It’s not everyday that automakers get do-overs but that is what Acura has done with its smallest family member. For 2016, the entry model to Acura, ILX, sees a slimming of powertrain choices and a freshening of styling and technology – all for the better. A few years ago I thought Acura lost its way with this model but no more.
I was immediately impressed with the new styling of the 2016 along with siblings TLX and RLX. Acura has eased back on the polarizing front end styling from the garish beak to a modern interpretation of automotive styling (AKA a little more Honda-like). Slipping behind the wheel the new ILX feels like an entry luxury sports sedan and that is even before pressing the start button.
Power is courtesy a 201hp 2.4-liter DOHC i-VTEC inline four-cylinder engine that is mated to a slick eight-speed automatic dual clutch gearbox with sport mode and Sequential Sport Shift via steering wheel paddle shifters. Gone is the base 2.0-liter engine as well as the hybrid powertrain that I was less than fond of a few years back. This new engine/transmission combination works perfectly and offers a sporty driving experience that will have many coming back to the brand.
Engineers have done extensive work on the chassis to create a more rigid body structure for better safety along with offering a more dynamic driving experience. Find some twisty roads in the ILX – go on, I dare you – and tell me this little four-door is not fun to drive.
Three trim levels separate your choices for a 2016 ILX. There is standard ILX, ILX Premium, and ILX Tech Plus. For those needing more choices Acura offers the A-SPEC package that consists of sporty side sill garnishes, trunk spoiler, front fog lights, new 18-inch, 10-spoke alloy wheels, and some unique interior appointments. Our recent tester was the latter with all the bells and whistles.
New technology added for 2016 consists of Blind Spot Information, Cross Traffic Monitor, HD Radio and Aha, smartphone-linked navigation system, Siri Eyes Free, AcuraWatch driver assistance technologies, and next-generation AcruaLink. A 7-inch color touchscreen display at center dash allows drivers access to all the infotainment systems and a 10-speaker ELS premium audio system plays not only your favorite music but also Active Noise Control noise cancellation.
The 2016 ILX seats up to five but four adults can ride in true comfort. The trunk will accommodate two large suitcases or a shopping cart full of groceries. The ride is comfortable bordering on tight and steering is very well controlled with no room for error or over-correction. The tires on our tester seemed to pick up every crack in the road surfaces but other than the feel being transmitted to pedals and steering the chassis and suspension does a very good job of absorbing all that is thrown at it.
I was surprised though with the slight brake squeak every once in a while from this press fleet model with only 4,000 miles on it. This model also featured the adaptive cruise control, road departure mitigation, lane keeping assist and lane departure warning, and collision mitigation braking. There were times I felt the collision mitigation braking system got a bit too paranoid and was alarming a little too much for my driving style – it was kind of like having my wife white knuckling more than necessary and giving me that scared sound of hers right before she hollers all of my names. Relax, honey, I got this.
Pricing for the 2016 Acura ILX begins at $27,900 with our loaded tester coming in at $35,810. EPA fuel economy is rated at 25 mpg city and 36 mpg highway.
Good job on this do-over, Acura, the new ILX is a driver’s car with attractive styling and should have folks streaming back into showrooms in no time.