Civic-sized fun with Acura performance and luxury. This is what you can expect from the '19 Acura ILX sedan. Four doors, four cylinders, 201 hp, and an eight-speed dual clutch transmission (DCT) with a starting price of $25,900—what's not to like?
ENTERING THE GATEWAY
For Acura's first 15 years, the widely popular Integra served as the gateway platform to the brand. Since then, Acura matured in its product offerings. The current entry-level model, the ILX, came to market in 2013. Based on the Civic sedan, the ILX added more style, performance, and refinement to the reliability expected of a Civic. Luxurious interior appointments and world-class ergonomics characterized the subcompact Acura. As for powertrain options: the 150hp 2.0L R20A engine with a five-speed automatic, and 201hp K24Z7 engine paired with a six-speed manual. A hybrid was also available until 2014.
In 2016, the ILX was refreshed with a torquier K24V7 engine (+10 lb-ft) mated to an eight-speed Sequential SportShift automatic DCT. The new tranny allows for quicker shifting—enough gears and the right ratios to deliver good acceleration, as well as taller gears to deliver better fuel economy. LED lights plus the A-Spec aesthetics package completed the first refresh.
For 2019, Acura had already begun to reimagine itself, incorporating its new "Acura Precision Concept" theme in its entire lineup. The ILX was the last member of the family to receive this enhancement, which is highlighted by the new "diamond pentagon" grille. The grille is flanked by sleeker seven-element Jewel Eye LED headlights. An aggressive new fascia and hood lines are complemented by a restyled decklid, LED tails, and a rear diffuser. We can't help but admit that when combined these elements add a sportier persona to the pedestrian appearance of the older model.
SLICK AND SWIFT
Acura spared no expense ensuring the driving experience would be enjoyable. Just stepping on the throttle is enough to put a smile on your face. The 2.4L, direct fuel injection engine responds well to your right foot, and, with each click of the right paddle, the upshifts are defined and crisp—with just enough clutch slip to defend against self-induced whiplash, even at higher engine speeds. And yet, if you're feelin' lazy, you can still shift it to "D," let the DCT choose the gears, and just cruise. The chassis is stiff enough to be responsive with excellent feedback through the wheel, yet compliant and comfortable for long drives.
MORE FOR LESS
Whenever there's a refresh, we're conditioned to expect cost inflation to join it. However, Acura aggressively priced the '19 ILX to be more accessible, starting at $25,900 for the base model, $2,200 less than the '18 model. The top-tier A-Spec model with technology package lists for $31,550, a reduction of $3,550 from the outgoing car. Rest assured, this rollback in pricing is not accompanied by a compromise in quality, making the ILX quite appealing in our opinion, especially if you're thinking of picking up your first Acura.