2013 Acura ILX: Comparison Drive

Acura,ILX,Premium,performance,fuel economy

Acura ILX Premium

Dilemma: Green Driving or Wahoo! Driving?

At Clean Fleet Report we’re about hybrid cars, plug-in cars, pure electric cars and alternative fuel vehicles —mostly. We are also driving enthusiasts, and when the opportunity presents itself, we never say no to test driving a car that dishes out lots of Wahoos!

That’s what we did with Acura’s new 2013 ILX compact sedan. After a week with the ILX Hybrid, we swapped it for the ILX Premium—think of it as a more refined and luxurious Honda Civic Si that costs just $300 more than the Hybrid.

The ILX Premium is only available with a close-ratio six-speed manual transmission. The tight action and high rpm characteristics of the 201 horsepower 2.5-liter engine work superlatively with this gearbox.

Underway, the Premium cruises at highway speed with minimal effort. Put your foot down on the drive-by-wire throttle, and 60 arrives in a quick 6.7 seconds from stop. Throttle response is crisp and immediate. This four cylinder builds power with the strength and smoothness of a six.

The overall balance is close to rear-wheel drive cars. It’s quite nimble, with just a touch of front push on turn-in. Press it hard and the tail drifts out in a smooth, predictable manner. You can drive this car with both steering wheel and throttle.

Dancing with the LXI on curvy two lane backcountry roads elicited a Wahoo! at every turn. But the reality is, most of the time— like everyone else—we drove the car in everyday traffic on a variety of road surfaces. The suspension said no sweat to patchy roads. It swallowed the worst of them with no bouncing or tipping or jolting. The suspension’s combination of firm for the curves and comfortable on the street is exceptional.

Hybrid vs HyFun!

After collecting our Wahoos!, we became serious about fuel economy. Just what kind of gas mileage could be wrung out of this little pocket rocket?

We clocked 251 miles on the trip odometer, 57 of which we weren’t thinking about fuel economy. The balance of the miles were dedicated to sensible driving: no jack rabbit stops, lifting off the go pedal long before coming to a

Acura,ILX,Premium, interior,6-speed

Acura ILX Premium Inteior

stop and a lot of short shifting—1st to 3rd, 3rd to 6th. We always kept pace with the flow of traffic, including some short stints on the freeways.

When we topped up with gas, divided the miles driven by the number gallons the results were 29.4 mpg. Certainly not close to the 41 mpg the Hybrid delivered the week before, but it was a significant 5 mpg increase over the EPA’s estimated 25 mpg.

If you view driving as mostly going from point A to Point B in the most fuel-efficient manner, than there is no dilemma, the ILX Hybrid fits your needs. But if you prefer taking the long way on roads less traveled that elicit Wahoos! when driving from point A to point B, then perhaps the choice becomes more difficult.

Green driving or Wahoo! driving? A dilemma that can only be solved by test driving both.

Note: A lot of Wahoos! and 29.4 mpg seems like a logical choice to me.

Other related articles:

2013 Acura ILX Hybrid Test Drive

Top 10 Hybrids That Will Really Save You Money

Top 10 Best-Selling High-MPG Cars




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About Author: Larry E. Hall

Larry E. Hall is the Editor-At-Large at Clean Fleet Report. His interest and passion for automobiles began at age 7, cleaning engine parts for his father, a fleet manager for a regional bakery. He has written about cars and the automobile industry for more than 25 years and has focused his attention on “green” cars and advanced technology vehicles. Larry’s articles have been published by Microsoft’s MSNBC.com and MSN Autos as their alternative vehicles correspondent, and is currently the Senior Editor at HybridCars.com. His work has appeared in metro and suburban newspapers as well as business publications and trade journals. He is the founding president of the Northwest Automotive Press Association and a member of the Motor Press Guild. Larry lives and drives in Olympia Wa. with his wife, Lynne, who shares his passion for cars.

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