Expert review written by the Kelley Blue Book vehicle review editorial team.
The 2019 Acura ILX is the entry-level car from Honda’s luxury division. As Acura’s smallest and most affordable sedan, it competes with rivals like the Audi A3 and the new Mercedes-Benz A-Class. Making it even more tempting are updates to its design, technology and safety features, and a $2,200 price drop.
You'll Like The 2019 Acura ILX If...
If you want a small-luxury sedan that’s big on safety and value, the 2019 ILX fits the bill. It boasts an impressive suite of safety features, and the history of reliability and resale value inherent in the Acura brand.
You May Not Like The 2019 Acura ILX If...
The ILX lacks the all-wheel drive that’s available in its Audi and Mercedes-Benz rivals. The Acura brand itself may not have the cachet attached to those European luxury brands.
For 2019, the Acura ILX compact sedan gets a freshening that includes new front and rear exterior design. All models now include the AcuraWatch suite of safety and driver-assistance features as standard, and Apple CarPlay/Android Auto phone integration is now offered. A starting price under $27,000 sweetens the deal.
The ILX’s 5-passenger interior is mostly impressive for its price. High points include comfortable and well-bolstered front seats, a good driving position, and snazzy color choices that include Ebony, new-for-2019 Espresso, and Ebony and Red on sporty ILX A-Spec variants. But there’s no denying the dated look of its available navigation system and some of the plastic bits around the center storage area. Base models have only a small, 5-inch central screen. You’re better off stepping up just one trim to the Premium model, which brings a twin-screen setup in which the upper 8-inch screen is ready to connect to your Apple or Android phone while the bottom unit facilitates climate settings, audio info and other data. The ILX’s rear seats are on the stingier side space-wise, no big surprise given this car’s small dimensions. Unfortunately, even top trims lack rear air vents. Standard folding rear seats help improve the flexibility of the trunk’s smallish 12.4 cubic feet of cargo room.
With the update for 2019, the ILX gets the Diamond Pentagon grille, becoming the last member of the Acura family to get the treatment. More than just the front fascia, the ILX’s hood and front are new from the A-pillars forward. The rear of this compact-premium sedan also gets a nip and tuck, with the license-plate holder moving from the center down to the bumper to give the whole setup a lower, sportier feel. The changes work well, and make the ILX appear like the rightful smaller brother of the TLX that it is. A-Spec models aim for a sportier feel with exclusive 18-inch wheels, dark chrome grille, gloss-black decklid spoiler, and darkened exterior bits like the headlights and taillights.
Unlike its rivals and seemingly every other new small car on the market, the ILX has bucked the turbo trend and remains powered by a slightly larger naturally aspirated engine. We like it. The 2.4-liter 4-cylinder puts out 201 horsepower, enough to make the ILX feel spry off the line and have the guts to get it around slower traffic. It even sounds good, putting out a throaty little growl when revved. Also unlike rivals, Acura’s least expensive car uses a slick 8-speed twin-clutch automatic transmission that grants a further feeling of involvement. For everyday commuting, the ILX is comfortable for its class, but we did experience the intrusion of road noise, especially on rough sections of pavement. Otherwise, the 2019 ILX blends enough sportiness to make twisty roads fun and enough comfort to take stress out of the daily grind of traffic. The Acura ILX is also quite efficient, earning up to 34 mpg on the highway.
The 2019 Acura ILX has a Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starting at $26,895. That’s a $2,200 decrease vs. the outgoing model, and makes the ILX an especially enticing choice among affordable luxury sedans. Stepping up to the recommended Premium model only nudges the price to $28,645, while a highly equipped Tech model still barely crosses the $30K mark at $30,545. Against rivals like the Audi A3, the Acura ILX is a sweet deal. In fact, even when loaded with every package, the ILX’s $32,545 top-end price is lower than the starting price of the Audi. Before buying, be sure to check the KBB.com Fair Purchase Price to see what others in your area are paying. The ILX’s resale value has traditionally lagged that of the A3 and Mercedes-Benz CLA, but in overall ownership costs over five years, the ILX ranks the best in its class. So then, affordable to buy, and affordable to own. That’s the 2019 Acura ILX.OK, so what’s next?I’m interested in the newest version of this car. What’s for sale near me?I’m interested in this car, and I’d like to trade in my current car while I’m at it.Then again, maybe I should be thinking about a used car.
The 2019 Acura ILX is offered in three main trims: base, Premium, and Technology. In its least expensive form, the ILX comes with a power moonroof, 10-way-power driver’s seat, keyless entry and push-button start, heated front seats, dual-zone climate control, and 17-inch aluminum-alloy wheels. Also included is the AcuraWatch suite of safety and driver-assist systems (see Favorite Features). For just $1,750 more, we highly recommend stepping up to at least the Premium trim. That adds features you’ll want, like the robust, twin-screen infotainment system that’s Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatible, leather-trimmed sport seats, blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, 4-way-power passenger seat, satellite and HD Radio, and HomeLink universal garage remote.
Stepping up from the Premium trim is the Technology package, which adds navigation with real-time traffic info, multi-view rearview camera, AcuraLink smartphone app integration, and a sweet-sounding 10-speed ELS Studio audio system. The A-Spec package can be added to ILX models with the Premium or Technology packages. ILX A-Spec variants bring no extra power, but they do add sporty flair with larger wheels and unique exterior and interior aesthetics.
STANDARD ACURAWATCHAcuraWatch is the brand’s name for a suite of safety and driver-assistance features that include forward-collision warning with automatic emergency braking, lane-departure warning and lane-keep assist, and adaptive cruise control. For 2019, it’s standard on all ILX models. EXCELLENT VALUEThe Acura ILX sedan has always been a good value, with the 2018 model earning the top spot in its class for Kelley Blue Book’s 5-Year Cost to Own Award. That value proposition gets even better for 2019 thanks to a $2,000-plus price cut.
Under the Hood
Acura’s ILX compact sedan uses a 2.4-liter 4-cylinder connected to an 8-speed twin-clutch transmission. The setup stands out from competitors such as the Audi A3 and Mercedes A-Class, which use smaller, turbo engines and 7-speed transmissions. We like the ILX’s combination for its refinement and immediate power delivery. Steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters come standard and allow you to initiate shifts at the whim. Unlike its Audi and Mercedes-Benz rivals, the ILX is offered only with front-wheel drive. At up to 34 mpg, the ILX is an efficient operator, but note that Acura recommends using the pricier premium unleaded 91-octane gasoline.2.4-liter inline-4201 horsepower @ 6,800 rpm180 lb-ft of torque @ 3,600 rpmEPA city/highway fuel economy: 24/34 mpg
The 2019 Acura ILX is the entry-level car from Honda’s luxury division. As Acura’s smallest and most affordable sedan, it competes with rivals like the Audi A3 and the new Mercedes-Benz A-Class. While the ILX is based on the platform of the previous-generation Honda Civic, it is still a recommendable choice for those aspiring to buy a luxury car. That’s because with 2019 comes a freshened design that brings the ILX in line with the rest of Acura’s lineup, plus a host of active safety and driver-assistance features as standard. More significantly, thanks to a $2,200 price cut, the ILX compact sedan is the rare car that combines luxury and excellent value.