Acura has announced pricing and more details about the ILX, their new entry-level sedan set to go on sale May 22. The ILX will be positioned beneath the TSX in the Acura line up, providing a more affordable, and fuel-efficient, starting point.
The ILX is based on the compact Honda Civic, but it distinguished with different suspension tunings and sheet metal, along with more refinement, sound deadening, and an upgraded interior. Base, hybrid, and a sporty model will be offered.
We had an opportunity to drive all three versions this week, both at a media event and at our test track. All do a credible job of masking their humble Civic roots, with reduced noise levels and a more refined ride and more responsive handling. The more upscale interior is more Acura like, for better and for worse. What that means is the ILX brings soft-touch dashboard and padded door trim instead of the hard plastics and cheap look and feel of the Civic, but it also gets the busy and disjointed dash layout of other Acura models, with scattered small buttons and controls.
The base car provides a reasonable balance of fairly nimble handling with decent ride comfort for its size, with adequate performance from the 2.0-liter four cylinder and five-speed automatic. That version is expected to constitute 75 percent of sales. The 2.4-liter model is sort of a Civic Si for grown ups, with more power and sportier handling than the base ILX, and any transmission you like as long as it's a six-speed manual. With different gear ratios and better noise isolation it's less frenetic than the Civic Si. The hybrid uses the same 1.5-liter engine, electric motor, and CVT automatic transmission used in the Civic hybrid but is geared for better response at low speeds.
The base ILX 2.0L version gets a 150-hp, 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine and five-speed automatic transmission, and they will start at $25,900, including power sunroof, keyless entry and ignition, Internet radio interface, and Bluetooth. A $3,300 premium package adds heated leather seats, an upgraded audio system, active sound cancellation, and other amenities. Topping the range is a $2,200 technology package with navigation, AcuraLink telematics system with traffic and weather information, and hard drive media storage, for a grand total of $31,400. At that point, it's mighty close to the TSX which is a larger car.
The sportier ILX 2.4L is available only with the Premium package and is priced at $29,200.
Hybrid 1.5L models start at $28,900 and cost $34,400 with the technology package.
Destination charges add $895 to all of the above prices. The ILX enters a niche that so far includes the Buick Verano and not much else since the departure of the Volvo S40. But it won't be long before other entries arrive.
We'll be adding the ILX to our test fleet as soon models arrive in showrooms, so stay tuned for a full test report.