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2019 Acura ILX - First Drive

The Gateway to Precision-Crafted Performance

Richard Fong
Mar 18, 2019

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?

2019 acura ILX passenger side front view Photo 2/11   |   2019 Acura ILX Passenger Side Front View


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.

2019 acura ILX engine bay Photo 6/11   |   2019 Acura ILX Engine Bay

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.


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.

2019 acura ILX front seats Photo 10/11   |   2019 Acura ILX Front Seats


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.

2019 acura ILX steering wheel Photo 11/11   |   2019 Acura ILX Steering Wheel
By Richard Fong
15 Articles
2019 Acura ILX - First Drive
That New Car Smell
Sticker: Starting from $25,900
Power: 201hp, 180 lb-ft of torque
Layout: Front engine, front-wheel drive
Engine: 2.4L DOHC 16-valve inline-four with direct fuel injection
Drivetrain: Eight-speed Sequential SportShift automatic with paddle shifters
Footwork & Chassis: Front and rear independent suspension; front and rear stabilizer bars
Wheels & Tires: 18-inch alloy wheels; 225/40R18 tires
At The Pump: 24/34/28 (city/highway/combined)
Curb Weight: from 3,095 pounds



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