Thirty thousand seems to be the magic number for an entry-level luxury car. The Acura ILX is proof of that, with a base price just north of $27,000 and ranging up to about $35,000. So, the question becomes, what does $30,000 get you these days?
Well, from Acura, you will get a mighty fine ILX. First of all, the ILX has a nice, design aesthetic. The front end is crowned with 5 jewel-like LED lights in each headlamp. Its stance is proud, as if eager to please its owner. The optional 18-inch diamond-cut wheels add some more sparkle and yet at the same time, give this compact vehicle a sportier, more aggressive feel.
The Acura ILX is definitely the flashier cousin to the Honda Civic, and that is evidenced all throughout the sport-inspired interior. From aluminum gas and brake pedals to the classic stitching on the three-spoke, leather steering wheel, the ILX has a flair for attitude. The center stack has a nice, symmetrical appearance, starting with the navigation screen above, audio screen below that, and control buttons beneath, finally cascading down to the stitched-leather gear shifter. The cockpit hugs without feeling too cramped.
The ILX comes in three trim levels: Standard, Premium, and Technology Plus. Notable features include Navigation with 3D View, premium surround sound, and rear cross traffic monitoring.
New for the 2016 model year is an all-new power train. Gone is the old 150 hp 2.0 L engine matched to the 5-speed automatic. Taking its place is a more modern, more efficient 2.4 L 4-cylinder engine that yields 201 hp and 180 lb-ft of torque. The transmission is also new: a unique torque-converter equipped dual-clutch 8-speed automatic. I believe the power train makes for a smarter, faster ILX. It measures 0-60 in 6.2 seconds, which shaves two full seconds off the previous model. And even with all that extra power, fuel economy is rated at 25 city/36 highway.
Driving the ILX is also much improved over the previous model. New calibrations were made to the electronic-assisted steering which improves road feedback and gives you a more engaged driving experience. Braking is laser sharp and feels accurate to the amount of pressure you put on the pedal. Overall, the ILX is fun to drive and rewards those who like to drive. In fact, even for those who feel that driving is a bother, the ILX will make your commute much more enjoyable.
Competitors in this category include the Audi A3, Mercedes-Benz CLA class, BMW 2-series, and Buick Verano. The good news for Acura shoppers is that an ILX tops out at $35,000 while others can range into the low fifties. So, what does $30,000 get you these days? In the case of the Acura ILX, you can get a fun-to-drive, sophisticated car that offers a touch of class in the entry-level luxury category.