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Acura billed its 2021 ILX as a premium sport compact sedan. Even in base trim, it’s a big step up performance-wise from its corporate stablemate, the Honda Civic, and the optional Premium package provides an acceptable level of luxury. Opting for the ILX Premium package opens the door to the A-Spec package, but does it offer any worthwhile performance upgrades?

The 2021 Acura ILX

A white 2021 Acura ILX driving down a wooded country road.
2021 Acura ILX | Acura

While Car and Driver predicted an updated ILX model for 2023, Acura discontinued it after the 2022 model year to focus on the Acura Integra, making the 2021 Acura ILX one of the newest pre-owned versions available. The 2021 ILX features front-wheel drive, an eight-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission with manual shifting mode, and a 201-hp 2.4-liter inline-four-cylinder with 180 lb-ft of torque. That combination is good for 6.6-second 0 to 60 mph acceleration, 130 mph top speed, and an EPA-estimated 28 mpg combined fuel economy rating. 

The 2021 Acura ILX provides a host of driver assistance features like:

  • Standard adaptive cruise control
  • Standard forward-collision warning with automated emergency braking
  • Standard lane departure warning with lane-keeping assist
  • Available blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert

The Acura ILX cabin provides sufficient space for front-seat occupants, heated sport seats, automatic climate control, and a sunroof. Still, those in the back seat will find cramped accommodations. In addition, for a luxury sport compact sedan, the base ILX provides an archaic infotainment system with confusing menus. 

The 2021 Acura ILX MSRP originally started at $27,145, with fully loaded A-Spec optioned models starting at $32,875. However, as a pre-owned model, U.S. News says the price starts around $26,100, and models with desirable options cost as much as $35K. 

What’s unique about the 2021 Acura ILX A-Spec package?

Adding the A-Spec package option to a 2021 ILX first required the $1,750 Premium package upgrade. The Premium package added a power-adjustable front passenger seat, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, a 7-inch touchscreen display, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto. The $2,000 A-Spec package changed the stock bumpers and grille to sportier versions and added LED fog lights, 18-inch wheels, a leather-trimmed steering wheel, sport pedals, and suede inserts in the seats, according to Sunnyside Acura. However, the A-Spec package did not enhance the performance of the ILX. 

Car and Driver recommended adding the Premium and the $1,900 Technology packages to the Acura ILX and avoiding the A-Spec package altogether. As an add-on to the Premium package, the Technology package features a premium 10-speaker audio system, navigation with real-time traffic updates, and AcuraLink telematics with a live concierge. 

Is a 2021 Acura ILX worth buying?

While Car and Driver called the 2021 Acura ILX “one of the best deals among subcompact luxury sedans” despite its low 6-out-of-10 score on Car and Driver’s testing scale, U.S. News unabashedly proclaimed, “your money is better spent on a fresher offering in the segment, such as the Mercedes-Benz CLA.” If that wasn’t embarrassing enough for Acura, U.S. News went on to say that the Honda Civic was also a better option. While the 2021 Acura ILX may present a low-priced entry into the luxury sports car segment, even the top-trimmed A-Spec package leaves out much of the luxury provided in rival options. 


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