After Honda received a lukewarm response to its all-new Acura ILX last year, the Japanese maker elected to revise the luxury sports sedan again this year.
It marks the second time in as many years it has had to go back to the drawing board with a small car. It did the same with the Honda Civic.
The second-edition Civic received rave reviews from critics when it came out. The company, which also disclosed it is planning a hybrid version of the compact sport sedan, is banking it can strike gold twice.
The 2014 ILX, which is due in showrooms this week, is built in a new Honda plant in Indiana rather than Japan. The newest iteration comes with a host of new standard features, both inside and outside the vehicle, that will further strengthen the overall value proposition of what Acura executives describe as the gateway vehicle to the Acura brand.
The only luxury model to find its way on the top 10 list of Generation Y car shoppers, according to J.D. Power and Associates, the ILX gets upgraded 17-inch alloy wheels for 2014, while the interior receives new leather seating surfaces and leatherette door liners, an eight-way power driver’s seat, heated front seats and a Multi-Angle Rearview Camera.
The audio system also gets a new subwoofer and an Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) system that are standard features on the 2014 ILX, which starts at a manufacturer’s suggested retail price of $26,900, an increase of just $1,000. The increase leaves the Acura ILX priced well below rival luxury models from Germany and the United States.
The standard engine powering the ILX is a 2.0-liter inline four-cylinder engine that produces 150 horsepower. Paired with a Sequential SportShift five-speed automatic transmission, it has a combined city highway rating of 28 mpg, according estimates submitted to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
For a more dynamic driving experience, the ILX can be equipped with a close-ratio, six-speed manual transmission matched to a 2.4-liter engine generating 201 horsepower, and has an EPA city/highway/combined fuel economy rating of 22/31/25 mpg. Information on the 2014 Acura ILX Hybrid will be announced at a later date.
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The ILX uses 59% high-strength steel in its body structure for enhanced protection and chassis rigidity. The chassis utilizes an advanced, fully independent MacPherson strut front and multi-link rear suspension system and Acura signature Amplitude Reactive Dampers, which offer superior ride comfort and precise handling. In addition, Motion Adaptive Electric Power Steering (EPS) is used for excellent steering feel and improved fuel efficiency.
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In addition, the Acura ILX also comes with a host of standard safety features and is available in four different trim levels.