Friday, October 12, 2012

Acura's new ILX sedan an entry-level pleasure

Mark Glover’s AutoGlo reviews also can be accessed on the business page of The Sacramento Bee’s website – via the “GALLERY: Reviews of new cars” link at

Sacramento, California – And now, something all-new from Acura: the 2013 ILX sedan.

Acura calls it the brand’s new “gateway” car, which is auto industry-speak for “you might want to try this one first because it’s a practical and relatively affordable ride in our luxury-heavy lineup.”

The bottom line is, yes, I’d agree with all that.  And man, Acura pulls out all the stops to make this small-size luxury sedan attractive to a lot of folks.  You get six trim levels playing off the same architecture, with the various offerings mixing engines (even a hybrid), glittery options, transmissions and technology goodies.

My ride was the ILX with a 2-liter, 150-horsepower in-line 4 engine and the technology and premium packages.  Base price of the car is $31,400, with the $895 destination and handling charge pushing the bottom line on the sticker to $32,295.  Keep in mind that you can get the basic ILX for as little as $25,900.

The tech/primo packages on the tester included a lot: leather-trimmed sport seats, satellite radio, heated front seats, high-intensity xenon headlights, 17-inch alloy wheels, fog lights, navigation system (with voice recognition), rearview camera, a top-tier audio system with Surround-Sound and a 60-gig hard drive to name just a few.

On top of every other standard feature, just sitting in the ILX gave me the feeling of getting a special luxury experience sans a major output of cash.  All of it in an attractively wrapped, midsize-feeling package.  Interior space, in my view, was rather impressive for a car in this segment.

The exterior look is typical Acura: Understated sportiness with just a right touch of elegance.  The sculpted hood is particularly fetching. Will the neighbors notice it when you bring it home?  Count on it.

On the fly, the four-cylinder VTEC handled things pretty well, but the power plant is what I’d call one major consideration in the pricing scheme.  It does OK but labors on hard uphill runs, and you’d better press that accelerator hard if your freeway merge looks like it’s going to be a tight experience.  Bottom line: 150 horsepower is what it is.

The interior cabin was nicely quiet, even when I asked the ILX for everything it had.  Fuel mileage is pretty good as well: 24 miles per gallon in the city and 35 mpg on the highway.

More good news: The ILX earned a top safety pick rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

Must-communicate-while-I-drive types have that option with a sophisticated in-car phone and texting hookup built into this ILX.

As for me, I opted to cut off all communication and enjoy the ride.  Best decision I’ve made in a long time.

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