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An online outfit named TheCheeky sells an anticheating wedding band; the inside of the titanium ring is engraved with the words “I’m Married,” in reverse, so that after a few months the words are indelibly imprinted on your finger.

Or you could drive this car.

The Acura ILX strikes me as a second-marriage car. This, the brand’s new bottom rung ($26,795), is a roundly sensible, tolerably attractive little luxer with very decent build quality, diverting performance and a score or more of easy-to-use digital amenities. It also has a substantial pedigree for safety and reliability in the Acura name, which is spelled Honda (US:HMC) in most of the world.

Note how very levelheaded and moderate those qualifiers are, how very selfless. The hottest engine you can get is a 2.4-liter, 201-horsepower four-cylinder. This is the sort of ostentatiously rational choice made after long kitchen-table deliberations with your wife—your second wife—and it represents a compromise along multiple axes. Not too spendy, not too flashy, safe and fun, but not too fun. There’s nothing extreme about this car, all well and truly between the margins. We’ve learned our lessons. The meds are working.

Your first marriage? That’s the one where you blew all your savings on a lifted and camouflaged Ford F-250 Super Duty with a folding deer stand in the bed. Money was an issue in your first marriage.

But there’s something else there, too. There’s a spark, a flicker of renewed optimism. As troubled a brand as Acura is, it still has some lingering aspirational heat. And it’s clear the kids in Torrance are trying to turn things around. One move the company is making, long overdue, is the effort to emotionalize the brand: Exhibit A, the NSX, reborn as a supercar hybrid and coming in 2014; Exhibit B, a product-placement deal with Marvel Studios’ “Avengers” film series, which is brazenly awesome and vice versa.

The other move is to reset the entry vehicle, and that’s where the ILX comes in. The ILX’s base price comes in $4,110 below that of the possibly departing TSX—a pretty big interval, and one that represents an obvious retrenching on Acura’s part, reflecting more sober expectations. In other words, Acura is kind of just starting out again, having been schooled in disappointment. I think it will appeal to people likewise situated.

Sure do miss that pickup, though.

You ordered nuts and bolts? The ILX is based on the Civic’s front strut/rear-multilink platform and built in the ancient Japanese enclave of Greensburg, Ind. The powertrain choices are three: a 1.5-liter, 150-hp four with a five-speed automatic; a 111-hp hybrid with 39/38 mpg city/highway fuel economy; and, like our test car, a 2.4-liter, 201-hp, 170-lb.-ft. in-line four with six-speed manual transmission, the very same powertrain as in the sporty and ornery Civic Si and the TSX.

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