Powering the Acura ILX is one of the smoothest powertrains Honda produces – a direct-injected, 2.4-liter Earth Dreams four cylinder with a redline of 7,000 revolutions per minute (rpm) matched to an 8-speed, dual-clutch (DCT) transmission. The K24W7 motor produces 206 horsepower (hp) a smidge before redline, at 6,800 rpm, with 182 pound-feet of torque while the DCT shifts smoothly and rapidly.
The US Environmental Protection Agency rates the ILX at 25 mpg in the city and 36 mpg on the highway, which makes it competitive on the highway but lacking in the city. However, the city fuel economy is a trade-off I'm willing to make for the outstanding powertrain.
The powertrain and driving dynamics of the ILX are the best bits of the car. As annoying as the infotainment system and driver assists can be, all is (nearly) forgotten when I drive the car. The steering is precise, with the right amount of weight without sacrificing road feel, while the drive-by-wire system responds quickly to each movement of the gas pedal.
I commend Acura for the suspension tuning. The car responds quickly and confidently on windy roads with a solid chassis. I didn't find the ride quality harsh either; it was comfortable, and I didn't encounter any aches or pains after hours of driving.
Living with the car
The Acura ILX isn't much of a family car. It's a compact car that can adapt to family life, but it's not the most ideal. I have two kids that need convertible car seats, which I managed to install via LATCH anchors and the seat belts without encountering any problems.
However, with the seat adjusted for my height, my kids can easily kick the back of the front seats. I can't imagine a taller person leaving much room available for the back seat either. A rear-facing car seat would be an even tighter fit.
One other annoyance I had with the ILX is the placement of the 12V accessory power jack. Acura places it in the center armrest, instead of the lower cubby where the USB port is. I always install my Beltronics GT-7 radar detector in every car I review, so the placement of the 12V power port is a stretch, getting in the way of the cup holders. It definitely makes it harder to grab my white chocolate mocha (no whipped cream) for a few sips while driving.