Since the Acura dealership replaced our ILX’s rear dampers last month, the suspension feels significantly softer. “I’m delighted to experience the ILX with a functional rear suspension,” says senior editor Phil Floraday. “No more harsh impacts from the back end.”
Now, it appears that the only thing “harsh” about the ILX is the buffoons who drive it. The bottom of the steering wheel somehow got scraped, which led some editors to question whether the leather is too soft and therefore more susceptible to damage, but they’re probably the same oafs who keep scuffing the door panels with their sneakers.
On the other hand, with the hard plastic on the bottom half of the door and the rest of the interior’s rather downmarket materials, the cabin doesn't have a very tough skin. The lack of plush materials makes it clear that balancing the “small luxury” equation was not an easy task for Acura. That’s not to say it’s the only car company with that problem. “Every automaker is struggling to figure out what buyers in this segment want,” says associate editor David Zenlea. “I hold out hope for the Mercedes CLA-class, which I think has the potential to be a big hit.” Executive editor Todd Lassa agrees: “The Mercedes CLA250 will blow this car away in the marketplace, not least because of the CLA’s three-pointed star. The equipment level is pretty similar to this car’s at just under $31,000. Props to Acura for including a rear-center armrest, which the Mercedes does not have.”
At least the baby Benz will have available navigation. Sorry to repeat ourselves, but we're not over the fact that this trim level cannot be had with a nav system. “You can order navi on a Civic Si but not its Acura sister? It baffles the ever-loving hell out of me, especially since this car is pitched at the tech-loving millennial buyer,” says associate editor Evan McCausland. “Would offering the system on a manual-transmission ILX really add that much complexity to Honda’s build schedule and component procurement process?”
The lack of navigation won’t keep us from driving, though, especially now that the ILX is back on its stock tires. Its Continental winter tires worked well in snow, but, on dry roads, they made the car feel squirmy, let it wander on the highway, and allowed torque steer in third gear. The all-season Michelin Pilot HX MXM4 tires are much better, but they’re still just adequate. Come summer, they'll leave us wanting for more grip. But, hey, at least the Michelins are quieter than the Continentals. Between that and the softened rear suspension, the ILX is a much more pleasant car to drive than it was just one month ago.