For 2019 Acura has updated and restyled its smallest sedan, the compact ILX. With styling that now matches the brand’s latest design philosophy, it looks sportier and more premium than the 2018 model. As with other Acura models, a sporty A-Spec package is available that mostly offers cosmetic enhancements, like side sills and larger wheels. For 2019 Acura made previously optional advanced safety tech standard and also upgraded the seats and infotainment system. Within the brand’s lineup the ILX slots below the TLX mid-size luxury sedan.
Notably, Acura also lowered the base price of the ILX, which now starts at $25,900. That’s significantly less than other entry-luxury compact sedans like the Mercedes-Benz CLA and Audi A3.
Pros: The ILX offers the cachet of a premium brand at a relatively affordable price compared to its prime competitors. A lower price and added features make its value proposition compelling. Strong safety scores are also a plus.
Cons: Fresh styling and new features don’t fully conceal the ILX’s mainstream roots. Based on the Honda Civic, the ILX has a choppy ride and lack of road noise isolation that are unbecoming of the Acura brand and could prove tiresome for shoppers seeking a truly luxurious experience.
Looks Best In: For 2019 Acura updated the interior and exterior color palettes. Perhaps the most eye-catching exterior color is Performance Red Pearl, which nicely sets off the redesigned grille and headlamps and emphasizes the car’s performance focus. However, it is the deep and rich Apex Blue Pearl that perhaps best suits the ILX, and many of the other Acura models this unique color is offered on. When paired with the bold Red leather interior, it makes the ILX look quite striking.
Competition: Top compact luxury sedan competitors with strong safety scores include the Audi A3, BMW 2-Series, Mercedes-Benz CLA, and Volvo S60. The ILX’s price point also pits it against midsize mainstream sedans with performance-focused variants, like the Mazda 6, Honda Accord and Toyota Camry.
The Mercedes-Benz CLA is compromised in that it features a cramped cockpit that lacks isolation from road noise and, like the ILX, its ride is not as smooth as might be expected from a luxury brand. The Audi A3 is among the most well-rounded competitors, offering avant garde design and a more composed ride, plus standard all-wheel-drive.
Safety Score: The Acura ILX has received strong crash test ratings from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, although weak headlamps precluded it from receiving a Top Safety Pick designation.
Summary: For shoppers drawn to the ILX’s premium styling and not bothered by the ride, the ILX is an efficient, responsive and affordable entry point into the luxury fold.