While most manufacturers of luxury models offer only an automatic, Acura has included its smooth-shifting six-speed manual among power train configurations on the ILX, a new model for 2013.
In fact, it is the only transmission available on ILX models with the larger 2.4-liter inline four-cylinder engine, which, at 201 horsepower and 170 pound-feet of torque, is the more powerful of the two engine choices. The 2.0-liter four-banger checks in at 150 hp and 140 lb.-ft. and is mated to a five-speed automatic tranny.
Yes, the automatic offers the drive the capability of manual gear selection, but for many driving enthusiasts (like me), that’s just not the same as the full-blown straight stick.
Especially considering how smoothly the Acura shifts.
Premium fuel is recommended for either engine, and the mileage figures are only slightly better for the smaller. The 2.0 is rated at 24 miles-per-gallon city, 35 highway with a combined figure of 28. Numbers for the 2.4 are 22/31/25. (There is also a hybrid version rated at 39/38/38, but who cares?)
The larger engine offers fairly quick acceleration (also more easily attainable with a manual transmission) and a fairly pleasing driving experience.
The ILX 2.4 model also comes with 17-inch wheels as standard over the standard 16-inch wheels on 2.0 versions. (If you upgrade to 17-inch wheels on the 2.0 by adding the Premium Package, you’re going to be paying the same as you will for the 2.4 model, but more on that later.)
Inside, the cars are identical. The ILX is based on Honda’s popular Civic model, but you’re not going to confuse the two. As an entry level model, the ILX doesn’t come with full-blown luxury or plushness, but it’s far from spartan inside.
The cabin is comfortable and spacious for front-seat passengers. Though capacity is listed at five passengers, the backseat, which is fine for two, would get rather snug if three adults are crammed back there.
When it comes to technological features, Acura offers the usual things such as a navigation system with voice-command activation, but with a huge caveat.
The optional Technological Package is available only on the smaller engine models, which means you’re are going to have to make a choice: more power from the 2.4 or more gee-whiz gizmos on the 2.4.
It’s going to be interesting to see how that works out for sales of the 2.4, which already has the handicap of not being offered with an automatic transmission,
Pricing is where it really gets interesting.
The base ILX starts at $26,795, including destination and delivery. But when you add the Premium Package, which adds 17-inch wheels, xenon headlamps, heated leather seats, power driver seat and a more advanced rear-view camera, among other things, the 2.0 ILX has the same MSRP as the 2.4 ILX, which includes the Premium Package.
Both are listed at $30,095.
The 2.0 ILX with the Technology Package carries an MSRP of $32.295. As mentioned earlier, the technology package is not available on 2.4 models.
But hey. They still make maps, don’t they? Buy one (or go to Yahoo or Google and print one), forget about the 2.0, and have fun with the 2.4 and its stick shift.