It has become increasingly evident that America’s compact sedan consumers aren’t terribly interested in a semi-premium-branded version of a previous-generation Honda Civic.
But for 2018, the Acura ILX gains a new Special Edition. Ah, that’ll do the trick.
For the most part, the 2018 Acura ILX continues to operate essentially as a 2017 Acura ILX: a 201-horsepower 2.4-liter four-cylinder hooked up to an eight-speed dual-clutch automatic in base, Premium, and Tech trims. Prices range from $29,050 to $36,050, up $110-$120 compared with MY2017.
But just half a rung above the basic $29,050 2018 Acura ILX you will find a similarly equipped ILX, only with the A-Spec bodykit already available on the ILX Premium Â and ILX Tech.Â That means the 2018 Acura ILX Special Edition ramps up the base cost by $800 to $29,700 but adds 18-inch wheels and the A-Spec’s side sills and rear spoiler.It’s hardly the kind of stuff that will excite legions of Integra fanatics who’ve long since felt abandoned by Honda’s upmarket brand, but the Special Edition is certainly an upgrade from the humble-looking base model. The ILX was introduced five years ago, but after sales peaked at more than 20,000 units in its first full year, volume tumbled below 15K by 2016. Through the first nine months of 2017, ILX volume has plunged by more than a fifth. A monthly average of just 1,000 U.S. ILX sales represents a 40-percent drop compared with 2013.
And is it any wonder? The ILX isÂ not a bad car â€” it performs well, is sufficiently spacious, and is suitably equipped. But reaching deep into the $30K range with a car that feels every inch a last-gen Civic requires a major leap when the new version of the cheaper car has been on sale for two years,Â especially when a revamped 2018 Acura TLX, Acura’s larger and more refined sedan, starts at $33,950.
Yet a basic Acura ILX that doesn’t look like a basic ILX? That’s just what the doctor ordered… five years ago.
Timothy Cain is a contributing analyst at The Truth About Cars and Autofocus.ca and the founder and former editor ofÂ GoodCarBadCar.net. Follow on Twitter @timcaincars and Instagram.