You are forgiven if you forgot the Acura ILX was a thing. The Honda Civic-based compact sedan has never really been a viable competitor to something like a BMW 3 Series, let alone an Audi A3, and to top it all off it looked unfathomably boring. Acura has at least fixed the last problem with this update for 2019, and it looks pretty good.
The 2019 ILX has dumped the anonymous old Acura beak grille and lumpy lines for the much sharper shield grille we’ve seen on the brand’s newer sedans and SUVs, plus a new front fascia and more aggressive taillights. It looks far less like a rebadged Civic than before, which is good.
Under the hood, it still uses the naturally aspirated 2.4-liter i-VTEC engine out of the old non-turbo Civic Si, here rated at 201 horsepower. Sadly, the manual transmission option remains gone, with the sole gearbox being an eight-speed dual clutch unit. Oh well. Can’t win ‘em all.
Other upgrades include new sport seats, a optional updated touch screen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, standard active safety systems and a tweaked interior. The top variant is the ILX A-Spec, which is largely a suite of sporty cosmetic treatments inside and out. Hopefully a Type S performance variant is coming, since that’s a thing again.
Pricing hasn’t been announced for this model but the current one starts under $30,000.
As I’ve said here before, I used a track-prepped ILX when I did the Mid-Ohio School a few years back, and I was pleasantly surprised with what a capable machine it was out there. Granted, it had upgraded tires, brakes and stiffer springs, and the now-dead manual gearbox, but it could handle itself. It’s a more fun car than you may know, and with these upgrades it might be worth a second look. Or, really, a first one.