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Roseville, Calif. – In case you hadn’t noticed, the lure for people to actually purchase a luxury vehicle has increased. It has nothing to do with a strong economy, but it does have everything to do with money.

Many luxury manufacturers are now offering an entry-level, compact luxury sedan that will appeal to the millennial crowd. The main reason: it’s affordable.
 
For car shoppers looking for an upscale luxury sedan that doesn’t arrive with a luxurious price tag, the Acura ILX is one option. It debuted in 2013 and three years later is an improved product, adding a new drivetrain, improved technology, sharper steering, plus a new exterior look.

The 2016 Acura ILX has an attractive curb appeal and can sit in the driveway and definitely receive a thumbs up from the neighbors making an observation on looks alone. This year’s ILX received a mild facelift, switching to a front end that resembles the Acura TLX and adding a slightly larger grille.

Of course, no one wants to purchase a vehicle that looks good and can’t perform. The ILX can perform as well, thanks in part to discontinuing the base model (2.0-liter, four cylinder, 150 horsepower) powertrain and going with one engine – a nice performing 2.4-liter, four-cylinder that produces 201 horsepower and 180 pound-feet of torque.

2016 Acura ILX

  • Performance: 2.4-liter, four-cylinder, 201 horsepower
  • Mileage estimate: 25-36 mpg
  • Price estimate: $27,900
  • Warranty: 4 years/50,000 miles; drivetrain 6 years/70,000 miles; corrosion 5 years/unlimited; roadside assistance 4 years/50,000

There’s now one engine only with the ILX and also essentially one price – an estimated $27,900 – which is about two grand higher than the original offering three years ago. Note that the ILX hybrid version was dropped a year ago.

The primary competition is the Buick Verano and the Audi A3. While the Acura ILX is more affordable than the Audi A3, neither one can get near the Verano (starts at $21,065) in price. However, the Verano doesn’t stack up overall to either the ILX or A3.

The front-wheel drive ILX replaced the TSX as Acura’s most entry-level vehicle. Slightly smaller than the TSX sedan, the ILX is based on the Honda Civic, and some might label the ILX as an upgraded Civic. That’s one reason why Acura decided to make upgrades for 2016 – so it could further distance itself from any Civic comparisons.

What one certainly won’t receive with a Civic is the stylish ILX design and a substantial list of standard features that includes rearview camera with multiple views; automatic headlights; dual-zone GPS-linked climate control; push-button start; 8-way power driver’s seat; sunroof; automatic LED headlights; leatherette (premium vinyl) upholstery; and heated front seats.

The ILX is pretty zippy and feels quicker than the estimated 0-60 mph time of 6.9 seconds. This year’s engine received a small increase in torque and now has an eight-speed automatic transmission, replacing the six-speed manual.

Although the ILX is certainly no sports car, its sharp handling does provide an athletic driving feel, thanks to its light weight and rigid suspension.

The ILX interior well constructed and features some additional technology this year. However, a well-equipped Honda Accord with some extras is probably on par with the ILX cabin, which is roomy front and back and has average trunk space at 12.3 cubic feet.

Acura offers a solid entry-level luxury sedan in the ILX. It has a lot of upside, including price, performance, looks and a substantial list of standard features.

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