2013 Acura ILX Tech Hybrid Road Test and Review

When the Acura ILX showed up at my house I was really excited. I thought that it would be nice to compare with my Lexus HS… apples to apples sort of thing and all. Well, that’s really not possible because the HS is no longer made, though I am looking forward to driving the Lexus ES hybrid for 2013. It doesn’t seem to compare well to either vehicle as it’s (surprisingly) in a different pricepoint.

The car I drove is the ILX with the tech hybrid package with a total drive off price of $35,295. The window sticker says to expect about 38 MPG combined city and highway on it and I found that to be fairly accurate.

The interior is spacious and luxurious. The kids have plenty of room in the back seat and one of the kids in our carpool is a leggy 5’10”.

When I get these cars I drive like a jerk for the first day or two. The ILX is interesting because just to the left of the steering wheel is a little button that says “ECON”. Most hybrids assume that the driver cares not one whit about performance and that they’re content to chug along with a gas pedal that could double as a suggestion box. Acura assumes you want performance so days one and two were spent in sports mode with the ECON button not depressed and me racing off the line at red lights like it’s the Indy 500. It’s a horrible way to drive a car and not particularly joyful unless the car has decent pickup and the ILX has more than decent pickup when you’re not conserving precious fossil fules.

Fortunately the ILX hybrid doesn’t cater only to jerks and for the next several days I played with the car in drive and ECON mode. For the week combined I ended up with an average of 36 MPG and on the days when I drove like a normal human being should (not hypermiling either) I consistently was between 41-43 MPG. Keep in mind that I’m a mostly city driver and hybrids are perfect for lifestyles like mine.

This is the MPG when I’m driving in sport mode and racing everyone off the line. It’s impressive.

I felt like I was in a really snazzy Honda Accord. The dash is low and the visibility is good. I’m not sure why in recent years automotive manufacturers haven’t given us better views of the road. Maybe it’s because they’re busy accommodating the navigation systems?

Speaking of navigation systems I’m ready to declare the Acura navigation system to be my favorite of all time. I know, I’m not supposed to play favorites but theirs is done right. It’s intuitive and it’s complete. It’s the only navigation system that I’ve used which offers accurate traffic. As an Angelino I cannot emphasize enough how valuable this is.

We didn’t love the audio package. It was a little tinny and I might suggest an upgrade if you are a music lover. It would probably be fine for me as equipped because, let’s face it, no amount of tuning will make Call Me Maybe sound good and I lost control of the radio a few years ago.

Safety is critical and the 2013 Acura ILX has received the highest possible safety rating of top safety pick from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). The IIHS award recognizes vehicles that do the best job of protecting vehicle occupants involved in front, side and rear crashes, plus rollover performance based on ratings in the Institute’s tests. It is worth noting that the IIHS uses these tests to determine how much your auto insurance costs so they have a few million reasons to be as accurate (and tough) as possible.

A couple of details for my friends who love buying American: 45% of the parts are US or Canadian and just 35% are from Japan and the final assembly point is in Greensburg, Indiana.

 

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  1. “I’m not sure why in recent years automotive manufacturers haven’t given
    us better views of the road.”

    European safety standards are now de-rigeur in US models. This means that there has to be a crush zone between the top of the engine and the hood, so hoods have gone up. Also, improved rollover standards and pillar mounted airbags mean that a-pillars are thicker. So visibility has suffered a bit as a tradeoff for improved safety.

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