Driving from Michigan to New York City, much was learned of the new Acura ILX. What this car amounts to is basically a luxury version of the Honda Civic Si. We drove the more-powerful 2.4-liter 4-cylinder model. It comes complete with 201 horsepower, 170 pound-feet of torque, and is bolted to a slick-shifting 6-speed manual transmission. Top speed is just above 130 mph, and surges to 60 mph in an estimated 6.6 seconds.

The first impressions of the ILX were bland but once you press the starter button, tinted red gauges light up with intensity and you’re welcomed by a deep rumble from the exhaust. Although the little Acura appears modest and boring, there are several sporty features like an aluminum shift knob and a grippy leather steering wheel, which make the car far more enjoyable.

2013 Acura ILX 2.4L interior

While merging onto US-23 south, the Acura seemed eager–hustling up to speed was no chore at all. The ILX’s engine felt potent and powerful and exhibited a distinct growl. At speeds of 80–100 mph the vehicle felt relatively stable. Some argue the ILX isn’t a great highway cruiser because it tends to be quite noisy–which may be true for older, more irritable drivers.

For most others, the rambunctious engine noise makes the car an absolute pleasure to drive. The ILX seems to be aimed more towards a younger crowd (20–30 years old) or even high school students if their parents can afford the approximate $29,000 price tag.  The car is exciting and energetic from the driver’s seat but appears subtle and harmless from a police officer’s point of view.

2013 Acura ILX 2.4L

One of the biggest questions we asked about the ILX is what it competes against. As of right now, the car technically has no real competition. The closest contestant right now is an Audi A3 but near the end of this year a Buick Verano Turbo will be introduced. We’re curious to see how they match up.