The all-new 2013 Acura ILX might not scream family car, but there are plenty of parents who enjoy a car that doesn't proclaim their mommy or daddy status as they battle rush-hour traffic or head out solo to the grocery store. Because it's an Acura, a few luxuries are to be expected, but I'm not sure it offers enough luxury to justify its sticker price — and really, the sticker was the most surprising thing about the ILX.
While the 2013 Acura ILX is an attractive and well-equipped car, my biggest beef with it is this compact doesn't live up to its luxury billing.
The ILX is based on a Honda Civic, and it could appeal to commuters looking for a few more niceties. An ILX Hybrid also is available.
The interior's finishes are clean and contemporary; the drive experience lends itself to a few good times, and the handling and maneuverability even feel great. But the ILX doesn't offer anything that makes it stand out from some non-luxury cars in the compact segment; it's just got a much higher price tag.
A base ILX starts at $26,795 including an $895 destination charge. My test car with a leather interior and the optional Technology Package cost a whopping $32,295.
There's no denying the ILX is part of the Acura family, especially when looking at the shield grille. It's also got Acura's sporty details that set it slightly apart from the average compact sedan.
As with nearly any sedan, the ILX comes with relative ease of entry for adults and kids. Its sporty styling results in the car sitting a little lower on the ground — great news for kids, but it could be cause for a little caution for taller moms and dads. Door handles will be a cinch for children to access, as well. Getting smaller children into their safety seats isn't a problem — just be sure to watch your head for that low roofline.
Cargo space is limited. Grocery runs and single strollers fit in the trunk easily, but a double stroller could be too much for the ILX.
The ILX has two engine offerings. My test car had the base engine, a 150-horsepower, 2.0-liter four-cylinder that's paired to a five-speed automatic transmission with a selectable manual mode. The engine gets an EPA-estimated 24/35 mpg city/highway. I had trouble achieving the combined city/highway rating of 28 mpg, but I blame my lead foot. It may help to lighten your lead foot because the ILX uses premium gasoline. The ILX has an available 201-hp, 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine with a six-speed manual. It gets 22/31 mpg and uses premium gasoline.
SENSE AND STYLE
Family Friendly (Not Really, Fair, Great, Excellent): Fair
Fun-Factor (None, Some, Good Times, Groove-On): Some
The ILX's interior is sleek and stylish, but it might be better suited for date night than carpool. My daughter and I zipped around town in comfort when it was just the two of us, but adding a passenger who sat in front of her rear-facing child-safety seat or behind me in the backseat made for some tight quarters. With the limited legroom and available black leather seats that came in my test car, a forward-facing toddler could go to town and make quite an impressionist art piece with shoe scuffs on the seatbacks.
I was disappointed by the ILX because I expected to find lots of high-end features inside the cabin. I enjoyed the navigation with live traffic, Bluetooth connectivity with streaming audio and the built-in Pandora interface, but you can find those in less expensive compact sedans like the Hyundai Elantra or Ford Focus. As a matter of fact, I don't think I'd be missing any of those features on a loaded Civic, either.
The ILX can transport five passengers, but if you've got child-safety seats to contend with, you'll just have room for two in the backseat. Rear-facing seats will tax the front passenger's legroom, but it's doable. Storage is pretty skimpy, too. There's four cupholders, but the door pockets don't leave much room for the toys and books my toddler requires these days for rides in the car. The seatback pockets didn't have much storage capacity, either.
IT'S THE LITTLE THINGS THAT COUNT
Storage Compartments (Puny, Fair, Ample, Galore): Fair
Cargo/Trunk Space (Puny, Fair, Ample, Galore): Fair
The 2013 Acura ILX has been named a Top Safety Pick by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. It earned the top score of Good in front, side, rear and roof-strength crash tests. It hasn't been crash-tested by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Getting child-safety seats installed into the ILX is hassle-free because of its easily accessible Latch anchors in the backseat. I always appreciate when installation goes quickly and smoothly. See how the ILX did in Cars.com's Car Seat Check.
The ILX has standard front-wheel drive, four-wheel-disc antilock brakes with brake assist, an electronic stability system with traction control, active front head restraints and six airbags, including side curtains for both rows.
A multiview rear camera is available. In addition to helping your view when in Reverse, it's especially useful in tight parking spots.
Get more safety information on the 2013 Acura ILX here.