2017 Acura ILX Review: Yes, You Can Have Comfort in a Compact Luxury Car

Compact Luxury Car
Sparkling on the road trip in Catalina Blue Pearl. Photo by Terri Marshall

Because you should have the things that really matter.

For me, there are three things: color, music and safety features. So when I first laid eyes on the 2017 Acura ILX in Catalina Blue Pearl, I knew it was going to be the perfect ride for our little getaway to Maine and Pennsylvania. Sunny skies were in the forecast, and that blue was going to sparkle.

But more importantly, this entry level luxury compact comes with a multitude of safety features, the highest government crash test ratings and a 10-speaker premium audio system—which meant I would be singing along to my favorite tunes. The model we drove was outfitted with the Tech Plus package, which has most available features and, for an entry level luxury compact, an extremely competitive price.

Who this car is for

  • Couples or singles looking for a compact entry level luxury sedan
  • Older couples looking for a comfortable sedan with excellent safety features
  • Small families with 1 or 2 younger children
  • Buyers who want top safety features standard
  • Drivers who like a sedan with touch of sportiness
  • Women wanting touches of luxury at a reasonable price
  • Anyone looking for a car awarded the Government 5 Star Safety Rating
Compact Luxury Car

The rear of the Acura ILX leaves a feeling of sportiness in this compact luxury car. Photo: Acura

What it costs

  • Base Model with core features priced at $27,990
  • Premium package adds an enhanced driver experience at $2,000
  • Acura Watch Plus Package offering safety and driver assistance adds $1,300
  • Technology Plus Package (the model we drove) adds the Acura Watch Plus package, Premium Package, 10 speaker premium audio system, voice commands, navigation system and guidelines for rear view cameras at a price of $32,990 ($33,930 including Destination and Handling charges)
Acura Ilx

Drive in comfort with easy to reach controls for navigation and safety features. Photo by Gregory Holder

On a long or short drive you want to be comfortable, right?

Leather seats are a great place to start, but the 8-way adjustable power driver’s seat ensures you’ll find a comfy position for your drive when you set out in the Acura ILX. The design of the perforated leather-trimmed sports seats provide comfortable support without being too rigid—you can ride for hours.

A nice level of standard features in the ILX fill out the luxury list, including a sunroof, automatic LED headlights, heated mirrors, keyless entry and ignition, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, heated front seats, a fold-down rear seat back, dual-zone automatic climate control, a multi-view backup camera, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, a USB/iPod audio interface and Pandora radio and Siri Eyes Free smartphone app integration. So basically, you’ll be comfortable and entertained.

Acura Ilx

Room in the back seat even for this big fella. Photo by Terri Marshall

When you’re taking others along, they’ll need some space too

Even though the Acura ILX is considered to be in the compact segment, the cabin feels spacious and even has considerable leg room in the back seat. If you’re 6 feet or taller, though, the head room in the back might feel a little low. At 5’2” I never have to consider this so I put my husband in the back seat to check that out. But, even though he’s a bigger guy, he said he could ride for a while without complaining. And that’s a very good thing because NO ONE wants to spend a road trip listening to her man complain.

We carried a couple of carry-on type bags along for the weekend and had more than ample trunk space at 12.3 cubic feet. The seats also fold down if you need to carry anything larger. But, it’s not a 60/40 split so if the seat is going down, you probably don’t want anyone sitting in that back seat.

The center console was adequate for smaller items, but there’s no place for a big handbag. Since I had a passenger along, mine went on the floor behind the driver’s seat.

Acura Ilx

Ample trunk space for a compact sedan. Photo by Terri Marshall

If you want top safety features…this baby is all about it

The Acura ILX Tech-Plus comes with all the safety bells and whistles: adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning, automatic braking for frontal collision mitigation, lane departure warning system, lane departure warning and road departure mitigation. And my favorite, blind spot detection.

Controls are easily accessible with cruise control and audio features on the steering wheel and buttons to turn on or off the safety tech features just to the left.

The 8-inch navigation screen is large and vivid enough to keep you from distractions while driving. The screen is split with navigation at the top and audio at the bottom. The knob in the center took a little getting used to when setting up navigation but ultimately worked fine for me. If you’re someone that needs to look at the audio screen often, it could be a distraction. Connecting to my iPhone through the Bluetooth was a breeze and I was able to keep my iPhone fully charged with the USB port in the center console. However, there’s only one so you’ll have to take turns if you have someone riding along with you.

Acura Ilx

The 8-inch navigation screen is easily visible without distractions. Photo by Terri Marshall

If staying connected is at the top of your list, the AcuraLink system will make you smile

Thanks to an embedded cellular device, the AcuraLink system features two-way communication. In an emergency, location and diagnostic information can be sent and retrieved directly from the car. Greater interaction with your smartphone enables even more available services. Many of the AcuraLink features are complimentary but others require a subscription, so be sure to check when considering a purchase.

The AcuraLink services include the following:

  • Emergency notification if an airbag deploys
  • Vehicle doors can be locked and unlocked remotely via your smartphone
  • Tracking if the ILX is stolen
  • AcuraLink Real-Time Traffic showing traffic levels on side streets as well as highways and assistance with re-routing
  • With a subscription service a concierge can help you make restaurant reservations and then send directions to the navigation system

    Acura Ilx

    A comfortable cabin that seems incredibly spacious for a compact sedan. Photo by Terri Marshall

What we loved

  • LOVED LOVED LOVED the Catalina Blue Pearl exterior
  • Sunroof to let the sun shine in
  • Premium audio system
  • Reasonably good gas mileage on the highway
  • Excellent safety features
  • Spacious feel for a cabin in a compact sedan
  • Sense of sportiness

What you need to know

  • Gas mileage averages 29MPG (25 City/ 35 Highway)
  • Uses regular fuel
  • Luxury touches aren’t quite as posh as in rivals like the Audi 3 and the Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class
  • Acceleration is a bit slower than expected but sufficient to get you on the highway without issues
  • Competitively priced with a long list of standard features

Did I mention the sound system?

On any good road trip a solid playlist of singable songs is a must. Our Spotify playlist made the miles between New York City, Maine and Pennsylvania fly by.



Note: Acura provided the Acura ILX Tech-Plus for my review. All opinions are my own.


Terri Marshall grew up road-tripping around the country. Her love for the open road remains strong today. A travel... More about Terri Marshall