Millennials are buying new vehicles in ever-increasing numbers, and while most of those tend to be utes and trucks, Acura is looking to secure a new generation of buyers with a redo of its “gateway” model the ILX.
Hoping to appeal to what is soon to be the largest generation of new car consumers, the ILX gets a significant exterior facelift for the 2019 model year with a more aggressive look on the outside, borrowing form the brand’s Precision concept.
The new model keeps Acura’s signature diamond pentagon grille, but its accented new LED headlights and a sharply sculpted hood giving it a more churlish appearance for the front end. For the rear of the car there are LED taillights, a lower diffuser with the tips of the exhaust hanging out just a bit, and an all-new decklid.
The brand’s new entry-level model gets two new sets of wheels for 2019: a 17-inch split five-spoke and an 18-inchers in a Shark Gray finish that comes as part of the A-Spec package upgrade. The A-Spec features dark chrome trim for the front grille and lower fascia, LED fog lights, dark appearance for the headlights and taillights, and a gloss-black decklid spoiler. The Apex Blue Pearl hue is only available in the A-Spec.
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The new look is important as its obviously what makes the first impression, and Acura is swimming upstream as it tries to get millennials to buy a car rather than a truck, sport-utility or crossover.
Thus far, Acura can claim some level of success on that front as the ILX has gained more than four points of retail market share in the first half of the year and capturing the highest percentage of millennials of any model in segment, something it has done in every year since 2013.
It also received a Power Circle Rating of 5 out of 5 and a quality award in the Small Premium Car segment in the J.D. Power and Associates 2018 U.S. Initial Quality Study, and it captured the top spot in the entry-luxury car category in Kelley Blue Book’s 5-Year Cost to Own Luxury Brand Awards.
All good starting points, but if the exterior look is no good, you’ll get no buyers. Fortunately, the new look is appealing and the ILX has enough oomph under the hood to match the exterior feel. All ILX models are powered by a naturally aspirated 201-horsepower, 2.4-liter, 16-valve DOHC i-VTEC 4-cylinder engine mated to a quick-shifting 8-speed Dual Clutch Transmission with steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters.
While going fast is expected, it’s also vital that luxury brands offer an array of safety technologies. Not a problem for the ILX as every vehicle comes with AcuraWatch standard. It comes with Collision Mitigation Braking System with Forward Collision Warning, Lane Keeping Assist, Adaptive Cruise Control, and Road Departure Mitigation with Lane Departure Warning. This makes Acura the only luxury brand to provide these features as standard equipment across all its sedans and SUVs.
Adding to the safety and performance of the new model is Acura’s Advance Compatibility Engineering body structure and with additional standard safety and driver assistive features, including Vehicle Stability Assist with traction control, an Expanded View Driver’s Mirror, advanced front airbags, driver and front passenger side airbags, side curtain airbags, a Tire Pressure Monitoring System, and available blind spot information system and rear cross traffic monitor.
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A dual-screen On Demand Multi-Use Display interface with an improved system response time, more intuitive menus and command structures for a seamless and speedy user experience that are approximately 30% faster is set up for with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility. The 7-inch touchscreen has a capacitive display that is more responsive to touch and within easy reach of the driver and front passenger. The new ILX hits dealerships next month.