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2013 Acura ILX Debut

The "concept" becomes a reality.

2013 Acura ILX Research Click to hide

What's New

Acura's cars have been growing in size and price for some time now, exposing a position at the bottom of the brand's lineup for an entry-level luxury sedan. Enter: The 2013 Acura ILX. Although it debuted last month as a concept, sporting the familiar Acura beak and wheels fit for only a concept car, it looked pretty production-ready to us. It turns out it was. With a more pleasant interior, some luxury features here and there, and powerful engines, the Honda Civic-based sedan fills Acura's lineup with a car that is likely to be a big seller, but is also just as likely to be a footnote or missed opportunity for a luxury make struggling for relevancy.

Who It's For

With the embattled economy, there's a lot of talk about right-sizing luxury these days. McMansions are out in favor of smaller, more efficient houses. The same seems to be true of luxury cars, with virtually all manufacturers coming out with less expensive smaller vehicles that are still filled with luxury features. The 2013 Acura ILX seems to be following with this, along with other cars like the Buick Verano and upcoming Audi A3 sedan. The Acura ILX comes available with Pandora music streaming, text-to-voice recognition, and Acura says the price will start at significantly less than $30,000--we're thinking around $26,000 or so--making it a go-to option for someone who wants leather and tech goodies without clearing too much from the piggy bank.

Key Features

How awesome could a luxified Civic be? Well, we'll tell you. The 2013 Acura ILX has:
  • A choice of three engine options: The 201-horsepower, 2.4-liter engine from the Civic Si, an all-new 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, and Acura's first hybrid setup.
  • An interior that's a huge leap forward compared to the Civic, with soft-touch surfaces everywhere and a refined feel despite the car's small size.
  • Unique styling that actually makes it almost unrecognizable from its basic Civic roots.
  • Keyless access and pushbutton start.

What We Think

Acura's been here before with a small premium sedan based on the Honda Civic. The Acura Integra made driving an Acura cool, along with the NSX sports car, because it always felt like more than the sum of its parts. Lately, Acura and Honda have had little differentiation beyond Acura's uglier grille, leather on the seats, and higher prices. This car could be more of the same. But we hope it isn't. We're pulling for Acura to make this car what the disappointing, but apparently good-selling, Civic should be. We're not keen on the higher prices to get the nicer interior, as Honda should be building quality into its cars across the board. But we think there's a distinct possibility that if Acura makes this the car we know it can be with the inherent quality we used to expect from Honda, it will be a nimble, sporty, efficient runabout much as the Integra, RSX, and first-generation Acura TSX were before it.

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