I thought, Civic....Acura...what's the difference?
So I dropped into the local Acura Emporium. Right in the middle of the showroom floor--small showroom--there's a silver NSX. $179,200 and it's yours!
It's raining and snowing and snaining, and where three or four actual cars that customers might want to look at and sit in and maybe even drive or buy, there is that thang with "DO NOT TOUCH" signs all over it. Talk about form over function.
I personally give a crap about cars I don't want and can't afford and would not buy even if I won the lottery, but apparently Mgmt., Inc. thinks SOMEONE will be impressed.
I had not read up on Accs so I was at the salesman's mercy. No catalogues. WTF? You have a 200 grand DO NOT TOUCH car on display for the peasants, but no brochures? Someone's priorities are really sideways.
At any rate, a sales guy showed up and we had kowffee and towktt. All the staff were polite and had been to Social Skills 101 class which is always a plus. The opposite of the VW dealer, pretty much.
So we went and sat in a Premium model, #2 (above the cleverly-named Base) in the four-model hierarchy and tooled around the parking lot. It was 4:30 Friday and it was snowing and I didn't see the point in taking the car out to see how it sits in traffic.
I returned today, we drove a base model. It's the only one that doesn't have two screens and all sorts of hieroglyphic "touch me" controls. ALL the car tester guys complain about the confusing setup Honda, pardon me Acura, has cursed this car with.
Mandatory sunroof. Definitely cramps the cabin.
Plusses: heated seats, push-button starting, and dual zone are standard. Oddly, there's no sunglass holder and the passenger seat does NOT adjust up or down. At 19.5" to 20" high this is the lowest, along with the Civic sedan. The "leatherette" upholstery is K-mart smart. What is the point? Nice cloth, nice cloth is nice. The leatherette does not feel good or smell good or be good.
The trunk is on the small side at 12 cu. ft. The back seat folds down as one, no split folding seats for Honda by golly! Acura.
The doors close CLUNK! This car really feels solid. I still remember the Elantra door that felt so tinny. The sales guy did an introductory spiel about high strength steel and this and that.
Unlike the Civics, this car has a 2.4 (I call it the Accord engine) cranking 201 HP @ 6800 and 180 TQ @ 3600. With an 8-speed dual clutch WITH torque converter it feels like a normal trannie. The engine pulls from on low, just like the charged Civic 1.5.
Unlike the Civics, this car does NOT have that cool camera on the right side mirror. Instead there's a vertical line and apparently a wide-angle lens on the outside inch of the mirror. Disorienting and it makes the mirror appear to have warped or wavy glass. NOT an improvement over the cheaper cousin.
We sit low, like an Austin Healy 3000. There's crap falling from the sky, it's about 29 degrees and a misty rain helps me appreciate modern carbon-based civilization and all its amenities.
Like cars. With roofs. And heaters.
The ILX (really, is that the best name youse guys can conjure up? ) rides firm but comfy. The seats are firm but comfy. Not hard as rocks like some Honda seats. The wipers do their job professionally and soundlessly. The windshield seems small. I think this car is 55" tall, definitely on the low side in today's Utility World.
The trannie has no DCT creeping or jerking characteristics. The power is smooth, torkey, and according to tests this is a mid-6-second car to 60. C&D acceleration numbers are very close to the Civic, which is plenty quick.
We drove a 10-mile loop which has a merge-to-freeway corner. The car gets up and scats. It doesn't feel as powerful as the Civic, the benchmark of cars I've driven, but I need dry pavement to tell for sure.
Steering is weighty and quick. The brakes are modern brakes. Weight distribution is 63/37, pretty front heavy.
The gauges are conventional twin pod, easy to see. The HVAC and radio controls are reasonably easy to decipher. WHY do so many of today's makers love tiny buttons?
In a class with such well-established performers as the BMW 3 Series, the Audi A3 and the Cadillac ATS, the 2017 Acura ILX is a bit of an outsider. Although its Honda roots are well-concealed, the ILX doesn't have the muscle or equipment to effectively compete in this league -- although for those who favor bulletproof reliability over performance and pedigree, we may have a match.
If you pay close attention, you can feel the previous-generation Honda Civic's presence in the ILX model's soul. Power is derived from a 2.4-liter engine offering up 201 horsepower but only 180 lb-ft of torque. Sadly, there's no 6-speed manual, but in its place is an excellent 8-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission.
Considering the ILX model's enticing starting price of around $29,000, it may not have the commanding power and presence of past premium sedans, but it's a good fit for these fast-changing times.
The 2017 Acura ILX comes in one model with six possible options packages.
Standard on the ILX ($28,930) are 17-inch alloy wheels, a sunroof, keyless entry with push-button ignition, automatic climate control, automatic LED headlights, a tilt-telescopic steering wheel, an 8-way power driver's seat, leatherette seating surfaces, heated front seats, heated side mirrors, Bluetooth with streaming audio capability, a 5-in color display that controls many accessory functions (including a read-aloud SMS text feature), a rearview camera, a 6-speaker 160-watt sound system with iPod/USB connectivity, Pandora Internet Radio and active sound cancellation.
The AcuraWatch package on the base car includes adaptive cruise control, lane-keep assist, lane-departure warning, collision-mitigation braking and forward-collision warning.
The Premium package adds a 7-speaker 360-watt premium sound system, leather seating, rear cross-traffic alert, a blind spot monitoring system, a 7-in multiuse touchscreen, HD and Aha Radio, Siri Eyes Free, a power passenger seat and a 2-position driver's-seat memory feature.
The Technology Plus package includes the Premium and AcuraWatch packages, plus an 8-in display and a hard-drive-based navigation system that offers 15 gigabytes of music storage and a 10-speaker ELS audio system.
The A-SPEC package can be added to either the Technology Plus or Premium package and brings 18-in alloy wheels, sport seats with Lux Suede inserts, black headliner, fog lights, a rear spoiler and aluminum sport pedals.
Car and Driver ranks it #3 in its class. Consumer Reports, #16 I believe. Soooooo...
This isn’t your average dual-clutch automatic. The weakness of most such applications is the initial throttle tip-in response from a dead stop. Clutches can be jerky and/or slow engaging. The ILX is unusual in that has a torque converter, yielding yacht-rock smoothness off the line with quick, solid upshifts. From behind the leather-trimmed wheel, you’d never know this automatic has three times the coupling devices of a manual transmission. In other words, the new gearbox is forgettable, though in a good way.
The altered tranny adds time to the track-test numbers compared with the old manual 2.4. With a 6.6-second 60-mph time and a 15.2-second quarter, the ’16 model is 0.2 second off the mark of the last 2.4-liter ILX we tested. Adding the extra hardware also helped inflate the curb weight by 164 pounds over the old 2.4, but the 3134-pound sedan, here in A-Spec form, doesn’t feel any heavier. Steering is appropriately light for an entry-level luxury four-door.
The old TSX wasn’t a BMW, but it was hard-core Honda, with a balanced chassis and perfectly satisfying controls that spark happy memories even years later. As with so many Acuras of late, there’s no interaction with the jejune ILX that we think we’ll remember in a decade. On the road, it handles competently enough, the understeer gradually building well before the tires lose grip. There seems to be more real-world adhesion than the 0.83-g skidpad score suggests, and the ILX glides through corners with surprising confidence and body control, at least some credit belonging to the A-Spec’s slightly wider tires.
Wheelbase: 105.1 in
Length: 181.9 in
Width: 70.6 in Height: 55.6 in
Passenger volume: 89 cu ft
Cargo volume: 12 cu ft
Curb weight: 3134 lb
*edit: Turning circle 36.8*
C/D TEST RESULTS:
Zero to 60 mph: 6.6 sec
Zero to 100 mph: 17.2 sec
Zero to 120 mph: 28.5 sec
Rolling start, 5-60 mph: 7.0 sec
Top gear, 30-50 mph: 3.7 sec
Top gear, 50-70 mph: 4.6 sec
Standing ¼-mile: 15.2 sec @ 94 mph
Top speed (governor limited): 133 mph
Braking, 70-0 mph: 184 ft
Roadholding, 300-ft-dia skidpad: 0.83 g
EPA city/highway driving: 25/36 mpg
C/D observed: 29 mpg
The six 70-mph panic stops spanned 17 feet, revealing an unusually high amount of fade. Most cars can keep all six stops within 5 to 10 feet of each other.