ROAD TEST EDITOR JONATHAN WONG: There are a few certainties that come with Acura vehicles: They are always going to have solid drivetrains, snappy handling traits and conservative styling. And it's no different with this 2014 Acura ILX Tech that's based on the Honda Civic. That means a suspension with MacPherson struts up front and a multilink setup out back, but I don't really think the ILX looks a lot like the Civic. Sure, they have similar proportions but the sheetmetal is certainly different. I'm also glad that the Acura retains the torque-converted automatic gearbox instead of following the Civic's lead and “upgrading” to a continuously variable transmission -- at least for now.
This is the first time I've been in an ILX with the base 2.0-liter four-cylinder, which I'll point out isn't the 1.8-liter unit that regular Civics get. While 150 hp in the ILX felt sufficient getting off the line and merging into the expressway, there is no denying that my drivetrain of choice is the 2.4-liter I4 with 201-hp teamed with the super slick six-speed manual. The problem there is that the 2.4-liter is only offered with the Premium Package trim level, meaning you can't get navigation or the nice-sounding ELS audio system with it.
Our test car is a Technology Package model so it's loaded with the aforementioned navigation and premium audio system as well as real-time traffic and weather, Homelink and GPS-linked automatic climate controls, which explains the $32,585 as-tested price.
Over my weekend, I appreciated the ILX's spritely handling with quick steering, decent grip from the all-season Michelin Pilot MX HXM4 tires, and well controlled body motions through corners. Ride quality is fairly comfortable with the suspension taking the edge off of most of the ruts I encountered.
Cabin materials are alright with large portions of the main dash soft-touch. The center stack thankfully retains a lot of hard buttons with the main center infotainment screen inset into the dash. Heated seats were greatly appreciated and the soft leather-wrapped steering wheel conveys a feeling of higher quality. It's a nice setting if you consider that this is Acura's entry-level vehicle and is certainly a step above a Civic.
Overall, the ILX is a respectable entry that I would go with over the Buick Verano. But if I was looking to spend somewhere in the neighborhood of $33K or $34K, I would be taking home another Acura vehicle: the soon-to-be discontinued TSX. For $34,630 you would have the TSX Tech with all the bells and whistles in a package that's better looking to my eye, has the stellar 2.4-liter engine and handles a bit sharper. If you can live without navigation, a better audio system and rearview camera, then you could get the TSX Special Edition with the six-speed manual for $32,530, which is probably what I would do.9
ASSOCIATE EDITOR GRAHAM KOZAK: We should probably get this out of the way right now: The Acura ILX doesn't look that much like a Honda Civic. I mean, the rear three-quarter view means you'll never forget the two cars' shared lineage, but the Acura looks a lot less like a suppository than its compact cousin.
But I think the reason car people are so ready to call this a gussied up Civic is because it doesn't really look like anything. It's not a bad car inside or out -- it's just kind of boring. Like nearly everything else Honda/Acura seems to make today, it has a competent, rock-solid set of mechanicals. It can even be fun, at times. Yet all of its positive attributes are wrapped in a fairly dull package.
From the front seat, this car isn't a bad place to be (can't necessarily say the same about the back, which seemed small). Steering is smooth and direct, a good match for the powertrain. Snow and ice made it hard to push the car through corners with confidence (Acura's fun AWD system would have been welcome), but the suspension did seem to soak up the absolutely shocking number of potholes that have materialized on Detroit's roads since winter set in.
The 2.0-liter was pleasant if not particularly peppy; I'd like to try the 2.4-liter with the six-speed manual. If my enjoyable stint in the TL is anything to go by, I suspect I'd come away a little more enthused about the ILX with a slightly larger engine and the ability to select my own gears.
So, this is not a bad car. But buyers have a lot to choose from in this price range, like the turbocharged Buick Verano -- well equipped, it can be had for around the same price. It has about 100 hp on the Acura and it looks better, in my book. I'd like to give it a whirl before choosing a favorite.
2014 Acura ILX with Technology Package
Base Price: $32,585
As-Tested Price: $32,585
Drivetrain: 2.0-liter I4; FWD, five-speed automatic
Output: 150 hp @ 6,500 rpm, 140 lb-ft @ 4,300 rpm
Curb Weight: 2,970 lb
Fuel Economy (EPA City/Highway/Combined): 24/35/28 mpg
AW Observed Fuel Economy: 22.0 mpg
Article SOURCE: this factual content has not been modified from the source. This content is syndicated news that can be used for your research, and we hope that it can help your productivity. This content is strictly for educational purposes and is not made for any kind of commercial purposes of this blog.