2018 Acura ILX: Another Honda Clone That Misses The Mark















The Acura ILX was originally released for the 2013 model year. It is a compact, four-door, front-wheel drive sedan. Based on the ninth generation Honda Civic sedan, it was facelifted for the 2016 model year and continues as Acura’s entry-level vehicle.

Acura has had an image problem for quite some time. Although they were the first upscale Japanese brand on the American scene, parent company Honda has been unwilling to create unique platforms for the brand’s volume models. The Acura brand is often seen as simply being a line of fancier, better equipped, more expensive Hondas.

Competitors Infiniti and Lexus have put most of their sedans on unique rear-wheel drive platforms. This lets them compete better with BMW and Mercedes-Benz. Acura makes do with existing platforms from Honda. What’s worse, the Acura compact ILX and mid-size TLX sedans are currently a generation behind their Honda donor cousins.

So what does the 2018 Acura ILX have to offer? Let’s take a look:

2018 Acura ILX Trim Levels And Pricing

The 2018 ILX comes in a single trim level, but can be purchased with a variety of “packages” added to the base vehicle in several combinations. These are:

  • ILX

  • ILX Special Edition

  • ILX with AcuraWatch Plus Package

  • ILX with Premium Package

  • ILX with Premium & A-SPEC Packages

  • ILX with Technology Plus Package

  • ILX with Technology Plus & A-SPEC Packages

2018 Acura ILX pricing starts at $28,100 MSRP for the base ILX, and tops out at $35,100 for the ILX with Technology Plus & A-SPEC Packages

Engine Options In The 2018 Acura ILX

For 2018, there is a single engine and transmission across all Acura ILX trims. A 2.4L direct-injected i-VTEC four-cylinder engine, with an output of 201 horsepower, is mated to an eight-speed automatic dual-clutch transmission with sequential paddle shifters.

2018 Acura ILX Technology

Acura has always prided itself on a high level of onboard technology in its vehicles. The 2018 Acura ILX comes standard with a six-speaker Acura audio system, text message capability, Bluetooth hands-free phone and music streaming, iPod integration, and speed-sensitive volume compensation. Other interior features include dual-zone/GPS-linked automatic climate control with humidity control and air filtration, keyless access with pushbutton ignition, eight-way power driver’s seat, active sound control, ambient cabin lighting.

Available technology items are:

  • Acura navigation system with 3D view

  • AcuraLink real-time traffic with exclusive street and freeway conditions

  • Traffic rerouting

  • iPhone AcuraLink navigation app connectivity

  • Siri eyes free

  • Acura/ELS studio premium audio system with 10 speakers

  • SiriusXM satellite radio

  • Jewel Eye LED headlights

Safety Features

Standard safety features on the 2018 Acura ILX include six airbags, plus vehicle stability assist with traction control and motion adaptive steering, anti-lock brakes, and brake assist. A rear view camera is also standard.

The 2018 Acura ILX offers the AcuraWatch suite of advanced driver assistance technologies on the AcuraWatch Plus and Technology Plus packages. This includes collision mitigation braking system, lane departure warning, forward collision warning, lane keeping assist, adaptive cruise control, and road departure mitigation. In addition, a blind spot information system and rear cross traffic monitor are included with the Premium and Technology Plus packages.

The 2018 Acura ILX Looks Good On Paper, Not So Much In The Real World

The Acura ILX has several things going against it. It is built on an old platform, it must compete against the new and much better Honda Civic, and it is a sedan in a world where two-thirds of buyers want a truck or an SUV. Its steadily shrinking sales are proof of this. Meanwhile, the Honda Civic nearly outsold the Toyota Camry for the title of best-selling sedan in the USA for 2017.

Only the absolute best compact sedans will survive in this type of market. Sadly, the 2018 Acura ILX is not, and has never been, one of them. You can do much better. Check out the high-level trims of the Civic, Mazda3 or Hyundai Elantra if you don’t need a fancy badge. If you do want some prestige brand appeal in this price class, look at the Lexus IS, Mercedes-Benz CLA, BMW 3 Series, or Audi A3.

About The Author

Stephen Fogel

Stephen follows the global automotive industry on a daily basis, including new model announcements, new technologies, sales trends, and the latest in "green" cars.