The market for compact and subcompact luxury vehicles is booming as younger buyers flock to smaller, more affordable cars without sacrificing content and technological bells and whistles, and leading the charge in this rapidly growing luxury segment is the sporty 2017 Acura ILX. Going up against cars like the Cadillac ATS, BMW 3 Series and Lexus IS, Acura’s entry-level model brings the upscale styling and features expected from a traditional luxury brand while doing so with an attainable starting price.
Coming off a significant update for the 2016 model year, there are no major changes to the 2017 Acura ILX. With the competition growing more intense each year, we were able to spend a week in the 2017 Acura ILX (loaded up with the Tech Plus and A-SPEC packages) to see how Acura’s compact sport sedan keeps pace with its rivals.
2017 Acura ILX Exterior:
Acura’s design team did a killer job with the updated ILX, and this 2017 Acura ILX is proof of that. The new-for-2017 San Marino Red paint is an eye-catching addition to this stylish sedan, and the A-SPEC package gives this car an even sportier presence with 18-inch alloy wheels, body-color side sills and a decklid spoiler that features a tasteful chrome garnish. Although the ILX lacks the visual impact of its rear-wheel drive competitors, this car is still an attractive sedan with sculpted lines and balanced proportions. There is really no bad angle to view the 2017 Acura ILX from, but the face of this sedan is definitely its strongest side with Acura’s signature Jewel Eye LED headlights and the stylish, razor-sharp grille.
2017 Acura ILX Interior:
The interior of the 2017 Acura ILX is exactly what we’ve come to expect from Acura cars and crossovers as of late with a mix of high-quality materials and high-tech goodies. Styling is also in line with current Acura models with a dual-brow design with a dual-screen infotainment system right in the middle. This system is very intuitive to use, but it would even easier if the control knob and buttons were mounted on the center console instead of the instrument panel.
Thanks to Active Noise Control and thicker front door glass, the interior of the 2017 Acura ILX is extremely quiet adding to the overall luxury of this sedan. Being a compact car, there is a surprising amount of passenger space, but comfort could be improved with a little more seat bottom bolstering for the front seats and a little less for the rear bench seat. Cargo space is on the small side for this segment with just 12.3 cubic feet, which is about 3 cubic smaller than a Honda Civic sedan.
While the A-SPEC brings a slightly sportier exterior, the interior is where this package really shines. For starters, the sport seats gets black leather with perforated suede inserts, and other exclusive touches include the red instrument gauges, black headliner and aluminum sport pedals.
2017 Acura ILX Powertrain:
A major part of last year’s ILX refresh was the addition of the new 2.4-liter direct-injected inline-four, which replaced the three previous engine options. Power output is rated at 201 horsepower and 180 lb-ft of torque, and the engine is backed up by a quick-shifting eight-speed dual clutch transmission with steering wheel shifter paddles. This engine and transmission combo allows the 2017 Acura ILX to deliver sporty acceleration and compact-car efficiency with EPA-rated fuel economy estimates of 25 mpg in the city and 35 mpg on the highway. My week with the 2017 ILX resulted in an average of just under 30 mpg, which is slightly higher than the 29-mpg combined rating from the EPA.
The 2016 ILX received enhancements to the steering and chassis, but the 2017 Acura ILX still lacks the aggressive driving dynamic and cornering abilities of its rear- and all-wheel drive rivals. Oddly enough, this might actually be why the ILX has been the most popular sedan in its segment for buyers under 35 since 2010 with a ride quality that is sporty yet refined. In daily driving, the ILX is incredibly compliant with a smooth ride, and with a curb weight of 3,137 pounds (as tested), the ILX is one of the lightest cars in its class allowing it to still feel light and nimble in tight corners. Sadly, the only changes made to the A-SPEC model for improved handling are the Continental ContiProContact high-performance tires.
2017 Acura ILX Safety:
A solid body structure and the latest high-tech safety features allow the 2017 Acura ILX to perform well in crash tests including a five-star overall crash rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and a Top Safety Pick rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. The AcuraWatch suite of safety and driver-assistance technologies is included with the Tech Package, and it offers Adaptive Cruise Control, Lane Keeping Assist System, Road Departure Mitigation with lane departure warning and the Collision Mitigation Braking System with pedestrian-sensing and Forward Collision Warning.
2017 Acura ILX Overall:
After a week in the 2017 Acura ILX, it’s easy to see why Acura calls this a “gateway sports sedan.” Not only does the ILX offer all of the luxury and technology that buyers expect from cars in this segment, but it does so with a starting price of just $27,990*. That is only a $90 increase over the 2016 model year, and, more importantly, it ensures that the ILX is the lowest-priced luxury vehicle on the market… and by a significant margin, too. In fact, this fully loaded 2017 Acura ILX Tech Plus A-SPEC had an as-tested price $35,930, which is close to (or in most cases less than) the starting prices of some of the ILX’s competition!
Make sure to visit your local AutoNation-affiliated Acura dealership and test drive the sporty 2017 Acura ILX sedan today!
*MSRP excludes tax, license, registration, destination charge and options. Dealer prices may vary.
**Based on 2017 EPA mileage ratings. Your mileage will vary depending specific vehicle trim, how you drive and maintain your vehicle, driving conditions, and other factors.