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2017 Acura ILX Review

Note: This review was created when the 2017 Acura ILX was new.

The 2017 Acura ILX has one of the lowest base prices in the class and gets better fuel economy than many rivals, but it has a subpar ride quality and cabin materials. The infotainment features can also be distracting.

7.5

Overall

Scorecard

Critics' Rating: 7.5
Performance: 7.5
Interior: 7.3
Safety: 9.3
Reliability:
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

Pros & Cons

  • Low base price
  • Excellent fuel economy
  • Midrange interior materials
  • Rough ride quality
  • Distracting infotainment features

2017 Acura ILX Overview

Is the Acura ILX a Good Car?

The 2017 ILX is a pretty solid vehicle. It gets better fuel economy than many rivals, and the engine is powerful enough for most driving situations. Most people agree that the seats are roomy and comfortable, and the ILX has a respectable amount of trunk space. However, many competitors have nicer cabin materials than the ILX. And while the ILX has plenty of standard and available tech features, some may find the abundance of technology overwhelming and confusing. The ILX also delivers a rougher ride than you’d expect from a luxury vehicle.

Should I Buy the Acura ILX?

If price is a key factor in your buying decision, then the ILX belongs near the top of your list, as its base price is thousands less than that of any other class rival. Beyond price, there aren’t a lot of reasons to choose an ILX over the competition. Class competitors like the Audi A3 provide a more engaging driving experience and have more upscale cabins. Even fully loaded nonluxury rivals like the Buick Verano give the ILX a run for its money despite costing less. Although the ILX isn’t a bad vehicle, most buyers will be better off considering other options.

Compare the ILX, A3, and Verano »

We Did the Research for You: 48 Pieces of Data Analyzed

It's hard to find time to research cars when you're already busy with work and everything else in your life, so why not let the pros here at U.S. News do the research for you? We heavily research all the reviews on our site because we want to answer all your questions about whichever vehicle you're checking out. For the Acura ILX, we analyzed 48 pieces of research, including fuel economy estimates, crash test and reliability ratings, and other professional reviews.

Acura introduced the ILX for the 2013 model year, and in 2016 it underwent a refresh with a new base engine and transmission, as well as interior and exterior styling. Aside from those updates, the ILX is mostly unchanged since its inception. As a result, this overview uses applicable research and reviews from the 2013 through 2017 model years.

Why You Can Trust Us

Our team has a combined 75 years of experience in the automotive industry, and we've been publishing vehicle rankings for almost a decade. In that time, we've gained expertise that we bring to every car review on our site. We also take measures to ensure that our analysis remains unbiased; our editorial staff does not accept expensive gifts or trips from automakers, and all advertising on our site is handled by a third party.

How Much Does the Acura ILX Cost?

The 2017 ILX has a lower starting price ($27,990) than any other vehicle in the class. In fact, it’s the only car in the class with a base price under $30,000. There are several available option packages that cost up to $2,000. A fully loaded ILX has a price tag in the mid-$30,000s.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Acura dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Acura deals page.

Acura ILX Versus the Competition

Which Is Better: Acura ILX or Audi A3?

The Audi A3 is close to the ILX in terms of price, but it sits much higher in our rankings. The A3 is refreshed for 2017, with updated styling and new features like rear cross traffic alert and a touchpad that recognizes written gestures and words. Though the A3 costs less than nearly every competitor, you get luxury trimmings like standard leather seats. The Audi MMI infotainment system is often lauded as one of the best and most intuitive on the market. The A3 also boasts a choice of two turbocharged engines, as well as a completely separate performance-oriented trim, the S3. Handling is sporty and engaging, and the A3 rides smoothly over uneven surfaces. When comparing the A3 and the ILX, it's pretty clear that the A3 is the better choice.

Which Is Better: Acura ILX or Buick Verano?

Though not in the luxury class, the Buick Verano rivals the ILX in price and quality when fully decked out. The highest Verano trim is $1,500 less than the base ILX and includes leather seats, a heated steering wheel, and a premium sound system. Other technologies, like navigation and driver assistance features, can be added at price points that are in line with the ILX. The Verano has more cargo room than the ILX, plus a comfortable ride, an extremely quiet cabin, and quality interior materials. Which vehicle is better may ultimately come down to personal preference, but there are plenty of reasons to choose the Verano over the ILX.

Which Is Better: Acura ILX or Acura TLX?

The Acura TLX is kind of like the ILX's big brother, and though they're in different classes (the TLX is a midsize car), they have many similarities. Both vehicles have plenty of standard and available features, and they both get good gas mileage. The TLX does have a bigger trunk, but not by much (about 1 cubic foot). The TLX is available with a V6 engine, and it has nicer materials throughout the cabin. To top it all off, the TLX's base price is only about $4,000 more than the ILX's. Compared to the ILX, the TLX provides more room and a better interior for not that much more money, so most buyers should probably opt for the midsize TLX.

Compare the ILX, A3, and TLX »

ILX Interior

How Many People Does the ILX Seat?

The ILX seats five people. If you can get past the midrange appearance inside the ILX, you’ll enjoy comfortable seats up front. The rear bench seat should be roomy enough for most passengers, but the standard moonroof takes away some headroom from taller occupants.

ILX and Car Seats

The 2017 ILX has two full sets of LATCH connectors for installing car seats. The tether anchors are easily identified, and you don’t have to worry about confusing them with other hardware. The lower anchors are fairly deep in the seat, but if you can get to them, it doesn’t take much effort to attach a car seat. For ease of use, the ILX’s LATCH system earns a rating of Acceptable (the second-highest rating) from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

ILX Interior Quality

The ILX's low price compared to the rest of class is evident in some of its interior stylings. While the cabin is well-built and features mostly quality materials, its overall appearance is plain. Since Honda is Acura's parent company, some switchgear found in the ILX closely resembles what you'll find in some Honda vehicles, and a few critics say this cheapens its appearance. Some plastic surfaces are hard to the touch and keep the ILX from having a truly upscale feel.

ILX Cargo Space

Cargo room in the ILX is about average for the class. However, the back seat folds down as a complete unit rather than in a 60/40 split, weakening the ILX’s utility. Unlike many cars that offer a split-folding seat, you’ll have to give up all seating in the back if you want to haul long items in the ILX.

The ILX has 12.3 cubic feet of trunk space, which is enough room for several grocery bags (the average grocery bag takes up about 1.3 cubic feet). That's also enough room for a few sets of golf clubs.

ILX Infotainment, Bluetooth, and Navigation

The ILX comes standard with a 5-inch display screen that shows basic audio information. You can upgrade to a dual-screen setup that replaces the standard display with an 8-inch navigation display and adds a 7-inch touch-screen infotainment system.

This layout might be overwhelming, as you’ll have to shift your eyes and pay attention to a lot of information at once. If you prefer not to use the touch screen, you can control infotainment features with a main knob in the middle of the central stack. However, the knob is awkward to reach and less user-friendly than those in other cars with similar setups.

For more information, read What Is Apple CarPlay? and What Is Android Auto? Then, see the Best Cars With Apple CarPlay and Best Cars With Android Auto.

Read more about interior »

ILX Performance

ILX Engine: Just Enough Engine

Under its hood, the 2017 Acura ILX features a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine that puts out 201 horsepower and is mated to a dual-clutch automatic transmission. This combination was improved for the 2016 model year, which gave the ILX better overall speed and power. However, don’t count on a thrilling experience behind the ILX's wheel.

The engine is solid for everyday driving, though reviewers disagree about the ILX’s acceleration. Some like how it moves quickly from a complete stop, but others say it's stronger at higher RPMs.

The dual-clutch mechanism of the transmission allows for very smooth shifts – so smooth that you might not even notice them in stop-and-go traffic. Every ILX also comes with paddle shifters on the steering wheel, which make for a more engaging driving experience. 

ILX Gas Mileage: More Efficient Than Rivals

What the ILX lacks in engine excitement, it makes up for in fuel economy. The ILX gets 25 mpg in the city and 35 mpg on the highway, making it one of the most efficient cars in the luxury small car class. Some class rivals like the Audi A3 (26/35 mpg city/highway) get slightly better gas mileage than the ILX, but others – like the Buick Verano (21/31 mpg) – are substantially worse.

MPG ratings only tell half of the ILX's fuel economy story. The ILX requires premium gasoline, whereas some competitors, including the A3 and Verano, do not. As a result, despite the Verano's inferior gas mileage, the average driver will spend the same amount of money each year on gas for the Verano as they would for the ILX. A3 drivers will spend about $250 less per year on fuel than ILX drivers.

ILX Ride and Handling: Good Dynamics, Uncomfortable Ride

The ILX is a competent cruiser capable of delivering some fun. If you find yourself on twisty back roads, you’ll enjoy the ILX’s direct steering and precise handling. However, it can’t match the sportiness of class rivals like the Audi A4 or BMW 4 Series.

Unfortunately, the ILX’s suspension can't match its handling. The stiff suspension means this car delivers poor ride quality for a daily driver. When going over bumps or potholes, the car shakes and rides roughly.

Read more about performance »

ILX Reliability

Is the Acura ILX Reliable?

The 2017 ILX has a predicted reliability rating of three out of five, according to J.D. Power and Associates. That rating is considered average across the whole industry. However, most vehicles in the class have ratings of at least 3.5, and many are at four or better.

Acura ILX Warranty

The 2017 Acura ILX comes with a four-year/50,000-mile basic warranty and a six-year/70,000-mile powertrain warranty. Those are the same warranty terms you'll get with the Buick Verano, and the limited warranty is the same as the A3's.

Read more about reliability »

ILX Safety

ILX Crash Test Results

The 2017 Acura ILX earns a five-star overall rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, with four out of five stars in the individual frontal crash and rollover tests. Several competitors get very high safety scores. Both the Volvo S60 and the four-door Cadillac ATS receive perfect marks from the NHTSA, while the Audi A4 sedan earns the Top Safety Pick+ designation from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

ILX Safety Features

A rearview camera is the only standard driver assistance feature that comes in the ILX. Rivals like the Mercedes-Benz CLA and C-Class offer standard forward collision warning, automatic braking, and a driver attention monitor. The Volvo S60 includes low-speed automatic braking, and the Audi A3 comes with parking sensors.

When it comes to safety features, however, the ILX will get you more bang for your buck than most other cars in the class. Adding features such as adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, lane keep assist, blind spot monitoring, and rear cross traffic alert will still keep the ILX’s price tag below the base price of nearly every competitor.

Read more about safety »

Which Acura ILX Model Is Right for Me?

The 2017 Acura ILX is only available in one trim, and most optional features come as part of a package. A 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine, an eight-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission, and front-wheel drive are standard. The ILX has the lowest base price in the class at $27,990. No other rival starts at less than $30,000.

Standard features include leatherette seats, an eight-way power-adjustable driver’s seat, heated front seats, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, dual-zone automatic climate control, a six-speaker audio system, Bluetooth, a USB port, a rearview camera, proximity key access, push-button ignition, a moonroof, heated side mirrors, a 5-inch infotainment display screen, and hands-free text messaging. Satellite radio is optional for $312. Rear parking sensors ($528) and remote start ($399) are optional in all trim levels.

A suite of advanced safety and driver assistance technologies come with the AcuraWatch Plus package, which costs $1,300. These features include adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, and lane keep assist.

The Premium package costs $2,000 and adds leather seating, driver’s-seat memory settings, a four-way power-adjustable passenger seat, smartphone navigation with an 8-inch display screen, a 7-inch touch-screen infotainment system, Siri Eyes Free, a premium stereo system with subwoofer, satellite radio, HD Radio, blind spot monitoring, and rear cross traffic alert.

The Technology Plus package costs $1,700 and requires the purchase of the Premium and AcuraWatch packages. You’ll also get a surround-sound 10-speaker premium audio system, 3-D navigation, real-time traffic, GPS-linked climate control, and voice-command activation for many infotainment features.

For $1,990, the A-SPEC package adds fog lights, a rear spoiler, suede seat inserts, 18-inch alloy wheels, and other interior stylings. It requires you to purchase the Premium or Technology Plus package.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Acura dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Acura deals page.

See 2017 Acura ILX specs and trims »

The Final Call

The 2017 Acura ILX is a decent vehicle that finishes near the bottom of the luxury small car class. There are reasons to like the ILX: It gets good gas mileage, the seats are roomy and comfortable, and it’s much less expensive than class rivals. There are some drawbacks though. The ILX’s ride gets rough at times, and the interior materials aren’t what you’d expect from a luxury car.

If you like the ILX, you can probably find another car that you’ll like even better. The Audi A3 has a nicer interior and is more athletic. The Buick Verano is less expensive and holds its own against the ILX, even though the Verano isn’t a luxury car. And the Acura TLX is basically a bigger, better version of the ILX.

Don’t just take our word for it. Check out comments from some of the reviews that drive our rankings and analysis.

  • "Ultimately, we're glad that the recent improvements have moved the 2017 Acura ILX up a notch. But this entry-level model still has its work cut out if it wants to stand out from the crowd." -- Edmunds
  • "Last year, Acura hit the reset button on its smallest sedan, giving it a new nose and tail, improved technology, and a new standard engine and 8-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. This 2017 Acura ILX carries over pretty much unchanged, with the exception of some new colors. That's fine, as we found the new ILX to be a pretty solid little car. Based on the previous-generation Honda Civic, the ILX actually hides its roots rather well, thanks to its extra power, distinct transmission, and styling that's very much in line with what we've seen in other Acura models. Like its primary competitor, the Buick Verano, the ILX offers a lot of car for the money, especially compared to the Mercedes-Benz CLA and Audi A3." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "The last time we checked, with the ILX's initial introduction in 2012, we found a Honda Civic-sized compact that possessed a hint of luxury, but puzzled us with its lack of power, refinement and comparatively heavy price tag. Four years in, they reworked the formula, and this time, apparently, got it right." -- Left Lane News (2016)
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