2019 ILX finishes Acura’s upgraded lineup
With the refreshed Acura ILX hitting the streets, Acura completes their plan to improve the appeal of their cars and crossovers.
The goal was to make them more attractive as a group and offering more performance options among them.
To demonstrate, they took a group of journalists to their proving grounds near the two huge Ohio assembly plants where many Acuras and Hondas are built.
The high-performance Acura NSX is also built here, and except for two robots — one to weld the car and one to paint it — everything else is done by workers. Granted, the supercar costs north of $160,000, but that gets you a car were every single bolt is torqued by hand. Acura even has a program where buyers can come in and follow their car through assembly. Buyers even can choose to “help,” by mounting two of the insignia on their own car.
We then spent the rest of the day at their proving grounds evaluating Acura’s claims and cars. We participated in several events to demonstrate Acura capabilities. One was a fling down a gravel road in the MDX and RDX being told by the instructor to go faster and slide the car more aggressively, so we could feel the car’s capability to get it back under control.
We did the same thing on a wet skid pad, with a pro trying to get us to do everything wrong with the car so that we could feel the drive’s capability. While I normally seem to have little difficulty doing things wrong, doing wrong on purpose just seems wrong.
Then we moved to the NSX starting by using the car’s launch control to fling an NSX from 0 to 60 mph in 2.7-sec. One could say this was an excellent way of demonstrating the value of having 573-hp. and 476 lb.-ft. of peak torque.
And finally, for my group, we ended up pushing the NSX around the race track at the test grounds where it was initially developed. With driving instructors beside us were able to drive as quickly as we safely could.
What became quickly clear is that the NSX is a seriously stable platform with terrific torque. Even going fast through corners, the NSX generated complete confidence. The computer controlling the suspension clearly felt it was a Formula One driver who just didn’t get a chance. The result is that not-quite-so-capable drivers are better in an NSX at speed that they would be in many other supercars.
The NSX is a technological wonder, but it is competing with cars which are emotional wonders. Ferrari MacLaren and Porsche are all superb cars which have deep psychological impact on those who desire them. It is hard for as many wealthy men to develop such feelings for the NSX, whether this one or the previous generation. Both are technically revolutionary but simply don’t have the heritage appeal of those other cars.
Personally, I’d go with the NSX, and that’s from someone who owns a Porsche. Granted, not one which is a competitor of this, but a Porsche nonetheless.
As happy as the Acura folks were that we enjoyed driving the NSX, they were much more interested in having us spend some time behind the wheel of the refreshed for 2019 ILX. This is the car which gets people interesting and attached to the Acura brand. Officials say that more Millennials own the ILX than any other entry-luxury sedan.
Plus, it completes the reset of the brand, as all the models now have the “new” and more aggressive look. For 2019, ILX design is all-new from the windshield forward. This means the “family” grille, seven-element LED headlights and a new hood. In back there’s a new decklid, fascia, LED taillights and lower diffuser with exposed exhaust pipes. New 17-in. and A-Spec 18in. wheels.
The cabin gets updated sport seats, front and rear. with twoway, power adjustable lumbar support for the driver’s seat. There as been focus on making the cabin more upscale. The idea of this, both inside and out is to look sportier and more sophisticated.
For 2019, every ILX comes standard with the AcuraWatch suite of active safety and driverassistive technology, including collision-mitigation braking system with forward-collision warning, lane-keeping assist, adaptive cruise control, and road-departure mitigation with lane-departure warning.
The ILX drives well. While the engine isn’t particularly strong, when you put the car’s computer in Sport, things get a lot more interesting. This engine type creates most of its power close to the redline. So, the Sport settings make the car operate much more effectively because its operating in a much better place so that more power’s there when you want it. Most of us agreed that if we owned the car we’d never take it out of Sport mode.
The brakes and steering are positive and consistent. We drive some curvy farm-country roads, and the ILX enjoyed flowing left and right at a comfortable cruising speed. My guess it would have enjoyed a bit more speed in those curves, but that was for another day.
It also rides well, with enough room in a small sedan for passengers to be comfortable. The seats are comfortable, the music system, like all Acura vehicles, excellent and the cabin is quiet — at least when the stereo’s off.
The ILX comes with three option packages, the Premium, Technology and A-Spec. Prices start at $25,900 to the top of the lineup, the ILX A-Spec with Technology Package with an MSRP of $31,550. It went on sale last month.
For 2019, the ILX design is all-new from the windshield forward.
The 2019 Acura ILX features updated sport seats — front and rear — with two-way, power adjustable lumbar support for the driver’s seat.
The 2019 Acura NSX’s launch control flings the car from 0 to 60 mph in 2.7-sec.