Mount your winter tires, and not a single snowflake will stick to the pavement over the next six weeks. At least that's true for us. A set of Continental ExtremeWinterContact tires showed up at our office around Thanksgiving, just a couple of days after ordering them from Tire Rack, our official wheel and tire supplier. The rubber set us back $644.00, then mounting and balancing them on our ILX cost us another Benjamin. Ready to test our Acura's winter handling capabilities, we wanted Michigan's worst cold-weather barrage -- and nothing came.
We trundled along into the New Year, the ILX making more noise on the highway than it already did, thanks to its new tires (not a particularly happy development since in-cabin noise is already an issue with this car). A flurry here, a flurry there, but no substantial snowfall came.
Then the ILX hit the 8000-mile mark. Soon after, the car's brain admonished us to take the car in for its inaugural service. $43.46 later, we were out the door and back on dry pavement.
Then, after Googling the name of a snow god ("Ullr") so we could curse it (once we figured out how to pronounce it), the clouds opened and salt trucks came out, but not before we could show our Acura snow for the first time. "The ILX handled it well, thanks to its Continental winter tires," said managing editor Amy Skogstrom. The snow kept coming, and the ILX pushed on. "The tires provide pretty decent braking and traction, although it's obviously still possible to break the fronts loose under acceleration," wrote associate editor Jake Holmes. "Fortunately, the traction control is of the kind I favor: it reduces wheelspin but still allows forward progress, whereas some systems are so aggressive you can barely move due to punitive brake application."
So now we know that our ILX can plow through the powdery stuff with no problem -- with the right set of tires, of course. After a lukewarm welcome, the ILX needed a victory. Could things be looking up for the littlest Acura?