SEATTLE, WA, April 28 — Acura has been a name synonymous with performance and reliability since its inception decades ago, and for good reasons. One of those reasons is its latest ILK compact sedan which does a great job of achieving performance, style and handling at a price point that makes it a very compelling sedan for the performance-minded customer.
Built on the Honda Civic chassis, Acura has done a tremendous job of making it worthy of the brand’s moniker through advances in handling, power and amenities.
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The styling of the ILX certainly helps set it apart in the compact sedan market and retains the “Acura look” so many have come to admire. A sleeker front-end with stylized headlamps that fade away to nice body lines down the side of the car and wrap up very nicely at the back. There’s not much at all do dislike here in regards to its looks – it’s bold, sleek, sporty; pure Acura.
A very spirited 2.4 liter i-VTECH 4-cylinder engine is standard on this premium package ILX with the 6-speed manual. Rated at 201-horsepower, it provides enough power to keep this a very fun car to drive. Its clutch feel is that of “typical Honda” – good grab to it, not much ‘slop” in it at all – it’s too bad more Americans don’t prefer a manual transmission. d
Inside the car, the driver is surrounded by a very well appointed interior. Leather, power-adjusted seats that are heated, a slick-looking center dash console area with an easy-to-use control knob in the center, rear-view camera, on-board navigation, a premium audio system and a host of other creature comforts. What’s striking about all of it is just how well Acura seamlessly integrates it – nothing feels out of place or clunky.
Audio fidelity is very good but not sublime and for the most part will please all but the most discerning listeners and audiophiles. There’s support for AM/FM, CD playback, an iPod interface, USB ports, Bluetooth audio, and SiriusXM satellite radio.
Bluetooth quality is very good but not the best we’ve seen in a car, its audio quality for the driver is good but can sometimes be a bit too quiet for the person talking on the other end of it.
Acura use of the center control knob is effective and doesn’t take too much time to get used to. You’ll find that it does help ease things while on the move in regards to being an effective device. From this control knob, the driver moves the cursor on the screen around to highlight whatever feature to control. Additionally, the system can also be setup to read you any texts you get send to your cell phone.
Legroom is very ample for the front occupants and not too bad for rear passengers, considering the vehicle’s size. Seat comfort is very good and shouldn’t be a problem on longer journeys. The slight sloping of the roof-line could be an issue for taller, rear passengers, over 6-feet; definitely something to bear in mind. Trunk space is generous and quite ample enough for several pieces of luggage, a trip to Costco for multiple packs of toilet paper or better yet, cases of wine.
Driving the ILX is really where one begins to understand why it’s such a fun car – the performance of the 201-hp and manual transmission kick in to being a very gratifying driving experience. If there was one thing to nit-pick here, it’d be the lack of all-wheel-drive, however, it’s still a great car to drive as a daily driver or even for longer trips as well.
Its electronic assist rack and pinion steering provides a good tactical feel to the handling without being too much or too little. While there is just a touch over oversteer, it never presented itself in a daunting or obtrusive kind of way. Overall, its handling was on-point and a good match to its forward momentum.
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In the end, Acura has done a very nice job of delivering a compact performance sedan which competes well in its segment and offers quite a number of varying trim levels. Priced at $26,900 for the entry level model all the way up to $34,400 to the Hybrid, there’s little to find wrong with the ILX – most customers should find a trim level to suit their budget needs.
If you’re at all in the market for a performance-based compact sedan, then you should make it a point to test-drive the ILX, it offers up the legendary “Honda reliability” in a sport, good-looking, fun-to-drive car that’s hard to pass up.