Posts Tagged ‘ILX’

Acura TLX is Second Best-Seller after Only 60 Days

Posted by Stephen On Saturday, December 6th, 2014

2015 Acura TLX

Last month, Acura showcased the new Acura ILX premium entry-level sedan at the 2014 LA Auto Show. However, the new ILX actually followed in the footsteps of Acura’s new mid-size sedan, the Acura TLX, which combined the Acura TL and TSX earlier this year. The new Acura TLX has been on sale for a full two months now, and in that time it’s become Acura’s second best-selling vehicle in their lineup.

While two months isn’t very much to go on, and there’s no doubt that some of those sales are due to new car hype, this is still an encouraging accomplishment for Honda’s premium brand. The new TLX was Acura’s first step in reviving their brand name to become competitive with the premium European giants like BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Audi, and high sales is a universally good sign.

This becomes a much bigger surprise when you hear that the TLX is apparently beating out European competitors based on raw driving dynamics, in addition to the superior price : performance ratio. According to automotive news, dealers have reported that customers continue to come back to the new TLX even after testing other European models, chiefly because of the new TLX’s on-road performance.

2015 Acura TLX mid-size sedan

To get a picture of just how desperate Acura has been for a decent premium sedan, we can learn a lot from an interview between Automotive News and an analyst at Kelley Blue Book, Karl Brauer.

“Acura hasn’t had a compelling sedan for a decade,” Brauer explained. “The TL [sedan] that debuted in 2004 was great, but every sedan from Acura since then failed to resonate with luxury sedan buyers, until now.”

Acura’s general manager, Mike Accavitti, shared a similar sentiment about Acura’s position and how to improve it. “Regaining leadership in the midsize sedan segment in particular is critical for improving Acura’s image. To really drive prestige for a luxury brand, you do it through the midsize market.”

2015 Acura TLX Interior

Of course, the progressive marketing for the new Acura TLX must also be commended. The “It’s That Kind of Thrill” online campaign received a full 1/3 of Acura’s marketing budget for the new mid-size sedan. With results like these, a higher priority on digital marketing can be expected for all future Acura models, which is certainly a good direction to move in.

Ultimately, though, the biggest distinction between the Acura TLX and all of the other sedans that Honda’s premium sub-brand have launched in the past decade is that the TLX actually does what it claims it will do.

In other words, the TLX isn’t the absolute fastest premium car, and Acura is fine with that because it’s extremely fun and reliable to drive, and it has a spacious, high-quality interior with an overall pleasing design that’s easy on the eyes. Only time will tell just how much mileage Acura can get out of their new sedan, but we’re betting things will only get better from here, especially with the new ILX coming in the TLX’s successful footsteps.


LA Auto Show – Acura ILX & Honda HR-V

Posted by Stephen On Wednesday, November 26th, 2014

Yesterday we looked at the new cars and concepts that Infiniti brought to the 2014 LA auto show. Today, we’re moving on to another of the major Japanese automakers, Honda, and their premium sub-brand, Acura. Each organization primarily showcased one car at this year’s LA event, so as you continue reading you’ll learn about the Honda HR-V compact crossover and the Acura ILX premium sedan.

2016 Honda HR-V

2016 Honda HR-V

As a reminder, we’d already seen the Euro-spec Honda HR-V (aka. the Honda Vezel) earlier this year, but this is the first time were seeing it on North American shores. Just like the Mazda CX-3, the Honda HR-V is aimed at the ever-growing compact crossover segment to contend with the likes of the prodigious Nissan Juke.

The Honda HR-V is built on the underpinnings of the Fit hatchback, but it was developed to feel more like a CR-V both inside and out. The new crossover will also offer drivers a lower priced entry-level crossover than the CR-V could be.

Again, since this is a car that we’ve technically seen before, we won’t spend a great deal of time rehashing the details. The biggest news with the LA debut is that Honda has fitted a larger engine than previously thought in the form of a 1.8L i-VTEC four-cylinder engine that outputs 138hp, paired to a G-Design sport CVT, available in both 2WD and AWD. This is an upgrade from the 1.5L unit that Honda was originally expected to borrow from the Fit.

2016 Acura ILX

2016 Acura ILX

The original Acura ILX had a bit of a tragic start. It was originally launched as a conservatively priced entry-level premium sedan built on the Honda Civic. However, even though it continues to maintain its position as one of the most economical luxury cars out there, its 2-year lifespan has been filled with complaints that it’s “just a rebadged Civic”. Turns out, premium buyers are willing to pay a little bit extra to jump over to the more prestigious European brands’ entry-level models.

That’s why, even though its original launch was in 2012, Acura is starting over with an all-new ILX for the 2015MY.

For starters, Acura is upgrading performance for the entire range. A four-cylinder 2.4L engine with a hefty 201hp is now standard for all trims, compared to the 2.0L 150hp that powered this year’s ILX. In addition to the more powerful engine, Acura has also integrated a new eight-speed dual-clutch transmission, complete with a torque converter for smooth-but-sporty driving.

Finally, Acura has added a cornucopia of aesthetic improvements, including new LED headlights, a slightly re-sculpted front- and rear-end, 17-inch wheels as standard, and twice as many trims as ever before. Most notably, the brand-new A-Spec trim offers the type of plush interior that puts this year’s model to shame.

Japanese Car Auction Find – 2007 Honda Civic

2007 Honda Civic G

While it’s easy to say that the original Acura ILX flopped because Acura didn’t do enough to set it apart from the Honda Civic, the other side of the coin is that the Honda Civic is such a good car that Acura had a hard time raising the bar. So, I thought I’d share this beautiful pearl 2007 Honda Civic up for auction in Gifu.

Since this is a Japanese-spec Honda Civic, this model year gets a 1.8L SOHC i-VTEC engine rated at 140 bhp. You can get a full rundown of the specs and features if you keep reading below the auction sheet:

2007 Honda Civic G Auction Sheet

“Interior B, exterior condition B, first registered December 2007, G model, DBA emissions code, FAT, AAC, airbag, power steering, power windows, seats have minor sagging, moldings scratches, scratches under bumpers, marks as per map”


Japanese Car Auction Find – 2013 Audi A4 2.0 TFSI Quattro

Posted by Stephen On Thursday, November 6th, 2014

Normally, today we’d showcase an Acura ILX Japanese car auction find, since Acura just released a new teaser for the 2016MY yesterday. However, since the whole reason that Honda is refreshing their entry-level sedan is because of underperformance, it didn’t seem right to showcase a lackluster car. So, instead we have a fantastic auction find for a model with which you can’t go wrong – the Audi A4.

To be more specific, today we have a 2013 Audi A4 2.0 TFSI Quattro, seen here in a modern metallic black:

2013 Audi A4

When you’re looking at a model in such good condition as this one, it’s easy to see why the Audi A4 mid-size sedan continues to set the bar for luxury sedans. Even though the 2.0 TFSI Quattro isn’t an entry-level model like the ILX, it’s a car that demands to be recognized. The semi-new sedan version of the Audi A3 is probably a better comparison to the ILX, but come on… How could you not write about this car?!

First let’s cover the powertrain. As we said, this is a 2.0 TFSI Quattro model, which means that the car runs on a 2.0L turbocharged petrol engine. The Quattro nomenclature delineates four-wheel drive, but what’s really cool is that Audi tuned up the 2.0 TFSI engine for the Quattro model. You’ll get a full 208hp and 258 lb-ft of torque, compared to the 178hp and 236 lb-ft in the normal front-wheel drive model. The engine is paired up with Audi’s advanced dual S-Tronic clutch.

2013 Audi A4 rear

Of course, you can have all the power in the world, but it’s meaningless without the handling to back it up. Fortunately, driving dynamics have always been Audi’s strong suit, and the A4 is no different. They’ve made excellent use of the AWD with a nice and stiff chassis, which gives you plenty of traction and a firm ride. The steering is responsive, but deliberate, which is perfect for an engine with this much oomph.

As we already emphasized, the car’s design speaks for itself. The A4’s overall aesthetic is simple, but the boldly chrome-outlined grille gives the car a definite sense of strength. You’ll see on the auction sheet at the bottom of this post that this find is in particularly good shape, with only a handful of A1 minor scratches on the entire exterior.

2013 Audi A4 interior

Inside, the Audi A4 2.0 TFSI continues to impress. You’ll enjoy an LCD navigation/entertainment display that’s operated by a dial at the driver’s side instead of a touchscreen. You might think that a dial is a step backwards in technology, but it requires much less focus to operate while driving. There’s plenty of interior space for all passengers, although if you really intend to cram five people into a sedan, the middle backseat is an unavoidably tight squeeze (true in every mid-size sedan).

Today’s Audi A4 auction find boasts an A-grade interior and an overall rating of 5, so everything is in tip-top shape. Keep reading below the auction sheet for a full rundown on this car’s specs:

2013 Audi A4 auction sheet

“Interior A, first registered November 2013, A4 2.0 TFSI Quattro model, FAT, AC, service book, official dealer right-hand drive import, 2014 model, one owner, S Line exterior package, original HDD navigation system and TV, spare key, original alloy wheels, power steering, power windows, original TV, original navigation system, airbag, DBA emissions code, scratches and dents, marks as per map”


2016 Acura ILX Teased (Again) Ahead of LA Auto Show

Posted by Stephen On Wednesday, November 5th, 2014

2016 Acura ILX Sedan

Today we have another new teaser for the LA Auto Show later this month. Today’s teaser comes from Acura, and it previews their “substantially new” 2016 Acura ILX sedan that we’d initially discussed a couple weeks ago.

You may recall that Acura launched an updated version of their TLX sedan earlier this year. Turns out that their entry-level ILX sedan needed some help too, as it’s been under-performing in its current state. Together with the original teaser, this is our first look at what Acura wants to do with the refreshed sedan. As usual, we only have a small tidbit of official information to give you, but this new image actually tells us a lot.

With that, let’s go ahead and take a look at the new teaser. The first one (above) from a couple weeks ago showed us the back of the sedan; this one shows us the front fascia:

2016 Acura ILX Sedan Teaser

This teaser is Acura’s way of elaborating that the 2016 ILX sedan will be an across-the-board upgrade. We can expect sharper performance with a brand-new powertrain, a more comfortable, higher-quality interior, the latest convenience and safety technologies, plus an exterior facelift to make the car stand out from the entry-level crowd.

It’s no secret that the Acura ILX is essentially an upmarket version of the Honda Civic. One of the biggest complaints with the current Acura ILX is that it’s too obvious where the sedan gets its roots. So, Acura’s second ILX teaser makes it clear that this will be no fancy Civic, but an Acura through and through.

We can spot a few changes that Acura has made to the exterior in just the front fascia. It looks like they’ve refined the grill to make it a little less overbearing, and it no longer looks like the car is grinning. They’ve replaced the headlights with LEDs, and updated the design around the fog lights.

You can also make out a slight front spoiler, and it looks like the bodylines along the hood and side have been restyled for a more modern appeal.

In the end, if all Acura does with the 2016 Acura ILX is bring it up to par with other entry-level premium sedans, that alone would be a huge improvement. The changes we’ve already seen in the two teasers are a great start, and we can’t wait to see what Acura has in store for us in LA. Stay tuned in a couple weeks for the official reveal!

 


2016 Honda HR-V & Acura ILX Teased Ahead of LA

Posted by Stephen On Tuesday, October 21st, 2014

With the 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show just a hair less than a month away, we’re starting to get the first trickle of automotive previews dribbling across the web. Leading the way is Honda with two new vehicles they’ll be showcasing at NA’s next big automotive event. One of them we’ve seen before, and the other is an update for a car in their luxury lineup that really need some love.

NA-Spec 2016 Honda HR-V Crossover

NA-Spec 2016 Honda HR-V

You’ll remember that Honda already showed us a European version of their new HR-V crossover earlier this month at the 2014 Paris Motor Show. We’d also seen images of an HR-V prototype earlier this year in Geneva.

Today, Honda officially introduced us to the North American variant of their 2016 HR-V crossover. It now has its own page on Honda.com and everything. Our American readers can see the car in the metal for the first time at next month’s LA Motor Show. We won’t spend too much time on this one since it’s the less newsworthy of the two. Here’s a quick rundown of what we know at the time of this writing:

  • The HR-V will slot below the Honda CR-V as “the entry point to Honda’s light truck lineup.”
  • Likely to launch this winter
  • Features Honda Magic Seats
  • Built on the same platform as the Honda Fit

Refreshed 2016 Acura ILX Compact Sedan

2016 Acura ILX Sedan

The big news of the day is a teaser for a refreshed version of the Acura ILX sedan. No one from either Honda or Acura has said anything about the new luxury compact sedan other than what’s in the press release. All we know is that it will debut next year as a “comprehensive update that includes a potent new powertrain, more forceful, sporty exterior styling, and substantially upgraded interior design.”

Clearly, the upgrade is going to be quite substantial. What exactly that means, however, remains to be seen. The press release hints that Acura is looking to bring the ILX closer in-line with the car’s more successful big brother, the Acura TLX.

Our guess is that Honda will bring in their new 2.4L i-VTEC engine and upscale exterior features like LEDs, a sports exhaust, and a more distinguished front grille. Inside, you can probably expect a much quieter cabin (the current ILX is known to be quite loud), higher quality materials, and perhaps more performance tech. like we saw in the recent Civic Type-R Concept in Paris.

Either way, we’re sure we’ll see more of both cars before doors open at the Los Angeles Auto Show late next month, so stay tuned for more information. Until then, thanks for reading!


Acura Striving for a Return to the ’05 Glory Days With the ILX

Posted by Stephen On Thursday, December 13th, 2012

According to a recent interview AutoNews had with John Mendel, Acura is on a quest with a single goal in mind – re-achieving their annual sales figure of 200,000+ units per year. Mendel, the American Honda executive vice president, says that one of the key avenues towards achieving that goal in the short-term will be the new Acura ILX, which was released in May of this year. However, sales of the compact sedan have continued to fall short due to a number of factors.

Apparently, one of the most worrying trends is that the Acura ILX is being consistently outsold by the Acura TSX. This is a problem because the ILX is supposed to replace the TSX, which will be axed in 2013. Unsurprisingly, the ILX is also being outsold by its rivals from other brands, including the Buick Verano, the Volkswagen CC and the Audi A4. In fact, the Buick Verano is selling nearly double the units of the ILX.

So, what’s the problem? What is holding back the Acura ILX from achieving its annual sales target of 30,000 units?

According to Mr. John Mendel, the 2.0 L engine offered with the base ILX is “underpowered, and consumers don’t see the value”. Even though a more powerful 2.4 L engine is available, it is currently only available with a manual transmission – a huge turnoff for many buyers. Who would’ve thought that giving customers a limited choice between a lackluster engine and a manual transmission doesn’t yield good results? Fortunately, Mendel is aware of the problem and has a solution: “the car was planned for a 2.4 automatic, and we are working to fulfill that.”

Now, an observant reader might ask the question, “If the Acura ILX is being consistently outsold by the more aged TSX, why not stick with what works? Why bother introducing a new model when the old one is still selling like lemonade in the desert?”

The answer lies in where the two cars are manufactured. The Acura TSX is manufactured in Japan, and importing the car into the US is expensive due to the currency exchange rate between yen and dollar. In order for the TSX to be profitable, it would need to be more expensive… But since it is supposed to be Acura’s entry-level car that doesn’t work. The Acura ILX, on the other hand, is manufactured in Indiana, thereby averting the problem entirely.

Despite Acura’s current disappointment with the ILX, brand sales are still improving across the board. Mendel fervently believes that they will be hitting their goal of 200,000 annual sales over the next couple years, especially with the introduction of a new compact crossover and flagship sedan slated for next year – two cars that you’ll want to be on the lookout for.

Sources: The Truth About Cars, AutoNews