2013 Acura ILX Hybrid – Road Test and Review

By Sam Miller-Christiansen on 20 March 2013
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2013 Acura ILX Hybrid

2013 Acura ILX Hybrid

Founded in the late 1980s, in answer to Toyota’s then-new Lexus division, Acura has always been a bit of a luxury car wallflower and hasn’t been able to sink into the American automotive culture as a legitimate luxury brand the way Lexus has. Instead, it found itself floating in an awkward space between commuter brand and luxury brand… at best a cushy work-goer, at worst a Honda with leather.

So the new for 2013 Acura ILX is a brazen move at this point in the game. Not because it’s a gorgeous or engaging car. No, it’s because the ILX seems to directly fit what your cynical friends have been telling you all along: that Acuras are merely Hondas with nicer leather and more sound deadening. Does the ILX differentiate itself from its Honda roots enough to justify its luxury-level price tag?


The ILX is much more attractive than the Civic it is based on. That said, the ILX is also very clearly based on the Civic. The proportions dictated by the more pedestrian underpinnings of the ILX’s plebeian brother are clearly evident on the ILX with a rather long front overhang. SONY DSCNot everything is doom and gloom though, as the ILX boasts superior detailing and a faster roofline which go a long way to make sure it doesn’t look directly like a Civic. Then again, it also doesn’t look directly upscale either. Faint praise is a bit of a trend when describing the ILX as you will soon see.

In the front the Acura “beak”makes an appearance, though now it’s in a calmed-down, much more muted form. Flanking said “beak”, and in Japanese car tradition, are two pointy headlights. Things look up around the sides and rear that are highlighted by some complex surfacing and a daring-for-Acura haunch that kicks up from the back door. All of this is capped off by a short, pert rear end. In fact, everything on the rear of the ILX is so small and truncated it’s almost as if Acura designers were trying to achieve a forced perspective effect a la Cinderella’s castle in Disneyland (i.e. if we make all the lights small maybe they’ll think the rest of the car is actually bigger and more substantial than it really is). It would almost work if the Acura badge itself weren’t the size of a pie pan. The ILX is nice enough when taken as a whole, but then you always have the sense that you’ve seen all of this somewhere else before.

Of course, this being a hybrid model, Acura saw fit to give it some rather unattractive, undersized wheels that make the vehicle more efficient by reducing aerodynamic drag and rolling resistance, but these wheels do nothing to help the somewhat ponderous front wheel drive proportions of the ILX. Thankfully, most of the regular internal combustion versions of the car (excluding the base) get some far more attractive 17” wheels that work wonders from an aesthetic standpoint.

Click here to continue to Page 2Driving the 2013 Acura ILX Hybrid and the ILX Interior

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