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2019 Acura ILX

$25,900 - $31,550
Price Range (MSRP)

2019 Acura ILX Review

by Roger Biermann

The 2019 Acura ILX arrives with a completely fresh face and a $2,200 price cut to take on the premium subcompact sedan segment, but it’s still based on the same old bones of the previous generation Honda Civic, trying to remain relevant with updated tech and safety. It’s got the Audi A3 sedan and new Mercedes-Benz A-Class sedan to battle with so the ILX has a tough task ahead of it in the premium segment. Fortunately, a redesign isn’t all the ILX packs for 2019, as it now features an updated interior, a revised infotainment system, more features than ever, and standard AcuraWatch safety features to bolster the value proposition. Based on the previous generation Honda Civic, the ILX still soldiers on with a naturally aspirated 2.4-liter motor, which could be to its detriment against turbocharged rivals.

What’s New For 2019?

The big change for 2019 has been the complete redesign of the Acura ILX to bring it in line with Acura’s current design language, making the ILX less Civic-like and far more aggressive. Other changes include revisions to the interior which now includes new sports seats and an optional, updated touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto along with other minor interior tweaks. A range of safety features have now been included as standard under the AcuraWatch umbrella, and Acura has brought back the A-Spec package of the 2000s, equipping the ILX with a range of sporty interior and exterior styling cues. The 2019 model also comes in cheaper than the 2018 model it replaces.

Pros and Cons

  • Premium quality at a low price
  • Generous safety equipment
  • Revised infotainment system quicker than before
  • Lots of features for the price
  • Plastic interior trim lacks quality
  • Lots of tech, but most of it outdated
  • Engine lacks the punch of turbocharged rivals
  • Less engaging to drive than other premium subcompacts
  • Interior lacks spaciousness of rivals

ILX Exterior

The 2019 ILX has been redesigned almost entirely in order to bring the styling in line with the rest of the six-strong Acura model line-up. It ditches the old Honda-derived beak grille, replacing it with the new Acura Diamond Pentagon grille. Flanking the grille, the Jewel Eye headlights feature seven LED projectors apiece. There’s a new deck lid, LED taillights to complement the headlights, and a new lower diffuser featuring a single chrome exhaust tip on the right-hand side. 17-inch alloy wheels are standard with a Glitter Silver finish, with optional 17- and 18-inch accessory wheels available at extra cost to give the ILX more style. The A-Spec also gives the ILX sportier exterior styling cues, including dark 18-inch alloys, gloss black trim elements, LED fog lights, new side skirts, and an integrated trunk lid spoiler.

2019 Acura ILX Front View
2019 Acura ILX Rear View
2019 Acura ILX Front Angle View

See All 2019 Acura ILX Exterior Photos

Dimensions

While its styling has evolved for 2019, the hard dimensions of the ILX remain much the same. Still riding on a 105.1-inch wheelbase, the length of 182.2 inches has grown by 0.3-inches over last year’s model, while width and height measurements of 70.6 and 55.6 inches respectively remain unchanged. There are 5.3 inches of ground clearance at hand too. Curb weight varies based on trim, with the base model tipping the scales at 3,095 lbs, while the Technology pack with A-Spec is the heaviest at 3,148 lbs - marginal increases over the 2018 model’s weight.

Exterior Colors

For 2019, despite the facelift, there are still only six exterior hues to choose from, although many of them have been replaced by all new colors for the current year. Standard models can be had in one of five colors: Platinum White Pearl, Lunar Silver Metallic, Modern Steel Metallic, Majestic Black Pearl, and Performance Red Pearl. Equipping the Premium Package unlocks access to Canyon Bronze Metallic, while the A-Spec Package offers Apex Blue Pearl as a unique premium paint finish.

  • Majestic Black Pearl
  • Performance Red Pearl
  • Apex Blue Pearl
  • Canyon Bronze Metallic
  • Lunar Silver Metallic
  • Platinum White Pearl
  • Modern Steel Metallic

ILX Performance

From 2016 onwards, the ILX has been available with just one drivetrain. A naturally aspirated 2.4-liter four-cylinder rests under the hood, developing 201 horsepower and 180 lb-ft of torque. Those outputs offer more power than the base A3 and A-Class sedans, but the Acura is down on torque without a turbocharger. The ILX directs its power to the front wheels through an eight-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox, while rivals offer all-wheel drive. Turbocharged rivals from Audi and Mercedes-Benz offer more engine-wise and provide better fuel consumption estimates as well, which leaves us pondering why Acura didn’t borrow Honda’s new 1.5-liter turbocharged engine instead or at least make it available on higher trims. However, the Acura’s dual-clutch automatic is right up there with some of the better propositions on the market which is a small consolation.

2019 Acura ILX Front View Driving
2019 Acura ILX Side View Driving
2019 Acura ILX Engine

Engine and Transmission

There’s just one single engine, one single gearbox, and one single drivetrain layout available for the 2019 Acura ILX, making it a rather boring proposition for buyers who might want more performance, or who live in areas where different drivetrains might be needed. A 2.4-liter naturally aspirated four-cylinder is what you’ll find lurking beneath the hood of the ILX, developing 201 horsepower and 180 lb-ft of torque. On power alone it’s on par with rivals, even boasting more than an entry-level Audi A3. But it has a torque deficit versus rivals who offer turbocharged motors in their compact sedans. Considering Acura bases the ILX on the Civic - albeit the last generation - it’s a pity we don’t see a turbocharged motor housed in their more premium offering, especially since the current Honda Civic offers the 1.5T engine.

That lone engine offering powers the front wheels only, with no option for all-wheel-drive. The lack of all-wheel drive ensures all models are equally efficient, but in colder or wetter states the ability to buy an all-wheel-drive ILX would appeal to many buyers who will have to turn elsewhere. Power is routed through an 8-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission as the standard and only gearbox available. The gearbox is efficient and slips through the gears quickly and imperceptibly, holding on to gears in sport mode and shifting between them for economy’s sake in regular driving modes. There are steering mounted paddle-shifters for you to shift yourself, but there’s no sign of a manual gearbox in sight.

  • Engine
    2.4-liter Inline-4 Gas
  • Transmission
    8-Speed Automatic
  • Drivetrain
    FWD

Handling and Driving Impressions

The ILX is geared towards comfort far more than performance, and to that end so is the suspension setup, which offers a supple, compliant ride without being overly floaty and disconnected from the road. It’s definitely tuned for comfort and benefits from the old Civic underpinnings by striking a fine balance between comfort and composure. But while the ILX’s suspension filters out road imperfections, the rest of the ILX does a poor job of filtering out road and tire noise compared to other premium rivals. In fact on anything other than mirror smooth roads, the noise that permeates the cabin makes the ILX feel cheap, even if the bumps themselves aren’t getting through. It’s the weakest aspect of the ILX’s ride and is made worse by the fact that some of the plastic panels tend to rattle over bumpy roads. Higher speeds also yield substantial wind noise, as you can hear the airflow over the windscreen and side mirrors.

Performance isn’t really at the forefront of the ILX’s repertoire, and the drive isn’t one that emphasizes fun jaunts along a twisty road. The steering is light, offering minor feedback but requiring minimal effort. This makes it agile at low speeds but uninspiring at pace - ideal for a comfortable commuter. It’s not the kind of steering that builds trust though, so you’re never searching for the limits of the ILX’s handling ability and feel very divorced from the whole experience. The brakes are strong and offer great pedal modulation without being grabby or overly servoed, and under emergency braking, they act quickly and without pulling the vehicle to one side or the other.

ILX Gas Mileage

In a segment where economy matters and the Germans show mastery of such, the Acura ILX is a little below par. It consumes an average of 28 mpg, with city/highway estimates at 24/34 mpg which is below the figures the comparable Audi A3 sedan boasts. What’s more is that the ILX’s fuel tank is smaller than some of the competition at just 13.2-gallons, meaning you’ll only see an estimated 370 miles per tank whereas the Audi A3 offers up to 420 miles from its 14.5-gallon tank.

  • Fuel Tank Capacity
    13.2 Gallons
  • Fuel Economy
    City/Hwy: 24/34 mpg
* 2019 Acura ILX FWD

ILX Interior

The 2019 Acura ILX might look premium, but the material quality of many interior panels is lacking and feel quite tacky. The design is still contemporary, but the dual-screen setup takes getting used to if you’re not au fait with the layout. Ingress and egress are easy enough, but the power sunroof cuts into headroom for taller occupants, while the rear accommodation doesn’t offer much leg room or headroom for taller occupants. The driver and front passenger will be comfortable throughout any journey with a comfortable seating position and standard heated seats. At a push, the ILX will seat five, though a maximum of two adults can be comfortably sat in the rear. Two full sets of LATCH anchors are found in the rear bench for child safety seat installation.

2019 Acura ILX Front Seats
2019 Acura ILX Dashboard
2019 Acura ILX Infotainment System

See All 2019 Acura ILX Interior Photos

Seating and Interior Space

The Acura ILX seats five passengers in what feels like cramped quarters. Headroom is impeded front and rear by the power moonroof, while rear passengers have limited legroom as well. Legroom up front is decent, however, but the tall seating position doesn’t effectively make use of the space on offer. The rear bench can fold flat but has no 60/40 split, which may affect drivers with families they need to transport as the rear seats can’t be used at all if you need to fit longer items in the trunk. The driver’s seat offers standard 8-way power adjustment with lumbar support, though the default seating position is too high overall and throws some of the ergonomics of the cabin off as a result. It’s worth noting the new sports seats offer more comfort and support than before and are standard on all models. These are the same seats allegedly inspired and based on those found in the Acura NSX. Visibility is generally quite good, although the angle and placement of the windshield pillars make for tricky visibility around corners. Rearward visibility is handled by a standard rearview camera on all models with rear park assist an option worth considering.

  • Seating capacity
    5-seater

Interior Colors and Materials

On the ILX Standard, Ebony colored leatherette seating surfaces await, with bright silver and chrome the default dash trimming on a standard black surface. With the upgrade from Standard to Premium trim, leather becomes standard, available either in Ebony or Espresso with matching door cards, or a Graystone finish with matching doors and a lightly colored upholstered lower dash to match the seating. Upgrading to the sporty A-Spec line unlocks optionally available red leather on the A-Spec sports seats with black perforated Supersuede insets, with matching red door upholstery and contrast red stitching on the steering wheel, handbrake lever, and gear shift. The dash is treated in A-Spec with Graphite and Chrome dash trimmings, while pedals become stainless steel sports pedals. If you opt for black leather seats, these also feature red contrast stitching.

ILX Trunk and Cargo Space

The Acura ILX offers storage capabilities about average for the class, with 12.4 cubic feet worth of storage space in the trunk, just about matching the Audi A3. That’s enough for a week’s worth of groceries with space to spare and can fit two suitcases with a bit of care when loading. While you can enlarge the trunk by dropping the seat back of the rear bench, it doesn’t offer split folding capabilities, meaning it’s an all or nothing affair, so child seats or rear occupants can’t be in the ILX when you need to load longer items. The cabin doesn’t offer many storage options for smaller items aside from the center console cup holders and door pockets, which makes the ILX less practical than most options in the segment, and less practical than some vehicles in lesser segments.

2019 Acura ILX Trunk Space
2019 Acura ILX Maximum Cargo Space
2019 Acura ILX Badge
  • Trunk Volume
    12.4 ft³

ILX Infotainment and Features

Features

From a features standpoint, the ILX has plenty to offer, with all models equipped with eight-way power driver’s seat operation, heated front seats, dual-zone climate control, keyless entry, and a power moonroof. A reverse camera is standard, as are adaptive cruise control and lane keep assist. An auto-dimming rearview mirror is standard from the Premium trim, along with a blind spot monitor and rear cross traffic alert. Other driver assistance features are standard across the range, including forward collision warning, lane departure warning, road departure mitigation, and lane keeping assist.

Infotainment

The standard infotainment system in the Acura ILX features six speakers and allows for Bluetooth streaming, auxiliary inputs, and USB inputs, and is also compatible with Pandora, while on the Smartphone front it comes equipped with Siri Eyes Free. Premium models get seven speakers, SiriusXM, and HD Radio along with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, but if you’re after the full technological experience, then the Technology Pack will give you a ten speaker ELS Studio sound system, Song By Voice, 3D navigation with real-time traffic information, and AcuraLink connected services that enable link-up between your mobile device and the ILX via an Acura app.

ILX Problems and Reliability

Reliability is a key selling point for Japanese brands, and in sticking with a tried and trusted engine Acura is certain the ILX will stand the test of time. To that end, it covers the drivetrain under a six-year/70,000-mile warranty and also offers a standard four-year/50,000-mile basic warranty. In other aspects, the Acura ILX may potentially have issues, as the build quality seems a bit shoddy and the use of some cheap plastics sees interior panels creak and rattle. J.D. Power and associates scored the 2018 ILX a 3.5/5 on the predicted reliability charts, but haven’t yet rated the 2019 model.

ILX Safety

The Acura ILX ranks highly with both the NHTSA and the IIHS due to loads of standard safety kit. The NHTSA scored the ILX 5 out of 5 stars overall, while the IIHS rated it Good in almost all tests. The headlights were however scored poorly due to excessive glare for other road users.

Key Safety Features

Loads of features are standard on the 2019 Acura ILX, including the AcuraWatch system which comprises collision mitigation braking, road departure mitigation, adaptive cruise control, lane keeping assistant, forward collision warning, lane departure warning, and a multi-view rearview camera. Blind spot monitoring and rear cross traffic alert are available from the Premium trim line up, while rear park distance sensors are optional on all models. Of course, the standard grouping of six airbags, ABS, EBD, stability control, and LATCH anchors for child seats all apply, ensuring high levels of safety without the need to opt-in for extras.

Verdict: Is the 2019 Acura ILX a good car?

The Acura ILX should be playing in the premium segment but doesn’t make the grade. The rest of the package has failed to live up to the exciting new looks, with the result being the 2019 ILX feels like an old car trying to remain relevant when the rest of the world has simply moved on. The aged, previous generation Honda Civic platform and build quality make the ILX feel tacky, and the ergonomics are behind the times. It might well be a well-equipped vehicle, but against the Audi A3 and Mercedes A-Class sedan, it’s definitely found wanting with an archaic drivetrain and uninspiring drive. For the same money as the Premium ILX, you could have a fully loaded Civic Sedan in Touring trim, which offers improved ergonomics, interior space, a turbocharged engine, a vastly better, more engaging driving experience, and a far more premium feel overall. The premium badge on the nose doesn’t cut it here - which is a great disappointment given the new look is thoroughly impressive.

What's the Price of the 2019 Acura ILX?

For a model as well-equipped as the ILX is, its a surprise to see the cheapest variant, the base model priced at just $25,900 before the addition of tax, licensing, and an $875 destination fee. Above that, the Premium carries a base MSRP of $27,650, while the Technology is priced from $29,550. The Premium A-Spec is marginally more expensive at $29,650, while the range-topping Technology A-Spec is the only ILX to break through the 30k mark at a price of $31,550.

2019 Acura ILX Models

Five basic trim offerings are available for the 2019 Acura ILX, though they present themselves in the form of options packages: Base, Premium, Technology, Premium with A-Spec, or Technology with A-Spec. A 2.4-liter naturally aspirated motor paired to an eight-speed dual-clutch automatic and front wheel drive is standard across all models.

Standard features on the Base model comprise LED headlights, a power moonroof, dual-zone climate control, and heated front seats.

The Premium offering is the best value for money, adding leather upholstery, blind spot monitoring, and Apple CarPlay/Android Auto functionality for an all-encompassing package that includes everything you need but nothing you don’t.

The Technology trim includes niceties like voice recognition, GPS-linked, climate control, traffic information, and a top-tier audio system.

The top-level A-Spec trim is a sporty appearance line based on either Premium or Technology trims, with larger 18-inch wheels, bespoke seating and steering wheel upholstery, and exterior trimmings.

Trim Engine Transmission Drivetrain Price (MSRP)
Base
2.4-liter Inline-4 Gas
8-Speed Automatic
Front Wheel Drive
$25,900
Premium Package
2.4-liter Inline-4 Gas
8-Speed Automatic
Front Wheel Drive
$27,650
Technology Package
2.4-liter Inline-4 Gas
8-Speed Automatic
Front Wheel Drive
$29,550
Premium & A-SPEC Package
2.4-liter Inline-4 Gas
8-Speed Automatic
Front Wheel Drive
$29,650
Technology & A-SPEC Package
2.4-liter Inline-4 Gas
8-Speed Automatic
Front Wheel Drive
$31,550

See All 2019 Acura ILX Trims and Specs

Additional Packages

The Standard model ILX is well equipped, with three main packages that can be added, although these are passed off as what manufacturers would traditionally call trims.

The Premium Package at $1,750 adds leather upholstery, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto functionality, SiriusXM satellite radio, power adjustment for the front passenger, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, and blind spot monitoring. If you’re going to opt for anything more than the Standard model, this is the must-have package for the leather and connectivity features. The addition of the Premium Package also gives buyers access to a special paint option of Canyon Bronze Metallic.

The Technology Package is an over-and-above option for the Premium Package and adds navigation, an ELS Studio 10-speaker sound system, GPS-linked climate control, traffic information, and voice recognition for an additional $1,900 on top of the Premium Package.

The A-Spec package is a styling pack had in conjunction with either the Premium Package or both the Premium and Technology Package, that equips 18-inch alloys, LED fog lights, black chrome accents, dark chrome details, A-Spec badges, A-Spec side sills, a gloss black decklid spoiler, gloss black rear bumper trim, A-Spec seats, A-Spec steering wheel, sport pedals, a black headliner, and red instrument gauges.

The A-Spec package costs $2,000 excluding the Premium and Technology packages that must also be optioned. The A-Spec also comes with a special $400 paint option, Apex Blue Pearl.

What Acura ILX Model Should I Buy?

Considering the ILX isn’t really dominating the segment, it seems silly to spend an awful lot on a higher specification model. To that end, we feel the Premium model offers the best value for money proposition, giving buyers necessary niceties like leather upholstery, power seat adjustment, and full smartphone connectivity, as well as added safety in the form of blind spot monitoring. You can manage without onboard navigation as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto have you covered, and the ten-speaker ELS audio system isn’t a necessity. The A-Spec is merely styling, so we recommend you save the money and stick with the Premium model.

2019 Acura ILX Comparisons

2019 Acura ILX vs 2019 Acura TLX

With a modicum of overlap between the pricing of the ILX and its bigger brother, the TLX, buyers may be persuaded towards the larger offering from Acura. But is bigger better? From a spaciousness perspective, definitely, and the TLX offers roomier accommodation and more trunk space than the awkwardly packaged ILX. It also boasts a higher quality interior befitting a vehicle occupying a higher premium segment. Both offer similar performance, powered by the same 2.4-liter engine with the TLX acquiring a little more power. However, the TLX gets the option of a more powerful V6 higher up the model tiers, and while gas mileage takes a dive, performance is vastly improved. The TLX is also more refined when driving, and offers more consistent dynamics than the erratic ILX. Ultimately, the TLX is a better vehicle, but it may also cost you more if you want to go fully-specced.

See 2019 Acura TLX Review

2019 Acura ILX vs 2019 Honda Civic Sedan

Acura is the upmarket sub-brand under the Honda umbrella, but that doesn’t necessarily mean the Honda Civic Sedan is going to play second fiddle to the premium ILX. The Civic is a relatively premium vehicle itself, and it combines the best aspects of practicality, frugality, and an exciting drive, in a highly specified, yet affordable package. So affordable, in fact, that only the full specced Touring model is more expensive than the base level ILX. The ILX derives more power from its naturally aspirated 2.4-liter engine, but the smaller 1.5T available on higher Civic trims offers turbo-torque, and pairs sprightly performance with gas mileage estimates that leave the ILX for dead. The Civic feels dynamically more talented, too, more fun to drive on a twisty road and more refined in suburbia. While the ILX may boast some premium materials inside, it’s still based off the last generation Civic, leaving bits of tacky plastic hidden just out of sight, and flawed in one crucial aspect - space. The Civic, despite for all intents and purposes being the junior sedan, is more spacious and feels more refined inside, too, all while offering the same high levels of tech at a lower price. If you can overlook the badge-snobbery, the Civic is a vastly superior vehicle on a budget.

See 2019 Honda Civic Sedan Review

Acura ILX Popular Comparisons

2019 Acura ILX Video Reviews

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