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Acuras are excellent choices for anyone looking to get vehicles that are fun to drive, stylish and modern, and reliable. With Acura, people can treat themselves to luxury models while saving themselves from having to fork over too much money. The ILX is Acura's smallest sedan. As a compact car, it feels light on its feet and is practical for many customers. Its trunk is reasonably sized, and it can comfortably accommodate five people in its two rows of seating.
The 2021 model year is basically the same as the one offered in 2020. In recent years, the biggest changes were made to the ILX in 2019. These current models are quite attractive. The ILX has a unique pentagon front grille, an aerodynamic body that sits relatively low to the ground, and just the right amount of sculpted lines and angles built into its frame to make it look a little edgy.
Priced at around $26,000, the base model of the ILX offers a lot of advantages, one of which is relatively affordable price. It would be difficult to find another model made by a luxury or premium brand that's in the same price range.
While the ILX is a smart option for those on a budget, keep in mind that the ILX can be upgraded pretty significantly. Acura has decided to add packages to its base offerings. In effect, it's giving customers several trim options. The Premium Package, the A-Spec with Premium Package, and the A-Spec with Technology Package all have more and more features. For the purposes of this overview, the term "trim" will be used for the sake of simplicity.
Compare the 2021 Acura ILX Base Model vs Premium Trim Level. What is the difference?
In the base model, just like in all of the other trims, the engine is a 2.4-liter, four-cylinder version. With 201 horsepower and 180 pound-feet of torque, it can satisfy people who are specifically looking for vehicles that come with a bit of excitement. The dual-clutch transmission helps in this regard. Dual-clutch systems are commonly found in premium cars because they shift so quickly. By utilizing two clutches, the powertrain can always stay connected to the transmission, and as a result, power delivery is never interrupted.
Acura has put in a special type of throttle control into the ILX. It's a drive-by-wire system. Rather than relying on a traditional throttle cable, the ILX uses electronic mechanisms to determine how much to open the throttle. This gives the car the ability to almost instantaneously open things up when the driver pushes down hard on the gas pedal.
Front-wheel drive is standard on the ILX, no matter what trim is selected. The car is relatively efficient, earning an estimated 24/34 (city/highway) miles per gallon.
Both of these trims ride on 17-inch wheels. On the base model, the wheels have a Y-spoke design and are silver machine-finished versions. On the Premium trim, the wheels have the same design but are pewter gray. Both types of wheels are built to reduce noise.
The Premium trim brings a lot more sophistication to the 2021 Acura ILX. While the base model has leatherette seats, the Premium has leather ones. Specifically, the material is a perforated Milano leather that has contrast stitching and piping to add some visual interest. Similarly, the dash is highlighted with a bright silver and chrome trim. The front seats in the Premium are power-adjustable, with the driver's seat coming with the ability to learn two favorite positions. The Premium's side mirrors also have a two-position memory function.
On its own, the base model is still fairly upscale. It has heated front seats to make things more bearable when the temperatures drop, and it has an eight-way, power-adjustable driver's seat that features power lumbar support. In addition, the base model has a dual-zone climate control system, push-button ignition, and a Smart Key. The Smart Key can stay in a person's pocket or bag, and all he/she has to do to unlock or lock the doors is to touch their handles. It's a really convenient feature that people can quickly get accustomed to using every day.
What's great about the ILX is that it comes standard with a power moonroof. When the weather is pleasant, it can be nice to open up the sunshade to let in more natural light, and fresh air can stream into the cabin when the moonroof is opened up. Even in the base model, the steering wheel is wrapped in leather, as is the shift knob.
When examining the available infotainment systems, it becomes clear that the Premium is going to be much more attractive than the base model in key ways. First of all, the base model doesn't have Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, SiriusX Satellite Radio, or HD Radio like the Premium does. These days, many people are expecting to find these components in their next vehicles, and this is likely to drive a lot of people towards the Premium.
Both trims do have Bluetooth and Pandora compatibility. In the base model, there are six speakers, and in the Premium, there are seven.
Another big difference is that the Premium has an eight-inch touchscreen while the base model only has a five-inch version. Again, modern consumers love to find high-tech components in vehicles, so people are likely to pay attention to this fact. With the Premium, the ILX uses an interface called On Demand Multi-Use Display 2.0. It's not cluttered with physical buttons, making it easy to use. The bottom section is where one would find climate controls, and it's simple to find different songs and radio stations using the touchscreen.
Technology is heavily featured in the base model when it comes to safety. The base model has forward collision warning and collision mitigation braking. These components work together to reduce the likelihood of rear-ending another vehicle; if an accident does occur, hopefully there would be less of an impact since the car can apply pressure to the brakes if a driver doesn't have a chance to react. The ILX also has warning systems that alert drivers when they're veering to the left or right, and the car can even correct steering if necessary.
Further, the ILX comes standard with adaptive cruise control. This can alleviate fatigue on long road trips while keeping people safe. When adaptive cruise control is engaged, the ILX can monitor the speed of the vehicle in front of it and make the necessary adjustments to its own speed.
While the ILX base model does have a multi-view rear camera to assist drivers when they're backing up, it doesn't have blind spot monitoring or rear cross traffic monitoring. The Premium trim does have these two extra features, and they can be of great use when it's not always possible for drivers to see all around their vehicles.
Compare the 2021 Acura ILX Premium vs A-Spec with Premium Trim. - What is the Difference?
In the A-Spec with Premium trim, the wheels get bumped up from 17-inch versions to 18-inch ones. These wheels have a shark gray color scheme, and their design involves 15 spokes. The A-Spec with Premium trim is further enhanced with LED fog lights. Its piano black decklid spoiler makes it look even sportier, and this spoiler matches the piano black rear diffuser.
Elsewhere on the exterior of the A-Spec with Premium trim, there are dark chrome highlights. This gives the car a more aggressive look. These accents pair well with the Jewel Eye LED headlights, which are standard across all trims. Each of these headlights uses seven LED projectors, focusing the light where people need it to be. When turned off, the lenses in the lights have reflective surfaces that make them sparkle.
One small factor that could be important to some people is the fact that the A-Spec with Premium has an additional exterior paint choice. This trim can be painted with Apex Blue Pearl, a stunning shade of blue that can really catch one's attention.
While all of the ILX trims have sport seats, the ones in the A-Spec with Premium trim are a little more unique. This is because they feature ultrasuede inserts that act as a complement to the perforated Milano premium leather. The steering wheel has a special A-Spec logo on it, and the instrument panels have a reddish hue. People who love the idea of driving a sports car will appreciate that this trim is equipped with stainless steel pedals. Other features that help the A-Spec with Premium stand out are an ebony headliner and a dash trim that's a mix of graphite and chrome.
The A-Spec with Premium Package has the same type of sound system as the Premium does. It does have the addition of Song by Voice. This lets people simply say the name of a song to play it, as long as the song has been downloaded already.
Like the Premium trim, the A-Spec with Premium trim has HomeLink. This gives the car the ability to connect with a home's compatible garage door system, security system, or lighting system. With the bush of a button in the A-Spec, someone could potentially turn off their residence's alarm system, open up the garage door, and turn on the lights inside the home.
Compare the 2021 Acura ILX A-Spec with Premium vs A-Spec with Technology Trim Level. What is the difference?
As its name suggests, the A-Spec with Technology has an enhanced technology package. This primarily consists of a premium audio system and navigation. The navigation program can be particularly useful when people are trying to find their way to new locations. Turn-by-turn directions are given, and the map has vivid colors and is easy to read. Since this trim has voice recognition, finding a destination can be quite simple. Running into traffic is less of an issue since this car can use real-time traffic updates to find the least obstructed route from one point to another.
Since the A-Spec with Technology trim has GPS built into it, it can have an advanced climate system. Taking advantage of its ability to pinpoint its exact location, this trim can use the position and intensity of the sun to determine whether adjustments need to be made to the climate system. Of course, people can take over the controls whenever they want to.
One other advantage to this trim is that it has a premium audio system. The package comes with 10 speakers, and the sound that comes through is on par with what one might hear in a professional recording studio. The speaker system has the ability to enhance the quality of all kinds of tones.
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Which Trim to Choose?
Given the fact that the ILX is made by Acura, a premium brand, it's a little surprising that it's such an affordable car. It's compact without having too much bulk to it, and its base model has leatherette seats and many safety systems. However, the base model doesn't have the advanced touchscreen, SiriusXM, or smartphone compatibility that the other trims have. For that reason, the base model isn't the most highly recommend trim despite its low price.
The trim that is recommended is the A-Spec with Premium Package. It has the infotainment system that most people would be looking for, and it has a lot of extras that make the car a lot more exciting. Its exterior is filled with little details, like dark chrome accents and a piano black rear diffuser, that can add to its bold aesthetic. Inside the cabin, things really pop, as there are premium leather seats, an ebony headliner, stainless steel pedals, red instrument panels, and chrome trim on the dash.
While this trim doesn't have navigation, it's about $2,000 cheaper than the most advanced ILX trim available. Because the price of the A-Spec with Premium is held under the $30,000 mark, it has a great value.
• Compare the 2020 Acura ILX Trim Levels