2021 Acura ILX

#19
in Sedans
2021 MODEL
$25,900 - $31,650
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7.1

Overall Rating

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2021 Acura ILX Complete In-depth Review & Buying Guide

Updated on: August 7, 2020
Anant Vats's image

Anant Vats

Automotive Journalist

The Acura ILX is a good looking sedan from the Japanese automotive giant, which comes with a distinctive look and a plethora of features. Introduced in 2013, the Acura ILX was a game-changer as it brought all the modern sedan features along with a distinctive look. But the modern Acura ILX seems to be lost in time as the interior is starting to feel dated. The 2020 Acura ILX was unchanged and so is the 2021 Acura ILX. The 2021 Acura ILX will mostly be a carryover model with some minor refinements and touches on the exterior. It is also speculated that the 2021 ILX might get a new turbocharged engine under the hood.

The Acura ILX receives tough competition from top-dogs of mid-size sedan arena such as the Kia Optima, Mazda MAZDA3, and Ford Fusion. These rivals provide better interior features and improved fuel economy. So let us review the new 2021 Acura ILX sedan and see how it fares against the competition.

See detailed review »

Pros

Contemporary & Modern Looking

Loaded with standard features

Powerful Engine

Cons

Low Fuel Efficiency

Cramped Interiors

What's New?

Carry Forward version of 2020 Acura ILX


Pictures & Videos

Exterior
Interior
Videos
2021 Acura ILX Interior video

Styles

2021 Acura ILX in Majestic Black Pearl color 2021 Acura ILX in Canyon Bronze Metallic color 2021 Acura ILX in Lunar Silver Metallic color 2021 Acura ILX in Majestic Black Pearl color 2021 Acura ILX in Performance Red Pearl color
Majestic Black Pearl

Vehicle images are guides only and may not reflect the model's exact specifications/features– exact specifications/features should be confirmed with the seller.

Ratings

Features

6.2

Engine And Performance

6.1

Fuel Economy

8.4

Interior

5.7

Exterior

7.0

Safety

8.1

Competition

8.0

Final Verdict

6.0

7.1

OVERALL RATING

Trims and Configurations

MSRP


2021 Acura ILX Base

Base

power
201 hp @ 6800 rpm
fuel
Premium unleaded (recommended)
mpg
28 combined

$25,900


Style Prices MPG Engine Transmission Drivetrain Seats Colors
4dr Sedan (2.4L 4cyl 8AM) Starting at $25,900 MSRP (24/28/34) 201 hp @ 6800 rpm, 2.4 L, Inline 4, premium unleaded (recommended)
8-Speed Dual-Clutch front wheel drive 5

2021 Acura ILX Premium Package

Premium Package

power
201 hp @ 6800 rpm
fuel
Premium unleaded (recommended)
mpg
28 combined

$27,750


Style Prices MPG Engine Transmission Drivetrain Seats Colors
Premium Package 4dr Sedan (2.4L 4cyl 8AM) Starting at $27,750 MSRP (24/28/34) 201 hp @ 6800 rpm, 2.4 L, Inline 4, premium unleaded (recommended)
8-Speed Dual-Clutch front wheel drive 5

2021 Acura ILX Technology Package

Technology Package

power
201 hp @ 6800 rpm
fuel
Premium unleaded (recommended)
mpg
28 combined

$29,650


Style Prices MPG Engine Transmission Drivetrain Seats Colors
Technology Package 4dr Sedan (2.4L 4cyl 8AM) Starting at $29,650 MSRP (24/28/34) 201 hp @ 6800 rpm, 2.4 L, Inline 4, premium unleaded (recommended)
8-Speed Dual-Clutch front wheel drive 5

2021 Acura ILX Premium and A-SPEC Packages

Premium and A-SPEC Packages

power
201 hp @ 6800 rpm
fuel
Premium unleaded (recommended)
mpg
28 combined

$29,750


Style Prices MPG Engine Transmission Drivetrain Seats Colors
Premium and A-SPEC Packages 4dr Sedan (2.4L 4cyl 8AM) Starting at $29,750 MSRP (24/28/34) 201 hp @ 6800 rpm, 2.4 L, Inline 4, premium unleaded (recommended)
8-Speed Dual-Clutch front wheel drive 5

2021 Acura ILX Technology and A-SPEC Packages

Technology and A-SPEC Packages

power
201 hp @ 6800 rpm
fuel
Premium unleaded (recommended)
mpg
28 combined

$31,650


Style Prices MPG Engine Transmission Drivetrain Seats Colors
Technology and A-SPEC Packages 4dr Sedan (2.4L 4cyl 8AM) Starting at $31,650 MSRP (24/28/34) 201 hp @ 6800 rpm, 2.4 L, Inline 4, premium unleaded (recommended)
8-Speed Dual-Clutch front wheel drive 5

Expert Review

7.1

Overall Rating


The ILX is a compact executive sedan from the Japanese automaker. Acura is the luxury division of Japanese Automotive Giants Honda and therefore enjoys some of the hereditary benefits from the brand. The Acura ILX quickly gained its reputation for being a practical and easy to maintain luxury sedan that comes fairly equipped with luxury features as standard. The 2021 Acura ILX continues the legacy henceforth. 

The 2021 Acura ILX gets the same 2.4L Naturally Aspirated Inline 4 cylinder engine under the hood as the outgoing model and that is one of the good parts. The ILX hence maintains its image for being one of the easiest vehicles to maintain and use as a luxury daily driver. The ILX is a direct competitor to the likes of Kia Optima, Mazda MAZDA3, and Ford Fusion

2021 Acura ILX Sedan Front View
2021 Acura ILX Sedan Rear View

6.2/10
Features

 
 
 

6.1/10
Engine and Performance

 

8.4/10
Fuel Economy

 

5.7/10
Interior

 

7.0/10
Exterior

 

8.1/10
Safety

 

8.0/10
Competition

 

6.0/10
Final Verdict

 

2021 Acura ILX Features

6.2/10

The 2021 Acura ILX is offered in 5 different specifications: Premium Package, Technology Package, Premium and A-SPEC Package and Technology and A-SPEC Package. The base model is offered with a price tag of $25,900 which goes all the way up to $31,650 for the top-of-the-line specs. The same 2.4L Naturally Aspirated Inline 4 cylinder is offered across the complete line-up. 

Model

Base

Premium Package

Technology Package

Premium and A-SPEC Package

Technology and A-SPEC Package

MSRP

$25,900 

$27,750 

$29,650 

$29,750 

$31,650 

Key Features

Rear Door Child Safety Locks

Adds to Base features

Adds to Premium Package features

Adds to technology Package features

Adds to Premium and A-Spec Package features

 

Daytime Running Lights

Blind Spot Monitors

Post Collision Safety System

18-inch alloys

Front Fog/Driving Lights

 

Stability Control

Satellite Radio

10 total speakers

LED Fog Lamps

Keyless Ignition

 

Lane Departure Warning

7 total speakers with 1 subwoofer

Surround audio

A-SPEC Sport Seats

Climate Control

 

Emergency Braking Assist

4-way Power Passenger Seat

Sun Sensor

USB with External Media Control

Interior Air Filtration

 

AM/FM Stereo with 6-total speakers

Leather Upholstery

Acura Navigation with 3D view

Electric Power Steering

Graphite and Chrome dash trim

The Base trim starts at $25,900 and gets all the standard features such as stability/traction control, emergency braking assist and AM/FM Stereo with 6 total speakers.

The Premium Package costs $27,750. It adds blind-spot monitors, Satellite Radio and 7 total speakers.

The Technology Package is available for $29,650 and it brings more upscale tech such as Acura Navigation with a 3D view, Surround Audio with 10 speakers and Post Collision Safety System.

Next up is the $29,750 Premium and A-SPEC package and the $31,650 Technology and A-SPEC package both of which bring more deluxe features such as A-SPEC sports seats, 18-inch alloy rims, more color options and Graphite/Chrome interior dash trim.

2021 Acura ILX Maintenance, Reliability and Warranty

Acura is a luxury division of Japanese automaker Honda. So, like any other Honda vehicle, every Acura comes with great reliability and at a surprisingly affordable cost. The 2021 Acura ILX comes with the same reliability and superiority. Also, Acura's lineup is the only luxury vehicle which requires the least maintenance cost.

Reliability and Ownership Costs

The Acura ILX was crowned as the Best entry-level luxury car in KBB's 5-year cost-to-own awards for the 2020 model year. The Acura ILX provides excellent value for money at an affordable cost and also has a great resale value. As far as reliability is concerned, it ranks among the top ten reliable vehicles and has great reliability ratings. J.D. Power gives it an overall score of 76 out of 100 which is excellent. 

Also, unlike other luxury sedans, the Acura ILX is very easy and affordable to maintain. The lower-than-average maintenance costs and good track of reliability make it an ideal sedan for long-term buyers.The Acura ILX costs around $27,715 on an average which includes all the taxes and other fees according to the respective state. It is the cheapest to own in New Jersey.

Particulars

Year 1

Year 2

Year 3

Year 4

Year 5

Total

Tax Credit

$0

$0

$0

$0

$0

$0

Insurance

$1,027

$1,063

$1,100

$1,139

$1,179

$5,508

Maintenance

$225

$689

$579

$1,054

$1,735

$4,282

Repairs

$0

$0

$0

$391

$600

$991

Taxes and fees

$2,305

$337

$282

$237

$198

$3,359

Financing

$1,409

$1,134

$839

$524

$190

$4,096

Depreciation

$3,140

$2,647

$2,163

$2,423

$2,117

$12,490

Fuel

$1,774

$1,827

$1,882

$1,939

$1,997

$9,419

True cost to own

$9,880

$7,697

$6,845

$7,707

$8,016

$40,145

The true ownership cost of the Acura ILX over a span of 5 years and 75,000 miles, comes out to be approximately $40,145. The ownership cost is considered to be a sum of Tax Credit, Insurance, Maintenance, Repairs, Financing and Fuel of a vehicle with an average mileage of 15,000 miles per year. The maintenance cost of the ILX is just about $4,282 over a span of 5 years, which is a great plus point for the Acura ILX. 

The Acura ILX is also one of the safest vehicles on sale. It gets an overall 5-star rating from NHTSA and no recalls have been made yet. It receives five stars in every department except for four stars in Front Passenger Side rating and four stars in Rollover Rating.

Warranty

The Acura provides a decent warranty package for the ILX sedan but rivals might provide better warranty packages. Yet, with the reliability of Acura and the low maintenance cost, you can easily compromise on warranty duration. Plus, the great safety scores of the Acura will ensure that the vehicle requires very little maintenance.

Criteria

Period

Limited warranty

4 years/ 50,000 miles; whichever is earlier

Powertrain warranty

6 years/ 70,000 miles; whichever is earlier

Roadside assistance

4 years/ 50,000 miles; whichever is earlier

The Acura ILX sedan provides a 4 year or 50,000 miles limited warranty and an extended years or 70,000 miles powertrain warranty which is quite decent. It also offers roadside assistance for 4 years or 50,000 miles; whichever comes first.

Miles Per Dollar

The Miles per Dollar cost of a vehicle is an approximate figure that is derived as per the miles driven annually and the maintenance cost spent annually. The annual maintenance and repair cost of the Acura ILX over a span of 5 years comes out to be $5,273. Therefore, the Acura ILX does about 14.22 miles per $1

2021 Acura ILX Buying Advice

Even the ‘Base trim’ of the 2021 Acura ILX is very well equipped and comes with a very affordable price tag. However, we would surely recommend the Technology Package.It's generously priced and offers many top-notch features in return. With the Technology Package, you also get 10-speaker Surround Audio and Acura's Connected Services.

Is buying a used Acura ILX a good idea?

The 2021 ILX is mostly a carryover model and Acura also didn't make any major changes to the 2020 ILX. Acura vehicles very well retain their value as they are reliable and easy to maintain. The ILX is a very reliable car and you can expect a decent amount when you put it up on sale. Therefore buying a used Acura ILX can be a good deal after all. 

If you don't want to spend more on the new model, a used 2019 Acura ILX is a good option to consider. Also, if you want to save more bucks, a used 2017 Acura ILX is also an affordable choice. The 2016 ILX is a refreshed version of the previous model and has an updated powertrain and refined exterior styling.

2021 Acura ILX Engine and Performance

6.1/10

The Acura ILX's powertrain seems to be aged, but the slick dual-clutch shifter comes to the rescue. The 2021 Acura ILX is equipped with a 2.4 Liter Four Cylinder engine which packs a total of 201 Horsepower and 180 lb-ft of torque. The only available engine is mated to an 8-speed dual-clutch automatic shifter which is made with the help of Acura's racing division. 

2021 Acura ILX Sedan Engine Bay

Models

2021 Acura ILX (Expected)

2020 Ford Fusion

2020 Kia Optima

2020 Mazda MAZDA3

MSRP

$26,900

$24,500

$24,890

$24,200

Engine

2.4L NA Inline-4

1.5L Turbocharged Inline-4

2.4L NA Inline-4

2.5L NA Inline-4

Drivetrain

FWD

FWD

FWD

FWD

Transmission

8-Speed Automated Manual

6-Speed Automatic

6-Speed Automatic

6-Speed Automatic

Power

201 hp @ 6,800 RPM

181hp @ 6,000 RPM

185hp @ 6,000 RPM

186 hp @ 6,000 RPM

Torque

180 lb-ft @ 3,600 RPM

185 lb-ft @ 4,320 RPM

178lb-ft @ 4,000 RPM

186 lb-ft @ 4,000 RPM

With the 201 horsepower output, the 2021 Acura ILX seems to outperform most of its worthy rivals. The naturally aspirated 4-cylinder engine packs enough torque to get your wheels rolling in no time. The 2020 Ford Fusion gets the lowest power output of the lot. With 181 hp at its disposal, the Ford gets the smallest 1.5L Turbocharged Inline 4 cylinder engine.

2021 Acura ILX Acceleration and Braking Performance

The dual-clutch transmission on the Acura ILX is a game-changer. It shifts almost buttery smooth and offers a healthy acceleration. The slick DCT helps the 2021 Acura ILX to cross the 60 MPH mark in a mere 6.4 seconds. Also, the 14.9 seconds quarter-mile timing of the ILX is way swifter than the rivals. It further attains a top speed of 130 mph with the help of the slick 8-speed shifter.

2021 Acura ILX Sedan Accelerate 0-60 MPH in just 6.4 sec

Models

2021 Acura ILX (Expected)

2020 Ford Fusion

2020 Kia Optima

2020 Mazda MAZDA3

0-60 MPH 

6.4 sec

9.1 sec

6.9 sec

7.5 sec

Quarter Mile 

14.9sec

18.9 sec

15.3 sec

15.5 sec

Top Speed 

130 MPH

130 MPH

130 MPH

130 MPH

60-0 MPH

119 ft

122 ft

124 ft

121 ft

The ILX is the fastest of all rivals to hit the 60mph mark. Behind the ILX, comes the Kia Optima with an outstanding 6.9 seconds timing. The Ford Fusion is the slowest to accelerate with a 0-60mph timing of 9.1 seconds.

2021 Acura ILX Fuel Economy

8.4/10

The Acura ILX offers a decent fuel economy but it ain't gonna save you that much bucks on the fuel station. The Acura doesn't seem to be as stinting as some of its rivals in terms of fuel. The 2021 Acura ILX does a decent 24/34/28 mpg for city/highway/combined mileage. Also, the ILX sports a very tiny fuel tank as compared to the rivals. This gives it only a 369 miles combined range whereas rivals reach above 400 miles.

Models

2021 Acura ILX (Expected)

2020 Ford Fusion

2020 Kia Optima

2020 Mazda MAZDA3

MPG (City)

24

23

24

26

MPG (Highway)

34

34

32

35

MPG (Combined)

28

27

27

30

Fuel Capacity 

13.2 gallons

16.5 gallons

18.5 gallons

13.2 gallons

Range (City/Hwy/Combined) 

316.8/448.8/369.2 miles

379.5/561/445.5 miles

444/592/499.5 miles

343.2/462/396 miles

Among the rivals, the Mazda MAZDA3 offers a best in class fuel economy of 26/35/30 mpg but has a smaller 13.2 gallons tank. The Kia Optima with its 27 mpg combined and a bigger 18.5-gallon tank provides a long 500 mile combined range.

2021 Acura ILX Interior

5.7/10

The 2021 Acura ILX is a perfectly handsome sedan that is practical and is well equipped on the inside. The dash seems cluttered and the material quality doesn't impress much. Though the controls are well placed and easy to reach. The loaded models do add more to the looks of the dash with that big 8.0-inch touchscreen but the overall cabin remains unimpressive. The overall interior room seems fairly generous but the ILX's cramped proportions seem to eat passengers' heads. The front, as well as rear headroom, suffer a lot due to the compact styling. Other than that, the legroom and shoulder room on both rows seems just enough but isn't leisurely occupying.

2021 Acura ILX Sedan Front Seats

The front seats are draped in synthetic leather and give the cabin quite a premium look but it's still not downright luxurious. A standard eight-way power-adjustable driver seat is a plus point. Also, the Premium Package gets you leather upholstery and power-adjustable passenger seats. The overall interior seems nice but we can't directly deem it luxurious.

Models

2021 Acura ILX (Expected)

2020 Ford Fusion

2020 Kia Optima

2020 Mazda MAZDA3

Seating Capacity

5

5

5

5

Front Row (Head/Shoulder/Leg) (in)

38.0/55.6/42.3

39.2/57.8/44.3

39.8/58.1/45.5

38.0/55.7/42.3

Rear Row (Head/Shoulder/Leg) (in)

35.9/53.6/34.0

37.8/56.9/38.3

37.8/56.4/35.6

37.3/53.5/35.1

The trunk space of the ILX measures just 12.4 cubes and is well below than most average rivals have on offer. The Ford Fusion offers a generous 16 cubic feet trunk space while the Kia Optima's trunk accounts for 15.9 cubes.

How’s the 2021 Acura ILX ’s infotainment system?

Acura's gizmos can compete with the top-dogs of the mid-size sedan arena, given that you've upgraded from the base trim. Yes, the ILX seems to ignore the base trim in terms of features, while the top-notch gizmos are only available in the top-tier trims. The base trim only gets some standard features such as Bluetooth, USB connectivity and an AM/FM stereo with a 6-speaker generic sound system. The base trim misses out on standard smartphone integration.

2021 Acura ILX Sedan Infotainment System

The good news is that the Premium Package costs just 1850 bucks more than the base, and adds standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. It also adds satellite radio and a 7-speaker sound system with a subwoofer. If you want navigation, the Technology Package gets you Acura's Navigation system with a 3D view and other Acura's Connected Services. It also brings an upgraded 10-speaker Audio system with Surround sound.

2021 Acura ILX Sedan Dashboard
2021 Acura ILX Sedan Dashboard
2021 Acura ILX Sedan Front Seats
2021 Acura ILX Sedan Front Seats
2021 Acura ILX Sedan Rear Seats
2021 Acura ILX Sedan Rear Seats
2021 Acura ILX Sedan Steering Wheel
2021 Acura ILX Sedan Steering Wheel
2021 Acura ILX Sedan Infotainment System
2021 Acura ILX Sedan Infotainment System
2021 Acura ILX Sedan Instrument Cluster
2021 Acura ILX Sedan Instrument Cluster

2021 Acura ILX Exterior

7.0/10

The 2021 Acura ILX gets the signature bodyline of the Acura design style. Although, now with certain updates, the ILX looks more modern and contemporary. It also gets better road presence and looks more expensive than its original price.

2021 Acura ILX Sedan Front Side Three Quarter View

The lLX incarnates a newer and bigger grille which doesn't add much to the stylistic aspect of the car. The ILX does have those standard LED Headlights upfront which adds a little panache to the front fascia. As a whole, the ILX's exterior seems just a slapdash work from Acura and it can't really hold your gaze for too long.

Models

2021 Acura ILX (Expected)

2020 Ford Fusion

2020 Kia Optima

2020 Mazda MAZDA3

Curb Weight 

3095 lbs

3470 lbs

3298 lbs

3071 lbs

Length 

182.2"

191.8"

191.1"

183.5"

Width 

70.6

72.9"

73.2"

70.7"

Height 

55.6"

58.2"

57.7"

56.9"

Ground Clearance 

5.3"

7.8"

5.3"

5.5"

Wheelbase 

105.1"

112.2"

110.4"

107.3"

The 2021 Acura ILX gets the most compact design in the segment and that explains the slightly cramped interior. Though the shorter wheelbase helps in cornering narrow turns better and the low altitude helps in adding stability to the ride. The Ford Fusion is the longest of all rivals and also has the highest ground clearance of 7.8 inches.

2021 Acura ILX Sedan Front View
2021 Acura ILX Sedan Front View
2021 Acura ILX Sedan Rear View
2021 Acura ILX Sedan Rear View
2021 Acura ILX Sedan Front Side Three Quarter View
2021 Acura ILX Sedan Front Side Three Quarter View
2021 Acura ILX Sedan Front Side Three Quarter View
2021 Acura ILX Sedan Front Side Three Quarter View
2021 Acura ILX Sedan Front Side Three Quarter View
2021 Acura ILX Sedan Front Side Three Quarter View
2021 Acura ILX Sedan Side View
2021 Acura ILX Sedan Side View
2021 Acura ILX Sedan Wheel
2021 Acura ILX Sedan Wheel

2021 Acura ILX Safety

8.1/10

The Acura might receive flaks for its interior but it gets some real good compliments from National Agencies for its safety. The 2021 Acura ILX brings the same active safety features such as automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, emergency braking assist and active lane control. It performs well in crash tests of both testing agencies.

The NHTSA seems to be a little generous and awarded the 2020 ILX an overall 5-star rating. Yet, the ILX scores only four stars in frontal crash and rollover tests. The ILX also performed quite well in IIHS tests but wasn't considered for the Top Safety Pick because of the poor headlight rating. Nevertheless, it got a "Superior" rating for its automatic emergency braking system.

2021 Acura ILX Competition

8.0/10

2021 Acura ILX Vs Kia Optima

The Kia Optima is a seasoned mid-size sedan and it knows how to get the attention of drivers. It offers a perfect blend of performance and luxury which seems very compelling. The Optima provides decent performance and breathtaking acceleration. Also, the fuel economy is quite good and it gives a long 500 mile combined range with the bigger fuel tank. So, Optima might be the optimal choice for you if you want to have the most bang for your buck. But if you still want an Acura inside your garage, you might step up to the bigger TLX.

2021 Kia Optima Sedan

2021 Acura ILX Vs Mazda 3

The Mazda MAZDA3 puts out less power than the ILX but feels considerably strong while driving. Nevertheless, it's the Acura ILX which hits the 60-mph mark first. Considering the interior, the Mazda has a well-laid interior with which the ILX can't compete. Also, the Mazda has the best-in-class fuel economy amongst the competition. So, if you want a more practical yet feature-rich sedan which has kept up with time, go with the Mazda.

2021 Mazda 3 Sedan

 

2021 Acura ILX Final Verdict

6.0/10

The Acura being the luxury division of the Honda has some niceties in it, but it isn't downright luxurious. That said, the interior feels dated while the exterior also isn't refined for the 2021 model too. Yet, some might fall for Acura's swift acceleration and the slick DCT but we don't find anything else much impressive. Still, the Acura deserves a glance as it's the least maintenance luxury sedan available at a great price tag.