Model: 2013+ Acura ILX
Vehicle type: Luxury Sedan
History/description: The ILX is Acura’s entry-level model, and a stepping stone into the world of luxury motoring.
Strong feature content and upscale styling combined with selection galore to give shoppers an ideal buy in an upscale and thrifty sedan that delivers a premium driving experience, without breaking the bank.
Look for features like a full colour information screen, leather-wrapped surfaces, an available “dynamic package” for enhanced performance, navigation, voice recognition, a potent ELS audio system and more. A rear-view camera, performance lighting, adaptive radar cruise, and a universal remote-control system were also on offer.
All copies of the ILX were four-door, five-seat sedans that should provide adequate room for four adults and their gear. This model earned numerous awards for overall value, residual value, and owner satisfaction.
Engine options in the used market include a two-litre four-cylinder VTEC unit with 150 horsepower, or a snarly 2.4-litre unit with around 200. Transmission choices included a six-speed manual or an eight-speed dual-clutch transmission with paddle-shift.
Though it launched for model-year 2013, a 2014 or newer ILX served up more standard features, including upgraded wheels, better stereo systems, and improved electronics. Shop 2014 or newer models for added value, where possible.
What owners like: The snarly performance of ILX’s available 2.4-litre engine, the fast-shifting eight-speed dual clutch transmission, and a balance of driving pleasure and fuel mileage are highly rated by owners. Overall confidence in the brand, and good headlight performance from newer models with the upgraded lighting system are also noted.
What owners dislike: Tight rear-seat headroom and a sometimes-abrupt radar cruise control system are among the most common complaints. Some drivers also wish for less of a learning curve to the central command interface.
The test drive: At various points in your test drive, confirm that the ILX’s backup camera isn’t suffering from a blurry image, which may represent the need to replace the camera module. This problem is rare and easy to detect, but it’s worth knowing about.
Note that some drivers have reported brake system issues relating to unwanted scraping, squealing and grinding noises, possibly accompanied by a soft pedal and poor brake performance that’s inconsistent. Brakes should bite hard from an initial press, perform consistently, and stopping power should be sufficient to trigger the ABS system during a simulated panic stop.
A soft or mushy pedal, poor stopping performance, or unwanted sounds from the brakes indicate the need for professional attention. Acura issued a well-known “technical service bulletin” (TSB) to dealer technicians to help assess and remedy poor brake performance more easily, as this is a known issue on some models. Don’t buy an ILX with poor braking performance without first seeking a professional assessment.
Next up, confirm satisfactory functionality of both available sets of keys, all power windows, all power locks, the push-button starter, and the central command interface/Bluetooth system before buying.
Some issues have been reported sporadically, and may be remedied with dealer-installed software updates or a system hard-reset. Talk to a dealer about applying any outstanding software updates to the vehicle in question, to prevent headaches.
Dozens of owners have reported strange behaviour from the ILX’s available dual clutch transmission (DCT), including clumsy and inconsistent shifting, hard shifting and a possible two- to three-second delay when shifting from reverse to drive. Rarely, owners have reported occurrences where throttle application only revs the engine but fails to cause any acceleration. Though this form of transmission has some mild quirks, it should, by and large, feel and operate like a regular automatic. Hard shifting and excessive delays between gear selection are not normal and warrant further investigation.
Typically, issues like these are remedied with the installation of updated software to the transmission’s computer brain. Ask a dealer to look up Technical Service Bulletin 17-015, which specifies the installation of updated software and a break-in procedure to help solve problems. Do not buy an ILX that’s exhibiting any transmission-related issues without a professional assessment.
Finally, be aware of the ILX’s oil level at all times, starting from your first pre-purchase test drive. Some owners say the ILX may consume oil between oil changes, and others don’t.
Monitor your oil levels regularly (at least at each time you refuel) and bring any concerns to your dealer service department as soon as possible, confirming that they’re documented in case a warranty claim is required down the line, if applicable.
With a clean bill of health for the DCT transmission and all high-end electronics, a second-hand ILX can be bought with relative confidence. For maximum peace of mind, an earlier model from this generation with the six-speed manual transmission, or with the two-litre engine and five-speed automatic may be the best bet.