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By Katrina Ramser
San Francisco Bureau
The Auto Channel

The Acura ILX is staged as a more affordable smaller and sportier sedan option for those looking to join the luxury vehicle ranks minus the hefty price tag. Like the mid-size TL and TSX sedans, it features refined interior accoutrements paired with sleek styling and an athletic ride.

drove a 2014 Acura ILX with the standard 150-horsepower 2-liter i-VTEC four-cylinder engine and five-speed manual transmission. Available in a larger 2.4-liter engine or Hybrid system along with a six-speed manual, the ILX is further distinguished by optional packages. My ILX with the Premium Package came with the following features: leather-trimmed sport seats; eight-way power driver’s seat; heated front seats; rearview camera; moonroof; Bluetooth; Pandora radio; steering-wheel mounted controls; radio data system; XM radio; USB port and auxiliary input jack; push-button start; fog lights; Xenon headlights; seventeen-inch wheels; and all-season tires. Total vehicle price came to $29,200.

These smaller sedans remain a unique concept to the market, with other such premium models including the Buick Verano and Lexus IS 250. Otherwise, turn to a fully loaded Honda Accord, Toyota Avalon or Hyundai Sonata. I have covered the 2014 Acura ISX Hybrid version in a separate review.


Stylish But Comfortable Results: The smaller dimensions of the compact ILX take some getting used to, but the center stack with streamlined commands remind drivers every Acura is very tech-focused. As loaded as the vehicle is, some major selling points are bundled into a Technology Package that adds a voice-activated navigation display, a premium audio system, XM radio, a multi-view rearview camera, cruise control, and steering-wheel mounted controls at an extra $2,400. The rear dimensions do allow for child car seats that don’t cramp front or driver passenger legroom drastically. Cargo space is cramped at 12.3 cubic feet and the small opening poses a loading challenge.

Reliability & Safety Factor: The ILX features a standard rearview camera, ACE body structure, anti-lock brakes, hill start assist, traction control, and an advanced airbag system. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) rated the ILX with “Good” performance front, side, rollover, and rear crash tests. It also has a 5-Star rating with The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

Cost Issues: The 2014 Acura ILX starts at $26,900 and tops out at $34,400 for the Hybrid. The base Accord Hybrid trim begins at $29,155.The 2014 Buick Verano starts at $23,700.

Activity & Performance Ability: With the ILX, you’ll miss out on V6 engine power but are far from plagued with typical four-cylinder quirks. The smaller 2-liter does a good job of distributing power and shift smoothly even under duress, but cannot compete with the gusto from some of the spicier manuals like the Mazda3. There is also a 201-horsepower 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine and a 111-horsepower 1.5-liter four-cylinder Hybrid version that gets an EPA-estimated 38 miles-per-gallon combined.

The Green Concern: The 150-horsepower 2-liter with the manual five-speed transmission gets 22 miles-per-gallon city and 31 highway for a combined 25. The automatic does better at 24-city and 35-highway for a combined 28 miles-per-gallon. Again, the Hybrid version gets 39-city and 38-highway for a combined 38.

FINAL PARTING WORDS The 2014 Acura ILX remains a practical treat for smaller-sized sedan shoppers looking for a lot of luxury at a reasonable price. A versatile selection of engines – including a hybrid version – should further nab the interest of those requiring a more stylish shade of green.

2014 Katrina Ramser