By Keith Buglewicz
KBB Expert Rating: 8.8
Last year, Acura hit the reset button on its smallest sedan, giving it a new nose and tail, improved technology, and a new standard engine and 8-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. This 2017 Acura ILX carries over pretty much unchanged, with the exception of some new colors. That's fine, as we found the new ILX to be a pretty solid little car. Based on the previous-generation Honda Civic, the ILX actually hides its roots rather well, thanks to its extra power, distinct transmission, and styling that's very much in line with what we've seen in other Acura models. Like its primary competitor, the Buick Verano, the ILX offers a lot of car for the money, especially compared to the Mercedes-Benz CLA and Audi A3.
The 2017 Acura ILX offers up a lot of premium content in a car with a premium badge, but without a premium high price. If you're looking for a sedan and want a brand that isn't mainstream, the ILX is worth a look.
KBB Expert Ratings
With so much new last year, the 2017 Acura ILX is virtually unchanged. The only noteworthy difference is the addition of three new paint colors.
The 201-horsepower 2.4-liter 4-cylinder in the 2017 Acura ILX has found the perfect partner in Acura's 8-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. But what's really remarkable about the whole thing is how...
... utterly unremarkable it is. Leave it in Drive and go to the grocery store, and you'll never notice a thing. Shift it into Sport and use the steering wheel-mounted paddles , and you'll find a sport transmission that's quick and crisp, but never jarring. The suspension and steering are equally fun just cruising around town, or exploring your favorite mountain road. And while nobody will mistake the ILX for a Rolls-Royce -- or even its bigger brother, the RLX -- the interior is certainly quieter than you might expect, especially if you've driven or ridden in the earlier versions of the ILX.
8-SPEED AUTOMATIC TRANSMISSION
This dual-clutch automatic transmission is a gem. It automates the function of a manual transmission for quicker shifting and, while similar transmissions are available from several manufacturers, the Acura version has a twist: There's also an old-school torque converter, providing a torque boost and smoother operation overall.
TETHERED NAVIGATION APP
If you have an iPhone and an extra $159, you can still get navigation in your mid-level Acura ILX without springing for the higher trim level. A $60 app incorporates your phone and a special $99 HDMI adapter cable, and you can use your phone's data plan for navigation.
The Acura ILX is much quieter since its 2016 upgrade, making it less stressful to drive, and sportier since you can now hear the 2.4-liter 4-cylinder's satisfying note. Beyond that the interior uses good materials, with only a few hard plastic touches as reminders that you bought on a budget. The comfortable front seats are matched with comfortable rears, and the driver’s controls are mostly easy to use. The exception is the dual-screen infotainment/navigation system, which some might gripe needs another pass through the ergonomics department, but others don't mind. A-Spec model seats get unique fabric and gray contrast stitching.
Acura calls its multi-lensed LED headlight treatment "Jewel Eye," and it's definitely distinctive, although not everybody likes the aesthetics. The 2017 ILX adds a separate bar of LED running lights, and overall we think it's nice. The grille treatment, taillights, front and rear bumpers, and the rest of the exterior design manage to look distinctly different from the Honda Civic upon which the ILX is based, quite a trick considering they're dimensionally nearly identical. Note that the A-Spec model is appearance only, getting 18-inch wheels and a few other tweaks.
All 2017 Acura ILX models come standard with the 2.4-liter engine and 8-speed automatic transmission. They also come fairly well loaded with other features, including a rearview camera with multiple views, automatic headlights, dual-zone GPS-linked climate control, passive entry with push-button start, and an 8-way power driver's seat. Even base models get heated front seats, and part of the ILX's quiet is thanks to noise-abating wheels and active noise cancellation.
AcuraWatch is a suite of safety systems that includes adaptive cruise control, collision mitigation braking, lane keeping assist, and other high-tech features. Elsewhere, ILX Premium models add leather seats, blind-spot warning with a cross-traffic monitor, the iPhone navigation connectivity mentioned earlier, and an audio upgrade. Also included on Premium models comes Siri Eyes Free, which allows access to the iPhone's digital assistant with the push of a button on the steering wheel. The top-line Technology Plus models get AcuraWatch standard, as well as an even better audio system and built-in navigation. The A-Spec package adds 18-inch wheels and sporty trim inside and out.
The 2.4-liter 4-cylinder engine in the 2017 Acura ILX is ubiquitous across the board, and its 201 horsepower is more than adequate for a car this size. The 8-speed automatic is one of our favorite things about the car; smooth shifting in Drive and quick when using the paddles. The 8-speed is a dual-clutch setup, meaning it's designed like a computer-operated manual transmission, but Acura also added a torque converter in the system for better power delivery and a more familiar feel. The high-tech engine uses advanced fuel injection that enhances power and fuel economy, but it also requires premium fuel. Luckily, you won't use a lot of it, thanks to 25 mpg city and 35 mpg highway EPA estimates.
201 horsepower @ 6,800 rpm
180 lb-ft of torque @ 3,600 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 25/35 mpg
A base 2017 Acura ILX will run you just under $29,000 when you include the $940 destination charge. Move up to the Premium Package and you're looking at just under $31,000, and the Technology Plus model comes in at just under $34,000. The AcuraWatch Plus package adds about $1,300, while the A-Spec package adds about $2,000 to the price of a Premium or Technology Plus model. The ILX is priced higher than a Buick Verano, but it's also better equipped. It's also thousands less than the base model Audi A3 or Mercedes-Benz CLA250, especially when you start adding options to those other cars. Be sure to check the KBB.com Fair Purchase Price to see what others in your area are paying for the new ILX. Projected resale value for the ILX is better than the Buick, but lags behind the Mercedes-Benz and Audi competition.