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Battered Acura realizes that if it wants more up-and-comers to climb aboard, it needs to drop a longer ladder. And, possibly, design better-looking cars. Hence, the 2013 ILX, a Civic-based price leader built in Greensburg, Indiana, and hitting showrooms now, starting at about $27,500, or $3000 less than a base TSX. Acura will also sell versions in Canada, *Mexico, and China.

The three ILX models debuting at launch intend to cover a broad waterfront. Perhaps 80 percent of the hoped-for 40,000-unit annual volume will be a 150-hp 2.0-liter with a five-speed automatic. Clutch-jammers will be enticed by a 201-hp 2.4-liter with a six-speed manual for roughly $30,000; eco wonks will be drawn to the also roughly $30K hybrid, which uses the Civic hybrid’s powertrain but with a jumpier throttle. Its EPA figures are 39 mpg city and 38 highway.

The suspension and floor are Civic hard points.  Acura thought that the Civic’s cab-forward shape was too plebeian, preferring instead a longer hood to match the ILX’s premium aspirations. Stylists working on the rather conservative (for Acura) design used visual sleights such as moving back the A-pillars 7.9 inches but the windshield base only  3.9 inches, necessitating deeply curved glass.

The Civic’s front overhang has been stretched slightly while the rear was chopped, creating somewhat odd proportions when the car is viewed from the side. The interior is compact-car cozy but not tight, and a familiar constellation of  buttons adorns the console—the audio and climate controls are from the TL.

2013 Acura ILX First Drive - Review - Car and Driver
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