Breakthrough: The 2016 Acura ILX Tech Plus A-Spec

Front 3/4 view of the 2016 Acura ILX
The 2016 Acura ILX Tech Plus A-Spec.
Regular TireKicker readers know of my frustrations with the 2013, 2014 and 2015 Acura ILX. Follow that link for the full run-down, including links within to each individual and disappointing experience with every trim level of that car.  The short version:  It was a nicer Honda Civic but not nice enough to justify the price premium (as much as nine grand over its Honda cousin).

For 2016, Acura addresses the problems, ditching the 2-liter, 150-horsepower four and five-speed automatic for a 2.4-liter, 201-horsepower four mated to an eight-speed dual-clutch automatic.  That alone brings a massive improvement in performance and even a slight uptick in fuel economy over the smaller engine (now 25 city/36 highway).  That's even better mileage than the '15's rarer than rare ILX Premium with the 2.4 and a six-speed manual.

Rear 3/4 view of 2015 Acura ILX
2016 Acura ILX Tech Plus A-Spec.
But Acura didn't stop there. No, with the 2016 ILX, they've gone all the way to making the car a desirable premium compact sedan.  Styling changes include different treatments front and rear, including jewel eye LED headlights, redesigned led taillights and standard alloy wheels.

Structurally, there's a 12% increase in torsional rigidity, which pays off both in handling and ride quality. Both the steering feel and the linearity of input are better than last year.  Noise, vibration and harshness are lower because of changes to the engine mounts, a noise-reducing wheel design, a one-millimeter increase in front door glass thickness and active noise control.

Interior view of 2016 Acura ILX Tech Plus A-Spec
2016 Acura ILX Tech Plus A-Spec interior.
Inside, changes in materials and stitching give a more premium look and feel.

2016 ILX prices begin at $27,900. Our tester was the top-of-the-line Tech Plus A-Spec, which starts at $34,390.  It ends there, too...since selecting that trim level gets you everything in Acura's cupboard...the Premium Package (driver recognition memory system, front passenger's four-way power seat, XM Satellite Radio, HD Radio, automatic dimming rearview mirror, blind spot information, rear cross-traffic alert and Homelink), the Tech Package (nav with voice recognition and rearview camera, AcuraLink with real-time traffic, the 10-speaker Acura ELS audio system, a GPS-linked dual zone climate control with air filtration and a hard disk drive for your music library), the AcuraWatch Plus Package (adaptive cruise control, collision mitigating braking, road departure mitigation, forward collision warning, lane departure warning and a color meter display screen) and the A-Spec Package (18-inch alloy wheels instead of the standard 17s, all-season tires, sport seats with lux suede inserts and contrasting stitching, a black headliner, fog lamps, body-color side sill garnish, a rear decklid spoiler and aluminum sport pedals).

Add on $920 for destination and handling and the bottom line comes to $35,810. That's only $315 more than last year's 2.4-liter with a six-speed manual, and it's an infinitely better car.  The Acura ILX is now 100% silk purse with zero percent sow's ear.  It is worth the money and worth your consideration.