The 2013 Acura ILX: A possible choice for a small luxury sedan

The base model in Acura’s car lineup comes loaded with high-end amenities such as a push-button starter, heated leather seats, a rear-view camera, and HID headlights as standard equipment.

However, there is a limit to how much Acura can conceal the car’s humble beginnings. The car has fast handling, but the steering feedback is lacking, which prevents it from feeling sporty to drive.

The 2013 Acura ILX A possible choice for a small luxury sedan

The 2013 Acura ILX models

The base 2.0, base 2.0 with Premium package, base 2.0 with Technology package, base 2.4 with Premium package, Hybrid, and Hybrid with Technology package trim levels are available for the 2013 Acura ILX entry-level luxury car.

Both the 2.0 and Hybrid come standard with 16-inch wheels, a sunroof, full power accessories, keyless ignition/entry, a leather-wrapped tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, dual-zone automatic climate control, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, a rearview camera, and a six-speaker sound system with a CD player, an auxiliary audio jack, a USB/iPod audio interface, and Pandora integration.

Premium models add 17-inch wheels, xenon headlights, foglamps, leather upholstery, heated front seats, a power driver seat, a more advanced rearview camera, active noise cancellation (Hybrid excluded), and an enhanced seven-speaker sound system with satellite radio. Acura also provides a Premium package-equipped ILX with a 2.4-liter engine.

The Technology trim (which is bizarrely not available on the 2.4) features the Premium package’s amenities as well as a hard drive-based navigation system and a surround-sound stereo system with digital music storage.

The 2013 Acura ILX: Overview

After ignoring the entry-level market for ten years, Acura has returned with a new generation of tiny vehicles with the 2013 ILX. The ILX sedan is intended for consumers who want something prettier and sportier than the usual mainstream sedan but aren’t ready to spend the money on a full-fledged luxury brand.


  • Abundant Variety of Pre Installed Options
  • Hybrid model’s gas mileage is exceptional.


  • Weak fundamental mechanism
  • Slim tree trunk
  • The sporty 2.4L version doesn’t have an automatic gearbox or other high-end trimmings.

The ILX accomplishes its goals to a satisfactory degree. Yet, it is equally important to understand the constraints of this approach.

Although it shares a platform and certain mechanical components with the Honda Civic, the 2013 Acura ILX looks and feels very different from its Honda ancestor. The most notable changes are the extensive engineering and interior upgrades. It’s not fair to write off the ILX since it’s just a Civic with Acura logos.

Although the 2018 ILX is only available as a sedan, Acura makes up for the absence of a coupe or hatchback by providing three engine choices. The standard ILX is equipped with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine and a five-speed automatic transmission, providing enough power and good fuel economy.

The ILX 2.4, with its bigger and more powerful 2.4-liter four-cylinder, offers noticeably greater performance. There is just a 6-speed manual transmission available for this model. The fuel-efficient Hybrid ILX is Acura’s first foray into the hybrid-electric vehicle market.

The basic ILX is a new and interesting option for people who want to get into the luxury Acura brand at a reasonable price. It has a comfortable ride, a somewhat roomy cabin, and a good amount of standard equipment.

The ILX 2.4 is appealing as a stealthily luxurious sports sedan, but its price tag is high in comparison to its raw performance, and it doesn’t have an automatic transmission, which reduces its desirability. The ILX Hybrid has decent mileage for a luxury vehicle, but it is still not particularly cheap.

There aren’t many luxury automobile brands, and the 2013 Acura ILX is one of the few that offers a true entry-level vehicle. Examples include the Buick Verano. There is no hybrid option, but it costs less overall, has a more powerful engine upgrade (250 horsepower), and a better cabin. Two more premium cars that are comparable to the ILX in terms of hatchback usefulness and fuel efficiency are the Audi A3 and the Lexus CT 200h.

The cost of your fully optioned ILX is something else to think about. The same amount of money would also get you a nicely equipped version of a modern midsize sedan like the Ford Fusion, Kia Optima, or Nissan Altima.

The Dodge Dart or the Ford Focus, in fully loaded form, would be another cost-effective option. The majority of these vehicles will match the ILX’s level of comfort and refinement. The ILX is not for everyone, but it is a sensible option for those looking for a cheap, fuel-efficient, and luxurious compact sedan.

The 2013 Acura ILX: Performance

The base model of the 2013 ILX comes equipped with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 150 horsepower and 140 pound-feet of torque. The sole available transmission is a five-speed automatic that exclusively drives the front wheels. The ILX’s acceleration from 0-60 mph was under 9 seconds with this powerplant, according to Edmunds. That’s about par for a little budget car, but sluggish for a compact with a luxury label. At 24 city mpg, 35 highway mpg, and 28 combined mpg, the fuel economy is quite good.

The 2.4-liter, four-cylinder engine in the Premium-equipped ILX generates 201 horsepower and 170 lb-ft of torque. The usual transmission is a six-speed manual, and an automatic is not an option for this setup.

The ILX 2.4 was timed at 7.1 seconds going from 0 to 60 mph by Edmunds. This is about par for the course when comparing base-engine premium cars to typical midsize sedans with upgrades. The ILX 2.4 has EPA ratings of 22/31/18, so it sacrifices a little bit of fuel efficiency for more exciting performance.

The ILX Hybrid’s drivetrain is the same as that of the Civic Hybrid. It has a 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine paired with Honda’s famous Integrated Motor Assist, an electric motor that boosts power when needed and turns kinetic energy from braking into electricity that is then used to charge the ILX Hybrid’s small lithium-ion battery pack. The combined output of the motor and gas engine is 111 horsepower and 127 pound-feet of torque.

The transmission is an automated one with a continually changing ratio. The ILX Hybrid’s fuel efficiency is much lower than the Civic Hybrid’s at 39 city mpg, 38 highway mpg, and 38 mpg combined due to the ILX Hybrid’s performance-oriented gearing. However, it didn’t do much for the car’s performance; the ILX Hybrid still takes 10.4 seconds to accelerate from 0 to 60 mph, making it slower than the Civic Hybrid. Even so, it’s on par with a Lexus CT 200h.

The 2013 Acura ILX: Safety

Antilock brakes, stability and traction control, front seat side airbags, side curtain airbags, and active front head restraints are all standard on the 2013 Acura ILX. There is also a standard rearview camera.

The Acura ILX scored a perfect five stars overall from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, with four stars for frontal impact safety and five stars for side impact safety.

The frontal-offset, side-impact, and roof-strength tests performed on the ILX all resulted in “Good” ratings from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. At 60 miles per hour, the ILX Premium 2.0 stopped in 121 feet in Edmunds’ braking tests, which is about par for the course. Surprisingly, it took the apparently sportier ILX 2.4 a longer than usual 130 feet to come to a halt. The Hybrid ran a comparable distance.

The 2013 Acura ILX: Interior

The ILX’s interior is superbly built, but the materials aren’t much of an upgrade over those seen in premium non-luxury cars. The inside also has Acura’s signature air of high technology, but otherwise fails to wow.

Yet, if you want high-tech features to match that high-tech atmosphere, the ILX does not disappoint. A 5-inch screen sits above the middle stack, with thoughtfully positioned buttons and knobs underneath for accessing the many entertainment options.

The navigation and premium audio systems each include a 6-inch display. One further perk is that SMS text messages can be converted to speech via the default ILX audio.

Much consideration was given to the design of the chairs to ensure that they were supportive without feeling claustrophobic or rigid. For a little car, the ILX has a respectable amount of legroom in the backseat.

The trunk is about average in size at 12.4 cubic feet, and the entrance is just around a foot wide. The seatback does not split to allow for a combination of long cargo and a passenger or two in the backseat, but it does fold down to provide room for longer objects. The battery pack reduces the interior volume of the Hybrid to to 10 cubic feet.

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The 2013 Acura ILX: Comfort and Driving

The 2013 Acura ILX won’t be mistaken for a BMW 3 Series by anybody, but it has more than enough power for the daily commute. Acceleration is about what you’d expect from a non-luxury small vehicle, thanks to the base 2.0-liter engine’s 150 horsepower, but the engine revs smoothly and enjoyably, so getting the most out of it isn’t a chore.

The ILX Hybrid is the slowest of the bunch, but it has significantly better gas mileage. But, it can’t speed up solely on electric power, and the hybrid system isn’t as smooth as that of a Lexus.

The 2.4-liter ILX is a different beast altogether, with a more sporty exhaust note and much faster acceleration thanks to its increased horsepower. We also find the smooth, precisely-machined shifts between the car’s six gears to be some of the most pleasurable manual gearbox action we’ve experienced.

Although Acura’s die-hard fanbase of drivers may be let down by the ILX 2.4’s lack of sharper suspension and steering calibrations, the ILX is nonetheless a confident and responsive vehicle to drive. The ride quality is virtually flawless, striking a nice balance between control and comfort. But, the tires appear to transmit more noise into the cabin than we’d like, as do minor defects in the road.


The 2013 Acura ILX is an intriguing choice for a small luxury sedan due to its excellent build quality, high fuel efficiency, and affordable beginning costs. These characteristics combine to make the 2013 Acura ILX an appealing alternative. Yet, there are still other viable options that astute consumers should take into consideration.

The 2013 Acura ILX: A possible choice for a small luxury sedan


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