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Can Acura, as a luxury brand, extend downward into greater affordability and value? The 2014 Acura ILX is a test of exactly that. Aimed at up-and-coming professionals and hip retirees, it's a fuel-efficient, somewhat sporty small car that offers a little more comfort—and the superior service of an Acura dealership—for those who can afford to spend a little more.
Balancing between crisp and fluid, edgy and smooth, the ILX's exterior is a more youthful take on a compact luxury car than you'll find elsewhere in the segment. The fenders swell gently from the sides, there are character lines to accent its shape, and the greenhouse arches gracefully ove the passenger compartment. On the whole it's a handsome, if not lust-inducing, sedan. Inside, it's a pleasant place to travel, looking like a typical Acura: edgy curves, contoured surfaces, and easy-to-read gauges.
The 2014 Acura ILX is closely related to the Honda Civic, but for the most part you'd never know it by appearance, outside or in. The ILX is its own car, going by exterior styling. With its low and wide proportions, long hood, and short rear deck, the ILX already sets itself aside. Add in the aerodynamic character lines and Acura's signature front-end look and this is a sedan that has nice proportions and a technical, detailed look.
The most affordable ILX is the 2.0L model. It's powered by a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, rated at 150 horsepower and 140 pound-feet of torque, and only offered with a five-speed automatic transmission. It's powerful enough for daily duty, while returning a respectable 24 mpg city and 35 mpg highway. Steering-wheel paddle-shifters do add an element of fun, and perhaps better control on mountain roads, but the overall personality of this model is relaxed and comfy, not edgy or performance-themed.
As the sportiest variant, the ILX 2.4L packs the Civic Si's 2.4-liter, 201-horsepower four-cylinder engine under the hood, as well as a six-speed manual gearbox only (there's no automatic available, which to some will limit its appeal). While this engine makes its power and torque over a relatively broad range, it lacks much in the way of character, and its punchy driving feel seems a bit at odds with the ILX's driving character.
The ILX is an entry-level luxury car, with a starting price that's below the average new vehicle nowadays; yet Acura hasn't skimped on the quality of the cabin appointments. It's all well-presented and tightly assembled, and the ILX has one of the most comfortable interiors of a sedan with such compact outside dimensions.
Front seats in the ILX are roomy and comfortable, with good sight lines for the driver and plenty of adjustment for occupants both short and tall. The steering wheel, dash, and controls all feel well-made, are laid out in logical places, and respond with a sense of solidity and quality you'd expect from a more expensive car. Back seat space in the ILX is quite impressive for a compact car--whether you go by luxury-brand cars or not.
*This vehicle is Certified Pre-Owned and is eligible for our third party warranty program.