Redefining the compact sports sedan

Not all sports sedans need to be big, expensive, and thirsty. The 2017 Acura ILX is a compact car that can actually trace its lineage to the Honda Civic, but it offers all of the same sports-sedan virtues of larger, more expensive models.

The ILX features a modern powertrain that encourages sporty driving and saves money at the pump. Its compact footprint hides a roomy and well-appointed interior, and the car is packed with technology inside and out. The ILX proves that downsizing doesn’t have to mean compromising. 

Performance

The 2017 Acura ILX is powered by a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 201 horsepower and 180 pound-feet of torque. Adapted from the larger TLX, this engine combines the free-revving nature of Acura’s best power plants with manners befitting a true luxury car.

The four-cylinder is teamed with an eight-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. It’s equipped with paddle shifters for manual control but can execute shifts much faster and smoother than the traditional manual shifter and clutch pedal.

Last year, the ILX benefitted from a retuned suspension, and we're happy to report that razor-sharp handling and a refined ride return for 2017. On the road, the 2017 Acura ILX is confident in corners but capable on rough surfaces.  All of that sporty driving won’t empty your wallet, either, thanks to an EPA-rated 29 mpg combined (25 mpg city, 35 mpg highway).*

Features

The 2017 Acura ILX is available only as a four-door, five-seat compact sedan, with prices starting at $27,990.**

While it is the entry-level model in the Acura lineup, the ILX still comes with the level of standard equipment one would expect of this luxury brand. Those standard features include LED headlights and taillights, Bluetooth®, Siri® Eyes Free voice control, dual-zone automatic climate control, heated front seats, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, Active Sound Control, and ambient lighting.

From there, several option packages are available to build the ILX into the exact type of sports sedan you want. The Premium Package adds a 7-inch central display screen, HD Radio®, Aha™, and an available smartphone-linked navigation system, while the Tech Plus Package includes the AcuraLink® infotainment system and AcuraWatch™ safety system.

The A-SPEC package includes the features from the Premium and Tech Plus Packages, and adds 18-inch alloy wheels, special sport seats with lux-suede inserts and contrast stitching, fog lights, a rear spoiler, and other sporty styling touches.

Finally, the AcuraWatch™ Plus Package adds even more technology features. An add-on to either the Premium or Tech Plus Packages, it includes adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning with automatic braking, lane-keep assist, lane-departure warning, and Road Departure Mitigation.

Design 

The 2017 Acura ILX’s exterior and interior design elevates it above its small size and entry-level price point to the status of a true luxury car.

On the outside, the front end adopts Acura’s signature grille and “Jewel Eye” LED headlights for a distinctive look. The lower fascia and rear bumper are redesigned as well, and there are matching LEDs at the back. Overall, the styling features—which echo those of the larger TLX and RLX sedans—translate well to the compact ILX.

The sporty character of the ILX’s powertrain carries through to the interior. The standard sport seats keep the driver and front passenger secure during cornering, while the leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob are just the sort of accoutrements you’d expect in a sporty car.

Of course, the ILX is still a practical four-door sedan with 89.3 cubic feet of passenger volume and 12.3 cubic feet of cargo space.

Safety

Standard safety equipment on the 2017 Acura ILX includes anti-lock brakes, stability and traction controls, a rearview camera, and a full suite of airbags. The ILX is built around Acura’s Advanced Compatibility Engineering (ACE)™ body structure, which is designed to achieve top safety ratings.

In addition, there are several electronic driver-assistance features available as part of the various ILX option packages. The AcuraWatch™ suite of safety features is available with the Tech Plus Package, while further upgrades are available as part of the AcuraWatch™ Plus Package.

Verdict

The 2017 Acura ILX has the thrift and proportions of a sensible economy car but the class and soul of a luxury sports sedan.

Be sure to contact us online or visit Hall Acura Virginia Beach at 3200 Virginia Beach Blvd, VIRGINIA BEACH, VA 23452 to schedule a test drive.

*Based on 2017 EPA mileage ratings. Use for comparison purposes only. Your actual mileage will vary, depending on how you drive and maintain your vehicle, driving conditions, battery pack age/condition (hybrid only), and other factors.

**Prices shown are Acura suggested retail prices only and do not include taxes, license or a $940 destination and handling charge. Acura vehicle accessory costs, labor and installation vary. Dealers set their own prices.

Image: Acura