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2016 Acura ILX Review By Larry Nutson +VIDEO

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2016 Acura ILX

2016 Acura ILX
An Award Contender

By Larry Nutson
Senior Editor and Bureau Chief
Chicago Bureau
The Auto Channel

The Acura ILX came on the scene in 2012 as a 2013 model. For 2016, the Acura ILX has been significantly refined and improved with a freshened exterior design, a wider range of trim and option packages and an all-new direct injection engine and 8-speed dual clutch transmission.

With all its significant changes the 2016 Acura ILX is a contender for evaluation and consideration as North American Car of the Year (NACOTY) and also a contender for the Midwest Automotive Media Association (MAMA) Family Vehicle of the Year award.

The ILX is Acura's most affordable sport sedan and serves as the gateway to the Acura lineup. Buyers are typically younger and embrace its sophisticated design, lively performance and upmarket quality.

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Price is all-important and the 2016 Acura ILX starts at $27,900 for the base model. The fully equipped ILX with the Technology Package and the A-SPEC package is priced at $34,890.

The 5-passenger compact luxury ILX gets numerous styling upgrades for 2016 including a restyled front fascia and grille, new rear fascia and new rear LED combination lights, plus restyled 17-inch, 10-spoke aluminum alloy wheels. All ILX models come equipped with Acura's signature Jewel Eye LED headlights.

The 2016 ILX offers expanded choice with three grades – the standard ILX, the ILX with Premium Package, and the line-topping ILX Tech Plus Package, in addition to an all-new A-SPEC Package, available with the Premium and Tech Plus grades. The ILX A-SPEC Package adds side sill garnishes, a trunk spoiler, front fog lights, new 18-inch, 10-spoke machined alloy wheels, and several unique interior appearance items.

All models can now be equipped with the AcuraWatch suite of safety and driver-assistive technologies that includes adaptive cruise control, collision mitigation braking, road departure mitigation, forward collision warning, lane keep assist, lane departure warning and a color meter display screen.

All 2016 ILX models are powered by a 2.4-liter, 16-valve, direct-injected DOHC i-VTEC engine with peak output of 201HP at 6,800 rpm. Both horsepower and torque are significantly increased over the outgoing 2.0-liter engine. The new engine is mated to an 8-speed dual clutch transmission (DCT) with torque converter and paddle-controlled Sequential Sport Shift. Acura says it's the most advanced transmission in its competitive set, delivering incredibly quick, crisp and intuitive gear changes, including rev-matching down shifts. The ILX is front wheel drive and all-wheel drive is not offered.

I would characterize my driving style as spirited and I happen to be a fan of dual clutch transmission, liking the quick, crisp shifts. In my around town Chicagoland driving along with a few interstate jaunts the ILX did not disappoint. There was good performance from the ILX in acceleration, highway merging as well as passing.

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EPA test fuel economy ratings are 29 mpg combined, or 3.4 gallons per 100 miles, with 25 city mpg and 36 highway mpg test ratings. With gasoline prices relatively low and perhaps staying this way for a while, the cost of driving the ILX should be easy on the wallet.

The media-loan 2016 ILX I drove was equipped with the Tech Package and the Acurawatch Plus Package and had an MSRP of $32,900. Allow me a slight digression from the ILX itself to publicly commend the Acura PR staff for e-mailing me a short two and a half minute video that explained some of the features of the ILX I would be driving. This was certainly a time-saver for me in getting familiarized with the car.

Acura did a good job in keeping the passenger compartment quiet with Active Noise Control that decreases interior noise in all models, as does more soundproofing material and thicker window glass in the front doors. You might not think that much noise comes from the wheel and tire assembly but it does. The ILX is equipped with noise-attenuating wheels to help in reducing that.

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On the inside, I found the leather trimmed sport seats to be comfortable and supportive. Interior styling enhancements for 2016 include contrasting Euro-style stitching on the steering wheel, parking-brake handle and shift knob, as well as new high-intensity silver trim for the instrument panel and other areas.
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Although I liked the interior, I thought the materials could be a bit more upscale for a luxury brand.

If you want to compare the Acura ILX to other luxury sedans you can do that here on the Acura Buyers Guide or check out more details and specifications and configure your own 2016 Acura ILX on

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Of note, Acura has again taken the luxury crown, earning a Best Retained Value award from, ahead of all other eligible luxury brands, for the fourth consecutive year. The 2015 Acura ILX sedan also received 2015 Best Retained Value model-level awards. Acura tops all eligible luxury brands with the highest projected residual value of 46.9 percent after five years of ownership in the 2015 Best Retained Value awards.

To wrap this up, I liked the overall size of the ILX as it allows for easy maneuvering in a crowded city and yet offers a comfortable interior package. The engine and transmission worked well together, acknowledging that I am a bit biased since I like dual clutch direct shift transmissions. All-in-all I thought the ILX to be a car I would enjoy driving everyday. Of course, every car buyer should put together their list of must-haves and then also list the nice-to-haves to help decide on what car is right for them.

© 2015 Larry Nutson, the Chicago Car Guy

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