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2019 Acura ILX Performance Review

Scorecard

Performance: 7.6

The 2019 Acura ILX's naturally aspirated four-cylinder engine is beginning to show its age. It has a decent amount of power but requires a bit more effort to get going than competitors with stronger engines. The ILX has fairly agile handling but is more geared toward providing comforts than thrills.

  • "One might expect more wholesale changes from a car entering its seventh year on the market, but we're still staring down the barrel of the same 201 horsepower 2.4-liter naturally aspirated four-cylinder and trick dual-clutch automatic transmission (which also features a torque converter for low-speed smoothness) from before. These pieces aren't necessarily the problem though. It's enjoyable to thrash the engine out to 7,000 rpm, and the dual-clutch snaps off surprisingly quick shifts when using the paddles in manual mode." -- Autoblog
  • "Though it might not have a ton of power on paper, the 2.4-liter moves the ILX along nicely. Of course, you’ll want to wring out as many revs as possible to really get it to hustle, but that’s no problem for the heavy-footed among us." -- Autoweek
  • "Taut as the suspension is, it strikes a happy medium, with enough damping to make the ILX comfortable in everyday driving situations." -- CNET

Acceleration and Power

Acura refreshed the ILX for the 2019 model year, but its engine and transmission remain untouched. The 201-horsepower 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine and eight-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission combine to provide decent acceleration, but some rivals offer more gratifying acceleration and additional engine options.

  • "Despite looking for ways to make the ILX more attractive to younger buyers, the ILX's powertrain doesn’t change at all from the previous model year. Under the hood of every ILX is the same 201-hp, 2.4-liter I4. Power comes on naturally, with no major surge when you hit the VTEC part of the powerband. Transferring that power to the front wheels is an eight-speed dual-clutch transmission." -- Autoweek
  • "If you're a fan of old-school Honda and Acura models, you'll love this high-revving, naturally aspirated inline-four. It's certainly no rocket ship off the line, but power builds progressively up to the 6,900-rpm redline. Sport mode keeps the engine spinning high in each gear, the transmission firing off quick upshifts and smooth, rev-matched downshifts." -- CNET
  • "The i-VTEC engine has some truly buttery torque, which was great at pushing out of and between the twisty stuff. I played with the steering-wheel mounted paddles a little bit, but I’d prefer an actual manual transmission if I wanted to change gears myself." -- Jalopnik

Handling and Braking

The ILX has a mostly comfortable ride, with secure handling when cornering. However, it has numb steering, it isn't very engaging to drive, and its chassis system (based off the previous generation Honda Civic) is outdated. Some reviewers note that these negatives make you feel like you're driving a bigger car. Also, tire and wind noise seeps into the cabin when traveling on bumpy pavement and at high speeds.

  • "When you’re on the road, the ILX is nimble, quiet, and refined." -- Jalopnik
  • "Sadly, everything else outside the powertrain (still) just misses the mark. The greatest part of Acura's old performance compacts was how they made you feel when you were driving them. There was an intimate connection between the driver and road at all times that is sorely lacking from the ILX. Turn in feel is soft and doesn't offer satisfying quick changes of direction. The old chassis feels its age in controlling body movements too. It all culminates in making the ILX feel like a larger car than it actually is. That's not to say the ILX handles poorly, though; it simply does so without any eagerness or feel — just like it has from the beginning." -- Autoblog
  • "On louder roads, you’ll hear the tire noise, but on smooth concrete or asphalt, the chassis and suspension is silent." -- Autoweek
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