2016 Acura ILX A-Spec Test Drive

?2016 Acura ILX Tech Plus A-Spec Sedan?
Acura?s entry level sedan eliminates negative issues
When Acura dealers felt the need for an entry level vehicle to be offered as part of their premium inventory, the Acura team (Honda?s luxury division) answered the call with an all-new 2013 ILX sedan lineup. Essentially it was a worthwhile group of vehicles, but there were some negative issues, primarily in the model lineup and packaging in terms of available equipment, but also in the power output ? basically, it needed more. The 2013 ILX four-door sedan, was available in 3 versions that shared the same exterior dimensions and basic appearance, but offered three different powertrains. The mix was questionable from a consumer standpoint. First up was a 2.0-liter inline four cylinder version that made 150 horsepower while also delivering 140 pound feet of torque. Actually, all engine offerings were inline four bangers, but in varying configurations. The 2.0-liter model engine mated only to a 5-speed automatic with Sequential SportShift and Grade Logic Control. Next up was a 2.4-liter that delivered 201 horsepower and 170 pound feet of torque that connected only to a six-speed manual gearbox with a single disk, dry-style diaphragm spring clutch, but a nav system was not an available option. The final entry ILX sedan came in the form of a hybrid, with a 1.5-liter engine that generated 111 horses and 127 pound feet of torque to the front wheels through a Continuously Variable Transmission. The 2016 Acura ILX lineup seems to have addressed the original problematic issues.

The new Acura ILX stable is now powered by an all-new high-performance 2.4-liter, direct injection i-VTEC in-line four-cylinder engine connected to an 8-speed Dual clutch automatic transmission. The exterior design is also new and displays a more sporty and elegant look with Jewel Eye? LED headlights. Essentially, there?s more feature content including available AcuraWatch? safety and driver assistance features. There?s also added leading-edge technology with an available nav system. There is no longer a manual gearbox available, and an onboard Navigation system is now available across the board.
The 2016 Acura ILX, which has been redesigned and reengineered is now stronger more agile and more refined, and is on sale now, starting at $27,900. Consumer choices are expanded, featuring three main grades ? the standard ILX, an ILX with a Premium Package, and the top-of-the line Acura ILX Tech Plus Package, all of which are supplemented by the addition of the all-new AcuraWatch? and A-SPEC Packages. An Acura ILX with the Tech Plus and A-SPEC Packages will be priced at $34,890.
The new 2.4-liter, 16-valve, direct-injected DOHC i-VTEC 4-cylinder engine produces 201 horsepower at 6,800 rpm along with 180 lb.-ft. of torque at 3,600 rpm for an increase of 51 horsepower and 40 lb.-ft. more torque compared to the outgoing 2.0-liter engine. The new engine is coupled to a new 8-speed dual clutch transmission with a torque converter and paddle-controlled Sequential Sport Shift. The new 8DCT delivers quick, crisp gear changes, with rev-matching down shifts, for enhanced response and performance, while also providing top-class fuel efficiency for an EPA rating of 25/36/29 mpg city/hwy/combined. The new Acura ILX is 2.5 is claimed to be seconds quicker from 0-60 with the new 8-speed DFCT transmission than the old 5-speed automatic.
To go along with the new high performance powertrain, steering responsiveness and linearity are combined with a retuned suspension and several chassis design enhancements. The exterior design has been refreshed and is now more refined, as is the interior, which now offers a quieter cabin and AcuraWatch?. The Acura ILX stable now qualifies as Acura?s gateway to the entry-level premium sedan segment. with improved driving dynamics along with fuel economy, while serving up an admirable combination of performance, proportion and prestige.
The 2016 Acura ILX now delivers Acura standards and quality in what is without question, a sporty and elegant sedan. 2016 styling updates include Jewel Eye? LED headlights, major changes up front to the grille and front fascia and new 17 and 18-inch alloy wheel designs. The rear of the ILX also features a redesigned fascia and LED tail lamps. A-Spec models add exclusive 18-inch, 10-spoke machined alloy wheels, a rear decklid spoiler, extended side sill rocker panels, aluminum pedals and fog lights.
During the national media introduction, I was afforded the opportunity to experience seat time in both a 2016 Acura ILX Tech Plus and an ILX Tech Plus A-Spec model. Both sported a Crystal Black Pearl exterior with Ebony interiors. The Tech Plus model came with a base sticker of $32,900, which came to $33,820 after adding the Destination and Handling charge. The A-Spec version Tech Plus model started at $34,890 and topped out at $35,810. My home turf tester which came later was in the same configuration and trim level, but wearing an exterior coat of Graphite Luster metallic.
SUMMARY: The 2016 Acura ILX lineup now represents what it should have been when it was first introduced. It is now very definitely a quality, entry-level premium sedan that delivers sporty attributes along with advanced technology.

The performance from the new 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine and 8-speed DCT combo is now more than adequate, with responsive acceleration and smooth, quick shifts. The ride quality is comfortable and compliant, yet planted and stable when prodded.
The Technology and Safety feature bin is loaded with the Tech and AcuraWatch Plus packages, featuring: Acura?s Navigation System with Voice Recognition and Multi-view Rear Camera; Blind Spot Information; Cross Traffic Monitor; AcuraLink Communication System with Real Time Traffic; Acura/ELS Sound System with 10-speakers,AM/FM/CD, DTS, and Dolby Prelogic II; GPS-linked Dual-Zone Auto Climate Control with Air Filtration System; Hard Disc Drive; Adaptive Cruise Control; Collision Mitigation Braking; Road Departure Mitigation; Lane Keeping Assist System; Lane Departure Warning; and Color Meter Display.

All ILX models are built in the Greensburg, Indiana plant.

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?[wptabtitle] SPECIFICATIONS: 2016 Acura ILX Tech Plus A-Spec Sedan [/wptabtitle]
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Base Price: $34,890.
Price as Tested: $35,810.
Engine Type and Size: 2.4-liter DOHC, 16 valve, i-VTEC Direct Injection, in-line 4-cylinder with drive-by-wire throttle system.
Horsepower (bhp): 201 @ 6,800 rpm
Torque (ft./ lbs.): 180 @ 3,600 rpm
Transmission: Eight-speed DCT with torque converter and steering wheel mounted sequential SportShift paddle shifters.
Drive Train: Transversely mounted front engine / Front-wheel drive.
Suspension: Front – MacPherson strut with amplitude reactive dampers and 20.0 mm stabilizer bar.
Rear – Multilink with amplitude reactive dampers and 15.0 mm stabilizer bar.

Brakes: Power-assisted four-wheel discs (vented front) with ABS, EBD, VSA, Brake Assist and TPMS.
Tires: Continental ContiProContact 225/40 R18 all season mounted on 5-stylized “V”?-spoke machine finished – noise reducing alloy wheels with black painted edges and inner rims.
Wheelbase: 105.1 inches
Length Overall: 181.9 inches
Width: 70.6 inches
Height: 55.6 inches
Curb Weight: 3,095 lbs.
Fuel Capacity: 13.2 gallons
EPA Mileage Estimates: 25 mpg city / 36 mpg highway
Drag Coefficient: Not listed.
0 – 60 mph: Not tested.

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Arv Voss is a Northern California based freelance motoring Journalist and member and past officer of several noted Automotive Journalist organizations who contributes regularly to a number of national and international media outlets. He reviews not only cars, trucks and SUVs, but motorcycles as well.

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