Cool TLX-inspired design, but a disappointing "new" engine

The Acura ILX debuted for the 2013 model year as Acura’s first compact model since the Acura RSX was discontinued in 2006. After only a couple years on the market, Acura decided to refresh the ILX for the 2016 model year. The refresh wasn’t exactly extensive, but the ILX did gain updated front and rear fascias, a restyled front grille, five-point LED headlights, and LED taillights. Acura also dropped the 2.0-liter four-cylinder in favor of a 2.4-liter and an eight-speed dual-clutch transmission from the TLX, giving the ILX a bump up to 201 horsepower and 180 pound-feet of torque. Interior updates were rather thin, but the interior did get some contrast stitching and some new technological add-ons that were available for the upper trim levels.

The ILX made its first debut at the 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show, but didn’t go on sale until February of 2016. Of course, we were really hoping that the ILX would get a little more power, considering the only gain really came in the form of torque, but this was a simple facelift and Acura did good by us on the body and interior. A redesigned model isn’t expected until closer to 2020, so until then, the ILX will continue with minor changes from the 2016 refresh on. That said, the 2017 model has carried on unchanged and went on sale in April of 2016. Let’s take a closer look at the refreshed ILX and go over all the fine details.

Updated 04/12/2016: Acura announced prices for the 2017 ILX - a model that continues unchanged over the 2016 model year and will be put on sale tomorrow, April 13, 2016.

Click past the jump to read more about the 2016 Acura ILX.

  • 2016 - 2017 Acura ILX
  • Year:
    2016- 2017
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    inline-4
  • Transmission:
    Eight-Speed DCT
  • Horsepower @ RPM:
    201 @ 6800 (Est.)
  • MPG(Cty):
    25
  • MPG(Hwy):
    36
  • Torque @ RPM:
    180 @ 3600 (Est.)
  • Displacement:
    2.4 L
  • 0-60 time:
    6.4 sec. (Est.)
  • Top Speed:
    138 mph (Est.)
  • Price:
    27990
  • Price:
  • car segment:
  • size:
  • Purpose:
  • body style:
  • Overall:
    8.7/10

Exterior

2016 - 2017 Acura ILX High Resolution Exterior
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2016 - 2017 Acura ILX High Resolution Exterior
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2016 - 2017 Acura ILX High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
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Up front, updates are quite extensive and include a restyled front grille, new, five-point LED headlamps with revised turn signals, and a reshaped apron

The facelifted ILX retains its overall shape and dimensions, but gains upgraded front and rear fascias. Up front, updates are quite extensive and include a restyled front grille — the trademark beak is still there — new, five-point LED headlamps with revised turn signals and a reshaped apron. The latter features new intakes, and a larger center air dam.

Changes are less significant around back, but LED taillights are sharper, while the lower apron received additional housings that mimic the intakes seen on the front bumper. Restyled 17-inch, ten-spoke, aluminum-alloy wheels round off the exterior update for the 2016 ILX.

A few more goodies are available with the A-SPEC package, however, but the bundle can only be had with the Premium and Technology packages, meaning the base model is devoid of this privilege. The A-SPEC package adds sportier side sills, a trunk-lid spoiler, fog lamps, and a set of brand-new, 18-inch, ten-spoke, machined alloy wheels with black inserts.

New LED Headlamps

2016 - 2017 Acura ILX High Resolution Exterior
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Exterior Dimensions

Wheelbase 105.1 in (2670 mm)
Length 179.1 in (4550 mm)
Width 70.6 in (1794 mm)
Height (unladen) 55.6 in (1412 mm)
Front Track 59.4 in (1509 mm)
Rear Track 60.3 in (1532 mm)

Side-by-side comparison

2016 - 2017 Acura ILX High Resolution Exterior
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Interior

2016 - 2017 Acura ILX High Resolution Interior
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2016 - 2017 Acura ILX High Resolution Interior
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2016 - 2017 Acura ILX High Resolution Interior
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The host of tech upgrades available on the Premium trim and above shows Acura has upped the ante for more luxury and convenience

Visual interior updates for the standard ILX are limited to contrast stitching for the steering wheel, parking brake handle and shift knob, as well as a new silver trim for the passenger-side dashboard. More features are added with the A-SPEC package on ILX models with the Premium and Technology packages, including an exclusive Premium Black interior with perforated black Lux Suede seat inserts, gray stitching, red instrument panel illumination, and aluminum pedals.

The host of tech upgrades available on the Premium trim and above shows Acura has also upped the ante for more luxury and convenience. New features include a two-position driver’s seat memory function, a four-way power passenger seat, Homelink remote, and Acura’s On-Demand Multi-Use Display with upper eight-inch display screen and lower seven-inch touchscreen. Safety bits such as Blind Spot Information and Rear Cross Traffic enhance every trim but the base model even further.

Speaking of safety and driving-assist technologies, all ILX models can now be equipped with AcuraWatch, a package that brings Adaptive Cruise Control, Lane Keeping Assist System, Multi-View Rear Camera, Road Departure Mitigation and revised Collision Mitigation Braking System. Lastly, the ILX’s cabin is now quieter thanks to thicker door glass, noise attenuating wheels and the company’s Active Noise Control technology, also borrowed from the TLX.

Drivetrain

2016 - 2017 Acura ILX High Resolution Drivetrain
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The 2.4-liter four-pot mates to an eight-speed, dual-clutch automatic transmission with torque converter and shift paddles

Motivating the 2016 ILX is an updated, 2.4-liter, four-cylinder engine making 201 horsepower at 6,800 rpm and 180 pound-feet of torque at 3,600 rpm. Acura is quick to brag about the extra 51 ponies and 40 pound-feet the unit delivers when compared to the outgoing 2.0-liter four-banger, but somehow it fails to mention it only boasts 10 additional pound-feet of torque over the previous 2.4-liter. Downright silly! Until further notice, it seems the revised ILX will carry on with only one powerplant.

There is some good news however, as the four-pot now mates to an eight-speed, dual-clutch automatic transmission with torque converter and shift paddles. Finally! The autobox comes straight from the 2015 Acura TLX and, as our editor-in-chief found out while testing it, it’s ready to rip through all eight cogs as the car sprints from naught to 60 mph.

I should also mention Acura’s eight-speed DCT is also the first DCT with a torque converter, providing off-the-line torque multiplication and more powerful launches. It should also help improve the ILX’s fuel consumption ratings.

Drivetrain Specifications

Type 2.4-liter, 16-valve, direct-injected DOHC i-VTEC
Output 201 HP 6,800 RPM
Torque 180 LB-FT @ 3,600 RPM
Transmission 8-speed dual clutch transmission (DCT)

Prices

2016 - 2017 Acura ILX High Resolution Exterior
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Pricing for the Acura ILX began from $27,900 for the 2016 model year. Buyers that wanted more than just a base model had to pay at least $29,200 for the trim equipped with the AcuraWatch Plus Package. The Premium Package increased the sticker to $29,900, while the ILX with Premium & A-SPEC Package retailed from $31,890. The Tech Plus Package version was priced from $32,900, while the range-topping Tech Plus & A-SPEC Package came in at $34,890.

For 2017, pricing increase with just $90 for the entry-level model, now offered from $27,990. The ILX with AcuraWatch Plus sports a $70 premium at $29,290, while the ILX with Premium Package remained unchanged at $29,900. However, the Premium & A-SPEC Package now fetches $90 more at $31,980, while the ILX with Tech Plus is priced from $32,990, a $90 increase. Lastly, the top-of-the-league Tech Plus & A-SPEC fetches $34,980 before options, which accounts for a $90 hike.

2016 Acura ILX prices

Model MSRP EPA MPG Ratings (city/highway/combined)
ILX $27,900 25/36/29
ILX with AcuraWatch™ Plus Package $29,200 25/36/29
ILX with Premium Package $29,900 25/36/29
ILX with Premium & A-SPEC Package $31,890 25/36/29
ILX with Tech Plus Package $32,900 25/36/29
ILX with Tech Plus & A-SPEC Package $34,890 25/36/29

2017 Acura ILX prices

Model MSRP2 EPA MPG4 Ratings (city/highway/combined)
ILX $27,990 25/35/29
ILX with AcuraWatch™ Plus Package $29,290 25/35/29
ILX with Premium Package $29,990 25/35/29
ILX with Premium & A-SPEC Package $31,980 25/35/29
ILX with Tech Plus Package $32,990 25/35/29
ILX with Tech Plus & A-SPEC Package $34,980 25/35/29

Competitors

Mercedes-Benz CLA

2017 Mercedes-Benz CLA High Resolution Exterior
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Launched for the 2014 model year, the CLA has been a sales success for Mercedes-Benz since day one in the U.S. to the extent that the Germans have struggled for many months to meet the high demand. Updated mildly for the 2017 model year inside and out, the CLA is available in only one trim — the CLA250 — in the U.S. The four-door coupe is motivated by a turbocharged, 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engine that generates 208 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque and uses a seven-speed automatic to send it to the wheels. All-wheel drive is optional. The CLA has seven extra ponies and 88 pound-feet more torque than the current ILX, but th CLA is not just about more oomph. The compact sedan comes with more standard features, a premium audio system, and superior fuel economy, and it’s not much more expensive at $32,050.

Read our full review on the Mercedes-Benz CLA here.

Audi A3

2017 - 2018 Audi A3 Sedan High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
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The Audi A3 is another popular German compact the Acura ILX needs to encounter. Essentially a shrunken A4, the A3 sedan borrowed the new design language of its bigger brother for the 2017 model year. Now sporting a more aggressive body kit with sharper lines and a mildly revised interior, the A3 is available with three powertrains and it’s the only vehicle of the pack to offer a diesel. U.S. specifics aren’t yet available, but look for a range-topping gasoline model equipped with the all-new, 2.0-liter TFSI rated at 190 horsepower and 236 pound-feet of torque and a 2.0-liter diesel good for 184 horses and 280 pound-feet. Pricing-wise, the base A3 will be on par with the ILX, but the more expensive trims are expected to fetch in excess of $38,000.

Read our full review on the Audi A3 sedan here.

Conclusion

2016 - 2017 Acura ILX High Resolution Exterior
- image 579037

As expected, the revised ILX follows into the footsteps of the brand-new TLX, and that’s a good thing. The sedan gaines more luxury, convenience and safety features, updated technology, and a much-needed dual-clutch automatic; basically everything it needs to compete in its fast-paced segment. The "new" engine on the other hand, is a bit disappointing, as there are no actual improvements in the horsepower department. Sure, the ILX lacks only seven ponies when compared to the Mercedes CLA and 19 horses when compared to the range-topping Audi A3, but a more powerful unit would’ve helped Acura more against two competitors with a strong badge on their noses.

  • Leave it
    • "New" engine boasts only 10 additional pound-feet of torque
    • Base model is too basic for an entry-level luxury sedan
    • The Mercedes CLA is hard to beat

Update History

Updated 02/10/2015: Acura released prices on the 2016 ILX which is now on sale at dealers across the country. Prices will range from $27,900 for a base ILX and up to $34,890 for the model equipped with the Tech Plus and A-SPEC packages.

Updated 11/20/2014: The 2016 Acura ILX made its world debut at the 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show and will be put on sale in early 2015.

Press Release

Acura took the wraps off its restyled, reengineered and reborn 2016 ILX sports sedan today, launching at Acura dealerships nationwide in early 2015. The 2016 Acura ILX delivers more strongly than ever before on its mission as the gateway to the Acura lineup with a major injection of Acura performance DNA, courtesy of its new 201-horsepower, directed-injected i-VTEC engine and 8-speed dual-clutch transmission for all models, the same advanced engine and transmission combination that powers the just-launched TLX.

2016 - 2017 Acura ILX High Resolution Exterior
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The 2016 ILX boasts dynamic new front and rear styling cues, standard Jewel EyeTM LED headlights, upgraded interior materials, optional upsized wheels and tires, enhanced connectivity, and a host of new premium features and technologies, along with significant improvements to cabin quietness, sporty handling and collision safety.

The 2016 ILX also expands customer choice with six available grades vs. the previous three, including the standard ILX, the ILX with Premium Package, and the line-topping ILX Technology Plus Package. In addition, an all-new A-SPEC package, available with the Premium and Technology packages, adds sporty style, and all models can now be equipped with AcuraWatch™, the most advanced suite of safety and driver assistive technologies in the class. The ILX AcuraWatch suite includes Adaptive Cruise Control, Lane Keeping Assist System, Road Departure Mitigation and enhanced Collision Mitigation Braking System™ with pedestrian sensing capability.

"Top to bottom, from dynamic design to luxury features, and leading-edge safety technology to sport sedan athleticism and sophistication, ILX is now a true gateway to Acura’s performance luxury sedans," said Michael Accavitti, senior vice president and general manager for the Acura division. "ILX was always a great idea. Now it’s a great idea fulfilled—a luxury vehicle for the next generation."

2016 - 2017 Acura ILX High Resolution Exterior
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New Powertrain
All 2016 ILX models will be powered by a 2.4-liter, 16-valve, direct-injected DOHC i-VTEC engine with peak output of 201-horsepower at 6,800 rpm and 180 lb.-ft. of torque at 3,600 rpm, up 51 horsepower and 40 lb.-ft. compared to the outgoing 2.0-liter engine. The new engine is mated to an 8-speed dual clutch transmission (DCT) with torque converter and paddle-controlled Sequential Sport Shift. It’s the most advanced transmission in its competitive set, delivering incredibly quick, crisp and intuitive gear changes, including rev-matching down shifts, to achieve outstanding response and sporting performance with top-class fuel efficiency. The world’s first DCT with a torque converter, Acura’s 8-speed DCT provides off-the-line torque multiplication for smoother, more powerful launches that other DCTs cannot match.

Dynamic Styling
The 2016 ILX gets numerous styling upgrades including restyled front and rear fasciae, front grille and rear LED combination lights, plus a restyled 17-inch, 10-spoke aluminum alloy wheel. The new ILX A-SPEC package features a sporty side sill garnish, trunk spoiler, front fog lights and new 18-inch, 10-spoke machined alloy wheels with gloss black insets. All ILX models come equipped with Acura’s signature Jewel EyeTM LED headlights as standard equipment, a feature unmatched in the competitive set.

The 2016 ILX also benefits from numerous interior upgrades, including contrasting Euro-style stitching on the steering wheel, parking brake handle and shift knob, as well as new high-intensity silver trim for the passenger-side instrument panel. The ILX A-SPEC package enhances the exceptional cabin appeal and appointments with an exclusive Premium Black interior color scheme including black headliner, perforated black Lux Suede® seat inserts, red instrument illumination, exclusive gray interior stitching and aluminum brake and throttle pedals.

2016 - 2017 Acura ILX High Resolution Exterior
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New Premium Features and AcuraWatch™
In addition to the new powertrain and extensive interior and exterior upgrades, the 2016 ILX also ups the ante for luxury, connectivity and technological sophistication. Premium and above grades get a new two-position driver’s seat memory function, a 4-way power passenger seat, Homelink remote, and Acura’s On-Demand Multi-Use Display (ODMD) with upper 8-inch display screen and lower 7-inch touchscreen. The evolved touchscreen connectivity and media system receives more than 50 design changes to enhance intuitive operation and functionality.

Also available for the first time on the Premium grade is a new tethered navigation system powered by the user’s compatible iPhone and data plan via the AcuraLink navigation app. Premium and above models also get Acura’s Blind Spot Information and Rear Cross Traffic Monitor along with enhanced audio options, including SiruisXM radio, AHA radio and HD radio.

The Tech Plus grade with AcuraWatch™ and embedded Acura Navigation add a color Multi-information Display (MID) between the tachometer and speedometer, Siri Eyes Free and ELS premium audio system along with the latest generation of Acura Link connected car technology.

All ILX models can be equipped with the AcuraWatch™ suite of advanced safety and driver-assistive technologies, the most advanced system of its kind in the competitive set. AcuraWatch™ includes Adaptive Cruise Control, Lane Keeping Assist System, a Multi-View Rear Camera with Dynamic Guidelines, as well as Road Departure Mitigation and an enhanced Collision Mitigation Braking System™ (including Forward Collision Warning) with sensor fusion technology that enables new capabilities including pedestrian sensing.

2016 - 2017 Acura ILX High Resolution Exterior
- image 579038

Body, Chassis and Safety Enhancements
The ILX body and chassis benefit from significant engineering changes that advance collision safety, increase body rigidity, improve cabin quietness and enhance sporty handling performance.

Utilizing Acura’s next-generation Advanced Compatibility Engineering™ (ACE™) body structure, the 2016 ILX is designed to more efficiently absorb and disperse the energy in a frontal collision and targets a "GOOD" rating in the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) small-overlap frontal crash test and an overall "TOP SAFETY PICK+" IIHS crash safety rating.

Cabin quietness is enhanced by additional noise-insulating materials, a thicker front-side door glass, noise attenuating wheels, and the addition of Active Noise Control technology. Steering responsiveness and linearity is also improved via a retuned suspension and a multitude of chassis design enhancements.

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