A grown-up's Civic Si... almost... | Acura hit my wants and needs on the dot with the ILX Dynamic.
Entry-level luxury cars are becoming more prominent on the roads and consumers now have a larger pic. There are the typical cookie-cutter choices such as the BMW 3-series or the Audi A3. However, Acura is now a strong contender in this category with the ILX. My colleagues here at DoubleClutch.ca have always told me that Honda’s manual transmission is unlike they had ever driven. Personally, I have not been lucky enough to spend a fair amount of time with any Acura, even though I have always wanted to – until I was handed the keys to a 2015 Acura ILX Dynamic.
Acura offers 5 different variants of the ILX. I was able to test the best one from an enthusiast’s point of view. The Dynamic model has a 2.4-litre, DOHC i-VTEC 4-cylinder engine mated to a 6-speed manual transmission. Acura hit my wants and needs on the dot with the ILX Dynamic. Pushing out 201 horsepower and 170 pound-feet of torque, the engine powers the car very well without any hesitations. Cruising in the city, usually there is no need for much more power, so sometimes drivers are unable to feel the power of the engine. Getting up to highway speeds in the ILX was fun – the purist in me loved it. Each and every gear gave the car the extra power it needed to reach highway speeds and did not lag or feel sluggish by any means. Some may notice that the ILX Dynamic shares its 2.4L engine with the Honda Civic Si, another great enthusiast choice.
Looking at the car from the outside, it has a nice shape and great lines that adds to the luxury look without taking away from the sporty “Honda-ness” of the car. My tester was painted in a beautiful Fathom Blue Pearl colour and in my opinion, is the best shade the ILX can wear.
I was very fortunate to be testing the Dynamic model, which is the only ILX available with the manual transmission. The base model ILX as well as the Premium and Tech models all come with automatic transmissions and the Hybrid variant (currently on its deathbed) is equipped with a CVT. My tester had metal racing pedals that weren’t only aesthetically pleasing but feel great against your shoes as well. Both the clutch and brake pedals had tiny cleats of rubber attached, so that the drivers foot would not slip off the pedal in quick maneuvers.
The interior of my tester was just as pleasant as the exterior. The seats were upholstered in a supple black leather and the dashboard materials also felt very upscale. The seats are incredibly comfortable, and are bolstered very well for aggressive driving. I recently purchased a 2014 Mazda3, and will definitely say that the Mazda feels considerably larger with regards to interior space. If there’s anywhere I would say the ILX needs improvement is this area – perhaps it’s the smaller windows that give it a cocoon-like effect.
I recently tested the Honda Accord so I became very familiar with the infotainment system. It was no surprise that the system in the Acura ILX is nearly identical to that in the Accord. It’s pretty easy to use, and I was able to set my preferences relatively quickly. However, I did have issues pairing my iPhone 4S to the Bluetooth of the car. so when I hopped in the ILX, there were no issues trying to get everything set up before heading on my way – except Bluetooth. No matter how hard I tried, it just wasn’t pairing throughout the week. I’m going to chalk it off to this particular car having a glitch, because my colleagues have tested ILXs in the past and had no issues pairing their iPhones to the car’s system. Bluetooth aside, I cannot stress enough how much I love using the Honda/Acura infotainment system. There is a plethora of knobs and buttons, which is always preferred to using slow, unresponsive touchscreens.
Acura Canada rates the ILX Dynamic at 10.8L/100km for city, 7.4L/100km for highway and 9.3L/100km for a combination of both. I managed to average a number of 8.9L/100km for both city and highway, with the majority being in the city. With an as-tested price of $32,090, the ILX is a very good contender in its class. Regardless of pricing or overall design, the ILX continues to be the grownup’s Honda Civic Si. The only complaint my colleagues had with previous models was the lack of the big engine/manual transmission’s availability with the Tech package. Now, the Dynamic driven here comes standard with navigation and all the other toys without giving up the third pedal. The Acura ILX is versatile enough to fit in with younger drivers while still having appeal to the older generation as well.