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Acura ILX
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Overall
Not the hot-seller Acura hoped for, even after two years of additional tweaks and equipment; for its third year, Acura ditches the hybrid model.

Drivetrain
Two four-cylinder engines to choose from, although gas-electric hybrid not back for 2015; front-wheel-drive only.

Acura has been playing the compact-luxury thing for years, where there’s genuine quality design that needn’t cost a fortune. So why is the ILX finding itself far behind rivals from Buick — really? — and newer players from Mercedes-Benz and Audi? Although loosely based on the current Honda Civic platform — as good a place as any to start — the ILX hasn’t be able to capture the magic. From the front and side, the car’s high style is much in evidence, even if the rounded rear deck looks a bit out of place and results in a modestly proportioned trunk. Fortunately the folding 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. Gone is the socially conscious Hybrid although making its continuously variable transmission (CVT) standard in regular ILX model helps it generate more than the 24 mpg in the city and 35 on the highway for the 2.0 (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. Thanks to big additions to the standard equipment for the 2014 model year, ILX still has an extensive bunch of goodies including 17-inch wheels, leather seating surfaces with leatherette door liners, an eight-way power driver’s seat, heated front seats and a multiple-angle rear-view camera. As well, a subwoofer for the audio system and Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) system that deletes unwanted exterior sounds are found on every ILX. 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.