Friday, December 4, 2020
Should-you-buy Should You Buy a 2020 Acura ILX?

Should You Buy a 2020 Acura ILX?

Wrinkle-free, but old bones.


  • The 2020 Acura ILX starts at USD$25,900 in the U.S., and at CAD$30,490 in Canada.
  • Willing 2.4L engine, good interior accommodations, low price.
  • Interior sound insulation could be better, aging infotainment system, not as speedy as luxury-brand rivals’ products.

Every luxury brand has to offer an entry-level product, which is accessible for consumers seeking to set afoot to the brand for the first time and move their way up the hierarchical ladder over time, but that isn’t some watered-down product that doesn’t have the brand’s DNA fully baked in. That’s where models such as the 2020 Acura ILX come into play.

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Sure, the ILX is built on the same platform as the Honda Civic, but that’s not the problem here. The issue is that the current-generation car was introduced way back for the 2013 model year, and although it has received two comprehensive updates over the years, it remains an aging product that must do battle with the Audi A3, the BMW 2 Series, the Cadillac CT4 as well as the Mercedes-Benz A-Class and CLA.

The 2020 Acura ILX is equipped with a naturally aspirated, 2.4-litre four-cylinder engine that develops 201 horsepower and 180 pound-feet of torque, matched to a front-wheel drivetrain via a dual-clutch, eight-speed automatic transmission. So far, so good, but the German and American competition all boast turbocharged 2.0-litre engines that are more powerful, and especially provide lots more low-end torque.

City/highway fuel economy is rated at 24/34 mpg (9.9/7.0 L/100 km in Canada), for a combined average of 28 mpg (8.6 L/100 km in Canada), while premium unleaded is required. That’s pretty good, but rivals can do as well with the turbo engines. During our test, we averaged 30 mpg (9.2 L/100 km).

Inside the 2020 Acura ILX, consumers will find a decently spacious cockpit, and in the A-Spec trims, red leather upholstery with black microfiber seat inserts can be specified instead of black, which really spruces up the overall appearance. The infotainment system’s display isn’t touch-sensitive, and although Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration is available, the system’s manipulation relies on a dash-mounted multifunction knob. The 10-speaker ELS Studio surround sound system is reserved for the pricier trim levels.

Pricing for the 2020 Acura ILX starts at USD$25,900 before freight and delivery charges in the United States, and at CAD$30,490 in Canada. Standard features include a power sunroof, 17-inch alloy wheels, LED headlights, dual-zone automatic climate control, adaptive cruise control, heated front seats and a power-adjustable driver’s seat.


Why You Should Buy a 2020 Acura ILX

  • The ILX is offered at a very competitive price advantage over its rivals, and can even attract shoppers looking at better-equipped mainstream-brand models such as the Mazda3, the Volkswagen Jetta and the Honda Civic. In fact, the Acura starts at $5,000 to $8,000 less than the luxury-brand offerings. Even a loaded A-Spec variant costs less than the base editions of the Audi, the BMW, the Cadillac and the Benzes.
  • The 2020 Acura ILX’s 2.4-litre engine should provide many, many years of trouble-free motoring, without the generally high maintenance costs of complex turbocharged engines.
  • For a compact car, the ILX offers sufficient interior space, and the flat rear floor allows three people sitting across the bench seat to be more comfortable. Trunk volume is average for the category at 12.4 cubic feet (350 litres).
  • This is obviously subjective, but the ILX still looks good despite its age, as the 2018MY facelift brought it closer to the brand’s more recent models in regards to its new design philosophy. It looks sporty, especially so dressed up in the A-Spec package, which we strongly recommend.


Why You Shouldn’t Buy a 2020 Acura ILX

  • Aside from the platform and the engine, the ILX doesn’t share much with the Honda Civic—especially since the latter moved on to a newer generation. However, many people consider the ILX as a tarted-up Civic and its higher price isn’t justified.
  • As we mentioned above, the competition’s turbocharged engines are more torque-rich, which makes for swifter performance. Without paying more at the pump than with the Acura.
  • The 2020 Acura ILX handles well, but after driving a German rival back to back with it, or even a Mazda3 for that matter, we can immediately feel that the Acura’s platform isn’t as modern, or as stiff.
  • The ILX could benefit from better sound insulation, despite the presence of an Active Noise Control system that is supposed to cancel out unwanted frequencies for a quieter cabin.
  • While the 2020 Acura ILX’s infotainment system has plenty of features and its processing power increased by 30% since 2018, the low-resolution screen graphics look seriously dated compared to, say, Mercedes-Benz’s MBUX system. Also, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto aren’t available in the base trim level.


Final Word

As an entry-level model, the 2020 Acura ILX makes sense, and its affordable price gives it an advantage over other bargain luxury-brand coupes and sedans. It should be durable over long-term ownership, and Acura vehicles generally benefit from strong resale value as well.

However, it is getting up there in age, and although the styling updates have kept its appearance fresh, it rides on old bones and when compared back-to-back with newer rivals, the ILX can’t hide its age, not to mention its minor deficiencies regarding interior noise levels and dated infotainment technology.

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