|Having received a mid-cycle update for 2016, the 2017 ILX still looks fresh. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)|
The ILX is a derivative of Honda’s previous ninth-generation Civic that dates back to 2011, which means it doesn’t ride on the automaker’s new compact global platform that’s formed from higher grade steel in order to save weight while increasing rigidity, yet it nevertheless delivers a rigid body structure featuring plenty of sharp angles and complex curves, which arguably combine into a more conservatively acceptable design for those put off by the Civic’s somewhat polarizing styling.
|Few would be able to tell the ILX has anything to do with the Civic. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)|
All said I think the ILX has aged pretty well. Replacing the Civic-based CSX when it arrived in 2012 for the 2013 model year, it became the first C-segment luxury sedan to enter the U.S. market since the 2001 Integra departed. Of course, Canadian entry-level luxury buyers had been given the exclusive option of the CSX for six years before that, while that car’s EL predecessor had been available since
|Standard full LED headlights set the ILX apart from key rivals. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)|
Each new EL, CSX and ILX generation has become less rooted in its Civic donor platform, to the point that there’s very little in common with the two models now. Even the very heart of the ILX is unique, its naturally aspirated 2.4-litre four-cylinder engine no longer shared with the Civic Si, and its standard eight-speed dual-clutch transmission purely assigned to Acura’s lineup, although it’s so good that Honda should seriously consider adapting it to that new Si as a much-needed option.
|The taillights incorporate LEDs for quicker response during braking. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)|
As with all Acura models, the ILX balances strong performance with fuel-efficiency, while delivering big value for money. For instance, the sub-$30k base model hits the road running with auto on/off LED headlamps (and particularly attractive ones at that), LED taillights, 17-inch alloys, heated power-adjustable side mirrors, remote engine start, proximity-sensing keyless access, ambient interior lighting, pushbutton ignition, a leather-wrapped multifunction steering wheel, a
|The ILX’ cabin is roomy and nicely finished. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)|
Tire pressure monitoring, hill start assist, and all the usual active and passive safety features are included too, but some might be surprised to hear the ILX also features a comprehensive suite of AcuraWatch advanced driver assistance tech, such as adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning, autonomous collision mitigation braking, lane departure warning, lane keeping assist, and road departure mitigation, which means that base Canadian-spec cars would be those that
|The cockpit provides a leather-wrapped sport steering wheel with paddle shifters. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)|
While we’re on the subject of features, Premium trim adds perforated Milano leather upholstery, powered heatable front seats with two-way driver-side memory, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, a larger 8.0-inch backlit colour VGA upper infotainment display controlled by a rotating knob and various buttons on the centre stack, plus a second 7.0-inch multi-use colour touchscreen display below that, a higher grade seven-speaker and subwoofer-enhanced audio system with satellite radio, and blindspot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert.
|The multi-info display between the two primary dials is colour, but (sorry) our photo didn’t do it justice. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)|
Even without the A-Spec upgrade the ILX Tech is plenty sporty and good fun to drive,
|Acura’s dual-display infotainment design delivers more functions simultaneously than most systems. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)|
In my opinion, the eight-speed DCT is the biggest bonus for moving up from Civic to ILX, although I’m not going to compare a Civic Si to the ILX, per se, especially considering the Si doesn’t offer an automatic gearbox at all, but rather comes exclusively with one of the best six-speed manuals in the industry, whereas the outrageously quick and superb handling Civic Type-R that I tested since, completely
|ILX navigation is very accurate. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)|
Truly, I’d be happy with the ILX as a daily driver, especially when factoring in its fairly stingy 9.4 L/100km city, 6.8 highway and 8.2 combined five-cycle fuel economy. It’s an extremely easy car to wind through congested city traffic too, yet
|The ILX includes some very attractive switchgear. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)|
|The perforated Milano leather sport seats are very comfortable. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)|
Likewise, the rear quarters are finished to the same high level as those up front, with each window seat carved out like an individual bucket for extra lateral support. As expected, a sizeable armrest folds down from centre, integrating dual cupholders. As for roominess, I had about five inches ahead of my knees and plenty
|Rear seating is roomier than some competitors. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)|
The A3 provides a lot more convenience for loads, however, with a back seat that divides 60/40 and includes a centre pass-through for longer cargo such as skis, compared to a downright rudimentary single-piece folding seatback. I suppose ILX buyers should be glad it folds at all, but most of us require greater passenger/cargo flexibility. The ILX’ trunk is also 77 litres (2.7 cubic feet) smaller at
|This single-piece folding seatback doesn’t measure up. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)|
That’s my only complaint about a car that otherwise remains very competitive in its entry-level luxury class, especially when factoring in pricing. Even this near top-line Tech trimmed ILX is only slightly more expensive than the most basic A3, which is also front-wheel drive and nowhere near as well equipped. This said, ILX deals are even better this time of year. I admit it’s a bit late for a 2017 model year road test of any car, but there are still plenty available with fairly deep discounts of $3,500 when financing or leasing and $4,500 when paying cash for Premium, Tech and A-Spec trims, plus there’s no difference between this 2017 and the 2018 model that’s already on sale, so why not sock away the savings? I’d recommend acting fast if you want to take advantage.
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