in Used Upscale Small Cars $20K and up

Avg. Price Paid: $19,268 - $22,594
Original MSRP: $25,900 - $31,400
MPG: 24 City / 35 Hwy
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2013 Acura ILX Performance

This performance review was created when the car was new. Some links may no longer point to an active page.

The 2013 Acura ILX offers three powertrains. Test drivers prefer the 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine, which is only available with a six-speed manual transmission because it is the most powerful, but most reviewers say the base 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine is a fine choice if you don’t need the extra power. There’s also a four-cylinder hybrid model, but many reviewers say it’s so painfully slow that the only reason to choose it is for its fuel economy.

Reviewer comments on the ILX’s handling and braking abilities are mostly positive. According to the automotive press, the brakes are strong, but there are also complaints of body roll and poor steering feel. 

  • "The ILX sedan is stylish and delivers a luxurious, comfortable ride." -- AutoWeek
  • "Fortunately, the 2.0-liter engine's 150 horsepower (at a high 6,500 RPM) and 140 pound-feet of torque (at 4,300 RPM) is satisfying enough around town and for daily commuting duties. The engine is smooth, quiet and generally unobtrusive, which we figure is exactly what many ILX buyers will be looking for." -- Autoblog
  • "The 2.0 is pokey and the hybrid is mind-numbingly slow. The 2.4 liter engine is fantastic -- sharp, aggressive, and quick -- but it can only be had with a 6-speed stick-shift." -- About.com  

Acceleration and Power

The Acura ILX has a diverse powertrain lineup. The base model has a 2.0-liter, 150-horsepower four-cylinder engine. Reviewers say that with this engine, the ILX isn’t completely uninspiring, and is good for merging and passing on the highway. One test driver is disappointed that its standard automatic transmission only has five gears, and wishes it had six, like the competition. A 2.4-liter, 201-horsepower four-cylinder engine is the next step up. It only comes with a six-speed manual transmission. More than one reviewer is impressed with its smooth clutch. If you want better fuel economy, go for the 2.0-liter model. The EPA hasn’t tested it yet, but Acura says the base model gets 24/35 mpg city/highway, while the 2.4-liter model gets 22/31 mpg.

  • "By contrast, the 2.4/manual combination is far stronger; Acura says 0-60 mph on this version takes 6.9 seconds, which also correlates to our seat-of-the-pants estimate. Both the clutch and shifter work smoothly." -- Consumer Guide 
  • "The new 2.0-liter four is less exciting to drive, by comparison, partly because of the five-speed automatic gearbox. It is adequately powered for normal driving and quiet and relaxed at freeway speeds, making it worthy of longer road trips." -- Motor Trend
  • "The 2-liter's 150 horsepower was generally adequate on a fast highway run from Virginia to New York, but needed to kick down its five-speed automatic fairly often to keep up with traffic. A small bright spot: Steering-wheel-mounted shift paddles are positioned well and encourage manual operation of the five-speed automatic, helping you extract the small amount of fun built in." -- USA Today
  • "Again, we point an ET-sized finger at the aging five-speed automatic, if for no other reason than Acura could have eked additional performance and/or economy out of a unit with six or more speeds - a trick seemingly every other automaker has figured out." -- Autoblog  

Handling and Braking

Test drivers notice several flaws with the ILX’s steering and body control, but there aren’t any major complaints. Several reviewers say steering feel is poor, and another thinks that the electric power steering probably won’t be stiff enough for enthusiasts who crave sports-car handling. Body roll is present, though one test driver says it’s most noticeable on the 2.4-liter model. The brakes are strong, and reviewers like that the cabin is shielded from most road noise and bumps.

  • "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
  • "We found the ILX stays relatively flat during cornering, exhibits virtually no understeer, and isn't unsettled by mid-corner imperfections. Turn-in is sharp, though the electric power steering is perhaps a little light for truly spirited driving." -- Automobile Magazine
  • "Body roll is present, but not excessive, and road noise is minimal." -- Motor Trend
  • "Despite the special provisions, the steering feel is lacking. Torque steer is under control, though it seems to come with a stiffening of the steering wheel, which is perhaps a countermeasure enacted through the electric power steering." -- Cars.com (2.4-liter model)