2016 Acura ILX Review
HD Drive Video
We'd wager that no auto writer has been harder on Acura over the years than Car-Revs-Daily.com. A headline for some TLX renders last year wondered aloud:
That is seriously harsh. But as the TLX was revealed with the same much-hated shield grille... we could not help but vent some frustration.
Fast forward to driving the TLX and its new ILX kid brother. We have to correct the record.
Acura is on a mission, folks. Its two latest cars introduce exceptional new drivetrain tech and the results are astoundingly good.
The biggest innovation in the ILX's toolkit is its new eight-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. This -- and 250 pounds of luxury kit -- is what makes the ILX so appealing versus its Civic Si sibling.
This new transmission is absolutely ahhh-mazing. It is hard to express the joy of instant upshifts and lightning downshifts on paper here, but the video above helps on that front.
The ILX's high-rev power peak is now an asset again, after years of being irritating and the cars seeming totally torque-free. Versus the Civic Si, the ILX absolutely rockets out of corners and roars through its power peaks between 5,000 and 7,500 RPM. There is so little intrusion from the upshifts and downshifts that you can focus on just hammering the throttle and steering.
Driven by the scruff of its nexk, the ILX really shocks with its excellence. The steering feels razor-sharp and rigidly mounted to the ultra-stiff front chassis. This helps the ILX dart into, through and out of corners with real verve and playfulness.
After a fast drive in the rain, we even started to see the much-maligned Acura grille differently.
A new design on the ILX helps, of course. But the Acura nose suddenly does not seem like a woodland creature with one giant tooth. It actually feels like a solid style statement in its own right. That the cars share a look with the new NSX certainly helps.
On to the ILX design.
Even though the ILX update is fairly light outside, the revamped nose and tail really do the trick. LEDs run the show as standard for the low and high-beams, while a double line of LEDs also make up the front turn signals. It looks super, super cool in person with those jewel-eye LED lamps burning.
In back we also have some very-cool new brake lights with a single bar of LED light as the main running light. This horizontal strip is very now and very chic.
So is Acura back to being cool and credibly premium?
Work is still needed, but the TLX and the ILX make excellent cases for themselves in the flesh and on the roads. These are truly transformed vehicles that are fun to drive, extremely quiet and plush inside, and sharing little to no parts with any Honda donor platforms underneath.
The Price Is Right.
Key competition for the ILX comes from the Audi A3 and Mercedes-Benz CLA250. Both of those cars can be loaded well into the $40,000 ballpark, while the ILX A-Spec with Advance and Tech packages tops out in the mid-$30s.
Check out the ILX color options below. The newest and most-affordable Acura is arriving now to showrooms with a base price of just $28,000.
2016 Acura ILX