A Civic Si for grown-upsSo you’re a young professional and are in the market for a new vehicle. You like to work hard and play hard, and want a car that follows that persona. You are wise with your money and do not want to splurge on a high-end German saloon just yet, so what should you buy?
So you’re a young professional and are in the market for a new vehicle. You like to work hard and play hard, and want a car that follows that persona. You are wise with your money and do not want to splurge on a high-end German saloon just yet, so what should you buy? The three cars you will most likely be looking at are the all-new Acura ILX, Buick Verano, and Lexus CT200h. This week we will find out if the brand new 2013 Acura ILX Dynamic is worthy of your attention and wallet.
Let’s get some basic controversy out of the way. Yes, the car is based off the mainstream (yet wonderful) Honda Civic. Many consumers will instantly look at this as a negative point, but I don’t see it that way. Where many see a cheap economy car, I see legendary reliability. While we’re on this topic, this notion that “luxury” cars can’t be based off cheaper cousins is ludicrous and is simply not how the auto industry works.
The ILX comes is three 4-cylinder engine configurations; 2.0L with 150hp, 1.5L hybrid with 111hp, and a 2.4L with 201hp. To no surprise, Acura provided us with the most powerful model (ILX Dynamic) which comes mated exclusively to a 6-speed manual transmission. The keen amongst my readers will notice that the 2.4L with 201hp is the same engine as in the Civic Si, and you would be absolutely correct. For my $30k+, I would only consider the Dynamic model as I would flat out refuse to spend that sum of money on any vehicle that has less than 200hp.
The car has received mixed reviews in the looks department, and my opinion on the matter definitely will not change those reviews. I think the front half of the car is quite handsome while the back half just looks odd. Most importantly in the looks department is that the car does not look anything like a Civic, which is a lot more than can be said for the defunct CSX and EL. This departure from Civic design continues into the interior which is a tad more up-market and an overall nicer place to be. The enhancements to refinement are also easily noticeable as the car is quieter and also rides better than a standard Civic.
However, not all is well with the ILX. Firstly, I am 6’3” and found my hair was rubbing the roof even on the lowest seat height setting. Secondly, this Dynamic model of the car cannot, and I repeat cannot be fitted with the Technology Package which includes GPS navigation, an upgraded sound system, and larger 8-inch touch-screen display. The decision to make the most powerful engine and technology package mutually exclusive is one that will surely be a deal breaker for many customers.
Oddly enough, you will forget about all these negatives when you drive this car. The engine is a screamer and the 6-speed manual is simply one of the best in the industry. The car begs you to drive harder and working through the gears will always put a smile on your face. Zipping around, I managed to get 8.4L/100km in combined driving. The 201hp isn’t supercar territory but is more than enough to get you into trouble quickly if not careful. One very important note to keep in mind is that the 2.0L and hybrid variants of this car would drive drastically different from the 2.4L vehicle we had. For that reason, I recommend you treat this article as a review of the Acura ILX Dynamic specifically rather than the ILX as a whole.
Unfortunately for Acura though, all the fun I had in this car can be yours for a much cheaper price, $6000 cheaper in fact by purchasing a Civic Si instead. Where the Civic screams boy-racer though, the ILX is a car you wouldn’t flinch in when pulling up to the valet parking of a Michelin star-rated restaurant. In my eyes, the Acura ILX Dynamic is an up-market, refined, and generally better Civic Si, which is no small compliment. The ILX would easily allow you to take your clients to lunch and then burn off some of those calories as you have a blast on your drive home. Acura has created a multi-faceted product that does justice to its Integra ancestry, and for that, I salute them.