By Brian Armstead
Add one more set of letters to the “alphabet soup” that denotes models from Acura, the upscale division from Honda – ILX. The 2013 ILX is based on cousin Honda Civic, which is a pretty good place to start as the Civic has been a sales and reliability leader for decades.
While the ILX at first glance resembles the Civic, it has its own unique character. The ILX is pleasantly styled, and eschews the dramatic angles and wacky grille treatment that have made some recent models from Acura look like they belong in a Japanese Anime flick. Styling is crisp and clean, and I especially like the tall rear deck that makes the ILX look larger than it actually is.
The ILX is available with a 2.0 or 2.4 liter four-cylinder gasoline engine, or in Hybrid guise. My favorite is the 2.4 liter model, as it’s available only with a six-speed manual transmission and is a hoot to drive. The front-wheel drive ILX handles well in all trim levels, but the manual really brings out the sporting intentions this car seems built around. With 201 horsepower available at 7,000 rpm, you can wind the ILX’s engine up as you carve up your favorite back roads.
Base pricing for the ILX starts at $26,795 (includes destination charges) and this is no stripper. Inside, you’ll find a clean dash layout with plenty of creature comforts. Keyless entry and start, premium audio, climate control and much more are standard or optional. One of my favorite standard features is the integrated SMS text message function that enables you to respond to incoming text messages in a manner that reduces driver distraction. The system currently works with BlackBerry phones and other mobile phones that use the MAP protocol. When you are driving with a paired, compatible phone, the system will notify you of an incoming text message.
So instead of you having to take your eyes off the road by reading the text on your phone, the system will ask if you want it to “read” the message to you. After the message is read aloud, you can use the center display to select six pre-prepared responses.
With this system and others, Acura has now established itself as a leader in safety technology, so rest assured the ILX will do well to protect you and your family.
The 2013 Acura ILX is a complete package in any trim level. If max fuel economy is your thing, then opt for the ILX Hybrid, which returns an impressive 38 mpg.