US: Acura has high hopes for refreshed ILX sedan image

Honda’s luxury arm, Acura, has been struggling to compete in the booming compact luxury sedan segment as it landed first in the niche with its once-groundbreaking ILX model.

But things didn’t go out as planned and the Japanese brand has continuously lost pace when facing the newer opponents – such as Mercedes-Benz’s CLA four-door coupe or the Audi A3 sedan. When it comes to the first ten months of the year, the Acura ILX has dropped 16.2%, while the October figures showed an even steeper dive of 19.3%. But the Honda luxury division has high hopes for the 2016 Acura ILX, which was just officially unveiled in front of the Los Angeles Auto Show audience.

The update is not your traditional run-of the mill model year upgrade, as the company opted for an unusually early mid-cycle refresh that should resolve the issues with the outgoing model: there’s a tweaked appearance, more power and plenty of new technologies available. Although Acura managed to swiftly identify the rapid emergence of the compact luxury sedan segment, Mike Accavitti, the head of the Acura division acknowledged “the world changed a bit by” the time Honda took to bring the first ILX to life, in 2013. To the original concept, of fuel economy and affordability, they now added power and efficiency – a new 2.4-liter 16-valve iVTEC engine mated to an 8-speed DCT gearbox.