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2021 Acura ILX Performance Review

Scorecard

Performance: 6.9

The 2021 Acura ILX has decent engine power and returns good fuel economy. It also handles with poise and comfort, even if it isn't the sportiest car.

  • "While the ILX won't keep pace with turbocharged rivals such as the Audi A3 and the BMW 2-series Gran Coupe on a twisty road, it delivers a smooth and agreeable ride for those looking more for luxury than sportiness." -- Car and Driver
  • "Everything else outside the powertrain (still) just misses the mark. … 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." -- Autoblog (2019)
  • "I’m not going to say the ILX will be knocking off the 3 Series as the best handling or the most fun sedan in this segment, but it is good. For a front-wheel-drive car, with a hint of electric steering assist, the ILX is really balanced, and carries its weight nicely in the corners." -- Jalopnik (2019)

Engine Options, Horsepower, and Acceleration

  • Engine: 2.4-liter four-cylinder with 201 horsepower and 180 pound-feet of torque
  • Drivetrain: front-wheel drive
  • Transmission: eight-speed dual-clutch automatic

The Acura ILX offers solid acceleration from a stop, and it feels most powerful in the higher rev range. The standard automatic transmission delivers smooth and timely shifts.

  • "The engine revs easily and although the ILX isn't the quickest car in its class, its character makes us pine for the VTEC-powered Honda and Acura sedans from years gone by." -- Car and Driver
  • "The ILX’s engine out-muscles most of its competition, at least at the base-engine level, and its slick twin-clutch 8-speed automatic is also a cut above the rest. The ILX feels quick off the line, with plenty of power for sprinting across busy intersections. On the highway, however, the ILX’s power doesn’t come on with gusto." -- Kelley Blue Book (2020)
  • "With the 2.4-liter under the hood, the story gets more exciting. Smooth and engaging, this is the little motor that could -- and with good reason. It's plucked from the last generation Honda Civic Si sport sedan." -- Autotrader (2020)

MPG Estimates

The 2021 ILX gets an EPA-estimated 24 mpg in the city and 34 mpg on the highway, which is above average for the luxury small car class.

Handling and Braking

The ILX has a comfortable ride and composed handling, but it's not overly sporty, and critics disagree about how responsive the steering is. Also, a noticeable amount of outside noise makes its way into the cabin.

  • "Handling is poised and confident, but not particularly memorable; road and wind noise permeate the cabin here more than in rivals. … Still, the smallest Acura sedan has excellent brake-pedal feedback." -- Car and Driver
  • "It has a ride quality we're comfortable calling premium, even if you still feel more impact than you might be used to in an Acura. … Overall, we'd say razor-sharp handling isn't a real highlight of the 2020 ILX but its handling is certainly secure." -- Autotrader (2020)
  • "We like the ILX’s responsive handling, snug seats and good brakes, but we did notice a bit more road noise inside the cabin than we expected, especially when traversing uneven or rough pavement." -- Kelley Blue Book (2020)
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2021 Acura ILX

MSRP: $25,950 - $31,850

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