2016 Acura ILX to feature serious sports sedan tendencies
Bottom line: With Acura reducing the line by two cars and introducing TLX the brand will not be resurrected to prior segment prominence this year, nor may it be in 2015. True, sustainable transition takes time; in rolls an extensively upgraded ILX.
Acura will introduce at the 2014 Los Angeles Car Show what they refer to a “substantially new” ILX now overshadowed by the best selling TLX. Will scheduled upgrades stage ILX as the next winner in Acura's quest for metric segment dominance?
I will say this: 2015 Acura ILX while not a cutting edge performance metric is a quality built ‘good car,’ it’s not a great car, and that’s what Acura needs to displace Audi A3, BMW 3 series and Mercedes C Class dominance in the segment; a fantastic cutting edge entry level executive compact 4 door with TLX technology and performance attributes.
Acura has driven the consumer anticipation index off the charts with the standard added value packed performance and comfort that’s 2015 TLX. In Fact, they’ve undermined the balance of Acura’s car lineup with TLX.
Too Big,Too small, just right
Now, I personally love the drive and comfort attributes of Acura’s flagship RLX. It’s big and it’s bad baby! Think Cadillac or Lincoln interior comfort crossed with Acura TL performance and Starship technology. I had the pleasure of reviewing the 2015 Acura RLX -Tech while covering Indycar in Sonoma, California. You may read my review here.
At $60,000+ I believe RLX to be a greater value than BMW 7 series. Unfortunately, imports of the made in Japan luxo cruiser are limited and RLX Hybrid Sport is missing in action. With a stated 375 horsepower and class leading fuel economy, Hybrid Sport will push RLX to the top of the luxury performance sedan segment. Acura PR has promised me an extended drive and review as I continue to check my driveway for a 2015 Hybrid Sport, it appears to be missing in action.
Back to the subject at hand: 2015 ILX is a good car, it’s just a bit too similar to a top trim Honda Civic, and doesn’t pass the litmus test for many first time or downsizing Acura enthusiasts as to performance. I’ve driven all variants of ILX and find the standard 150 horsepower 2.0 liter 4 cylinder gasoline engine to be a bit sedated. Coupled to a 5 speed automatic, ILX has a tendency to gear search and high-rev under acceleration. Drive it like grandmother’s Accord and it does fine, put your foot in it and it loses its Acura refinement.
My reader’s would like to see a turbocharged option for ILX, I don’t anticipate that coming for 2015.
While interior ergonomics and quiet surpass German offerings, Acura’s excessive use of hard plastics and fau graphite returns me to reality as I reflect on 2015 Acura TLX test drives of yesterday; that’s where Acura will take ILX for 2016.
2016 Acura ILX will retain 2015 ILX size and flavor while adopting TLX exterior design cues, new engine, transmission, improved braking and handling. As predicted here, I believe that Acura will bump up the horsepower and torque in the base trim model, offer a double clutched 8 speed manual transmission and a 206 horsepower, 180 ft-lb torque 2.4 liter direct injected i-VTEC 4 cylinder gasoline engine as found in 2015 TLX i-4.
I’ll be reporting live from Los Angeles as Acura introduces 2016 ILX November 20.