As a one-time fan of Acura, I always have hope that the brand will suddenly realize that its cars have become bland and changes its ways, but I keep on getting disappointed. When the luxury brand revealed the new TLX, I saw a glimmer of hope, and when it announced that it was refreshing the ILX for the 2016 model year and giving it a “potent new powertrain,” I became rather excited.
My mind overflowed with possibilities, and it drifted back to the days when we saw a prototype ILX with an Earth Dreams, turbocharged engine. I hoped and hoped that this would be what we saw in the 2016 ILX, but I was met with mostly disappointment when Acura finally unveiled the new ILX at the 2014 LA Auto Show. One complaint I had when I drove the ILX was that its 2.4-liter engine craved a dual-clutch transmission, and Acura was happy to oblige by transplanting the eight-speed DCT from the TLX to the ILX. Additionally, Acura did the right thing by scrapping the wheezy 2.0-liter base engine. But, the new “more potent powertrain” is nothing more than the same 2.4-liter, iVTEC, four-cylinder engine with 201 horses as last year, but with a 10-pound-feet bump in torque to 180 pounds. No turbocharged, range topping engine; I was really hoping for more.
On the outside, however, Acura was honest with its refresh, as the styling is more in line with the popular TLX. The front fascia is completely new, and features all-new jewel headlights, just like the TLX, and a much tamer version of the Acura beak grille. Around back, the bumper receives a mild update too.
A new option on the 2016 ILX is the A-SPEC package, which adds a touch of sportiness to the small sedan, by way of new side sill garnishes, a trunk spoiler, fog lamps, and 18-inch, 10-spoke wheels.
Inside its cabin, the 2016 ILX benefits from new contrasting Euro stitching on the steering wheel, parking brake handle and the shift knob, and a new high-intensity silver accent on the passenger-side dashboard. Additionally, the interior gets some nice upgrades with the A-SPEC package that includes an exclusive Premium Black color scheme, a black headliner, perforated black Lux Suede seat inserts, red instrument illumination, gray interior stitching, and aluminum pedals.
A new suite of premium features are also part of the new 2016 ILX lineup. These features include AuraWatch, a two-position driver seat memory, a four-way power passenger seat, HomeLink, and an On-Demand Multi-Use Display with an eight-inch upper display and a seven-inch lower touchscreen.
Overall, I am okay with the 2016 ILX, as the interior and exterior changes are great. However, I am still a little sour about the touting of a “potent new powertrain” that is little more than a DCT, which we all knew was coming, and 10 extra pound-feet of torque.