2019 Acura Ilx Review

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The 2019 Acura ILX gets a variety of updates this year. For one, there’s new front-end styling, and that change alone might be enough for some shoppers to put the ILX on their list. The new grille is similar to those used on other newly designed Acuras, and it helps the ILX have a sportier look to it.

It also doesn’t hurt that the ILX’s price goes down for 2019, making it one of the least expensive entry-level luxury sedans around. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are also available, and they are welcome additions to the ILX’s infotainment system. Basically, the Acura ILX offers a luxury badge and lots of standard equipment at a bargain price.

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Unfortunately, the cost savings are apparent when you spend a lot of time in this car. The core of the issue is that the current ILX is based on the last-generation Honda Civic, a car that exemplified Honda at its most complacent. Acura has not been able to cover up all the cheap, hollow-feeling plastics or compensate for the worse-than-average cabin noise levels. Acceleration from the ILX’s four-cylinder engine is also subpar.

The 2019 ILX is comfortable to sit in, and it comes from a brand with a reputation for reliability and easy ownership. But pretty much any other entry-level luxury vehicle offers a more rich and more upscale driving experience.

Standard equipment on the ILX includes 17-inch alloy wheels, automatic headlights, heated mirrors, LED head- and taillights, proximity entry and push-button start, a power sunroof, dual-zone climate control, a leather-wrapped tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, an eight-way power-adjustable driver’s seat, heated front seats and faux leather upholstery. The base model makes do with a single-screen infotainment system with Bluetooth audio streaming and a six-speaker stereo system.

The AcuraWatch suite of safety features and driver aids comes standard, so the ILX has forward collision alert with emergency automatic braking, lane keeping assist and road departure mitigation, and even adaptive cruise control (although it doesn’t operate below 25 mph). A rear camera with multiple view options is also standard.

Adding the Premium package brings you blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert, perforated leather upholstery, a four-way power-adjustable passenger seat, and an auto-dimming rearview mirror. The Premium package upgrades the infotainment system with a second touchscreen, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration, and a subwoofer.

From there, the Technology package also adds navigation with real-time traffic, AcuraLink services integration, a premium 10-speaker stereo, and dynamic guidelines for the rearview camera display.

The A-Spec package can be added to the base car or in conjunction with either of the other upgrades. It’s primarily an appearance package, with unique trim and interior colors and faux-suede seat inserts. It also sports 18-inch alloy wheels with slightly wider tires.

Driving

The ILX can be fun to drive, but the engine lacks power low in the rev range, which means you’ll need to keep it above 4,000 rpm for best responsiveness. Luckily, the transmission is quick and smooth, and it responds rapidly to inputs.

Acceleration

The ILX’s non-turbocharged four-cylinder makes all its power high in the rev range, feeling and sounding best at 4,000 rpm or higher. While this is good fun in the right conditions, it leaves you feeling flat-footed driving in a city or stop-and-go traffic.

Braking

The brakes are responsive without feeling grabby, with intuitive pedal response. The ILX tracks straight during panic stops.

Steering

The steering is light but offers some feedback from the wheels, which can be lacking in this class. The quick turn-in and direct response help the ILX feel a bit sporty.

Handling

The ILX feels planted, even over bumps, and is more than capable in typical driving. There’s notable body roll, and for a sporty luxury vehicle the limits are low but pleasantly approachable. The car is quite balanced and will oversteer gently under braking.

Drivability

The transmission shifts quickly and smoothly and responds immediately to manual inputs. In Sport mode it will stay in the powerband, but in Normal mode, it will shift frequently, unable to easily balance upshifts for economy and downshifts needed for power.
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