11 February 2012

Acura ILX - Stylish Acura entry model on Civic platform

Acura has introduced its entry-level model at Chicago Motorshow, called Acura ILX. Based on the 9th generation Honda Civic underpinning, Acura has practically dressed-up the car using an all-new panel exclusive from the one on Civic to attain the premium status of Acura brand positioning in the American market. 

Acura stated the intent of the ILX as being targeted to " Generation Y-successful 20 and 30 somethings moving into luxury car ranks but looking for high value propositions in their purchases". High value propositions probably means cheap, and it this case, an entry level to the premium brand. While the ILX shares Civic platfrom, the exterior and interior styling has been restyled beyond recognition from its donor. Acura ILX retained the 2,670mm wheelbase from the Civic platfrom, however the overall length has grown by around 25mm to 4,550mm. Width too has been increased by 38mm to 1,793mm and height has been dropped by 22mm to 1,412mm for a sportier stance. The front end of Acura ILX bears the latest evolution of Acura corporates' beak and it goes wheel with the rest of crispy character line alongside the side panel. While the latest Civic has dropped its wrapped-around front fender to cheapened the die cost, Acura has done the same too, perhaps its the bodyshell hardpoint that's not interchangeable.
For the profile view, Acura ILX offers more muscular appearance with sculpted body panel instead of being weedy like the 9th Civic. The body panels is voluminous instead of slab flat with proper character line along the waist that kicks up above the rear wheel arch. The reverse rake C-pillar however bears the Civic styling cue.
The rear end adopts familiar Acura signature slim rear lights, The design follows the trend like the front fascia with its crisp line and a well-defined details in the lights graphic and trunk lid and rear bumper curvatures. Due to its higher-price position, pitching at the premium end of the market, Acura has managed to include features such as crisp sharp radius body panel that is usually more expensive to be produced. More details after the jump.

The engine line-up shadows the items on the latest Civic, meaning that 2.0L is available, however as an entry level instead of 1.8L. The 2.0L kicks 150hp@6500rpm and 190Nm@4300rpm and channelled its drive to the front wheel via the 5 speed automatic transmission. Green environmentalist, like Honda Civic, can choose the 1.5L gasoline engine paired with Honda IMA hybrid system that drive the wheels via CVT gearbox. However, to satisfy American hunger to big capacity powertrain, Acura has added a 2.4L i-4 engine to the line-up, and this engine produced 201hp@7000rpm and 230Nm@4300rpm paired to to a close-ratio 6 speed manual. While the chassis hardware retains most of the Civic component, Acura has thrown in Amplitude Reactive Dampers to the ILX which gives two operating modes for the absorbers presumably to cater both comfort and sporty biased settings.

The interior has been totally overhauled compared to the cooking Civic. Despite the familiar hard points, for example the position of aircond vents, the IP has been given a new fascia design. However, for the audio system, seems that Acura has been infected by the jumbo-button disease too. The navigation screen has been placed higher-up of the console instead of embedded into the ICE like the Civic. 
As depicted above, Acura is plushly trimmed with sumptuous front and rear seats with comfier leather upholstery. The door armrest is thickly padded too. There is no borrowed equipment identified from the humble Civic siblings.

However, the Acura ILX is not the first entry level Acura. In 2005, Acura has introduced the CSX model to the Canadian market. To them, the CSX is a rebadge Civic with prettier fascia and plusher interior. However, for us Malaysian, just look at the car below, it is our Civic FD! This model is good enough to be rebadged as the premium Acura, but the new one does not. Perhaps its shows how the new 9th generation Honda Civic has been relegated to the "slightly cheapened proposition" than the previous model.
 A gallery of the new Acura ILX can be found below:

The reference to the Honda Civic design can be seen at MMN previous coverage HERE.

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