2014 Acura ILX Hybrid Review

Big bucks for a small hybrid

2014 Acura ILX Hybrid Review

Looking back over more than a decade of automotive history in North America, it’s easy to remember when hybrids were reserved for fringe buyers: early adopters.

FAST FACTS

1. Hybrid drivetrain offers 111 hp and 127 lb-ft of torque.

2. EPA rated 39 MPG in the city, 38 MPG on the highway and 38 MPG combined.

3. $29,795 to start and climbs to $35,295 with the Tech Package.

4. Cargo capacity is limited to 10 cubic feet.

Those early hybrids called for a special kind of buyer; the same person who sweats over the LEED rating their house has.

That isn’t the case today. The California government doesn’t even issue HOV stickers to hybrids any more. Now, electric cars are in vogue and hybrids are common like ketchup around a dinner table. Here’s the trouble: as with ketchup, hybrids are not all created equal. So where does the ILX Hybrid fall?

As you might already know, the ILX is based on the Honda Civic. The suspension components, chassis and drivetrain are all shared, as is the manufacturing facility. Makes sense.

Body Hides Humble Beginnings, Hints at Hybrid

What also makes sense is how far Acura has gone to disguise the ILX. Aside from its size, the sheet metal doesn’t give its familiar similarities away. Like an Ivy-leaguer with a trailer park past, the car masks its roots to outsiders.

Get the Flash Player to see this player.

The silver beak, creases running over its body and taillights all carry mature aesthetics associated with current Acura vehicles.  It stands as further emphasis that passion-driven products like the Integra Type R are six-feet deep and out of reach.
 
A “hybrid” badge distinguishes the car’s tendency toward inconspicuous fuel consumption. The standard equipment list also outfits the car with rather tiny looking 16-inch alloy wheels.

Cabin Borders on Being Too Plain

2014 Acura ILX Interior

Once again, the car conceals most of its Civic roots with an adaptation of the dashboard style found in the larger Acura products. The stylistic choice could hint at the direction some expect the ILX to take: a replacement for the older and more upmarket TSX.

2014 Acura ILX GuagesDespite that, the car is still stuck on the lower end of premium thanks in part to the seats. They’re upholstered in leather, but only if you pay for the “Tech Package.” Even though they’re branded as “sport” seats, the side bolstering is minimal and they don’t hug you well while cornering. The material also doesn’t feel particularly rich.

Other areas are actually exceptional. For example, the infotainment screen is nestled far into the dash, making it easy to read in bright light. The center stack controls are straightforward, and driver ergonomics are splendid.

The cup holders and center arm rest are positioned to save space while allowing the driver to comfortably rest both arms. Buttons on the center stack and steering wheel are easily within reach.

2014 Acura ILX Interior stick shiftLegroom is actually more generous in the ILX than its most direct competitor: the Lexus CT200h. The front seats offer a little more than 42 inches of leg space while the rear seats have 34. That’s actually less than the platform-sharing Civic.

This is a sedan, so of course it won’t have the same cargo capacity as the hatchback Lexus product mentioned above. Instead you’ll find a scant 10 cubic feet of space – hybrid models sacrifice 2.4 cubic feet to carry the extra drivetrain gear.

Driving Dynamics Dull but Predictable

2014 Acura ILX Hybrid

A 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine and an electric motor to assist the little gas powerplant makes for sluggish starts. Likely due to the extra components located at the car’s rear, weight distribution is actually more even on the hybrid model than gasoline-only versions.

Stepping on the gas is boring, yes, but the car feels stable in a highway cloverleaf to the point where the seats lack of bolstering is especially apparent. You’re more likely to slide around than the car is.

Hybrid customers don’t typically demand spirited acceleration, so the car’s lack of athleticism — while worth noting — is hardly a valid criticism. The CVT can be annoying at first, buy you’ll get used to it pretty quickly.

Acura also deserves recognition for how quiet the car’s cabin is. Highway noise is hushed, conversations are easy to carry on and you won’t need to turn the stereo up at higher speeds.

IMA Does it Again… Or Doesn’t

2014 Acura ILX Nose

All hybrids are not created equally, and Honda’s Integrated Motor Assist (IMA) system sits on the low end of that spectrum. It can’t run on electricity alone and is more sensitive to driver behavior.

EPA estimates suggest the car should offer 39 MPG in the city and 38 on the highway for a combined 38 total.

2014 Acura ILX Badge SideThe problem is that Honda’s system isn’t very advanced and won’t be able to deliver those numbers without a careful driver. During feather-footed trips with faithfully gentle acceleration and conservative throttle use, the car reported 33.6 mpg in the city. Driving at the speed of traffic, those numbers fell to about 24.

Smooth highway travel will be able to return the stated fuel economy claims, but the in-city fuel consumption was a major disappointment. People who live in urban areas don’t always have the luxury of driving very slowly, and with this car they won’t enjoy the fuel economy they will probably expect.

Oh That Price

Buying a hybridized ILX isn’t cheap, but the $29,795 starting MSRP excludes the tech package and many features that really shouldn’t be missing at that price. Most notably, the base ILX Hybrid doesn’t come with leather seat upholstery. That, along with navigation, weather and traffic updates, an improved stereo all come with the pricey option pack. Checking that box bumps the price up to $35,295 including delivery.

The Verdict

2014 Acura ILX Headlight

Discuss this story at our Acura Forums

That’s nuts. At least until you realize that it’s right in line with the Lexus product. It still doesn’t justify the roughly $10,000 Acura asks over the Civic hybrid, which is also more significantly more fuel efficient.

Choices are indeed limited for buyers who insist on owning a Japanese entry-level hybrid luxury compact car. Can’t stand hatchbacks? Get ready to pay a hefty premium for your preference.

Owning an ILX hybrid in the city doesn’t make any sense. Don’t do it. Traffic congestion will keep you from enjoying the car’s potential fuel economy on most trips. On the other hand, highway commuters who are keen on this car’s strange little niche might appreciate escaping stereotypical hybrid style.

The only thing less worthwhile than owning an ILX Hybrid without the tech package is paying to get it.

« Back
SWEEPSTAKES – OFFICIAL RULES, TERMS AND CONDITIONS

AutoGuide.com’s Monthly Overlay Newsletter Signup – By subscribing to our email newsletter, Entrants are eligible to win one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card (value of $100.00 USD). One (1) winner will be chosen every month at random and contacted by VerticalScope Inc.’s staff. *Amazon.com is not a sponsor of this promotion. Except as required by law, Amazon.com Gift Cards ("GCs") cannot be transferred for value or redeemed for cash. GCs may be used only for purchases of eligible goods at Amazon.com or certain of its affiliated websites. For complete terms and conditions, see www.amazon.com/gc-legal. GCs are issued by ACI Gift Cards, Inc., a Washington corporation. All Amazon ®, ™ & © are IP of Amazon.com, Inc. or its affiliates. No expiration date or service fees.

1. NO PURCHASE OR PAYMENT OF ANY KIND IS NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN THIS SWEEPSTAKES. AGE/RESIDENCY RESTRICTIONS, VOID WHERE PROHIBITED.

2. PRIZE: One (1) Winner will be randomly selected every month to each receive: one (1) $100.00 Amazon.com Gift Card (the “Prize Supplier”). Total approximate retail value of all prizes is approximately $100.00 USD. Prizes are not transferable and no cash or prize substitution is allowed. Prize package is awarded "as is" with no warranty or guarantee, either express or implied.

3. ELIGIBILITY: From the time of entry through the final date of prize fulfillment, each contest entrant and selected entrant must be a permanent lawful citizen and resident residing in the 50 United States or the District of Columbia or in Canada, and be twenty one (21) years of age or older. VOID IN PUERTO RICO, THE U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS, IN ALL FOREIGN COUNTRIES OUTSIDE OF THE UNITED STATES, AND ALL OTHER U.S. TERRITORIES OR CANADA AND POSSESSIONS AND WHERE PROHIBITED OR RESTRICTED BY LAW. Employees, officers, directors, agents and representatives, of the Sponsor and the Prize Supplier and each of their respective parent companies, affiliates, subsidiaries, advertising and promotion agencies, promotion partners and any entity involved in the development, production, implementation, administration or fulfillment of this Sweepstakes, and the immediate family members (e.g., spouse, mother, father, sister, brother, uncle, aunt, nephew, niece, grandparent, in-law, daughter and son, regardless of where they live) and persons living in the same household (whether or not related) of such individuals are not eligible to participate or win. Only one selected entrant per household. All decisions of the Sponsor with respect to this sweepstakes are final. The Sponsor shall have the right at any time to require proof of identity and failure to provide such proof may result in disqualification from the Sweepstakes.

4. ENTER BY INTERNET: You may enter this sweepstakes via the Internet by logging onto AutoGuide.com and subscribing to our email newsletter via the pop-up overlay.

5. SELECTION OF WINNER: One (1) Entrant will be selected by random selection who have subscribed to our email newsletter. The winner may be announced publicly on AutoGuide.com and will be contacted by VerticalScope Inc.’s staff. The winner will be required to provide a mailing address (that is not a P.O. box) to receive the prize which will be shipped free of charge.

6. ODDS OF WINNING: Odds of winning a prize are determined by the total number of eligible entries received.

7. RESTRICTIONS: The prize package consists of one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card with an approximate value of $100.00 USD. If prize cannot be awarded due to circumstances beyond the control of the Sponsor or Prize Supplier, no substitute prize will be awarded due to the unique nature of the prize. Sponsor and Prize Supplier shall not be liable to the winner or any person claiming through winner for failure to supply the prize or any part thereof, by reason of any acts of God, any action(s), regulation(s), order(s) or request(s) by any governmental or quasi-governmental entity (whether or not the action(s), regulations(s), order(s) or request(s) prove(s) to be invalid), equipment failure, utility failure, internet failure, terrorist acts, threatened terrorist acts, air raid, blackout, act of public enemy, earthquake, war (declared or undeclared), fire, flood, epidemic, explosion, unusually severe weather, hurricane, embargo, labor dispute or strike (whether legal or illegal) labor or material shortage, transportation interruption of any kind, work slow-down, civil disturbance, insurrection, riot, or any other cause beyond Sponsor's or Prize Supplier's control (collectively, "Force Majeure Event"). Sponsor shall not be responsible for any cancellations, delays, diversions or substitutions or any act or omissions whatsoever by the performers/events, other transportation companies or any other persons providing any of these services and accommodations to passengers including any results thereof such as changes in services or accommodations necessitated by same.

8. CONDITIONS: By entering the Sweepstakes, entrants agree to be bound by the Official Rules, Terms and Conditions and that Sponsor has the irrevocable right to use in perpetuity entrants' names, user names, likenesses, photographs, voices, home mailing address, biographical and prize information, and entry materials, without notice to entrants and without compensation or obligation, in any and all media now or hereafter known throughout the world, in any manner whatsoever, to advertise and promote Sponsor, its products and services, the Sweepstakes, and for any other purpose except where prohibited by law. Entrant waives the right to assert as a cost of winning a prize any and all costs of verification and redemption or travel to redeem said prize and any liability which might arise from redeeming or seeking to redeem said prize. Sponsor is not responsible for fraudulent calls or emails made to entrants not by the Sponsor. If the Sweepstakes is not capable of running as planned by reason of damage by computer viruses, worms or bugs, tampering, unauthorized intervention, fraud, technical limitations or failures, any Force Majeure Event or any other cause which, in the sole opinion of Sponsor, could corrupt, compromise, undermine or otherwise affect the administration, security, fairness, integrity, viability or proper conduct of the Sweepstakes, Sponsor reserves the right, in its sole and absolute discretion, to cancel, terminate, modify or suspend all or any part of the Sweepstakes, and to select a winner from among all eligible entries received by Sponsor up until the time of such cancellation, termination, modification or suspension, as applicable. Sponsor reserves the right in its sole discretion to disqualify any individual that (i) tampers or attempts to tamper with the entry process or the operations of this Sweepstakes in any manner, (ii) violates the Official Rules, Terms and Conditions or (iii) acts in an unsportsmanlike or disruptive manner, or with intent to annoy, abuse, threaten or harass any other person. CAUTION: ANY ATTEMPT BY AN ENTRANT OR ANY OTHER INDIVIDUAL TO DELIBERATELY DAMAGE OR UNDERMINE THE LEGITIMATE OPERATION OF THIS SWEEPSTAKES IS A VIOLATION OF CRIMINAL AND CIVIL LAWS. SHOULD SUCH AN ATTEMPT BE MADE, SPONSOR RESERVES THE RIGHT TO SEEK CIVIL AND/OR CRIMINAL PROSECUTION AND/OR DAMAGES FROM ANY SUCH PERSON TO THE FULLEST EXTENT PERMITTED BY LAW. Any expenses and receipt and use of the prize and federal, state and local taxes and fees applicable in connection with the prize awarded are the sole responsibility of the winner. An IRS Form 1099 will be issued in the name of the winner for the actual value of the prize received. This Sweepstakes is subject to all federal, state and local laws of the United States. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED. Sponsor, Prize Supplier, and their respective officers, directors, parent companies, affiliates, subsidiaries and advertising and promotion agencies, employees, representatives and agents are not responsible for and shall not be liable for (i) any injuries, losses or damages of any kind caused by a prize resulting from acceptance, possession or usage of the prize, or (ii) printing, distribution or production errors. Sponsor or its affiliates may rescind any promotion found to contain such errors without liability at its or their sole discretion.

9. SPONSOR: The Sponsor of this contest is VerticalScope Inc. (the owner and operator of AutoGuide.com), 111 Peter Street, Suite 700, Toronto, Ontario, M5V 2H1.

Subscribe to our email newsletter and automatically be entered to win.
*Restrictions apply. See offer for details

Get Breaking Automotive News, Reviews and Video in your Facebook Feed!

Already Liked