Platinum White Pearlescence: 2019 Acura ILX A-Spec Review

Odometer (2013 ILX Premium):  215,114

Odometer (2019 ILX Premium A-Spec):  5,329

It’s about time I got to try out the latest ILX!

Since its mid-2012 debut as a 2013 first-year model, the gateway model to the Acura brand has undergone two separate ‘refresh’ exercises – the first in 2016, and now again in 2019.  Quality has improved, tech has advanced, styling has evolved, and yet the pricetag has stayed constant and even gone down throughout the way.  At $32,545 as-tested for the A-Spec variant that I put a few hundred miles on over the past week, I consider it a very strong bang for the buck.

It’s no mystery that the elimination of the manual transmission option that took place in 2016 was a dagger to my heart and soul, but the new 8-speed dual-clutch transmission is not that bad.  In fact, I sort of enjoyed more of a kick-back driving style over the last few days.  It must be old age settling in because I’ll be turning 38 later this year.  Yikes.

The ILX I tested has essentially the same motor as my 2013:  a 2.4-liter, 201-horsepower, straight-four with iVTEC.  So it goes without saying that long-term maintenance should be a breeze (I’m well into the 200k+ range with mine).  Where the new ILX sets itself apart from mine is in terms of the technology.  Navi with voice recognition, touch-screen display, ELS Studio premium 10-speaker audio, and a host of safety features are all things that are “new” to me.

Beyond that, the aesthetic treatment is handsome, with the A-Spec package bringing in 18″ wheels, sport red leather seats with suede inserts, a contrasting decklid spoiler, and exclusive badging.  I have to admit I considered for a moment whether Acura would notice if I swapped the interior of the 2019 into my 2013, but it’s probably best that I not find out.

It was fitting that along with the new ILX came a 2018 Kelley Blue Book “5-Year Cost to Own” trophy that Acura representatives gave me for my display case.  I can’t think of any other individual who can attest with 100% certainty of that.  The car has cost me $7,600 to maintain over the course of 215,000 miles.  That includes 29 oil changes, 8 air filters, 2 sets of rear brake pads, 2 transmission fluid changes, and 4 sets of tires.

I found the newest ILX to deliver all that I’ve come to know and enjoy from my 2013 – sans the clutch pedal – and even a bit more.  I think the 2019 would make a great, efficient, reliable daily driver for someone that gives exclusivity and value at the same time.  Consider the fact that Acura sold only 1,351 ILX models nationwide in the month of May 2019.  To put that in perspective, that same month the company sold 5,415 RDX models and Honda sold 32,800 Civics.  Personally I love driving something that not everyone else drives.

Dig It:

  • Large back-up cam screen
  • Audio system +++
  • Blind spot monitoring tech
  • Appearance – exterior, especially rear
  • Nimble, fun-to-drive dynamics
  • Improvements to details like the key fob quality
  • Subtle features like a “Start” button that changes color
  • Bang for the buck – so much content for the price


  • Aux + cig lighter hook-ups are in the center console under a lid
  • Rear cross-traffic alert overly sensitive – beeps when cars are passing by even far away
  • Front turn signals are LED, rear are halogen – should be uniform
  • Multiple people commented on the obnoxiously large “A” emblem up front
  • I don’t know if I’ll ever be a fan of black wheels
  • Some LED license plate lighting would be an inexpensive way to class up the rear

Here’s a video I put together, and below are some pics from my week with this sweet little ride.

KBB awards on display!

The subtle yet effective aesthetics are evident here

From this perspective the cars are 100% similar

The LED taillights are perhaps my favorite feature of all

Head to head

The bottom line

Keys – old, new.  The new is more durable and feels heavier / higher quality.

Check out the comparison of “A” badges

Short vid and pics from over the weekend, including a jaunt to “Horny Toad” in Cave Creek for lunch, and a meet-up with friends in east Mesa.

The Captiva Blue 1993 del Sol Si belongs to fellow YouTuber Chris Sadowski.

Mirel came out in his Legend

Mirel, Chris, Tyson, Corey, Nick, Jonathan, Greg, John, Ken

Two of the cars in attendance were extremely rare Turbo Grand Prixs, produced in partnership with McLaren for the 1989 and 1990 model years.

23 Responses to “Platinum White Pearlescence: 2019 Acura ILX A-Spec Review”

  1. Acura hasn’t exactly been a leader in stellar grille design the past 10 years or so. I think it was Cadillac that started the obnoxious giant company logo in the grille with the Escalade about 15 years ago.

    • Sounds about right. Now it just seems to be a size contest about “bigger is better” with logos and emblems. I love the G1 Escalade, btw! Then again, I’m a sucker for a rebadge 🙂

  2. I haven’t driven this thing yet, but I totally agree with your impressions of the refresh from a design, spec, and tech perspective. What a great DD this thing would be, especially with the value equation in mind. What’s up with the incandescent bulbs on the back corners though? Strange LED omission on an otherwise hot rear end 😛

    • Word – agreed 100%. I think this is an underappreciated car for what it is, especially with some cool exclusivity thrown in. Will be interesting to see how (if) it evolves into its second generation.

  3. Thanks for the very cool write-up of the ILX. If I ever have to replace the Accord, the refreshed ILX is definitely on my short list. Given that I’ve been driving a midsize car for the past several years, how small does the ILX feel? Like, when you have passengers, does it feel uncomfortably close, or do you feel like everyone has enough space to breath?

    You know, I’m definitely with you on the black wheels – I really don’t get the whole “stealth” look either. Maybe I’m just getting older (“Kids these days, with their platidip. Now get off my lawn!”), but blacked out wheels, badges, handles, etc, does nothing for me. Give me some chrome, man!

    • Space-wise I’ve never really had an issue with the ILX. Cargo room is actually pretty cavernous considering you can fold the backseat town. I hauled some yard tools the other day to a friend’s. Inside the cabin, it’ll be tight for 5 people – especially the rear middle-seat occupant, but for shorter trips I’ve done it many times.

  4. I still prefer the 2013, but maybe I’m biased. 😉 Acura did do a nice job of freshening up the look and adding some spice via A-spec. I actually like the big “A,” black rims are…meh. Always a treat to see the red Teg out and about. Happy Thursday!

    • You prompted me to look at the calendar. It’s not Thursday yet, bozo! Lolol. But yeah, I echo your comments. And the red Teg enjoyed breathing some fresh air for a change!

  5. Wesley Adams Says:

    What a bargin for the new ILX…

    Being a small car, the 4 cylinder should move it out pretty well.

    I still perfer the rear of your 13 ILX… I don’t like the rear licence plate on the bumper.

    The headlights look like a TLX almost!

    I still would perfer a TLX for the V6. I had the lucky opportunity to get a 2018 Honda Odyssey as a complementarity loaner while the RDX sat at the dealer awaiting parts.

    I must say…. That 4,500 lb van flew like nothing I’ve driven before! And averaged 24 mpg 50/50% city/highway on regular fuel! 🙂

    I can only imagine what that powertrain must be capable of in a 3,500 lb sedan!

    • I was a mega minivan hater until I saw how much easier they make life for families. My brother has 3 kids ages 8 and under – their Odyssey is a lifesaver for mom-duty. Thanks for reading and commenting!

  6. I really dig the refresh they did for 2019 – it’s the refresh that should have happened in 2016. I personally don’t mind the large Acura badge on the grille – but props go out to that red interior. I’ll be curious what the future holds for the ILX. I know I saw one just like this on the road the other day, but in silver. Can’t deny that 32k price – pretty solid value for a premium sedan.

    • Agreed, the 2019 refresh was probably what should have happened in 2016. It looks like the ILX sold 1,351 units in May 2019 as compared to 2,235 TLXs. So the vast majority of people still prefer the larger sibling.

  7. Nice write up Tyson – It certainly sounds like a good car and looks nice, although it’s not a patch on those Turbo Grand Prixs – they look awesome.
    I’m totally with on the black wheels – I never liked them either!

    • Glad we are on the same page – and I see you’ve been catching up on my many recent blog posts, so thanks for always being a loyal reader Stuart!

      • You’re welcome – I enjoy the blog. Alas the past month’s been so busy I’ve barely had time to do anything to my own, but I do try and catch up when I can!

  8. That is a great looking burgundy red on the Integra. What is official name of that color?

  9. […] I spent 7 days with the keys to a 2019 ILX A-Spec in Platinum White Pearl over red leather, which is basically a ‘second’ refresh of my 2013 I’ve already put 200,000 miles on. Here’s some of my feedback after getting an inside look. For the full review, read Drive to Five: […]

  10. For your 2013 ILX how many times have you changed the spark plugs after 215k miles?

  11. Interesting. I have a 2018 TLX with a similar 2.4 engine that I’m thinking of keeping long-term. Are Acura spark plugs platinum-tipped or something similar? Are there other items on the 100k/200k service list that you skipped because they weren’t needed?

    • The car has been really bulletproof. The only unscheduled thing I can think of was the starter at 194,000 miles. But it’s been 100% dealership serviced and they’ve never mentioned plugs. If you want to send me an email I’ll forward you a copy of my maintenance spreadsheet which shows everything done from new to now. My email is

      • Yo, it’s part of the Maintenance Minder 4 service. Probably around 110k miles. Maybe they replaced the plugs as part of a package?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: