All-new 2016 Acura ILX addresses older brand’s shortcomings
THE 2016 Acura ILX does not only come as a five-passenger, four-door premium sedan, the ILX is powered by Honda Corporation’s 2.4-liter direct-injected four-cylinder engine. When compared to the previous 2.0-liter version, this mill acts like it has been juicing on steroids for an extra 50 horsepower, moving up to 201-peak hp.
It torque also took a climb to 180 lb-ft from the previous 140 lb-ft. While the previous version, with the 2.4-liter engine and manual transmission made the same horsepower, the newer version does it at a lower rev-point.
A dual-stage intake manifold achieved the lower-end power. At start, long runners are used at vehicle launch, and at a certain point short-length runners take over to produce more power as the revs rise.
Instead of giving buyers a choice, the 2016 ILX will be available with a singular eight-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. Featuring a torque converter and rev-matching downshifts, it is just enough to channel your inner Andretti, should you be up for a bit of driving excitement.
From the A-Spec side of things, 18-inch alloy wheels, leather seats with suede inserts and contrast stitching, fog lights, a rear deck lid spoiler and aluminum sport pedals were included.
While the previous year’s ILX came up a bit short in the safety features department, the 2016 addresses those shortcomings with the addition of the AcuraWatch Plus package that includes adaptive cruise control, collision mitigation braking, road departure mitigation, forward collision warning, lane keep assist, lane departure warning, and a color meter display screen.
Essentially, ILX sits at the top of the food chain, and as such offers no factory installed options. That’s not to say that the dealers won’t try to have their way through various high-profit add-ons .
While the Acura ILX retains much of its original appearance as seen in 2012, it has been updated to reflect the design changes from Acura’s studios. They include a more refined grille, which rests between five-lensed LED headlamps and A-Spec fog lights. Saving for newly introduced wheels and trim pieces, all else remains the same… on the surface. It’s under the skin where the magic really happens. Engineers responsible for suppressing noise, vibration and harshness were hard at work to eliminate all of the above. Starting with the expanded use of high strength steel, they have stiffened the chassis by up to 12-percent, which yields better handling and all-around performance.
The rear seat offered comfortable seating for three passengers hovering around the six-foot tall range. But special care should be taken getting in or out of the rear seats, to avoid a good head thumping. That seatback, by the way, folds forward to expand the cargo capacity of the trunk, which is12.3-cubic feet.
What a difference a model year makes. Now that the 2.0-liter has been replaced by the more powerful 2.4-liter four-cylinder, it seems that all is right under the hood of this particular Acura. The ILX gives a driver the choice between normal “D” mode for every day driving, while a switch to “S” for sport mode enabled the holding of gears to a higher rev-point in the power band.
The eight-speed dual-clutch transmission is definitely a smooth operator, never hunting for an improper cog or holding a gear longer then would feel natural. We enjoyed flipping the steering wheel-mounted paddle shift levers while negotiating through a turn that activated rev-matching for a more engaging drive. Other than when accelerating with a fully-loaded right foot, the ILX offered a quiet cruising environment once our desired speed had been achieved.