Test Drive: 2013 Acura ILX 2.0 Tech Sedan

?Acura?s ILX Entry Sedan comes three ways?

Acura dealers felt the need for an entry level vehicle to be offered as part of their premium inventory. Honda?s luxury division Acura team has answered the call with the all-new 2013 ILX sedan lineup ? or have they? Some members of the automotive press and consumers may not agree.

This latest model to be displayed on Acura dealer?s showroom floors, is the all new 2013 ILX four-door sedan, which will be available in 3 versions that share the same exterior dimensions and basic appearance, but offer three different powertrains. The mix will be questionable to some consumers. First up is the 2.0-liter inline four cylinder version that makes 150 horsepower while also delivering 140 pound feet of torque.? Actually, all engine offerings are inline four bangers, but in varying configurations. The 2.0-liter model engine mates only to a 5-speed automatic with Sequential SportShift and Grade Logic Control. Next up is a 2.4-liter that delivers 201 horsepower, along with 170 pound feet of torque and connects only to? a six-speed manual gearbox with a single disk, dry-style diaphragm spring clutch. The final entry ILX sedan is in the form of a hybrid, with a 1.5-liter engine that generates 111 horses and 127 pound feet of torque to the front wheels via a Continuously Variable Transmission.

All ILX models are front wheel drive. Standard features for 2.0-liter and Hybrid ILX models and 2.4-liter models with the Premium Package include: a power moonroof, Keyless access system with smart entry and pushbutton ignition, Bluetooth? HandsFreeLink? wireless telephine interface, a 5? LCD screen with wallpaper finction, 16? aluminum wheels, dual-zone climate control system, USB with iPod?/iPhone? compatability, Pandora? internet radio interface ans SMS tect message function. The available Premium Package for 2.0L and 2.4L adds: a leather trimmed interior, heted front seats, 8-way power driver seat, HID headlights, 17? aluminum wheels, multi-view rear camera, a 360-watt premium audio system with XM? radio, fog lights, auto dimming rear view mirror.

There?s also a Technology Package for 2.0L and Hybrid models with Acura?s Navigation system with Voice Recognition?, AcuraLink? Real-Time traffic and Weather?, Acura?s ELS Surround? 365-Watt Premium Audio System with 10-speakers and hard diswk drive (HDD) and 15GB media storage and GPS-linked solar-sensing climate control system. A Hybrid Technology package includes all Premium package features except 17? alloy wheels. The 2.4-liter model does not offer the availability of a navigation system.

The 2013 Acura ILX sedan in each of its three forms is a very nice four-door sedan, but the marketing strategy with some of the odd packaging limitations doesn?t seem to quite measure up to entry luxury vehicle status. None of the models come with a gas strut hood prop, but rather offer a manual prop rod for the relatively heavy hood, and there?s only one auxiliary power outlet that?s placed in the center console – too far back for the coiled cord of a radar detector to reach. Even with a longer cord, personal connectivity is restricted with nowhere left to plug in one?s phone for charging or for a portable GPS navigation unit in the case of the 2.4-liter ILX which has no nav system available. there?s also no fold-down rear seat in the Hybrid, due to the positioning of the Lithium-ion battery.

I spent most of my time piloting the 2.0-liter version ILX, with shorter stints in both the 2.4-liter and Hybrid versions during the national press launch, held in Arizona. The 2.0-liter performed well but seemed lacking in sufficient power in certain scenarios such as passing other vehicles on a grade. My test vehicle featured both the? Premium and Technology Packages. The base sticker read $25,900 while the as tested price came to $32,295. The 2.4-liter was the most pleasing of the lot in terms of sporty performance characteristics, but it seems that there should be the availability of the automatic transmission for those who want more power, but don?t enjoy shifting gears. The Hybrid measures up to what one wants from a Hybrid and even provides an econ switch to further enhance fuel economy.

SUMMARY: Handling characteristics were responsive in all Acura ILX models, thanks to the Motion Adaptive Electric Power Steering. NVH properties were upscale as they should be, and the ride quality proved compliant and comfortable.

Price points for the 2013 Acura ILX, which is slated to go on sale May 22nd?are as follows; the 2.0-liter ILX will start at $25,900; the 2.4-liter ILX begins at $29,200, and the Hybrid will be base priced at $28,900. Tack on an extra $895. For Destination and Delivery charges.The prices seem reasonable enough, but the puzzling packaging structure may leave some potential buyers on the fence, for what is really a very nice smallish sedan. Except for its Acura DNA and enhanced visual appeal, it really seems much more like an upscale Civic to many.

A Premium Package for the ILX 2.0-liter is available for $3,300. Add another $2,200 for the Technology Package, while the? 2.4-liter model comes with the Premium Package. The Premium Package is not available on the ILX Hybrid model.

All ILX models will be produced in the Greensburg, Indiana plant.

SPECIFICATIONS:?Acura ILX Tech Sedan-?13

Base Price:?????????????? ??????????? $25,900.

Price as Tested:??????????? ??????????? $32,295.

Engine Type and Size:??????????? 2.0-liter, SOHC, 8-valve, i-VTEC inline four-cylinder with VTC, programmed multi-point fuel injection and Drive-by-wire? throttle system.

Horsepower (bhp):??????????? ??????????? 150??????????? @ 6,500??????????? rpm

Torque (ft./ lbs.):??????????? ??????????? 140??????????? @ 4,300??????????? rpm

Transmission:??????????? ??????????? 5-speed automatic with Sequential SportShift and ??????????? ??????????? ??????????? ??????????? ??????????? Grade Logic Control.

Drive Train:??????????? Transversely mounted front engine / Front-wheel drive.

Suspension:??????????? ??????????? ??????????? Front – Independent with MacPherson struts, ??????????? ??????????? ??????????? ??????????? ??????????? ??????????? Telescopic design, hydraulic, nitrogen gas filled ??????????? ??????????? ??????????? ??????????? ??????????? dampers and 20 mm solid stabilizer bar.

??????????? ??????????? ??????????? ??????????? Rear – Independent multi-link with constant-rate coil ??????????? ??????????? ??????????? ??????????? ??????????? springs, Telescopic design, hydraulic, nitrogen gas ??????????? ??????????? ??????????? ??????????? ??????????? filled dampers and 21 mm solid stabilizer bar.

Brakes:??????????? ??????????? ??????????? Power-assisted, 4-wheel disc brakes (vented front) ??????????? ??????????? ??????????? ??????????? ??????????? with Anti-lock Braking System, Electronic Brake ??????????? ??????????? ??????????? ??????????? ??????????? Distribution, Brake Assist and VSA with TCS.

Tires:??????????? ??????????? ??????????? ??????????? Michelin Pilot HX MXM4 P215/45 R17 87V mounted ??????????? ??????????? ??????????? ??????????? ??????????? on five-double-spoke cast aluminum wheels.

Wheelbase:??????????? ??????????? ??????????? 105.1??????????? inches

Length Overall:??????????? ??????????? 179.1??????????? inches

Width:??????????? ??????????? ??????????? ??????????? ? 70.6??????????? inches

Height:??????????? ??????????? ??????????? ? 55.6??????????? inches

Curb Weight:??????????? ??????????? ??????????? 2,970??????????? lbs.

Fuel Capacity:??????????? ??????????? 13.2??????????? gallons

EPA Mileage Estimates:??????????? 24??????????? mpg city / 28??????????? mpg highway

Drag Coefficient:??????????? ??????????? Not listed.

0 – 60 mph:??????????? ??????????? ??????????? Not tested.