By Cars.com EditorsAugust 19, 2015
About the video
Acura has restyled and simplified the powertrain options for its 2016 ILX. But has the automaker done enough to be competitive in the entry-level luxury-sedan market? Watch the video for more.
(engine starting) Acura has restyled and simplified the powertrain options for its 2016 ILX, but have they done enough to be competitive in the entry level, luxury sedan market? Let's see.
So the biggest change is Acura did as far as styling, really are noticed up front, it's got a pumped up grill that more closely resembles the TLX sedan. Also keeping with sort of an Acura theme, it's got the nice linear line of LED headlights. And overall, when you look at the car as a whole, the changes are subtle, but I think they did a nice job. This is a good looking little car. When it comes to powertrain, all ILX sedans are now powered by the same 2.4 liter 201 horsepower, four cylinder engine. Also the six speed manual transmission option is gone. Now the only transmission you can get on an ILX is an eight speed dual clutch automatic. When it comes to driving the ILX, there's some ups and some downs. The engine and transmission actually worked pretty well. It's got good power, there is one odd thing, when you're in about 40 miles an hour, the transmission wants to upshift up to the high end, you know, seventh, eighth, whatever to save mileage. So when you go to make a pass, if you really get on the gas, it hesitates for a second before it moves and it gives you the impression that the engine isn't making as much power as it really is. That's not so great. Now the way around that, obviously it's to put the car into sport mode, if you do that, it doesn't upshift as quickly and it holds on to those lower gears longer. The downside to that is it then gets a lot louder in the cabin, the engine makes a lot of noise. And actually overall, the ILX is kind of a loud car, yeah, there's the engine, but there's also a fair amount of road noise and that's a little unusual cause Acura said they put in more sort of sound deadening material to make that better. So, the ride and the handling, here's the thing, the Acura ILX rides more stiffly than anything else in this sort of compact luxury class. If you consider something like the Buick Verano, for instance, it's a lot more firm and rough riding than that. The reward is that you get better handling, it's fun to drive, but I really notice on broken pavement or any kind of imperfection in the road, it really didn't handle that quite as good as other cars in the class. Inside the ILX, the first thing I noticed is the headroom or rather that there's not a lot of it. Granted, I'm six foot two, but this is really tight. It's even worse in back, which is a shame because there's actually a fair amount of leg room back there, but I wouldn't be comfortable riding back there for anything more than a short trip, just 'cause I can't get my head back there. Also our test model does not feature Acura's updated On Demand Multi-Use Display, instead we've got sort of the base model with the buttons and everything. Two things about that, first of all, was very easy to use, we all like that around the office and it was kind of refreshing to not ever touch screen there. Also a good thing, the way the buttons feel, they don't feel cheap and plastic-y, they really feel like they belong in a luxury car. Now I go into a lot more detail in my review on cars.com, things about mileage in the class and how well it holds a child safety seat. But I asked the question of whether Acura has done enough with the ILX in the sort of entry-level luxury market, I would say yes, but it's a qualified yes. I do like the handling on smooth roads, it's great. I love how the interior looks and the buttons again, that really feels like a luxury car and it looks great. On the other hand, that same suspension that I liked so much on smooth roads, doesn't hold up so well on the really rough broken stuff and that's unusual for the luxury class. Also the noise, again, it's loud, that's not what you expect in a luxury car. And then finally, there's the lack of headroom. I think those are real strikes against the ILX. (upbeat music fading) (loud thudding sound)