2016 Acura ILX Preview

FAST FACTS
  • Standard 2.4-liter 4-cylinder engine
  • Standard 8-speed, dual-clutch, automated manual transmission
  • Next-generation safety structure
  • Available AcuraWatch suite of safety systems
  • Restyled front and rear ends with new wheel designs
  • New A-Spec version with sporty styling cues
  • Quieter interior with upgraded infotainment system
  • Next-generation AcuraLink technology and services
  • On sale in early 2015

Introduction

The updated 2016 Acura ILX remains based on the Honda Civic; but thanks to a long list of changes for the new model year, Acura puts more distance between the ILX entry-luxury sedan and its far more common progenitor. As Michael Accavitti, Acura's senior vice president and general manager, explained during the ILX's re-introduction at the 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show, "The ILX was always a great idea. Now it's a great idea fulfilled--a luxury vehicle for the next generation."

Exterior Features

Design changes are most evident up front, where the 2016 Acura ILX sports a new grille. This is the first Acura in a long time to depart from the shield-style grille that the company has used for nearly a decade. The new grille is flanked by standard JewelEye LED headlights. Also, the front and rear fascias are restyled; the rear LED taillight designs are modified; and new aluminum wheel designs debut.

Interior Features

Acura wanted to quiet the ILX's cabin, so for 2016 this entry-luxury sedan benefits from additional noise insulation, thicker front door glass, and Active Noise Control technology to help mute sounds from the engine. Even the wheels are styled to reduce the amount of noise making its way into the cabin, according to Acura. The automaker has also upgraded the look and feel of the ILX's interior, adding contrast stitching to the steering wheel, shift knob, and parking brake handle.

Optional Features

As with the outgoing version of the ILX, options for the new 2016 model are grouped into packages offered in stair-step fashion. Acura expands those package offerings for 2016 and now offers the ILX with a sporty A-Spec package that includes fog lights, rear spoiler, side sill trim, and unique 18-in. aluminum wheels with black-painted inserts. Inside, the A-Spec treatment installs an exclusive premium black headliner, perforated simulated suede seat inserts, gray interior stitching, red instrument illumination, and aluminum pedal covers.

Under the Hood

All iterations of the 2016 Acura ILX will have a 2.4-liter 4-cylinder engine making 201 horsepower at 6,800 rpm and 180 lb.-ft. of torque at 3,600 rpm. An 8-speed, dual-clutch, automated manual transmission is also standard, equipped with paddle shifters and downshift rev-matching capability--the same setup that's offered in the new Acura TLX.

Notably, the automated manual transmission is equipped with a torque converter, the world's first application, according to Acura. Thanks to the torque converter, Acura claims this transmission provides smoother launches that are more typical of a traditional automatic transmission rather than the delayed acceleration response that is common with dual-clutch automated gearboxes.

In addition to powertrain changes, the new ILX benefits from a retuned suspension and revised steering designed to provide better response.

Safety

Acura has made changes to the ILX's underlying structure that are designed to help the car excel in the latest and most difficult crash-test programs, according to the company.

Most 2016 ILXs will come standard with a blind-spot information system and rear cross-traffic alert technology, and a new AcuraWatch suite of safety systems includes adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assist system, Road Departure Mitigation system, and an enhanced collision-mitigation braking system with pedestrian-detection capability.

Technology

In addition to upgrading the new ILX's safety offerings, Acura's On-Demand Multi-Use Display (ODMD) is now offered in the company's entry-level model. It pairs an 8-in. upper display screen with a lower 7-in. touch screen to offer a multitude of infotainment features. Acura also says it has made more than 50 design changes to this latest version of the ODMD in order to improve functionality and intuitive operation.

Highlights include the latest AcuraLink connected car technologies, with a navigation app powered by the ILX owner's iPhone and a data plan. An embedded navigation system is also available. Additional ILX updates include a color display screen nestled within the gauge cluster, Siri Eyes Free technology, HD Radio, and Aha Internet radio.