First 20,000 Miles!

Odometer (ILX):  20,235

Family, friends, food, and a flashy new Acura ILX.  This was a Thanksgiving to remember!  My turkey day travels took me to southern Utah and Nevada in the ILX.

These were taken on Hwy 93 between Wickenburg and Wikieup, Arizona when I departed from Phoenix last Wednesday.

Fewer than 6 months ago, John Watts from Acura HQ handed me the key to my 2013 Acura ILX.  Since then, the ILX and I have had our share of adventures together, and it’s proven itself as a worthy successor to the Legend for my day to day travels.

Here is a look back at some of the memories we’ve shared:

  • Est. 609 gallons of premium fuel
  • 201 horses at my command
  • 82nd ILX ever made (production number 000082)
  • 32.8 miles per gallon observed
  • 14 states visited
  • 6 trips to/through Las Vegas, Nevada
  • 5 favorite XM radio stations (BPM, 90’s on 9, 80’s on 8, Prime Country, Octane)
  • 4 oil changes with 5W20 oil (#4 is scheduled for tomorrow)
  • 3 concerts driven to (Metric x 2; Deftones)
  • 2 younger brothers driving gas-guzzling trucks who are jealous of my MPG’s
  • 1 National Acura Legend Meet (NALM) attended in Milwaukee, WI
  • 0 unscheduled maintenance visits and 0 tickets!  Woot!

There’s a lot to love about the ILX.  To name a few of them:

Torque.  I like being able to keep the car in 6th gear during a highway ascent.  There’s one in particular between Logandale and Mesquite Nevada on I-15 northbound that always requires me to downshift to 5th in my Legend. The ILX pulls the grade without needing a gear change.

Style.  The ILX carries with it a presence that is not found on other entry-level premium cars.  A coworker asked me shortly after getting the car what its pricetag was and was surprised when I said $30k.  The car “feels” like a substantially more expensive car.

Technology.  The audio interface, bluetooth connectivity, and “smart” features.  I love my dual auto-up / auto-down windows in the front.  The one-touch moonroof.  The three-blink turn signal.  And the HID headlights which offer some of the best nighttime illumination I’ve ever seen.

Ease of entry.  I’m really spoiled with the keyless access system.  With just the fob in my pocket or backpack, I walk up to the ILX and enter the car and start it without having to dig it out.

Comfort.  Even though I live in one of the hottest cities in the country (Phoenix), I still have greatly appreciated the heated seats in the ILX so far this fall.  Climate controls operate easily and quickly.  Seats are comfortable and for being a small car, even the back seat can accommodate an adult which is rare.  The gauges are easy to interpret at a glance and are all intuitively placed.

Economy.  There’s one thing in common with both of the Acuras that I’ve spent my time driving – they’re over-performing on MPG’s.  My Legend’s highway rating was 26 mpg.  I consistently get 28+.  The ILX’s highway rating is 32.  I’m getting nearly 33.  Every bit of efficiency helps greatly when you drive as many miles as I do.

Handling.  Even without the need for aftermarket suspension tuning, this car has so little body roll.  I drove it to Tortilla Flat, one of the most technical roads in my area, and was amazed at how flat it corners at speed.

Here are some photos from this weekend’s travels.  It was great to see my family again.

Here I am with my most loyal blog subscriber, “Mama Tia,” and the ILX.  This is an overlook on the Black Hill with a great vantage point of my hometown, St. George, Utah.  The community was settled in 1861 and its population is now over 75,000.  It was a perfect day (around 70 degrees) for a moonroof-open drive before feasting on Thanksgiving dinner at my grandma’s house.

Speaking of grandma’s house, it’s worth nothing that the Acura affinity runs in the family.  My grandma has been driving a Heather Mist Metallic 1997 Acura 3.5 RL since 2004.  It currently has just 118,000 miles on the odometer.  She’ll get to 500,000 eventually!

On Thanksgiving night, I met up with Chanc.  Long-time Acura owner and enthusiast, he’s currently got an Integra GSR and a TSX.  Chanc gave me the opportunity to test-drive his car.  It’s a rare 70k-mile Arctic Blue with Black interior, 6-speed manual.  It’s also equipped with navigation.  This is one smooth ride!  It’s powered by the same “K24” engine that my ILX has.  His car’s a bit quieter and offers a tad more space, but otherwise I felt like they were very close siblings.

Chanc also took the ILX for a spin and said that he felt like the ILX captured some of the traits he loved about his Integra GSR, including a feeling of “light weight” and great handling.  He also said the car felt like it had more pick-up than his TSX does.

I drove 100 miles and spent Friday night in Las Vegas, Nevada at the New York New York casino with some friends.

But first, I made a pit stop at Acura of Las Vegas.  This dealership has been servicing my cars since 2003 when I first got my Legend.  The performed its first oil change under my ownership at 97,000 miles.  I thought I’d pop in and see what kind of ILX inventory they’ve got.  It just so happened that they have a twin to my car in the front lot.  This is a 2013 Silver Moon ILX 2.4 6-speed.  Production # is 567.

It’s pretty striking to see the difference visually between a totally stock ILX vs one with some of the factory accessories installed.

Time to hit up NYNY!

At one point during the evening, we walked down to the Bellagio Casino.  This 1998 addition to the Las Vegas Strip is known for its 8-acre manmade lake in front of the building.

There are water shows nightly and we happened to be in the area when one was just about to start.  This is an impressive sight to watch!  A series of 4,500 lights illuminate 1,200 water nozzles and are choreographed to music that changes with every season.  Some of these nozzles have the capability of shooting 450 feet into the air!  Here is a video I took with my iPhone.

Back in Utah on Saturday, I went to lunch with my mom.

Historic 1876 St. George, Utah tabernacle:

Time to pull out the Christmas decor.  Random trunk-related discoveries about the ILX: It’ll accommodate a lot more than I thought it would!  I got a few boxes of fake trees in there without having to fold the back seat down.

Secondly, when I went to shut my trunk lid with the same hand that was holding my key fob, the car wouldn’t let the trunk lid latch.  It kept popping back open because it thought the key was inside the trunk.  Seems like the sensitivity needs to be adjusted a little, or else I should just start closing the trunk without having the key anywhere in range.

Sunday was a 415-mile travel day to return home to the Phoenix area from southern Utah.  The route that I took consists of mostly 2-lane back roads and it goes along the east edge of the Grand Canyon.  Traffic was extremely light as I departed at 5:30 in the morning.  The sun finally started to peek over the horizon over an hour later.

My path looked like this.

As I crept closer to Fredonia, Arizona, the temperature sank.  For the first time since I got my car in June, I saw the dash display temperatures in the 20’s.  At one point the temperature reached a low of 18 degrees.  Heated seats, yes please!

Highway 89 “Alternate” creeps up from Fredonia to about 8,000 feet in elevation and offers some great banked curves and twisties along the way.  This picture was taken at Jacob Lake, just before the road begins its sharp descent back to the desert landscape from the pines.  Notice the snow on the ground here as this area frequently gets snowfall in the winter.

Suddenly the highway breaks free from the green & the trees and gives drivers a panoramic view of the red hills known as Vermillion Cliffs.

Here’s one of the roadside photo-ops I’ve frequently visited along the Vermillion Cliffs.  This is a place called Cliff Dwellers, named for the Native Americans who historically have built their homes along the sandstone cliffs.

It took some nerves to get this next shot.  I placed a bit of faith in the fact that this huge rock didn’t come tumbling down and make a pancake out of my ILX.

Just a bit down the road, the Marble Canyon Lodge greets travelers.  From a Google review about this place:

As the closest accommodations to Lees Ferry, this lodge frequently fills up with rafters eagerly awaiting the journey into the canyon or fishermen stocking up for their next excursion. The traffic gives the place a busier, less personal feel than the nearby Cliff Dwellers and Lees Ferry lodges. The rooms here vary, but the ones in the 300 building are brightest and look out at Echo Cliffs. A restaurant and lounge are on the premises, and the lodge also has a selection of unusual books about the region as well as a jewelry store selling handmade silver, copper, and brass designs. Marble Canyon Lodge also rents eight two-bedroom apartments at prices ranging from $134 to $150. Hunting and fishing licenses are sold here.

Since much of this area lies within the Navajo Nation Indian Community, there are multiple pull-outs along Highway 89A where the Indians operate roadside stands selling their wares – usually jewelry, clothing, or artifacts.  Today, the stands were closed but I used one of them as a temporary parking spot.

The long-awaited 20,000 mile mark happened in a remote town of “Gap,” Arizona.  There’s truly little else there besides just a gas station and a trading post.

Here’s a video of the 20k roll-over, as is tradition:

Just for kicks, on this trip I tracked the per-gallon fuel costs at each of my stops.  Here they are in order (these are all for 91 octane Premium fuel – the highest available in this area):

  • Scottsdale, Arizona:  $3.70 at Shell
  • Kingman, Arizona:  $4.05 at Chevron
  • Mesquite, Nevada:  $3.96 at Rebel
  • Hurricane, Utah:  $3.95 at Chevron
  • Flagstaff, Arizona:  $3.89 at 76

I had a great trip and hope you enjoyed the ride as much as I did.

This afternoon I visited the Arizona International Auto Show at the convention center in downtown Phoenix.

Acura was well represented at the show.

Among other models, there were three ILXs:  A hybrid, a 2.0 automatic, and a 2.4 6-speed.

This is the Crystal Black Pearl 6-speed that was on display.  Production # 1179.

All I want to know is:  Where can I get one of those ILX rugs for my front room at home!?

I spoke with Brand Ambassador “Karla” who said she’ll also be attending the Los Angeles International Auto Show this upcoming week.  I told her I’ll see her there!

Watch for the full write-up on the next installment of D25!

7 Responses to “First 20,000 Miles!”

  1. Of course I am your #1 fan! What a great holiday weekend! Food, friends, family, and fun factored into a fine time! Next up? Convention in LA. Way to see Alex well on his way to the century mark.

  2. Hi Tyson, I love these blog posts. You write very well and it makes me feel like I’m there with you on trip.

    P.S. Just bought a 2013 Accord V6 this past weekend. Similarly priced and equipped as your car. This is my 5th Accord (with an Acura TL sneaking in the mix before this) and even though I’ve only had this one 2 days, it’s got to be the best Accord yet. Why would anyone drive anything else?

    • Jay, I hear (read) you loud and clear. I’m a Honda addict for life and it helps fuel my addiction when I learn of others like yourself who can relate. As far as the road trips go, I’d be taking them anyway so I figure I might as well have a sense of purpose and drag my readers along for the ride.

      Congratulations on your 2013 Accord! I sat in one yesterday at the Phoenix Auto Show. It’s truly the best Accord yet. Did you go for the sedan or the coupe? Either way I’m sure you’re in for a fantastic ownership experience.

      • Well being an “old man” now haha, I went with the sedan. I got the coupe thing out of my system with my 1998 Prelude (still my best car EVER). But this Accord is really a thing of beauty and I can’t imagine why anyone would buy a Lexus or Mercedes, when this car outdoes them.

      • P.S. Do you know how nice it is to read a blog (or anything, for that matter) on the internet that’s not full of profanity, inane comments, childish behavior, and stupidity? That is what makes this so awesome.

  3. That is a great compliment from Jay. It is nice to have some clean blogging!

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