Just Car Blog
|Changes (Already) Planned For Acura’s ILX||
Here’s how things were supposed to go: by badge-engineering a luxury-infused Honda Civic, then backing it with an uban-hipster targeted marketing campaign that said “be thankful that dad had you before this car was around, or he’d still be out chasing tail,” Acura believed it could phase out the aging TSX and sell 30,000 ILX models per year on sizzle alone.
The public didn’t quite buy into that argument, and failed to see the appeal of a Honda Civic with slightly different body work and a price tag some $7,700 higher (when comparing base models of each). Modest power was acceptable in a Civic, but Acura buyers have different expectations, so the projected sales failed to materialize.
How bad is it? As Automotive News (subscription required) points out, the aging TSX has regularly outsold the ILX in 2012, as have products from the competition. In November, Acura sold 2,108 ILX models, compared to 2,197 Volkswagen CCs, 3,343 Audi A4s and 3,574 Buick Veranos. When your Millennial-targeted car is losing ground to Buick, desperate action is called for.
To correct that, look for Acura to launch an automatic transmission variant of the ILX, powered by the same 2.4-liter four-cylinder used in the TSX. That engine is currently used in ILX models, but only comes mated to a six-speed manual transmission. Opt for the 2.4 and the 6MT, and the Technology Package (which includes the upgraded audio system and a hard drive based navigation system) isn’t currently available. We expect Acura will correct this in the near future, too.
Will that get the ILX to the level of sales expected? The answer is “quite possibly,” since the model only needs another 6,000 – 8,000 unit sales annually to reach targeted goals, and the 2.4-liter engine with a six-speed automatic would be a unique product in the Honda Civic / Acura ILX family. Honda Civic Si models currently use the 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine, but (also) come only with the six-speed manual.
Firing the agency that created the marketing campaign for the ILX would be a step in the right direction, too. At best, the ads were ineffective, but many took them as insulting. Alienating your buyers before they even set foot in a show room isn’t a good way to sell cars.
|2013 Acura ILX Tech Review & Test Drive||
‘INTRODUCING SPORT AND LUXURY AT A LOWER PRICE’
The all-new 2013 Acura ILX serves as the new gateway to the Acura brand, the all-new ILX features a choice of three powertrain options including Acura’s first-ever gasoline-electric hybrid. Equipped with an interior that is smart, spacious and sporty, the ILX offers a number of new, premium features including a standard keyless access system with smart entry and pushbutton start, along with Pandora internet radio interface and SMS text message function for smart connectivity with the world. Like all Acura’s, the ILX is equipped with a rich list of standard features including a power moonroof, aluminum wheels and Bluetooth HandsFreeLink. The entry level ILX starts at $25,900.00.
The target customers for the new ILX are the younger members of Generation X and members of Generation Y-successful 20-and 30-somethings moving into the luxury car segment but looking for high-value propositions in their purchases. They are young business professionals who are most likely single or soon to be married. They live in larger cities, are very much still in touch with a youthful minded and lifestyle, and yet now embrace adult proprieties and values. In short, like the new ILX, they embody ‘youth and maturity’. Style, substance, performance, efficiency and environmental stewardship are all important to these emerging luxury customers, and the new ILX combines all of these qualities in one vehicle-solidly below the $30,000.00 price point that is considered the gateway to luxury.
The ILX’s keen-edged design is simultaneously edgy and fluid, with dynamic forms and expressive lines flowing from the front of the signature Acura grille, along the body sides and across the three-dimensional cabin to the crisply styled trunk.
A signature Acura grille features a bold satin surround featuring a single black horizontal grille bar. Flanking the grille are the sweeping headlights with projector-style low-beam lights with multi-reflector high beams. The molded headlight covers follow the sweep of the broad front fenders, while also including strong character lines of their own. Amber side marker lights and reflectors are positioned in the outer edges of the headlight cluster. Below is a front fascia with an aerodynamically tailored lower edge that reminds me of a formula 1 race car and a pair of recesses with a honeycomb grille design that include foglamps for all ILX models, (except for ILX 2.0 in base trim). The long aluminum hood has a central character line that flows from the top of the grille back to the windshield. Narrow A-pillars afford good front visibility through the acoustic glass windshield. The door windows feature are surrounded by satin trim that groups the windows together and visually elongates the cabin shape.
Broad front fenders and pronounced front and rear wheel arches give the ILX an athletic presence. The fenders are highlighted with crisp-edged flares that further emphasize the five-spoke wheel design. The most prominent character line on the ILX starts behind the front wheel arches and then rises as it flows rearward through the front door handle, over the rear door handle and rear wheel arches, and finally towards the rear lid. This rising character line imparts a sense of muscularity and motion, even when the ILX is still. At the bottom of the doors lies an additional character line-a deeply set three-dimensional element that provides a look of solidity at the base of the body. The rear of the cabin emphasizes the appearance of the wheel arches and compliments the strong, wide rear fenders. A taillight array wraps around the rear fenders and extends onto the back of the deck lid. The backup lights are located on the deck lid and the CHMSL is located at the top of the rear windows. This is one stunning example of Acura’s ‘sculpted from a solid piece of metal’ design.
The new ILX comes in three distinct models: ILX 2.0 liter, ILX 2.4 liter and ILX Hybrid. Each model offers a unique powertrain and a unique character. I tested the 2.0 liter and was very impressed with the overall feel and performance of the car.
The SOHC 2.0 liter inline 4-cylinder features 16-valves, i-VTEC and a specially tuned dual-stage intake manifold. The 2.0 liter produces 150 hp at 6,500 rpm and 140 lb.ft. of torque at 4,300 rpm. EPA figures are 24/35/28 mpg. The 2.0 liter sedan features a standard electronically-controlled Sequential SportShift 5-speed automatic transmission with steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters. In addition to Grade Logic Control and Shift Hold control, the ILX also incorporates Cornering G Shift control, which suppresses unwanted upshifts when the car is cornering aggressively. The 2.4 liter 4-cylinder engine generates 201 hp and 170 lb.ft. of torque. The ultra-efficient hybrid ILX is powered by a 1.5 liter inline 4-cylinder engine with integrated electric motor and a CVT transmission with an estimated 39/38/38 mpg rating. It generates 111 hp and 127 lb.ft. of torque. The best all-around powertrain is the 2.0 liter with good power and torque plus an excellent EPA mpg rating.
A great powertrain needs a great chassis and suspension and Acura doesn’t disappoint because the new ILX 2.0 is comfortably refined, responsive and inspiring to drive. A 105.1 inch wheelbase, wide and rear track, advanced suspension design along with features such as VSA with Motion Adaptive Electric Power Steering help give the ILX inspired and controlled handling prowess. Specially tuned independent front and rear suspension provides quick and smooth steering response, along with agile and linear handling. The MacPherson strut front suspension provides precise and engaging handling performance, a responsive feel and luxurious ride quality. Specially tuned bushings along with performance-calibrated geometry ensure optimal wheel alignment while turning for confident handling. A 20mm tubular stabilizer bar keeps body lean to a minimum. The multi-link rear suspension features stamped-steel upper A-arms, cast-aluminum knuckles double lower tubular lateral links, tubular steel toe-control links, coil-over dampers and a 14 mm solid stabilizer bar. The system provides excellent handling, a flat ride and excellent control of noise, vibration and harshness. A new technology for Acura, Amplitude Reactive Dampers, are used to provide a superior level of ride comfort together with crisp, precise handling. The dampers operate in two distinct performance parameters including a Ride Zone and a Handling Zone. Each zone has a unique set of compression and rebound damping forces tailored to provide the desired ride and handling attributes in essence the amplitude reactive dampers operate like two separate suspension systems combined into one. The new dampers are entirely mechanical in operation with no electronics requiredThe Ride Zone is for short suspension strokes between 1-5mm travel, the dampers provide minimal damping effect to provide an extremely comfortable ride where little suspension travel is needed-such as on smooth road surfaces. The Handling Zone is for longer suspension stroke-over 10mm travel, a second damping circuit is engaged. Here damping effect is maximized for enhanced steering feel, improved body-roll and more secure handling-such as driving aggressive cornering or on severe road conditions. With the Amplitude Reactive Dampers by adding a second spring floating valve above a conventional main piston valve, the ILX is able to main the superior driving dynamics. The system works great with no feedback or notice to the cockpit. It is seamless and silent. These new systems and technologies keep Acura ahead of the curve for a great handling front-wheel-drive vehicle.
All Acura vehicles come standard with 4-wheel power-assisted disc brakes to quickly slow the vehicle down from speed. Up front are 11.8 in. vented discs clamped with dual-piston calipers with 10.3 in. clamped with single-piston calipers. The rear brakes incorporate a splash shield for better performance in wet conditions. Standard ABS, EBD and BA help keep you in control during severe braking maneuvers or when braking on wet or slick pavement.
The new ILX Premium/Tech equipped model that I tested came shod with 17X7 in. alloy wheels wrapped with 215/45R17 in. Michelin Pilot MXM4 high-performance tires.
Enter the all-new ILX sport sedan and the car’s purposeful sporting nature is immediately apparent. Offering a seamless combination of luxury, performance and technology, the ILX’s interior exhibits the high level of fit and finish expected of Acura, and puts it in reach of more buyers than ever before. Settle into the comfortable and supportive driver’s seat, and the focus on the driver controls is unmistakable. The cockpit has an efficient layout with crisp and clear LED-illuminated analog instrumentation. The thick, leather-wrapped/tilt/telescoping steering wheel puts a range of commonly used features at your fingertips, and racing inspired shift paddles mounted on the back side of the wheel. The 6-speed manual transmission that is standard with the ILX has a short throws for fast precise shift action. Controls for the standard power moonroof are located overhead in an intuitive location. The trunk can be opened via a latch positioned on the floorboard just to the loft of the driver’s seat. All switches, dials and levers are located within easy reach.
Standard features on the ILX Premium/Tech model not mentioned above includes MP3/auxiliary input jack, USB audio interface, Radio Data system, push button start/stop, HomeLink system, Bluetooth, power windows/door locks with front express up/down, maintenance minder system, heated power door mirrors, self-dimming reaview mirror, grab handles above each door, front dual cupholders/storage bin and padded console lid, remote entry, leather-trimmed seats/power seat bottom/seatback/lumbar, heated front seats, Xenon HID headlamps, foglamps, 40/60-split folding rear bench with pull-down armrest/dual cupholders, Acura Navigation System with voice recognition, multi-view rearview camera, Acura ELS surround sound system with 10-speakers/AM-FM-CD-DVD Dolby Pro-Logic II Hard Disc Drive, dual lighted vanity mirrors, carpeted floor mats, dual-zone climate control with air-filtration, rain-sensing wipers/washers, dual map pockets, storage slots in each door and immobilizer theft-deterrent system.
Standard safety systems include driver/front passenger dual-stage airbags, driver/front passenger side airbags, side curtain airbags, vehicle stability control, 3-point safety belts with front pretensioners/load limiters, tire pressure monitor system, day time running lamps, LATCH system for child seats, side-impact door beams, front/rear crumple zones and Acura’s ACE body structure.
It is a great day when Acura makes an all-new luxury sport sedan that is lower in price and available for more consumers looking to drive and own one of the great sedans from Japan. The all-new 2013 ILX is a winner!
COPYRIGHT: 2012: HARVEY SCHWARTZ
- Price: Base ILX $25,900 / Tech package ILX Base $31,400
- Engine: 2.0 liter inline 4-cylinder DOHC i-VTEC 150 horsepower @ 6500 rpm / 140 ft-lbs. torque @ 4300 rpm
- Wheelbase: 105.1 in.
- Overall length: 179.1 in.
- Overall width: 70.6 in.
- Overall height: 55.6 in.
- Track: f/r-59.4/60.3 in.
- Ground clearance: 6.2 in.
- Headroom: f/r-37.9/35.9 in.
- Legroom: f/r-42.3/34 in.
- Fuel tank: 13.2 gallons
- EPA passenger volume: 39.3 cu.ft.
- EPA cargo volume: 12.3 cu.ft.
- Turning circle: 36.1 ft.
- Curb weight: 2,970 lbs.
- EPA fuel economy: 24mpg/city, 35mpg/highway
|Acura Continues to Revamp Line to Compete with Tier 2 Luxury Brands||
Honda’s luxury division plans to continue their product line revamp to put them in a better position to challenge second-tier luxury brand rivals such as Audi, Buick, Infiniti and Volvo. Acura’s new positioning will not focus so much on directly competing with the likings of BMW, Lexus and Mercedes-Benz.
Acura’s bread and butter TL will likely be renamed the TLX and shrink in size while they phase out the TSX potentially carrying on in a limited V6 production form. The TLX is due to get a new line of Earth Dreams engines featuring direct injection, 310 horsepower and 265 lb-ft of torque. The same powertrain will be used in the upcoming Honda Accord and potentially deliver as much as 45 MPG.
Reportedly, the smaller Acura ILX, which will not have a coupe variant, will have the base 2.0-liter engine replaced by a 2.4-liter making 181 horsepower. Additionally, a more-powerful 2.4-liter direct injection engine could also be offered producing close to 230 horsepower.
The new 2013 RDX will carry on with its current 273 horsepower V6 while its larger MDX sibling will eventually get the Earth Dreams V6 engine adding power and efficiency over the current 300 horsepower V6. The ZDX could remain in the lineup for now but eventually phased out due to slipping sales well after the new MDX is launched.
The Acura RL flagship is due for a redesign in the fall where it will get the TL’s Earth Dreams V6 engine and weigh in below 4,000 pounds due to lightweight aluminum and high-strength steel.
Of course 2014 will bring about the launch of the highly anticipated Acura NSX using an all-wheel-drive system powered by a V6 engine and two electric motors.
With Acura’s semi-conservative approach to competing with so-called ‘second-tier’ luxury brands, they will put themselves into an attractive position for consumers looking to slip into the luxury auto market for the first time.
|Acura Shows Entry-Level ILX Concept In Detroit||
Since the demise of the Acura RSX, the brand’s entry-level car has been the TSX sedan. Based on the Honda Accord (first the Euro Accord, now the American Accord), the TSX was relatively affordable in base trim, but quickly got expensive if you opted for the V6 and the Technology Package. At around $30k, the TSX wasn’t a bad daily driver, as long as you weren’t expecting much from its 2.4-liter, four cylinder engine. At nearly $40k optioned out, there were plenty of better choices to pick in the near-luxury, sporty sedan segment.
Acura desperately needs to attract new buyers to the brand, so it’s rolled out the Civic-based ILX sedan concept at this week’s Detroit Auto Show. New to the U.S., a Civic based Acura has been sold in Canada for years, and has proven popular in the Northwest. The ILX is styled more along the lines of the current TL and TSX than its Canadian cousin, which is either a good thing or a bad thing depending upon your perspective.
The ILX is aimed at “first time luxury buyers” who “place the highest value on exterior styling, affordability and environmental issues,” according to Jon Ikeda, head of the Acura Design Studio. While shown in concept form in Detroit, the ILX will be put into production (in Greensburg, Indiana) later this year.
Plans call for an entry-level model (with Honda’s 2.0-liter four), a high-performance model (with the 2.4-liter four from the TSX) and a hybrid variant fitted with Honda’s 1.5-liter gasoline-electric drivetrain. As with all Acura models, expect the ILX to come in a well-equipped base model, with a Tech Package variant a likely option. We’ll let you know when Honda announces pricing and availability details.
As for the future of the TSX, Honda hasn’t made any announcements regarding the car’s fate.