Based on the Civic, the new ILX is Acura's competitor for cars like the Buick Verano and the Audi A3--cars meant to appeal to first-time luxury-car buyers.
With a swept-back front end design and a side character line that kicks up right before the rear door handles, the exterior of the ILX is attractive. While the Acura shield grille is featured up front, it isn't overly huge. Acura says it paid attention to the greenhouse design to ensure good outward visibility, while still focusing on aerodynamics for fuel efficiency. Overall we find the design to be handsome.
For those seeking more power, the 2.4-liter four-cylinder from the Civic Si is available. It's rated at 201 horsepower and 170 pound-feet of torque, and only is available with a close-ratio six-speed manual transmission. Fuel economy drops with this powertrain to an EPA estimated 20 mpg in the city and 29 mpg on the highway.
Also available is a hybrid powertrain, which makes the ILX the first hybrid Acura. Using the 1.5-liter four-cylinder and a 20-horsepower IMA system from the Honda Civic Hybrid, the ILX Hybrid will have a total output of 111 horsepower and 127 pound-feet of torque. With a CVT, the ILX Hybrid is estimated to have an EPA rating of 35 mpg in the city and 38 mpg on the highway. The battery pack is lithium-ion and the gas engine features an idle-stop mode which saves fuel at stoplights.
The suspension uses MacPherson struts with multiple links at the rear. According to Acura, new shocks are able to deliver a more comfortable ride and precise handling.
Safety-wise, the ILX has the usual front, side, and side-curtain airbags standard, along with anti-lock brakes and stability control.
Standard equipment on the ILX include keyless access and pushbutton start, along with a Pandora Internet radio streaming interface which can be paired with a smartphone.
Both a Premium Package and Technology Package will be available. The Premium Package includes leather seats, heated front seats, a 360-watt stereo system, a rearview camera, and Active Sound Cancellation. The Technology Package includes everything from the Premium Package but also adds navigation with real-time traffic and weather, ELS Surround Sound System, and 15 GB of hard-drive space for music storage.
The 2013 Acura ILX will go on sale later this year, and will be built in Greensburg, Indiana.
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