2015 Acura ILX Dynamic at a glance
BODY STYLE: compact entry luxury sedan
DRIVE METHOD: front-engine, front-wheel-drive
ENGINE: 2.4L DOHC i-VTEC four-cylinder (201 hp, 170 lb/ft of torque); (other trims exc. Hybrid) get 2.0L SOHC i-VTEC (150 hp, 140 lb/ft)
TRANSMISSION: (Dynamic) close ratio six-speed manual; (other trims exc. Hybrid) five-speed auto
FUEL ECONOMY: (Dynamic) 10.8/7.4/9.3L/100 km (city/hwy/comb); (2.0-litre) 9.7/6.7/8.3L/100 km
CARGO: 348 litres
PRICE: base $27,990; Premium $30,290; Technology $32,090; Dynamic $32,090; Hybrid $35,290
2015 Acura ILX more than just a well-dressed Civic
Some call it a well-dressed Honda Civic and question the added dollars.
I recently spent time in the 2015 Acura ILX, and would suggest its critics aren?t giving the brand?s gateway car the credit it is due.
It replaced the CSX, which was indeed quite Civic-ey, offering Acura?s entry buyers a more refined look with its long bonnet, short rear deck, pronounced fenders and simple, yet crisp character lines.
Compared with the Civic sedan?s steeply raked windshield that flows into a stubby hood, the ILX is visually longer and more graceful.
And I?d add more upscale ?? as it should be ? with its starting price of $27,990 topping upper-trim Civic coupes and sedans by more than $2K, not to mention the track-ready Si.
Although the ILX shares no body panels with the Honda?s best-selling compact, it does share a powertrain. Not the uninspiring 1.8-litre VTEC four cylinder (lower- and mid-trim Acuras get the mild-mannered 2.0-litre version instead), but the same free-revving DOHC 2.4-litre i-VTEC engine that makes the Civic Si such a blast.
It produces 201 hp and 170 lb/ft of torque, compared to 150 and 140 from the 2.0-litre, and is mated to a slick-shifting six-speed manual. This comes standard in the top-trim ILX Dynamic, as tested, which hits the wallet at $32,090.
VTEC engines have their sweet spot at high rpms, but it?s unnecessary to spin up this 2.4-litre to avoid getting mud in your eye. Plant the pedal at lower revs and there?s enough oomph to defy ill-mannered GTA drivers who see each turn signal as a challenge to close the gap.
And a quick downshift will further ensure your place in traffic, as this mill really does get better approaching 7,000 rpm. Many drivers today question the effort in choosing one?s own gears, but rowing through them in the ILX (or Si) is reward in itself.
Such similarities between these vehicles isn?t a knock against Acura, but testament to Honda?s world-class powertrain.
Still, there are key differences in how their muscle meets the asphalt.
Suspension setup is more refined in the Acura, featuring Amplitude Reactive Dampers. Unlike the Civic, ILX uses two dampers that allow for both short strokes (for absorbing road imperfections) and long strokes for carving lengthy S curves.
The result is a more forgiving ride, with minimal body roll in the corners.
The Si, however, is even more fun in said corners with its limited-slip differential ? a feature not offered in the ILX. The company claims its buyers aren?t looking for this kind of ?extreme? performance, and although ?
I?ll admit to seeing few boy racers in these premium pocket rockets, Acura?s pencil pushers may have dropped the ball.
Interior fittings are also unique to the ILX.
The passenger cabin is nicely put together with, thankfully, less hard plastic than Civic. But don?t expect luxury class. You?ll find no burl walnut here, and leather is limited to seats, steering wheel and shifter knob.
The dash is soft touch on top, but textured hard plastics and faux metallic below. It doesn?t look cheap, but lags behind competitors like Audi A3, Lexus IS and Mercedes CLA, which also cost thousands more.
HVAC is simple buttons and knobs, and the audio is similarly easy to operate. The eight-inch screen (Technology package and up) manages optional navigation and backup camera with a central knob and direct control buttons. Now needing reading glasses, I appreciate the larger view.
Seating is comfortable and leather trimmed (Premium and higher) along with two-position heating up front and eight-way power for the driver.
Front seats aren?t as snug as many sport buckets ? better for the North American backside ? and the rear bench works for those of more modest proportions.
The back seat drops as a single unit, which I wouldn?t mind if it had a pass-through for longer objects like skis. But it doesn?t.
The trunk, however, is a reasonable 348 litres. There?s plenty of room for groceries or a weekend?s worth of luggage.
The base car comes with a healthy equipment list that includes two-zone climate control, five-inch display with backup camera, smart key with pushbutton start, seven-speaker audio, power moonroof and automatic headlights. It rolls on 17-inch alloys like higher-trim models.
Dynamic is priced same as the Technology package, and includes navigation, upgraded 10-speaker audio, and power-adjustable leather seating.
And it isn?t bogged down by a 150 hp four-pot engine with five-speed automatic, both of which have been dropped for 2016.
I?ll confess to liking both rides, and yes, price would be a consideration in choosing between the Acura ILX and Civic Si, which is arguably its biggest competitor.
But as I creep up in age, and am gaining in appreciation for comforts and power doodads, what goes on in the passenger cabin will someday overtake what happens under the hood.
Not yet, mind you, and in the Acura ILX I found a reasonable blend of both for the price.