack.

Well, at least in cornering. In a straight line, buyers of most ILX models will be reminded that 150 horsepower is well below the standards accepted at a premium price point. This Acura would only be midpack even among ordinary economy cars. (The hybrid’s paltry 110 horsepower helps explain its slow sales.)

To be sure, there are many cases when the “slow” car in a class is so powerful you can’t safely plant your foot to the floor in traffic. But in case you’ve been desensitized to the word, know that the ILX is certainly lethargic for a premium vehicle. If you have any expectation of zip, you’ll find yourself routinely demanding full-throttle performance, and you won’t be rewarded with an engine note that befits a $32,295 automobile.

Whether it meets the standard of good enough is something shoppers will have to decide for themselves, but it’s not even in question that the engine is far from excellence.

Fortunately, this reviewer’s weeklong test car was the truly enjoyable 201-horsepower 2.4-liter, which is shared with the TSX and the sporty Si version of the Civic. While it’s still certainly not the quickest car you can buy for around $30,000, the engine’s performance and sound are far more in line with the price. And the precise, short-throw shifter is a far cry from the afterthought manuals found in some cars that are sold almost exclusively with an automatic.

But as noted, unlike in the TSX, buyers seeking pep from an automatic transmission – or a full complement of luxury features with the manual – are left wanting.

The gearing of the manual ILX also leaves the engine running at a high rpm on the highway. A decently sized engine and a six-speed transmission should allow for a relaxed highway cruise, but the ILX is at 3,000 rpm at 70 miles per hour, contributing to excess engine noise and reduced fuel economy. There’s also a fair bit of road noise.

With the five-speed automatic transmission, the 2.0-liter ILX is rated for 28 miles per gallon in mixed driving, compared to 25 mpg for the six-speed manual 2.4-liter and 38 mpg for the hybrid. This reviewer observed 29.4 miles per gallon in mixed driving from the manual ILX. Acura recommends premium fuel on all models.

Even for a compact car, the ILX isn’t especially roomy. Large adults might feel cramped in the front seats; others might find it more comfortably cozy than most upscale cars. The seats are firm and nicely shaped, but don’t include lumbar adjustment.

Chunky roof pillars cut into visibility.

The rear seat is low to the floor and doesn’t offer much head clearance. There’s enough leg room for adults to fit, just not in much comfort. The 12.3-cubic-foot trunk is a bit shallow, but it’s conveniently shaped. (It shrinks to a puny 10 cubic feet in the ILX Hybrid.)

The cabin looks and feels the part of a $30,000 sedan – it won’t wow you with a particular brilliant detail or a lovingly finished feel, as a more expensive luxury car might, but it’s evident that Acura put care into the car’s design. As in most Acuras, you won’t find a lot of eye-catching false wood or aluminum trim; the company’s interiors tend to have quieter designs, though no less interior quality. Opinions will vary on whether this is tasteful restraint or merely dull.

One foible that appears common among ILXs is a large panel gap where the lower dash starts to meet the center console – large enough to almost fit a finger. The two tested ILXs have black leather interiors, which allow the gap to largely disappear in shadows, but it’s more obvious with a lighter color. The edges of the two panels are nicely finished – there’s hardly a large ragged edge – but a flusher fit would be appreciated at this price point.

Controls are easy to use, but both the climate and audio buttons and knobs are at a distance from their respective display screens. The attractive gauges are crisp and clear, but the small-diameter speedometer goes to 160 miles per hour, leaving a relatively small space for the useful range.

Greatness is within reach

Acura ILX Electric Cars

With a widely available 2.4-liter engine, the ILX could fill a delightful niche as an affordable premium sports sedan, slotting above top-end versions of the Ford Focus and Volkswagen Jetta but below pricier models like the once-entry-level BMW 3-Series that now easily pass $40,000 with a few options, or $50,000 with a few more.

But that engine isn’t widely available, and the 2.0-liter and hybrid models are a tougher sell. An ILX customer has to be willing to give up roominess in search of small-car agility, and most are being further asked to sacrifice engine power and refinement.

For a nice interior and upscale features in a compact car, but without much sportiness, the Buick Verano is the ILX’s closest competitor. And if a small size isn’t a virtue for you, there are many nicely appointed and nicely equipped midsize cars at this Acura’s price point.

The ILX is certainly better than it might have been, and worth a good look from someone who likes nice, small cars – especially if you’d be shopping the six-speed manual version. But don’t be surprised if the engine proves to be a deal-breaker.

Estimated transaction prices as tested*: $28,067, $30,103

Key specifications: Length: 179.1 inches

Width: 70.6 inches

Height: 55.6 inches

Wheelbase: 105.1 inches


Weight: 2,978 pounds

Trunk volume: 12.3 cubic feet

Turning circle: 36.2 feet

Engines (as tested): 2.4-liter four-cylinder with 201 horsepower, 2.0-liter four-cylinder with 150 horsepower

Acura ILX Electric Cars
Acura ILX Electric Cars
Acura ILX Electric Cars
Acura ILX Electric Cars
Acura ILX Electric Cars
Acura ILX Electric Cars
Acura ILX Electric Cars

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