2016 Acura ILX: Strong drive, good luxury value

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The 2016 Acura ILX is the fourth year of the first generation of the upscale brand’s midsize, entry level luxury sedan. It has been refreshed this year with several interior and exterior updates, including a larger engine and additional safety features.

The Weekly Driver Test Drive

The updated base 2016 Acura ILX is available in six equipment levels, all with oddly cumbersome names. My weekly driver was officially called the 2016 Acura ILX Tech Plus A-Spec, a sport-oriented trim.

For 2016, the Acura ILX updates include the dispatching of the previous standard 2.0-liter for a four-cylinder, 2.4-liter offering. It was previously optional. It’s matched with a 201 horsepower engine that provides 180 pound-feet of torque.

Now also standard is an easy-to-shift, eight-speed automatic transmission. The fuel efficiency is an EPA estimated 25 mpg in the city, 36 mpg on the highway and a combined 29 mpg.

The 2016 Lexus ILX has been refreshed.
The 2016 Acura ILX has been refreshed inside and outside. All images © James Raia/2015.

 

The new safety features are all worthwhile: a blind-spot warning system, rear-cross traffic alert, lane-keeping assist, forward collision mitigation, adaptive cruise control and a multiview back-up camera.

Among the Acura’s many strong points is its long standard features list. In addition to the above mentioned, standard equipment also includes in all trims: 17-inch wheels, a sunroof, automatic LED headlights, heated mirrors, keyless ignition and entry, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, leatherette (premium vinyl) upholstery, an eight-way power driver seat, heated front seats, a fold-down rear seatback, dual-zone automatic climate control, a 5-inch information display screen.

There’s also: Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, and a six-speaker sound system with a CD player, a USB/iPod audio interface and Pandora Radio and Siri Eyes Free smartphone app integration.

My weekly driver included several additional packages: Premium, Tech, AcuraWatch Plus and A-Spec. The combined standard/optional offerings blur the line between important standard and optional equipment and extraneous stuff. The S-Spec package, for example, includes handsome 18-inch bespoke alloy wheels, but does the Acura really need a spoiler?

The entry level sedan segment features several top-notch vehicles — the Audi A3, Mercedes-Benz CLA Class and the BMW 3 Series. All drive well, have more refinement than the Acura ILX and fine reputations. They’re also all more expensive.

The 2016 Acura ILX provides a good value alternative. It doesn’t accelerate as quickly as its rivals, but it powers down the road more than adequately. Its ride is smooth, particularly in freeway driving. It also maneuvers well and has a tight turning radius.

Likes:

Good value in entry level luxury class.

Quality ride and strong handling.

Good overall roominess.

Handsome exterior design.

Dislikes:

Non-intuitive navigation system.

Facts & Figures: 2016 Lexus ILX

Acceleration: 0-60 mph: Unavailable.
Airbags: 6.
Fuel economy: 25 mpg (city), 36 mpg (highway), 29 mpg (combined) eight-speed automatic transmission.
Horsepower: 201.
Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price: $34,890.00.
Manufacturer’s Web site: www.acura.com.
Price As Tested: $35,810.00.
Warranty: Bumper to bumper, 6 years/70,000 miles; Powertrain, 4 years/50,000 miles; Corrosion, 5 years/unlimited mileage.

What Others Say:

“We do like how the 2016 Acura ILX rides. This car offers a nearly ideal compromise between control and comfort, even with the larger 18-inch wheels. Driving enthusiasts might be disappointed that the steering doesn’t provide much feedback, but overall the car is sure-footed and pretty enjoyable to pilot around turns. — Edmunds.com.

“Stylistically, we’ve found that the ILX has a nice balance between crisp and fluid, edgy and smooth—a more youthful take on a compact luxury car than you’ll find elsewhere in the segment, and handsome if not lust-inducing.” — carconnection.com.

“Somehow, the reborn 2016 Acura ILX doesn’t come across as an upscale car. A really nice Honda Civic it may be, but a Civic nonetheless.” — consumerreports.org.

The Weekly Driver’s Final Words:

“From its price to its long list of features, there’s not much not to like about the 2016 Acura ILX.”

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