2013 Acura ILX 2.4L new car reviews

Meet Acura's replacement for the TSX, the ILX.
The ILX might be based on the Civic, but the Acura gets a more traditional gauge package.
This isn't the Si version, but this image shows how the ILX gets a more traditional silhouette.
The Civic has a more cab-forward layout.

Better than: Cadillac Cimarron
But not as good as: Acura Integra Type R
GRM Bang For The Buck Index: 85.19

An Acura-ized version of the Honda Civic sedan might be new to the American market, but really it's nothing groundbreaking. Canadians could first buy an Acura EL some 15 years ago. Basically it was an upmarket Honda Civic--a light reskin, really, nothing nearly as radical as the Integra and RSX.

That concept is now available in the U.S. with the Acura ILX. Take a Civic sedan and give it a slight Acura makeover: more conventional sheet metal, traditional gauges and slightly softer suspension.

Three versions are available:

ILX 2.0L: a 2.0-liter four mated to a five-speed automatic (starts at $25,900).

ILX 1.5 Hybrid: hybrid propulsion with a CVT (starts at $28,900).

ILX 2.4L: 2.4-liter four plus a six-speed manual ($29,200)

Our test car had the 2.4-liter engine. For all intents and purposes, call it a reskinned Civic Si, including the six-speed manual transmission but not the limited-slip diff . The other big differences? The Acura has an 83-pound penalty, while the Civic's anti-roll bars favor a bit more oversteer. Oddly, though, you can't order navigation on the 2.4-liter Acura, just the Civic Si. However, the Acura does come with leather.

Other staff views

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens
Editorial Director

While I'm not 100% in love with the looks, I really, really dig the latest Civic Si--yes, I'm still a fanboi of the marque. I also liked the original TSX. Could the ILX be the perfect car for me? It's pretty much a conventionally styled Civic Si sedan, one of my favorite new cars.

Yep, the ILX sheet metal looks good, and I prefer the interior. While I could probably get used to the Civic's gauge layout, the ILX makes sense from Day 1. Plus the leather seats are way nice.

The ILX still has just enough bark. To be honest, I'm surprised Honda let that much intake noise into the cabin. I'm not complaining at all, but realize that this is not a totally sanitized version of the Civic Si. Figure it's a Civic Si wearing a nice suit and a pair of Doc Martens.

Why isn't there an ILX in my garage? Price. While it's less than the outgoing TSX, the 2.4-liter ILX costs about $6500 more than a comparable Civic Si. That's a heck of a premium in my book, especially since the ILX doesn't even include navi. (If the ILX had navi, then the difference comes closer to $5000--not sure if that's any better.) The lack of the Civic Si's limited-slip also doesn't thrill me.

So, this one leaves me conflicted. I love it in concept, but the reality just pushes me closer to buying another Civic Si.

Alan Cesar
Alan Cesar
SuperDork

This car was quick, comfortable, and the engine sounded great. Headroom was surprisingly lacking though, and then there's the price. That's a lot of money for a Civic.

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Comments
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Matt B
Matt B SuperDork
7/19/12 3:37 p.m.

I'd argue that if Acura had never produced the amazing bad "beaks" on the MDX, TL, & TSX, then you'd never notice the one on the ILX. Mainly, because it's really not bad. They finally toned it down.

belteshazzar
belteshazzar UberDork
7/24/12 9:11 a.m.

i'd accept 22 city/31hwy if it included more performance. i'd settle for 201hp and 170lb/ft of torque if it was more efficient.

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
12/10/13 12:00 a.m.

An Acura-ized version of the Honda Civic sedan might be new to the American market, but really it's nothing groundbreaking. Canadians could first buy an Acura EL some 15 years ago. Basically it was an upmarket Honda Civic--a light reskin, really, nothing nearly as radical as the Integra and RSX.

That concept is now available in the U.S. with the Acura ILX. Take a Civic sedan and give it a slight Acura makeover: more conventional sheet metal, traditional gauges and slightly softer suspension.

Three versions are available:

ILX 2.0L: a 2.0-liter four mated to a five-speed automatic (starts at $25,900).

ILX 1.5 Hybrid: hybrid propulsion with a CVT (starts at $28,900).

ILX 2.4L: 2.4-liter four plus a six-speed manual ($29,200)

Our test car had the 2.4-liter engine. For all intents and purposes, call it a reskinned Civic Si, including the six-speed manual transmission but not the limited-slip diff . The other big differences? The Acura has an 83-pound penalty, while the Civic's anti-roll bars favor a bit more oversteer. Oddly, though, you can't order navigation on the 2.4-liter Acura, just the Civic Si. However, the Acura does come with leather.

BluEvo210
BluEvo210 New Reader
5/26/20 3:23 p.m.

These cars must have been hiding in plain sight: I just recently noticed them and looked into it.  I'm conflicted on this. I like the idea of a compact, efficient car that's quiet and comfortable. There's no engineering reason why small cars have to have lots of wind or tire noise at highway speed. 

Now that I've looked into specs, I see some weird things here.  The engine has peak power at 6800rpm, and then you've just got 200rpm left before redline. The gears are oddly short: 2nd gear redlines at 53mph (bad for autocross), and 6th will give you over 3000rpm at highway speed (bad for noise and gas mileage).

For the target market, it might have been better served if the 2013 ILX had the transmission of the 2013 Accord.  I wonder if they're interchangeable...

bobzilla
bobzilla MegaDork
5/26/20 3:44 p.m.

My main problem with this car is it's physical size. It's too small. If you have feet, getting into the backseats is an interesting endeavor and hope the driver doesn't have legs. that and it was a damn near $30k civic. 

pointofdeparture
pointofdeparture UltimaDork
5/26/20 4:03 p.m.

Now that Acura is finally giving the TLX some engineering love we can only hope they inject some of that mojo into the ILX.

TasdevEngineer2of3
TasdevEngineer2of3 New Reader
5/26/20 4:59 p.m.

Gotta 2018. Just the right size that I like. Competent handling, braking and sufficient (not impressive) power and great gas mileage. A little nicer interior than the last Hondas I looked at. Acuras interior colors dont match my preference but I prefer basic black and teutonic.  Biggest pain in acquiring one was the usual exterior yuck selections of black and shades of gray. They had a nice blue but found a red one and bought it. Styling is always in the eye of the beholder - the same era Civics looked bloated, busy and creased to me with the ILX a tad smoother, simpler.

irish44j (Forum Supporter)
irish44j (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
5/26/20 7:23 p.m.

This post being bumped up really brings it back. When these first came out I (being a not-too-long ago Honda/Acura fanboi) was somewhat interested (since I like my Hondas to look less kid-racer and more adult). But the mediocre power, high price, lack of LSD, and general "meh" fo them killed that interest fast. 

I just looked on Acura's site and I'm honestly amazed there is a 2020 ILX. Who knew? I feel like I see one of these once in a blue moon, in an area heavy with people buying "nice" commuter cars. Seems like it *should* be a nice commuter. Then I see the 2020 model still has the same 201hp 2.4L engine as the 2014 in this review. Honestly, that's weak as hell in this day and age, especially for a "luxury" make.  For such a weak mill, the MPGs are pretty "meh" as well, honestly. Why Honda hasn't endowed this thing with a small turbo yet is beyond me. Lack of a manual transmission is another killer. Only comes with DCT? I'd honestly rather have a regular slushbox if I had to make that choice. 

Acura's site basically seems to tout electronics, sound system, and headlights as its features and makes passing reference to the mechanicals and anything else. 

The last two times I bought brand-new cars (2009 and 2019) I honestly didn't even consider Acura. Mostly because I've almost forgotten Acura exits at this point. Back in the day I had an Integra, and always had interest in the Vigor, Legend, early CL, TL, and the TSX (especially the wagon, if it had ever come with a manual transmisison). Acura made cool cars - the RSX in its own right, and their crossovers drive great. IDK why they're totally off my radar now. There's just something that's totally uninteresting about anything Acura makes these days - not that they make anything "bad" - just nothing that I'd raise an eyebrow at if it passed me on the road.

Acura: when you eventually get around to making an Integra/RSX-type vehicle, give me a call. The NSX is awesome, but a halo car i can't afford will never keep me interested in the rest of the forgettable soccer-mom cars in the lineup. 

pointofdeparture
pointofdeparture UltimaDork
5/26/20 8:17 p.m.

In reply to irish44j (Forum Supporter) :

They are revealing the new TLX later this week which has a turbo V6 and a return to double wishbone suspension.

https://www.caranddriver.com/news/a32600682/2021-acura-tlx-engine-sound-teased/

https://www.caranddriver.com/news/a32668302/2021-acura-tlx-sedan-suspension-teased/

irish44j (Forum Supporter)
irish44j (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
5/27/20 7:44 p.m.
pointofdeparture said:

In reply to irish44j (Forum Supporter) :

They are revealing the new TLX later this week which has a turbo V6 and a return to double wishbone suspension.

https://www.caranddriver.com/news/a32600682/2021-acura-tlx-engine-sound-teased/

https://www.caranddriver.com/news/a32668302/2021-acura-tlx-sedan-suspension-teased/

That's all well and nice, and it does look pretty -  but that's going to be in the $40-50k range with the nice drivetrain I'm guessing, More like something to take on a 335i or Genesis. And not really any kind of spiritual successor to things like the Integra or RSX. It's something like 800lbs heavier than even the ILX in question. I'm sure it will be a great car, like everything Honda makes.  And will be bought by all the same people who buy IS350s, and things like that. 

Fully understand that Acura is leaving the "sporty" to the Honda guys and will likely never build an affordable sporty car again......doesn't mean I have to like it :)

Pete. (l33t FS)
Pete. (l33t FS) MegaDork
5/27/20 9:04 p.m.
bobzilla said:

My main problem with this car is it's physical size. It's too small. If you have feet, getting into the backseats is an interesting endeavor and hope the driver doesn't have legs. that and it was a damn near $30k civic. 

According to Wikipedia, it is LONGER than my Volvo S60R.

 

For me, it is too large of a car, it will not fit in my garage, or my parking spot in my oddly-shaped driveway.

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