Comparing the 2014 Acura ILX Hybrid to the 2014 Honda Accord Hybrid raises serious questions
The new 2014 Acura ILX went on sale today. Interestingly, one of its main rivals is the 2014 Honda Accord Hybrid, which, on paper at least, seems to be better in every measurable way, at nearly an identical cost. If the Honda Accord Hybrid was made by anyone but Honda we could argue that the Acura ILX has that certain something that all Acura (and Hondas) have, and is therefore arguably a better choice. However, in this case we are flummoxed to understand who would pick the new 2013 ILX hybrid over the new 2014 Accord Hybrid.
Stepping back, we must look at what the ILX is and what Acura tells us it is. They are two different things. Acura markets the ILX as a handsome young professional gentleman’s car (or attractive young lady’s car). He or she is very hip and cool and they are entrepreneurs that also are very artistic. They look great in black and live in the city and drive to cool places for dinner. The marketing is much more focused on the person than the machine. That may work. However, the ILX is not a sports sedan, and it is not a luxury car. It is an entry level, front drive, underpowered car that that Acura chose to slot in under the TSX. Consumer Reports called the car "A tarted up Civic" when it tested the 2013. Now that the ILX has had what little power it had removed, and replaced with a 1.5 liter hybrid drive with a CVT, the car cannot with a straight face be marketed as a sports sedan.
Were the 2014 ILX hybrid significantly less expensive, much more fuel efficient, or significantly more luxurious than the 2014 Accord Hybrid we would get the picture. However, at an MSRP of $28,900 base, and $34,600 with the Technology package, the ILX Hybrid is basically the same price as the Accord in the same configuration. The Accord has more power from its larger 2.0 liter hybrid engine, and here is the most important thing of all –stomps on the ILX in terms of fuel efficiency. The Accord has a 50 MPG city, 45 highway MPG and a combined EPA estimate of 47 MPG. The ILX Hybrid can only achieve 39/38/38. We hate to say it, but those numbers are barely as good as the non-hybrid 2014 Corolla, which is the same size as the ILX. And, the Corolla LE Eco gets 42 highway. Clearly the environmental shopper chooses the Accord Hybrid which goes on sale this Halloween.
We have read over the features list of the cars and they appear to be the same. The Accord is larger, has all of the currently available safety technologies (forward collision system, lane keeping etc.) and many amenities expected of a luxury car like LED lights, memory power driver’s seat, Honda Link, a cloud based media and connectivity system, hard-drive audio, integration with all the cool apps, adaptive cruise control and much more.
It is no secret that the Acura TL and RL are Accord-like cars. And it is no secret that the ILX is a similar car to the Civic. The really odd thing is that the ILX Hybrid is so poorly matched to the new Accord Hybrid at almost exactly the same price. It almost seems as if the badges should be swapped.