2017 Acura ILX new car reviews

Acura's ILX is a direct competitor with it's cousin, the Honda Civic. The Acura badge typically signifies a slightly more upmarket product. This particular car represented the top of the line for the ILX, with the Technology Plus and A-Spec packages. So how does it compare to a Civic? We drove both to experience the differences firsthand.

Other staff views

Ed Higginbotham Ed Higginbotham
Associate Editor

For $35,000 this had better be one darned good Civic.

Other than the Acura badge, nothing on the outside makes it stand out.

Step into the driver's seat and it totally feels like a Civic, just with higher end features. However, the input system for the nav could stand to be streamlined. But once you have your destination set, the system works well and even tells you if there is traffic ahead. Everything else is easy to find and use.

Seating is spacious in the front and rear and very comfortable.

The first thing you'll notice when you start driving is the dual-clutch transmission. It works well, but seems to shift harder before the car is completely warm.

Power is adequate. It's not awe-inspiring, but it's enough for the car to serve its purpose. The adaptive cruise control is a great feature for longer drives. This is one of my favorite features found in new cars.

Bottom line, it does feel like an extremely well kitted out Civic, but those added features are definitely a nice bonus.

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Comments

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pointofdeparture
pointofdeparture PowerDork
3/29/17 3:21 p.m.

Isn't the ILX basically a dressed-up variant of the prior-generation Civic Si, K24 engine and all?

I really wish Acura would go back to making enthusiast cars with wonderful dynamics again. I guess the NSX is a start, but they really haven't had much to offer folks like us since the TSX was axed.

Duke
Duke MegaDork
3/29/17 3:47 p.m.

We love our 2004 TSX and plan to shop both the ILX and TLX next year to replace it. It will be interesting to see which one captures the feel of the TSX better, and whether smaller and handier beats the Honda 6 cylinder and SHAWD. And, of course, the price point.

It will aslo be interesting to see how they both stack up against the Mazda6.

NickD
NickD SuperDork
3/29/17 4:40 p.m.

I forgot this thing even existed. I don't think I've ever seen one. Or maybe I have and couldn't tell it apart from any of the other Acuras.

irish44j
irish44j UltimaDork
3/29/17 5:44 p.m.

It certainly looks lightyears better than the civic....

CyberEric
CyberEric Reader
3/29/17 6:16 p.m.

Indeed, that new Civic is not a pretty car.

Can someone explain Acura's current lineup to me? They have changed the names so many times...so the ILX is the new TSX...is the TLX the new the TL?

Their new names are so forgettable it's almost funny.

Duke
Duke MegaDork
3/29/17 6:58 p.m.

The ILX is a little smaller than the old TSX. A bigger, softer, RSX sedan, somwhere between RSX and TSX size. The TSX and the TL have been combined into the TLX, a single model instead of 2, between the ILX and the RL. RLs still exist as far as I know, but nobody buys them. So they've condensed 4 models into 3, and they don't offer anything with 2 doors any more.

JimS
JimS New Reader
3/30/17 8:01 a.m.

I also wish Acura would find it's way. Loved my 2002 TL-S, which my brother now has, and love our 14 TSX Sportwagon but there is nothing that Acura has now that excites me.

Ed Higginbotham
Ed Higginbotham Associate Editor
3/30/17 8:36 a.m.
NickD wrote: I forgot this thing even existed. I don't think I've ever seen one. Or maybe I have and couldn't tell it apart from any of the other Acuras.

You know, I actually thought something very similar when it showed up. I'll bet they just don't jump out at us anymore.

penultimeta
penultimeta Reader
3/30/17 8:39 a.m.

Indeed, they've been confusing me lately. Almost all of their offerings feel Camry-esque.

CyberEric
CyberEric Reader
3/30/17 11:14 a.m.

Thanks Duke.

Yes, it feels like Honda is mailing it in with the whole Acura thing.

NickD
NickD SuperDork
3/30/17 3:35 p.m.
Ed Higginbotham wrote:
NickD wrote: I forgot this thing even existed. I don't think I've ever seen one. Or maybe I have and couldn't tell it apart from any of the other Acuras.

You know, I actually thought something very similar when it showed up. I'll bet they just don't jump out at us anymore.

Well, they're not exactly common either. Even on their best year (2013) they only moved just north of 20,000 ILXs

DirtyBird222
DirtyBird222 UltraDork
3/30/17 9:27 p.m.
pointofdeparture wrote: Isn't the ILX basically a dressed-up variant of the prior-generation Civic Si, K24 engine and all? I really wish Acura would go back to making enthusiast cars with wonderful dynamics again. I guess the NSX is a start, but they really haven't had much to offer folks like us since the TSX was axed.

I think the first iteration of the ILX had two engine options. The R18 and the K24 but it didn't get a sweet LSD like the Si did. Then the second iteration came with the K24 and a 8 speed dual clutch option (still no LSD I believe) and a shared engine with the base model civic.

I would have considered buying one over the Civic Si if it had LSD and wasn't $8k more in price. Plus the original ILXs didn't even have split folding rear seats.

Duke
Duke MegaDork
3/31/17 8:21 a.m.

I have to admit, despite the flawless performance and pleasant driving experience we've gotten from our 13-year-old TSX, I suspect we're just not going to find the same value at today's Acura dealers.

Seriously, for the asking price of a 6-cylinder AWD TLX, we could be driving an AWD Giulia.

Dashpot
Dashpot Reader
3/31/17 8:35 a.m.

It also has the distinction of being voted "Least Satisfying Overall" at CR:

"The Acura ILX is a swing and a miss, in both CR testing and when judged by owners. It falls 10 percentage points below the Mercedes-Benz CLA in the same category, itself a disappointing entry. Across all car types, the ILX has the lowest satisfaction, followed closely by the Dodge Dart and Jeep Compass. The ILX was challenged from the start as a pricey, dressed-up Honda Civic. Acura made several key updates for the 2016 model year, but even when looking at ratings on just those freshened sedans, they are no different than older model years."

Owners say:

“Lacks acceleration, noisy, poor quality paint, shaky ride... very expensive for the poor quality offered.”

“It shifts too soon into higher gear, making acceleration feel sluggish unless under hard acceleration.”

“Road noise is very pronounced. I will be trading the ILX in as soon as I can on something quieter.”

Bobzilla
Bobzilla UltimaDork
3/31/17 8:53 a.m.

I've been gone from them for a couple years. Is this the same chassis as before, just mildly updated like they typically due at the 4 year cycle? IF so.... How does anyone get into the rear seat with a shoe size larger than a 6? Friend of mine's mother had one and he brought it in for service. WE took it out to lunch and I got relegated to the back seat. Getting my feet into that tiny opening down there was worse than getting into and out of a C4. It was no quieter than my Forte (which is actually loud IMO) and the power delivery felt weak. 200hp my foot. My 173hp Forte would walk the thing in a straight line (this may or may not have happened. there's not been enough time for the laws to no longer apply.)

But, if you wanted a civic and hate the wierd multi-layered dash and monocle looking thing, this would be a great substitution.

Bobzilla
Bobzilla UltimaDork
3/31/17 9:07 a.m.
Duke wrote: I have to admit, despite the flawless performance and pleasant driving experience we've gotten from our 13-year-old TSX, I suspect we're just not going to find the same value at today's Acura dealers. Seriously, for the asking price of a 6-cylinder AWD TLX, we could be driving an AWD Giulia.

There hasn't been a "good buy" at an Acura dealer (IMO) since 2008. By '09, everything was bloated, quality was dropping like a rock on everything, even the Japanese built stuff was getting to be not-so-good.

NickD
NickD SuperDork
3/31/17 9:25 a.m.
Dashpot wrote: ...the ILX has the lowest satisfaction, followed closely by the Dodge Dart and Jeep Compass.

Lower satisfaction than a Compass? How the berk is that possible?!

Klayfish
Klayfish UberDork
3/31/17 10:21 a.m.
Duke wrote: Seriously, for the asking price of a 6-cylinder AWD TLX, we could be watching the dealer fix an AWD Giulia for the 6th time since we bought it 8 weeks ago.

FTFY

I agree Acura's line up seems somewhat stale, but I'm confident it would start when I get in it in the morning. Can't say the same for an Alfa.

JimS
JimS New Reader
3/31/17 12:16 p.m.

In reply to Bobzilla:

Disagree. My 2014's quality is outstanding. Bought new and in 3 years have not had a single problem. No mechanical problems and not a rattle or squeak in the body or interior. Handles great and fun to drive. People I know that own them agree with me.

DirtyBird222
DirtyBird222 UltraDork
4/2/17 1:29 p.m.
JimS wrote: In reply to Bobzilla: Disagree. My 2014's quality is outstanding. Bought new and in 3 years have not had a single problem. No mechanical problems and not a rattle or squeak in the body or interior. Handles great and fun to drive. People I know that own them agree with me.

Is it a garage queen with less than 1000 miles?

JimS
JimS New Reader
4/2/17 7:33 p.m.

In reply to DirtyBird222:

Very funny from someone with a Pontiac service sign. It's been my wife's daily driver for over three years, been on many trips done everything asked of it. Every GM car I've owned could only dream of being as good.

Bobzilla
Bobzilla UltimaDork
4/3/17 9:21 a.m.
JimS wrote: In reply to DirtyBird222: Very funny from someone with a Pontiac service sign. It's been my wife's daily driver for over three years, been on many trips done everything asked of it. Every GM car I've owned could only dream of being as good.

You got the rare one. They usedto come in off the trucks with trim pieces that had fallen off, buzzes, rattles, missing emblems etc. Not their finest effort for sure.

JimS
JimS New Reader
4/3/17 2:13 p.m.

If you say so but I'm not convinced. I've talked with many people with TSX Sportwagon like mine and no complaints. I have a neighbor who just went to an MDX from an RDX and have no problems. Small sample but shows that mine is not a rare one.

Bobzilla
Bobzilla UltimaDork
4/4/17 1:18 p.m.
JimS wrote: If you say so but I'm not convinced. I've talked with many people with TSX Sportwagon like mine and no complaints. I have a neighbor who just went to an MDX from an RDX and have no problems. Small sample but shows that mine is not a rare one.

We were talking about the ILX. What has that got to do with the price of tea in china?

Ricky Spanish
Ricky Spanish Reader
4/4/17 2:04 p.m.

Drove one. Regardless of price, it was an unmitigated turd.

For the price, it is just flat out insulting.

JimS
JimS New Reader
4/4/17 7:50 p.m.

In reply to Bobzilla:

You're original post said there hasn't been a good buy at an Acura dealer since 2008. You used the word everything. That implies all cars although the original subject was the ILX. That's why I replied.

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