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2013 Acura ILX - Getting Loud

Miles to date: 5,173

Chris NelsonwriterPatrick M. Hoeyphotographer

The first 75 seconds of Ted Nugent's "Stranglehold" are awesome and must be played at full volume, but after the first breakdown the song becomes a bit repetitive and tiresome. We're reminded of "Stranglehold" and the Motor City Madman every time we get into our Acura ILX. Why? Its inline-four sounds so sultry for the first few minutes, when you're driving like a buffoon, coaxing the engine to wail a bit more. But while you can turn the volume down on a song, you, unfortunately, can't hush this engine.

Even when you settle into a cruise, the thing won't shut up. Our ILX 2.4 is really loud, particularly for a compact sedan with luxury aspirations. We questioned whether our ears were simply too delicate, until the new Buick Verano Turbo showed up at the office. "The Verano Turbo is a better small luxury sedan -- it's quieter, smoother, and rides better," says associate editor David Zenlea. The fact that the ILX growls while the Verano whispers makes the Buick the superior choice for those downsizing from larger luxury car.

Our ILX is really loud, particularly for a compact sedan with luxury aspirations.

"But I think the ILX will satisfy those upgrading from a sport compact," Zenlea continues. "It is much, much more fun. Its normally aspirated engine is throaty but it's also very eager. It's the better driver's car by far." Managing editor Amy Skogstrom took that a step further, pitting the ILX against our Bimmer instead of the Buick. "I drove the ILX not long after our Four Seasons 328i, and is it sacrilege to say that I find the ILX more enjoyable? Its manual transmission seems better to me in every way -- the throws are more precise, the slim shifter feels better in my hand, and engagement is more predictable. I also love that it doesn't take much speed to get the revs up and have a little fun."

The ILX is fun, it's nimble, and, even though engine noise can be overbearing at times, it's refined. Acura did a good job creating a cohesive package for younger buyers to upgrade to without depriving them of all the flavor of a sport sedan. "No other automaker offers a four-cylinder and manual transmission as entertaining as Honda, and I credit the company for offering it in a car that's nicer and more refined than the Civic Si," says Zenlea, "but the truth is it needs to be nicer still." Other than sound deadening, what are some other areas that could use improvement? Find out more in next month's update.


  • Body style 4-door sedan
  • Accommodation 5-passenger
  • Construction Steel unibody


  • Engine 16-valve DOHC I-4
  • Displacement 2.4 liters (144 cu in)
  • Power 201 hp @ 7000 rpm
  • Torque 170 lb-ft @ 4400 rpm
  • Transmission 6-speed manual
  • Drive Front-wheel
  • EPA Fuel Economy 22/31/25 (city/hwy/combined)


  • Steering Electrically assisted
  • Lock-to-lock 2.8
  • Turning circle 36.1 ft
  • Suspension, Front Strut-type, coil springs
  • Suspension, Rear Multilink, coil springs
  • Brakes F/R Vented discs/discs
  • Wheels 17-inch aluminum
  • Tires Michelin Pilot HX MXM4
  • Tire size 215/45VR-17


  • Headroom F/R 37.9/35.9 in
  • Legroom F/R 42.3/34.0 in
  • Shoulder room F/R 55.6/53.5 in
  • Wheelbase 105.1 in
  • Track F/R 59.4/60.3 in
  • L x W x H 179.1 x 70.6 x 55.6 in
  • Passenger capacity 89.3 cu ft
  • Cargo capacity 12.3 cu ft
  • Weight 2978 lb
  • Weight dist. F/R 61/39%
  • Fuel capacity 13.2 gal
  • Est. fuel range 330 miles
  • Fuel grade 91 octane (premium unleaded)


  • standard equipment

    • Power sunroof
    • Heated exterior mirrors
    • Leather-trimmed sport seats
    • Acura premium audio system w/7 speakers
    • SiriusXM satellite radio w/trial subscription
    • Heated front seats
    • Power 8-way adjustable driver’s seat
    • Rearview camera
    • Xenon HID headlights
    • Fog lights
    • 6-speed manual transmission
    • MP3/auxiliary audio jack
    • Push-button ignition
    • Bluetooth
    • Automatic dual-zone climate control
    • USB port
    • Hill start assist
    • Brake assist


  • None