I don’t think it’s wrong to want to wear nice clothes. When I’m wearing items that might be a bit more expensive than my usual threads I wind up feeling better. No, I’m not a depressed person by any means, but good clothes can take me from an eight to a nine. Ten is reserved for when I’m not wearing any clothes.
So maybe the Honda Civic wanted to upgrade its wardrobe a bit. I think that’s the case, because the 2013 Acura ILX is essentially a Civic that shops at Nordstrom.
Of course, the appeal exterior style of this modern Acura is up for debate. I expect some love and hate will be had by both sides, but I think it looks rather handsome. There’s some muscularity in the rear haunches, and the nose out front has been nipped and tucked into the right shape. Still, looks only get you in the door, it’s what’s under the skin that really counts.
Here’s what you need to know about the Acura ILX. I’ve only driven the 2.4-liter-equipped variety, which is fitted with a six-speed manual gearbox. It’s dubbed the “enthusiast” version, and it’s sort of just that. In fact, it’s the same powertrain found under the skin of the latest Honda Civic Si. That means the engine likes to rev, and the gearbox should be solid.
It’s not though. The gear lever action feels vague and disconnected, and then it behaves oddly notchy at times. I expected the engine response to be immediate, but it’s merely mediocre until VTEC engages and everything wakes up. This engine does sound great throughout the rev range, however, but it doesn’t match the rest of the car’s character.
As relatively sedate as the engine can be, the clutch feel and handling fall into step in the same way. The clutch needs to communicate with my foot in a more precise manner, and the steering wheel needs to fork over its Ambien prescription. With 201 horsepower on tap, it should be fun to drive, but it really isn’t unless you’re revving its brains out. Yes, I know that is sort of a calling card for any fun Honda vehicle, but the Acura badge up front means it should be a little more refined while still allowing for fun. See: Acura TL SH-AWD 6MT for reference.
Still, Acura did a fine job on the interior. The seats are typical-Acura comfortable, and the standard and optional tech gadgetry are top notch. Everything in the cabin works, and it does so flawlessly.
So, a fancy suit and upgraded interior can’t hide the fact that this is a gussied up Civic Si. Unfortunately, it’s also not as fun to drive as the Honda thanks to the better interior materials and features. Make it a baby TL, and not a Civic that went to Law School, and we’d be on to something here.