If you’re in the market for a new luxury compact sedan, you might consider the 2021 Acura ILX. The automaker is known for producing some of the most fuel-efficient luxury cars. And with a rich interior and decent engine, the Acura ILX is generally a solid place to start.
But the 2021 Acura ILX doesn’t quite measure up to its predecessors. That’s partly thanks to its infotainment system. Car and Driver even called it “laughably obsolete.” The ILX has never really offered an outstanding infotainment system, particularly on the base model. And the 2021 Acura ILX’s interior isn’t that luxurious either.
Overview of the 2021 Acura ILX
The 2021 Acura ILX has a decent engine. It delivers 201 hp with a 2.4-liter, four-cylinder engine married to an eight-speed automatic. Though not the fastest of compact sedans, it handles decently. It offers a relatively smooth ride, takes corners fairly well, and boasts impressive stopping power. Getting 24 mpg in the city and 34 mpg on the highway, its fuel economy ratings are competitive.
The driver and front passenger seats are fairly roomy. But the rear is cramped in legroom and headroom, pretty standard for this class of cars. However, the Acura ILX comes standard with a sunroof, heated sport seats with power adjustments (for the driver only, of course), and dual-zone automatic climate control. The larger trunk compensates slightly for the lack of useful interior storage. And you can fold down the rear seat to extend the trunk capacity. But there’s no split-folding option to maintain at least one rear seat.
The Acura ILX boasts a five-star crash-test rating and several standard safety features. They include adaptive cruise control, forward-collision warning, automated emergency braking, lane-departure warning, and lane-keeping assist. You can also add blind-spot monitoring, rear parking sensors, and rear cross-traffic alert to the base model.
The Acura ILX’s infotainment system
The 2021 Acura ILX’s standard so-called infotainment system is a small five-inch display controlled by traditional (some may say old-school) knobs and buttons. If you choose the Premium, Technology, or A-Spec model, you get a slightly larger eight-inch display. But it’s a complicated dual-screen, of which only one is a touchscreen. The other screen, where the navigation, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto would be controlled, is not a touchscreen. And it uses a rotary knob in the middle of the dash.
Add outdated graphics and a lack of intuitive menus, and it’s easy to see why Car and Driver called the Acura ILX’s infotainment system “laughably obsolete.” It’s not worth the higher price, especially considering the Honda Civic comes standard with a touchscreen.
Consumers want high-tech infotainment systems
Infotainment systems are becoming increasingly important to consumers. Research shows that 98.8 percent of all new cars sold in the U.S. this year will have digital display screens, Consumer Reports states.
Interestingly, CR members ranked luxury car brands as some of the most difficult and frustrating to use. And Acura received the lowest satisfaction scores. In fact, less expensive brands, including Ford and General Motors, earned some of the highest scores for their infotainment systems, largely because of their simplicity and ease of use.
So if you’re looking for a compact sedan and aren’t willing to settle for, say, a Civic, the 2021 Acura ILX isn’t the best choice. That is unless you don’t care about infotainment features. Then the ILX might be an OK luxury car for you. But if you want extravagance, insist on luxury throughout, not just in the name.