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Performance Testing Acura's Small Hybrid

Inside Line tests hundreds of vehicles a year. Cars, trucks, SUVs, we run them all, and the numbers always tell a story. With that in mind we present "IL Track Tested," a quick rundown of all the data we collect at the track, along with comments direct from the test drivers. Enjoy.

Acura's newest model, the ILX, is aimed squarely at attracting younger buyers to the Acura brand. Acura's already attacked the drivers of the segment with the ILX 2.4 and its straight-from-a-Civic-Si powertrain, and now it's aiming at the green set with the 2013 Acura ILX Hybrid.

The Hybrid swaps out the fan-favorite 2.4-liter inline-4 and six-speed manual transmission for a 1.5-liter four-pot backed by an electric motor and a CVT (continuously variable transmission). This results in a 90-hp drop, but a significant improvement in fuel economy. The 2013 Acura ILX Hybrid returns 39 city/38 highway mpg and a combined EPA rating of 38 mpg.

But is it any good to drive? We took it to the track to find out.

Vehicle: 2013 Acura ILX Hybrid with Technology Package
Odometer: 2,876
Date: 7/3/2012
Driver: Chris Walton
Price: $35,295 (price as tested)

Drive Type: Front engine, front-wheel drive
Transmission Type: CVT
Engine Type: Naturally aspirated, port-injected inline-4
Displacement (cc/cu-in): 1,497/91.4
Redline (rpm): 6,000
Horsepower (hp @ rpm): 111 @ 5,500
Torque (lb-ft @ rpm): 127 @ 1,000
Brake Type (front): 10.3-inch ventilated discs with single-piston sliding calipers
Brake Type (rear): 10.2-inch solid discs with single-piston sliding calipers
Suspension Type(front): Independent MacPherson struts, coil springs, twin-tube dampers, stabilizer bar
Suspension Type (rear): Independent multilink, coil springs, twin-tube dampers, stabilizer bar
Tire Size (front): P205/55R16 (89H)
Tire Size (rear): P205/55R16 (89H)
Tire Brand: Continental
Tire Model: ContiProContact
Tire Type: All-season
As tested Curb Weight (lb): 2,960

Test Results:
0-30 (sec): 3.8 (3.9 w/ TC on)
0-45 (sec): 6.5 (6.6 w/ TC on)
0-60 (sec): 10.4 (10.5 w/ TC on)
0-60 with 1-ft Rollout (sec): 10.0 (10.1 w/ TC on)
0-75 (sec): 16.2 (16.2 w/ TC on)
1/4-Mile (sec @ mph): 17.6 @ 77.9 (17.7 @ 78.2 w/ TC on)

30-0 (ft): 31
60-0 (ft): 129

Slalom (mph): 63.6 (61.0 w/TC off)
Skid Pad Lateral Acceleration (g): 0.81 (0.77 w/TC on)
Db @ Idle: 38.0 (engine off)
Db @ Full Throttle: 74.1
Db @ 70 mph Cruise: 69.1
RPM @ 70: 2,250

Acceleration: The ILX benefits only slightly from Trac Off and generous pedal overlap to keep the engine running at launch. Drive is the quickest/fastest mode — S and Manual shift modes are slower because they insert artificial gearchanges into the CVT's otherwise near-redline quarter-mile passes.

Braking: Normal jump-in with normal driving disappears with a "panic" stop where the car feels as if it didn't begin braking in earnest until 45-0 (just like the non-hybrid ILX). First stop was the shortest and the pedal went slightly softer by the fourth stop, where it tracked straight, but distance grew by 4-5 feet.

Skid pad: With ESC Off, the ILX feels well balanced and begins a mild understeer condition that only requires throttle steering — I never moved my hands at all. Steering is pretty isolated with linear buildup, but doesn't feel like numb EPS per se. With ESC On it begins to allow the same amount of understeer, but closes throttle shy of howling tires.

Slalom: Slow-ish steering response (a little numb, too), moderate yaw reaction, but it feels stable and predictable nonetheless. With ESC Off, the car is neutral and wants to be chucked past each cone, but the tires won't cash that check and only allow predictable breakaway at a fairly low threshold. ESC On snubbed understeer with fairly heavy-handed (and loud) individual brake application. Effective but obviously conservative settings.

2013 Acura ILX Hybrid Track Test
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