With its image firmly rooted in performance, Acura became the darling of the import tuner crowd. The Acura Integra and its successor the Acura RSX were highly coveted enthusiast-oriented models. Sadly though, after an unprecedented run of success during the 1980’s and 1990’s the Acura brand became mired in something of an inertial quagmire going into the 21st century. The market shifted, competition became stiffer and more sophisticated, and Honda let its Acura models
These days, Acura is on the comeback trail, and one of the models designated to blaze the way is the 2014 Acura ILX. An entry-level luxury sport sedan, the ILX tries to recapture the flavour of that original Acura Integra in a contemporary package. That said, the Acura ILX isn’t exactly an in-your-face proposition, and yet its look is crisp, sophisticated, and thoroughly modern.
Three different front-wheel drive powertrains are offered for the 2014 ILX. The base offering is a 150-horsepower, 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine producing 140 ft-lbs of torque. This powerplant comes mated exclusively to a five-speed automatic transmission. Fuel economy is
Also offered is Acura’s first hybrid powertrain, pairing a 111-horsepower four-cylinder engine with an integrated electric motor. Torque output is 127 ft-lbs. A continuously variable transmission feeds the ILX Hybrid’s front wheels. Fuel economy here is 5.0 L/100km in the city, 4.8 on the highway, and 4.9 combined.
Our test car was powered by Acura’s 2.4-litre inline four-cylinder engine, producing 201 horsepower and 170 ft-lbs of torque. The sportiest of the three options, Acura fits a six-speed manual transmission to this engine to complete its powertrain. Fuel economy for this configuration is estimated at 9.8 L/100km in the city, 6.5 on the highway, and 8.3 combined.
The chassis is an enthusiastic co-conspirator in this activity and as a result, the ILX handles crisply, turns in nicely, bites purposefully in the corners, and just generally rewards enthusiastic driving. Another thing to love is the exceptional balance of ride and handling the engineering team dialed into the ILX. Fun to drive on a twisty road and yet nicely compliant over rough and uneven pavement, the Acura ILX is one of very few small cars out there with both engaging handling and a comfortable ride.
This is reflected in the interior treatment as well. Controls for the Acura’s contingent
Standard features include a sunroof, a full complement of power accessories, keyless smart entry and start, a tilt-and-telescoping steering column, active low-frequency noise cancellation to quiet the passenger compartment, a dual-zone automatic climate control system, plus new this year, standard 17-inch alloy wheels,
Infotainment features include an information display screen, Bluetooth telephony and audio streaming, SMS text messaging capability, and a seven-speaker audio system supporting a CD player, a USB/iPod audio interface port, a satellite radio receiver, and Pandora Internet radio smartphone app integration.
Options include leather upholstered seating with eight-way power adjustability for the driver along with heat for both front seats, an auto-dimming interior rearview mirror, fog lights, voice control for most secondary functions, navigation, and a 10-speaker DTS surround-sound audio system capable of DVD audio playback (the last two items
All in all, the 2014 Acura ILX is an interesting choice in this segment. Yes, there are competitors out there with more powerful turbocharged engines at this same price point, but in Dynamic trim the little Acura remains quite the satisfying driver’s car, even if it isn’t one of the fastest.
For 2014, Acura ILX pricing starts at $27,990 plus $1,995 for destination charges, whereas the as-tested ILX Dynamic starts at $31,990.
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