No Econo Box
By Ron Amadon
DAMASCUS, MD. – Acura has spruced up its entry level sedan for 2016 giving it more power, additional standard equipment, and a dose or three of quiet.
The 2.0-liter four that left the ILX somewhat underpowered in 2015 is no longer offered. Neither is the six-speed manual due to a lack of demand. The once optional 2.4-liter four is now standard equipment.
That leaves 201 horsepower @ 6,800 rpm with 180 lb-ft of torque @ 3,600 rpm as the one and only power plant. That is the same horsepower as last year but with 10 more lb-ft of torque. The lone transmission is an eight speed dual clutch automatic, with paddle shifts in the test car.
Select the Sport driving mode and you will enjoy crisp gear changes with rev-matching down shifts. I measured 27 mpg in suburban and highway driving. EPA is 25/36/29 on recommended premium unleaded.
A multi-view rear camera is now standard. The front and rear received a styling update, and rear LED combination lights are new along with restyled 17 inch, 10 spoke wheels.
Acura said steering responsiveness and linearity have been improved, (they have) along with a retuned suspension and some chassis enhancements. For 2016 there is extra noise reducing materials, thicker front door glass, and Active Noise Control technology. All this produces a quiet ride except when the tach needle approaches the red line.
The ILX A-SPEC package on the test sedan added a trunk spoiler, fog lights, new 18-inch 10 spoke machined alloy wheels, and inside, a black headliner, perforated black suede and seat inserts, red instrument illumination, gray stitching and aluminum brake and throttle pedals.
Safety and driver assist items are contained in the AcuraWatch package including Adaptive Cruise Control, Lane Keeping Assist, Road Departure Mitigation and Collision Mitigation Braking System.
All that is included in the Tech Plus upgrade that brings navigation, an information screen between the tach and speedo, premium audio system, and the expected phone and connectivity goodies.
All the changes did add a bit of weight, from 2,961 pounds in model year 2015 to 3,093 for 2016. The front disc brakes are roughly an inch larger at 12.3 inches.
Also new for 2016 is Blind Spot information, Cross Traffic Monitor, HD radio and Aha, driver’s two position memory seat and front passenger 4 way power seat.
Suspension magicians have come up with a nice blend of a comfortable ride on the interstates combined with the ability to carve up some back roads. Not a sports car mind you, but better handling than one might expected in a car that occupies the bottom rung in the Acura lineup.
The 2.4-liter four maintains Honda’s, oops, Acura’s love of revving to the red line, and anyone can enjoy those rev matching down shifts. It is a fun little sedan to drive, in short.
Base prices start at $27,900 and work their way up to $34,890 for a top of the line ILX with the Tech Plus and A-Spec packages.
That is below what you would pay for the Audi A3 but above the Honda Civic where the top of the price line Si Sedan with navi starts at $24,590 but lacking some of the ILX’s touches.
And one must wonder if the ILX will be eclipsed by the aggressive 10th generation Civic concept that was displayed at the New York auto show, if that styling is carried over to the production model.
For now, I would recommend that anyone looking for luxury touches in a fun to drive compact sedan take the ILX out for a test drive because one thing has not changed for 2016. That is Honda/Acura’s promise of reliability well beyond the time that the odometer exceeds six figures.