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Acura ILX: Entry-level sedan gets new Special Edition

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The Acura ILX was first introduced in 2012, making it an infant in car years, but with a refresh just two years ago, it has maintained momentum and in 2018 it makes a splash with an all-new Special Edition trim level.

New for 2018

The new Special Edition trim includes 18-inch wheels, side sills, and a rear spoiler from the A-Spec package. I especially like the inclusion of the JewelEye headlights, complete with LEDs and an automatic on/off feature.

The AcuraWatch safety package is now available for all trims and it features adaptive cruise control, a forward collision warning system, automatic braking, a lane departure warning system and lane keeping assist and road departure mitigation.

Exterior

The profile of the ILX is an exercise in cutting through the air with the least resistance. From the heavily raked A-pillar across to the sleek dive of the C-pillar, the car feels slippery and a cut above other competitors’ entry-level offerings.

The 16-inch rims on my tester provided adequate visual impact that plants the ILX to the ground in a very athletic stance. My least favorite part of the compact sedan is the rear lamp treatment, which I found rather muted and without real Acura signature style.

Interior

Inside the cabin is a quiet and comfortable space to relax and take long trips if you so desire. My tester featured an 8-way power adjustable driver’s seat, which easily got me into the perfect seating position. Look for the power moonroof to open up the space to feel even larger.

The dash treatment is standard Acura, meaning it is without real distractions or loud design elements. I love it for its simplicity and straight-forward ease of use. Other interior features exceed expectations, such as a multi-view rear-facing camera, a Bluetooth hands-free feature, a 5.0-inch display, keyless smart entry, and a security system.

I found the leather steering wheel and shift knob to add a great quality touch to the entry-level Acura cabin, which also features AcuraWatch safety systems and driver assists as an option.

Power

The ILX relies on a 2.4-liter 4-cylinder engine with direct fuel injection, dual overhead cams and the i-VTEC variable valve timing system. Power is directed to the front wheels by an 8-speed dual-clutch transmission, controlled by steering wheel paddle shifters if you choose to engage.

The 4-cylinder engine delivers 201 horsepower and 180 pound-feet of torque. For my experience in the ILX, this felt more than adequate. Based on this being a premium brand that is entry-level to the line, expectations for Acura should be right where the ILX delivers its sweet spot for performance and handling. Fuel economy comes in at 25 mpg city, 35 mpg highway and 29 mpg combined.

Expectations

Acura has often found its market footing in delivering a balance between luxury amenities and thrilling performance. This Special Edition provides a sportier feel inside and out with some nice touches that are more understated than ‘in your face’. I like that.

Overall, the 2018 Acura ILX Special Edition manages to provide everything you might want – and actually use. At $28,900, just $800 over the base model, you get a tremendous value for the dollar.