2019 Acura ILX A-SPEC Review

The Acura ILX is Acura's smallest and most affordable offering. For 2019, the ILX is refreshed to
look sportier and more sophisticated. On top of that, Acura reduced the starting price to below $30,000 in Canada, and fitted the ILX with loads of standard features including the AcuraWatch safety system. Are these changes enough to lure potential buyers into the Acura brand?

Thanks to Acura Canada, I was loaned the 2019 ILX A-SPEC for a week to find out. Below is my unbiased review.

The front fascia of the ILX received the most noticeable updates. It features the signature Diamond Pentagon grille and the seven-element Jewel LED headlights, both are standardized for the entire lineup. The LED fog lights has a matching linear design, which is smart and unique.

The side profile is clean, slick and proportional. The front wheel arch seamlessly transitions into the shoulder line that passes through the front door handle and rises above the rear door handle to meet with the rear spoiler. It is a beautiful design that plays with the reflection of the ambient lights to create a complex, sculpted look.

In the rear, long character lines and slender taillights mirror the front profile. It gives the ILX a low and wide stance. Overall, the exterior of the 2019 ILX is a big step up from its previous generation are arguably one of its best selling point.

The interior of the 2019 ILX is clean and simple. It now comes standard with the dual-screen infotainment system. The top screen is recessed into a shade to increase visibility in the sun, but the design can look dated.

The heated leather front seats are comfortable. They provide good lumbar and lateral supports. There is plenty of leg and headroom in the front cabin. The rear seats on the other hand, can be cramped for taller passengers.

Opposite to its exterior, I find myself running out of things to say about the interior of the ILX. While it is comfortable and functional, nothing really stands out. The appointed materials are not as consistent as other premium brands, and the overall atmosphere reminds me of a Honda vehicle. It is, however, priced just slightly above the top trim Honda Civic.

The dual screen infotainment system receives an updated software that Acura claims to be 30 percent faster than before. Apple Carplay and Android Auto are both standard except for the lowest trim. I also like the position of the controls. They are situated right below the lower screen and I can reach them while putting my arm on the armrest.

The backup camera system is 180 degree wide, which is confidence inspiring in reverse. The information LCD located between the two dials in the instrument panel is on the smaller side, but it is multi-colored and very easy to navigate through the buttons on the steering wheel.

The ELS premium audio system sounds fantastic, but despite having active noise control, the cabin is still not as quiet as some of its rivals.

Safety and Driver Assistance
This is where you get your money worth with the ILX. Acura includes the Acura Watch suite of safety systems for all trims. You cannot find anything else at this price range with all these features. They include:
  • Adaptive Cruise Control
  • Collision-Mitigation Braking
  • Road-Departure Mitigation
  • Forward Collision Monitoring
  • Blind-Spot Monitoring
  • Rear Cross-Traffic Alert
  • Lane-Keeping Assist
  • Muliti-View rear camera with bird’s-eye view.
I don't find the lane keep assist to be very active, but the Collision Mitigation braking is on point.
The 2019 ILX earns 5 star safety rating from NHTSA and the top rating of GOOD in all IIHS crash tests.

The 2019 ILX is powered by the same 2.4L, naturally aspirated four-cylinder engine that produces 201 horsepower at 6,800 rpm and 180 lb-ft of torque at 3,600 rpm. The power is relayed to the front wheels though a standard eight-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. I find the engine lacks low end power, especially when it is cold. Once above 3000 rpm, the engine comes to life and becomes much more responsive.

The eight-speed dual-clutch automatic on the other hand is quick and smooth. It responses to manual inputs immediately. In Normal mode, the transmission shifts a bit too frequently. Switching to Sport mode keeps the transmission in the power band, but it tends to hold gear for a second too long. It is hard to find a good balance between the two modes.

The steering is light but it does provide good feedback. The car feels balanced and agile in corners. It is also very responsive to steering inputs. The suspension system does an excellent job of isolating road bumps while keeping the body roll under control in turns.

Overall, the ILX is a fun car to drive once up to speed. The engine encourages you to be heavy footed. While it lacks power at low RPM, the car performs well both in turns and on the highway. The fuel economy rating is also pretty good. Our mostly city driving test ride returns a 10L/100km fuel economy figure.

Cargo Space & Storage
The cargo storage of the ILX is on the smaller side. There is only 12.4 cu.ft. of space in the trunk. The rear seats can not be folded separately, and once folded, the opening is restricted.

In cabin storage options is also below average. While there is a decently sized center console storage bin, the side door pockets are small for the front, and reduced to only a small tray for the the rear.

The 2019 Acura ILX should appeal to younger audiences who are considering stepping into a luxury vehicle. Its less polarizing great look sets itself apart from the Honda Civic. While the interior can use some improvements, the friendly price tag and the abundant standard safety features should still attract many smart buyers.

Test Vehicle
$34,696 CAD including Freight, PDI
Performance Red Pearl


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