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Now that the 2013 Mercedes-Benz GL has become the Motor Trend 2013 Sport/Utility of the Year, it’s car of the year time! Before we announce the 2013 Motor Trend Car of the Year, though, we’re providing a refresher on this year’s contenders. The Volkswagen Passat earned the title last year — what will win for 2013? Check back on WOT every day as we run through the contenders in alphabetical order before giving you the chance to vote for your unofficial favorite and announcing the winner on on Monday November 12.
The C-word came up again and again when the judges started talking about the merits of the Acura ILX compact. No, not that C-word, but one that’s sure to make Acura’s product planners cringe: Civic.

“The Acura ILX is what the Honda Civic should have been, but at a Civic price,” declared guest judge Chris Theodore. Despite all the C-word cussing, the ILX does have its strengths, especially the model with Honda’s 201-hp, 2.4-liter I-4 and six-speed manual combo also powering — you guessed it — the Civic Si. It drew praise for its swift-shifting manual and peppy nature around the handling track. “A hoot to drive around the winding track! Well-balanced and fun to drive with great shifter and responsive motor,” said Theodore. Others shared similar sentiments. For enthusiasts, this is the ILX to get.

Acura also offers the ILX with two other powertrains, the volume model with a 150-hp, 2.0-liter/five-speed (yes, five) auto and the ILX Hybrid with its 1.5-liter/CVT combo that achieves an impressive 38 mpg combined. The ILX’s wealth of powertrain options is impressive.
There were platitudes for the ILX’s cabin, which has been outfitted with a traditional instrument panel and upscale Acura treatment. Its seats are comfortable and supportive, fit and finish is first-rate, and it has the requisite amount of amenities given its price range. And while no one crowed about the ILX’s exterior looks, no one beat up on them, either.

Check back to on November 12 to discover what will become the 2013 Motor Trend Car of the Year!

Read more: 2013 Motor Trend Car of the Year Contender: Acura ILX - WOT on Motor Trend

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