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#12

in Upscale Small Cars

MSRP: $28,900 - $34,600
Invoice: $27,229 - $32,504
MPG: 39 City / 38 Hwy
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Acura ILX Hybrid Performance

Reviewers say that while the 2014 Acura ILX Hybrid has sufficient power on city streets, it can feel underpowered on the highway. They’re frustrated with the ILX Hybrid’s standard stop-start feature, which turns off the engine to conserve fuel when stopped in traffic, but is slow to restart the car. While the hybrid model offers much better fuel economy than the gas-only Acura ILX, other hybrids use less fuel. The ILX Hybrid does offer a comfortable ride, though a few reviewers think its steering is numb and several say the ILX Hybrid isn’t much fun to drive.

  • “The hybrid’s powertrain management has been tuned for a little more zip around town, at the expense of fuel economy. ... Still, the ILX is quiet and refined, with good road manners.” -- Popular Mechanics (2013)
  • "Accelerating the ILX Hybrid means a tortured grind from the engine as the tiny mill runs up its revolutions. At only 127 pound-feet of torque, this engine should not be able to move the somewhat plush ILX very well, but the additional twist from the electric motor makes for enough pickup to keep from being run over." -- CNET (2013)
  • “So while the ILX hybrid's handsome looks and comfortable and tech-filled interior is everything you would expect from an Acura, its coarse powertrain, while adequate in the Civic, is a bit of a letdown." -- Motor Trend (2013)

Acceleration and Power

The 2014 Acura ILX Hybrid has a 1.5-liter, four-cylinder engine and an electric motor. Combined, they produce 111 horsepower. A continuously variable transmission (CVT) is standard. The ILX Hybrid gets an EPA-estimated 39/38 mpg city/highway, which is a bit low for a hybrid car. By comparison, the Toyota Prius gets 51/48 mpg.

Test drivers are generally unimpressed with the ILX Hybrid’s powertrain and say that while it performs adequately on city streets, the ILX accelerates slowly and struggles to pass on the highway. However, they point out that as a hybrid, the ILX Hybrid prioritizes fuel economy over speed. Several reviewers are frustrated with the ILX Hybrid’s standard start-stop feature, which shuts the engine off when the car is stopped, saying that there can be a lag before the ILX Hybrid restarts.

  • "The ILX Hybrid powertrain, while slower than the 2.0, easily netted us a constant 38 mpg in mixed driving conditions." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "Even though Acura reprogrammed the throttle map to provide quicker throttle tip-in than its Civic sibling, the driveline quickly runs out of steam as speeds increase." -- Automobile Magazine (2013)
  • "The engine often shuts off at stops as a fuel-saving measure, and there's sometimes a bit of a delay in restarting it if you shift your right foot quickly from the brake to the gas." -- Consumer Guide (2013)
  • "Its meager power figures are especially noticeable on the freeway, where hurried on-ramp or passing attempts are accompanied by nothing more than a buzzy engine note and a slow-moving speedometer needle. That said, the ILX hybrid feels adequate during city driving." -- Motor Trend (2013)

Handling and Braking

Reviewers agree that the ILX Hybrid provides a comfortable, quiet ride and responsive brakes. However, several note that while it has decent handling, the ILX Hybrid falls well short of being sporty. Steering is respectable, they say, but some reviewers are disappointed that the steering system doesn’t offer more road feel.

  • "Ride quality is a strength for all versions of the 2014 Acura ILX. This car offers a nearly ideal compromise between control and comfort, and it's quiet on the highway." -- Edmunds
  • "With the ILX Hybrid's electric power steering and CVT, driving is an unengaging task. The wheel turns easily, accompanied by the electric whirr of the steering boost. Throw the shifter in Drive and the car rolls unconcernedly forward. But as a hybrid, the car shows a few quirks." -- CNET (2013)
  • "ILX falls a bit short of truly sporty, but the car is responsive with accurate steering and sure, effective braking. Body lean is modest while cornering." -- Consumer Guide
  • "Sadly, as with many such systems, the electronic power steering provides only a vague sense of what the front wheels are doing and it takes time to get used to the artificial feel provided by the tiller's e-brain." -- Autoblog (2013)
  • "On all models, we liked the responsive brake feel and the four-wheel independent double-wishbone front suspension, which made for a smooth ride." -- AutoWeek (2013)
Review Last Updated: 5/14/14

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