In the CabinThe ILX is definitely quieter than a Civic, though not exceptionally quiet, and not as serene as the Buick Verano. Rather than a pitter-patter when traversing pavement cracks and tar patches, the tires emit more of a distant low-frequency drumbeat. Some of our editors complained of more-sustained tire noise on the highway.
Cloth seats with manual adjustments are standard on the 2.0L and Hybrid. Leather seats with eight-way power and heaters in front come in the optional Premium and Technology packages. My test of the ILX 2.0L included an interstate trip, and I found the seat comfortable even after five hours of highway driving. One of our editors thought it wasn't padded and supportive in the right places. The backseat is admirably roomy for a compact car, and the floor back there is virtually flat, which goes a long way in making the center seat truly usable.
It goes without saying that the ILX's interior quality is better than the Civic's widely criticized cabin (which Honda has acknowledged). All of the test cars I drove had at least the Premium option package and thus perforated leather-and-vinyl seats, which are well-executed. The dashboard has low-gloss soft surfaces, and the center control panel has an interesting finish. Less impressive is the silver-gray trim elsewhere and the black plastic at the front of the armrests and around the door handles.
A little more consistency would help, as would some color, especially when the ILX is up against the Verano. Except for the optional ivory-colored seats and select surfaces in our 2.0L test car, this Acura is characteristically black and gray.
SafetyAs an all-new model, the Acura ILX hadn't been crash-tested as of this report.
As required of all new vehicles, the ILX comes standard with front airbags, antilock brakes and an electronic stability system with traction control. Also included are front-seat-mounted side-impact airbags and side curtains for the front and rear seats.
A backup camera that comes in the optional Premium Package displays the image on a 5-inch color screen, mid-dash. The Technology Package adds a larger screen, along with the navigation system.
ILX in the MarketWhen Acura introduced its 2013 ILX sedan at the 2012 Chicago Auto Show, we had three questions: Why would the company add another small sedan, just under the TSX in size and price? Can it improve enough on the car's humble Honda roots? Perhaps most important, does demand truly exist for a luxury car of this size and price?
As for the why, it's probably because the company perceives demand for a more affordable sedan in its lineup, and because the car's high gas mileage will both appeal to cost-conscious buyers and help meet federal fuel-economy requirements. (The TSX tops out at 26 mpg combined.)
Did Acura produce a better Civic? Of course. But with the Verano, Buick fielded a better Chevrolet Cruze, at a starting price $3,325 lower than the ILX. Though the Verano's mileage maxes out at 25 mpg combined, we were mightily impressed with its luxury feel and appointments.
As for the greater question, demand for cars of this type in general is yet to be determined.