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Acura ILX Concept Debut

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What's New
What's old is new again at Acura. This time, it's the Acura ILX Concept, a preview of a new, small sporty sedan based on the Honda Civic. It's not the first time that Acura has mined the Honda parts bin for a sporty car, as one of its most successful models -- the Integra -- was heavily based off the compact. The ILX follows the same basic formula of restyling the Civic while giving it more power and features, but this time it retains its sedan form.

Who It's For
We're going off nomenclature here. See, Acura's names follow a certain pattern. Sportier cars get "-SX" names: RSX, NSX, TSX. Utility vehicles get a "-DX" in their name: RDX, ZDX and MDX. Luxury cars get an "L" in their names: the TL and RL. So the Acura ILX has an "L" for luxury, but the "X" denotes something sportier. So who is it for? Someone looking for a small, luxurious-yet-sporty sedan and doesn't want to spend a lot of money doing it. In other words, Buick Verano buyers.

Key Features
While the Acura ILX is based on the Civic's underpinnings, it wears its own unique set of clothes. The prominent "beak" that has adorned Acuras for the past few years is tastefully integrated, and the rest of the car is barely recognizable as having anything to do with a Honda. Under the hood, it's a different story.

  • Three engines: The 2.4-liter engine from the Civic Si makes an appearance here, along with the Civic Hybrid's drivetrain, making the ILX the first Acura hybrid. A 2.0-liter four-cylinder is all new.
  • Advanced entertainment system: Expect a hard-drive based navigation and music system, Pandora radio, and text-to-voice messaging.
  • A decent price: The base price on the Acura TSX -- currently the brand's cheapest offering -- starts at $30,000 and change. The ILX should undercut that by several thousand.

What We Think
The jury's out on this one. On one hand, a small, relatively inexpensive and fun Acura sounds like a good idea. But we're not exactly enthusiastic about the Civic that this small Acura would be based on. It's going to boil down to execution. The good news is that the interior, at least at first glance, bears no resemblance whatsoever to its Civic counterpart. If it's more Acura than Civic, it could be a sleeper hit, and Acura should easily meet its 40,000-per-year sales goal. If it's too close to its poorly received progenitor though, the Acura ILX might backfire.

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