2014 Acura ILX: Unheralded luxury sedan shines

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Now in its second year, the 2014 Acura ILX is the manufacturer’s smallest and least expensive, entry-level sedan. It’s only been available in the United States since May 2012.

Available in four gas-only trims, the 2014 Acura ILX is versatile for its class. The choices: 2.0 liter, 2.0 with Premium package, 2.0 with Technology package and 2.4 with Premium package. And there’s also the ILX Hybrid.

 Now in its second year, the 2014 Acura ILX is the manufacturer's smallest and least expensive, entry-level sedan. It's only been available in the United States since May 2012.  Available in four gas-only trims, the 2014 Acura ILX is versatile for its class. The choices: 2.0 liter, 2.0 with Premium package, 2.0 with Technology package and 2.4 with Premium package. And there's also the ILX Hybrid.  As a debuting car in 2013, the Acura ILX for 2014 shouldn't be expected to offer vast changes, but it has been upgraded. Leather seats and a rearview camera are now standard equipment and the audio system has also been improved.  The Weekly Driver Test Drive  My weekly driver was the top-line 2.4-liter with 201 horsepower. It's only available with a six-speed manual transmission, a seemingly less frequent option every year in the auto industry. The ILX has a short, smooth shift, which adds to the sports car feel of the sedan.  The 2.0 and 2.4-liter models include: 17-inch wheels, a sunroof, full power accessories, keyless ignition/entry, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, leather upholstery, an eight-way power driver seat, heated front seats, active noise cancellation, dual-zone automatic climate control, a 5-inch information display screen, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, SMS text message functionality, and a seven-speaker sound system with a CD player, a USB/iPod audio interface, satellite radio and Pandora radio smartphone app integration.  Upgrades with the 2.4-liter Premium include: xenon headlamps, foglamps, a rearview camera and an auto-dimming rearview mirror.  As I wrote last year, driving the Acura ILX is delightful. Although at speeds exceeding 60 mph the exhaust pitch changes from a pleasing growl to a more high-pitched tone, the Acura was smooth.  In both city and highway driving scenarios, the new Acura was controlled and comfortable. Automatic transmission fanciers might be initially disappointed since the model is only available with a manual transmission. But the manual transmission is precision-like. As such, a now contingent of manual transmission converts wouldn’t be a surprise.  Equally impressive: The total price of the car is $895 (destination/delivery) more than the MSRP. The included Premium Package features nearly a dozen items — heated front seats to leather-trim seats to a seven-speaker sound system. The standard featured lists features about 30 items — power everything to a good selection hi-tech adaptations.  Likes:  Acura is known for quality interior materials. The ILX follows suit.  Is there a longer standard features list in the car industry?  Entry level luxury sedan with 201 horsepower. Impressive.  Dislikes:  Available only with manual transmission in 2.4-liter edition.  High pitch engine tone when exceeding 60 mph.  Small trunk space.  Facts & Figures: 2014 Acura  ILX (Premium)  Acceleration: 0-60 mph, 7.1 seconds. Airbags (6). Fuel economy: 22 mpg (city), 31 mpg (highway), 25 mpg (combined), six-speed manual transmission. Government Safety Ratings: NTHSA, Not rated. Horsepower: 201 Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price: $29,200.00 Manufacturer’s Web site: www.acura.com. Price As tested: $30,095.00 Warranty: Bumper to bumper, 4 years/50,000 miles; Powertrain, 6 years/70,000 miles; Roadside Assistance, 4 years/50,000 miles.  What Others Say:  "Ride quality is a strength for all versions of the 2014 Acura ILX. This car offers a nearly ideal compromise between control and comfort, and it's quiet on the highway. Driving enthusiasts might be disappointed that the ILX 2.4 doesn't come with a sportier suspension tune, but the car is sure-footed around turns and generally enjoyable to pilot." -- Edmunds.com.   "The 2014 ILX offers a sleek, upbeat look, snappy performance, crisp handling, a stylish interior and levels of technology, convenience and safety commensurate with buyers' expectations." -- Kelley Blue Book.  "The (Acura) ILX’s shifter action is precise, clutch engagement is nearly perfect and the shifts are short." -- TheTruthAboutCars.com  The Weekly Driver’s Final Words:  "It's hard to think of the 2014 Acura ILX as the luxury brand's smallest and least expensive model. It does everything right — strong acceleration, plenty of room, decent gas mileage, adept steering and a smooth, steady ride. An entry-level car for Acura? Technically, yes. But realistically, no way."
The 2014 Acura ILX is an entry level sedan. All images © James Raia/2013

As a debuting car in 2013, the Acura ILX for 2014 shouldn’t be expected to offer vast changes, but it has been upgraded. Leather seats and a rearview camera are now standard equipment and the audio system has also been improved.

The Weekly Driver Test Drive

My weekly driver was the top-line 2.4-liter with 201 horsepower. It’s only available with a six-speed manual transmission, a seemingly less frequent option every year in the auto industry. The ILX has a short, smooth shift, which adds to the sports car feel of the sedan.

The 2.0 and 2.4-liter models include: 17-inch wheels, a sunroof, full power accessories, keyless ignition/entry, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, leather upholstery, an eight-way power driver seat, heated front seats, active noise cancellation, dual-zone automatic climate control, a 5-inch information display screen, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, SMS text message functionality, and a seven-speaker sound system with a CD player, a USB/iPod audio interface, satellite radio and Pandora radio smartphone app integration.

Upgrades with the 2.4-liter Premium include: xenon headlamps, foglamps, a rearview camera and an auto-dimming rearview mirror.

As I wrote last year, driving the Acura ILX is delightful. Although at speeds exceeding 60 mph the exhaust pitch changes from a pleasing growl to a more high-pitched tone, the Acura was smooth.

In both city and highway driving scenarios, the new Acura was controlled and comfortable. Automatic transmission fanciers might be initially disappointed since the model is only available with a manual transmission. But the manual transmission is precision-like. As such, a now contingent of manual transmission converts wouldn’t be a surprise.

Equally impressive: The total price of the car is $895 (destination/delivery) more than the MSRP. The included Premium Package features nearly a dozen items — heated front seats to leather-trim seats to a seven-speaker sound system. The standard featured lists features about 30 items — power everything to a good selection hi-tech adaptations.

Likes:

Acura is known for quality interior materials. The ILX follows suit.

Is there a longer standard features list in the car industry?

Entry level luxury sedan with 201 horsepower. Impressive.

Dislikes:

Available only with manual transmission in 2.4-liter edition.

High pitch engine tone when exceeding 60 mph.

Small trunk space.

Facts & Figures: 2014 Acura  ILX (Premium)

Acceleration: 0-60 mph, 7.1 seconds.
Airbags (6).
Fuel economy: 22 mpg (city), 31 mpg (highway), 25 mpg (combined), six-speed manual transmission.
Government Safety Ratings: NTHSA, Not rated.
Horsepower: 201
Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price: $29,200.00
Manufacturer’s Web site: www.acura.com.
Price As tested: $30,095.00
Warranty: Bumper to bumper, 4 years/50,000 miles; Powertrain, 6 years/70,000 miles; Roadside Assistance, 4 years/50,000 miles.

What Others Say:

“Ride quality is a strength for all versions of the 2014 Acura ILX. This car offers a nearly ideal compromise between control and comfort, and it’s quiet on the highway. Driving enthusiasts might be disappointed that the ILX 2.4 doesn’t come with a sportier suspension tune, but the car is sure-footed around turns and generally enjoyable to pilot.” — Edmunds.com.

“The 2014 ILX offers a sleek, upbeat look, snappy performance, crisp handling, a stylish interior and levels of technology, convenience and safety commensurate with buyers’ expectations.” — Kelley Blue Book.

“The (Acura) ILX’s shifter action is precise, clutch engagement is nearly perfect and the shifts are short.” — TheTruthAboutCars.com.

The Weekly Driver’s Final Words:

“It’s hard to think of the 2014 Acura ILX as the luxury brand’s smallest and least expensive model. It does everything right — strong acceleration, plenty of room, decent gas mileage, adept steering and a smooth, steady ride. An entry-level car for Acura? Technically, yes. But realistically, no way.”

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