Billed as a luxury sports sedan, the 2016 Acura ILX excels at being a sports sedan but falls a bit short on the luxury. Traditionally based on the Honda Civic, the 2016 Acura ILX shares much less in common than previous versions, but still maintains the entry level compact sedan status in the Acura lineup.
ENGINE & DRIVE
The 2016 model year simplifies the ILX’s offering by reducing engine and transmission choices to one engine paired with an automatic transmission for all the ILX models. The smaller 2.0L engine and the hybrid version are no longer offered for 2016, but instead everything is consolidated to make the ILX its own distinct vehicle.
While the manual transmission will be missed by many, the 2016 Acura ILX is instead equipped with an 8 speed automatic dual clutch transmission for quicker, smoother, quieter gear changes and better fuel economy. Although surprised, I was happy to see Acura choosing to integrate an 8 speed transmission into a compact sedan with only a four cylinder engine. The result is a smooth ride, great fuel economy and low revving engine noise at highway speeds.
Driving around the city in the 2016 Acura ILX was a very pleasurable experience. The ILX felt light on its feet with peppy and responsive acceleration, superb handling around corners, adequate steering feedback and great all around performance. Highway driving felt smooth and reassured with minimal engine noise, although the road and wind noise definitely had a presence inside the cabin.
With some spirited driving over our 200km city and highway test drive, the 2016 ILX averaged 9.8 L/100km which is slightly outside the posted fuel economies of 9.3 L/100km in the city and 6.6 L/100km on the highway.
The beautifully sporty exterior of the 2016 Acura ILX A-Spec is emphasized with great use of accent lines and curves, side skirting and an aftermarket-like front end. Other features such as the 5 bulb horizontal futuristic headlights (Jewel Eye LEDs), shark fin antenna, hidden exhaust and black and chrome highlights add to the luxurious and athletic appearance.
Make sure to opt for the A-Spec package to get a sportier exterior including the addition of 18” wheels, fog lights, side skirts, rear spoiler, suede seating and metal racing pedals.
The ILX’s interior is simple and elegant but better quality surface materials were expected for the “luxury car” designation. Although the build quality is great the interior could use some higher end materials. While the black and chrome is a nice touch on the dash, these materials are found on many non-luxury vehicles these days.
The curved, multi tiered dash with dual display screens is complimented by the minimal use of buttons and dials. The center console is quite narrow, allowing front passengers more legroom while still accommodating the typical two cup holders. I found the speedometer and tachometer gauges to be quite plain and could have made a huge difference in the overall interior’s appearance with a more elegant design.
Despite the lack of luxury materials in the cabin, the beautiful sporty exterior makes up for it! The performance and handling exceeded my expectations and made me a fan, while also allowing for a smooth and refined ride over longer distances. The younger market will love the edgy exterior design and even more so the price. Being able to get into a compact luxury sports sedan starting at $29,490 makes the 2016 Acura ILX a fierce competitor versus comparables in its class like the 2015 Infiniti Q50. Make your decision by test driving them all!