Acura ILX
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Overview

If Honda built a luxury version of its Civic sedan, the ILX is what it would look like. For its sophomore year, Acura piles on more standard goodies from last season’s Premium Package.

Drivetrain

Two four-cylinder engines to choose from as well as a gas-electric hybrid; front-wheel-drive only.

If luxury is what the coming-of-age Generation Y gang yearns for, then Acura is only too happy to deliver. The ILX has the look and feel of upscale-ness, but shouldn’t cost a fortune as long as its youthful purchasers resist the lure of the options list. Although loosely based on the current Honda Civic platform, the ILX has little in common with that model. From the front and side, the car’s high style is much evidence, even if the rounded rear deck looks a bit out of place and results in a modestly proportioned trunk. Fortunately the folding the back seat can extend the available stowage capacity. For drivers, the neatly designed dashboard, control panel and useful multi-information display that among other data provides average speed, fuel consumption and oil life info. Base iterations arrive with a 150-horsepower 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that operates through a five-speed automatic transmission. For performance-minded Millennials there’s the optional 201-horsepower 2.4-liter four-cylinder that uses a six-speed manual gearbox (both purloined from the Honda Civic Si) to keep the front wheels turning. At the socially conscious end of the lineup, the Hybrid combines a 1.5-liter four-cylinder with an electric motor to generate 111 net horsepower. The Hybrid gets a continuously variable transmission (CVT) to help generate 39 mpg in the city and 38 on the highway, compared to 24/35 for the 2.0 and 22/31 for the 2.4. All models include a power moonroof, keyless push-button start and an audio system with an interface for subscription-based Internet music. For 2014, ILX has, as standard, most of the goodies from the previously optional Premium Package, including leather seating surfaces with leatherette door liners, an eight-way power driver’s seat, heated front seats and a multiple-angle rearview camera. As well, a new subwoofer for the audio system and Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) system that deletes unwanted exterior sounds are now found on every ILX. At the same time the base price has increased by $1,000, so the extra standard goodies are indeed extra. The optional Technology package comes with a 365-watt ELS-brand stereo (with 15-gigabytes of music storage capacity) and a voice-controlled navigation system.

Base price (incl. destination): $27,800
Type: Four-door compact sedan
Base engine (hp): 2.0-liter SOHC I4 (150)
Optional engines (hp): 2.4-liter DOHC I4 (200); 1.5-liter SOHC I4 with electric motor (111, net)
Layout: Front-engine, front-wheel-drive
Transmission: Five-speed automatic (2.0); six-speed manual (2.4); continuously variable (Hybrid)
MPG (city/hwy): 24/35 (2.0)
Safety: Front airbags; side-impact airbags; side-curtain airbags; anti-lock brakes; traction control; stability control.
Weight (lb.): 2,910