The Acura ILX is a subcompact luxury sedan produced within 2012 – 2022, with models starting from 2013 to 2022.
ILX is not very popular, especially in the US where its sales volume has only taken a downward slope since rising in 2013. Could it be that the ride is not a very good car, or it just has stronger competitors for its MSRP?
Stay on this page to discover the best and worst Acura ILX years.
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The Best and Worst Years for Acura ILX Are:
The 2014, 2020, and the 2018 are the best Acura years so far. Contrarily, the 2013, 2016, 2019, and the 2021 are the years to avoid, most especially the 2013 model.
What Acura ILX Years Are the Most Reliable?
Below is a highlight of the most reliable Acura ILX years.
1. 2014 Acura ILX
The 2014 Acura ILX offers a significant upgrade to the interior comfort and rearward visibility of the driver. While still maintaining an affordable tag, a rearview camera, heated seats, and leather upholstery became standard in the ride.
This ILX model has better reliability rating while still boasting of attractive fuel economy. US News rates it 9.3/10 on safety, and it has a near excellent 7.9 overall rating. Edmunds also scores the 2014 ILX 4.7/5.
So, you can rely on this model year without minding the 38 complaints it has on CarComplaint.com.
More impressive is the fact that the 2014 Acura ILX ranks #8 out of 18 in 2014 luxury small cars rated by US News. This is the highest feat achieved by any ILX models so far.
Note that the faulty airbag inflator is one of the major issues with the Acura ILX models and the 2014 model isn’t spared from it.
The defective Takata Airbag inflator, which has been faulted and recalled in millions of vehicles, including the Acura ILX, is attributed to the airbag issue.
If you’re buying the car on a used deal, ensure you verify if the airbag issue has been fixed.
2. 2020 Acura ILX
The 2020 Acura ILX is another model you can rely on. It receives 7.3 out of 10 on US News, and JD Power gives it an excellent reliability score of 82%.
This model offers a more comfortable ride and boasts of a lot of standard features. The 2020 Acura ILX has received little to no serious complaint so far on NHTSA. Besides, there have been no major recalls on it as of the time of writing this article.
It is important to also note that this model comes only in one trim. So, users will enjoy its wealth of standard features without needing to upgrade on its cost.
3. 2018 Acura ILX
The Acura ILX recorded its lowest sales in the US in 2018. While this may have impacted the popularity of the 2018 version, the model has just 3 complaints so far on both NHTSA and CarComplaints combined.
A user had complained about the transmission noise and the weak suspension system. These are underlying issues with the Acura ILX, but there has been no wide concern about the transmission and suspension in this model so far.
Besides, that the model has no NHTSA complaint so far may prove its reliability.
Meanwhile, the 2018 Acura ILX comes with no major upgrade. The price still falls on the lower side amongst its rivals and its fuel economy remains impressive.
Mind you, this car is still not very fantastic in terms of its handling and ride quality. It’s just somewhat better than the worst model years.
US News rates the 2018 ILX 7.3/10, but places it on #17 out of 19 in 2018 luxury small cars. Edmunds also scores it 6.9/10 which is just a little above average.
What Acura ILX Years Should You Avoid?
Here are the Acura ILX years to avoid.
1. 2013 Acura ILX
With a classy exterior design and an attractive price range, the 2013 Acura ILX comes with loads of alluring feats. Many critics have compared this car with the Honda Civic. However, it is bigger and offers a more enhanced interior.
Powered by a 2.0L four-cylinder engine that makes 150 horsepower, the acceleration may not be very attractive for lovers of speed. However, the car boasts of an impressive fuel economy, at 24/35 mpg on city/highway drive.
The 2013 Acura ILX has also received some attractive reviews from Edmunds (4.8/5) and US News (7.4/10). This would have made a strong pass mark for the car if not for the more practical reviews from owners that revealed its blemishes.
While the 2013 Acura ILX has 187 user complaints, derived from NHTSA and CarComplaints, so far, its major issues are the airbag, the suspension, and the transmission system.
Several users have complained that the airbag failed to deploy when needed, leading to 3 different crash and injury reports.
There have also been concerns by some few drivers who reported the brake failing to come into effect while the car accelerates by itself. This has been reported by 5 different users on NHTSA who have used the car at an average of 35,000 miles.
Aside from the brake, another weakness of this car year is the suspension, which could be noisy and somewhat uncomfortable on bumps. It is best to avoid the 2013 Acura ILX regardless of its attractive price range.
2. 2016 Acura ILX
While Acura maintained a fair price tag for the 2016 ILX model, the brand seemed to backslide on its performance. Truly, the car offers extended standard features and more comfortable rear seats; its overall quality is not impressive.
Complaint about the ILX had already taken a downward slope in the 2014 and 2016 models. Even the decreasing popularity has moved up in 2015 until the 2016 ILX ushered in its own unique issues while taking up those of the 2013 version.
In the light of the 58 user complaints, which is the second highest recorded by CarComplaint, the drivetrain, the brake, airbag, and the transmission issues are worth being mentioned in the 2016 model.
Different owners have faulted the acceleration and the brake. Their major concern is the car accelerating even when the brake is applied.
Aside from the brake, another most popular issue with this model is the airbag. Whereas some owners have reported the failure of the airbag to deploy when needed, there was a disturbing issue about the bag exploding in times of need.
Although Acura had called for a recall of many ILX models because of some defects in the airbag, intended buyers should also be wary of the 2016 Acura ILX.
Another commonly reported issue with this model is the transmission. A few owners have complained about the disturbing clunking noise they hear when they depress the accelerator or make a shift in drive.
Regardless of being a more recent model, even Edmunds have only rated the 2016 ILX version 4.1/5, which is even below the 2013 model.
Please, also check our article on the popular SUVs with folding side mirrors.
3. 2019 Acura ILX
Ranked #22 out of 22 luxury small cars in 2019 by US News. That justifies how unimpressive the 2019 Acura ILX is when compared with its rivals.
Many other reviewers didn’t rate this model above average either. This is because the model had failed to upgrade its interior and overall performance.
Indeed, the 2019 Acura ILX comes with an upgrade to the infotainment system. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto have become available, but you shouldn’t expect less of an acclaimed luxury sedan.
In spite of the AcuraWatch standard safety features that also became a standard in this model, it has only received 2.5/5 on overall reliability on JD Power. This is unimpressively the lowest of all ILX models.
To amplify this, its overall 3.9/5 rating on Edmunds is also the lowest received by any Acura ILX models.
Make sure to also check out our article on the 11 great cars with push-button start.
4. 2021 Acura ILX
Probably due to the decreasing popularity of the Acura ILX model, the 2021 version has received just one complaint so far on both CarComplaint and NHTSA combined. Since this is a more recent model than its predecessors, only time will tell how reliable it is.
However, this model has only received an above average rating from critics in terms of its overall performance.
Acura ILX has been labeled by many critics as a sluggish ride, and this newer model didn’t offer a better upgrade.
Even the performance of the brake still lacks the brilliance you’d expect from a very modern ride. The cabin is also not impressive, as it can’t conquer the breezy effect of the wind and road noise while cruising forward.
While the price of the 2021 ILX is still relatively affordable for its class, you’ll only enjoy a true luxury in its premium trims.
Overall, this car is not a bad choice of a ride except that it is expected to offer a better upgrade to the older model. However, it is disappointedly rated below even the oldest ILX version.
Edmunds only gave it 6.6/10 while US News rate it 6.8/10.
What Are Some Typical Problems With the Acura ILX Models?
Below are the common issues with the Acura ILX models.
- Suspension problems
- Electrical issues
- Transmission failures
- Drivetrain issues
- Faulty Airbag system
For a more in-depth analysis, please take a look at our article about known issues with Acura ILX vehicles.
The sales of the Acura ILX in the US took a downward slope after its increase in 2013 by about 80%. The vehicle experienced a major decrease in sales in 2016, and its sales volume has decreased ever since.
Whereas the 2019 version lifted its sales a little, there was another slight decrease in 2020.
Before we conclude on the popularity of the Acura ILX, it is important to note that the car is not a very impressive ride. Mind you, ILX boasts of a very affordable price range amongst its rivals, in spite of its classy design.
Aside from the 2021 Acura ILX, all the latest ILX models are rated just average by reviewers. This is partly because of the luxurious image of the car and mainly because of their overall ride quality, especially when compared with other luxurious sedans.
These rides, however, boast of impressive interior design and luscious exterior body. As stated earlier, the Acura ILX is not a very popular ride yet. So, only time will tell how reliable the newer models are.
ⓘ The information in this article is based on data from National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recall reports, consumer complaints submitted to the NHTSA, reliability ratings from J.D. Power, auto review and rating sites such as Edmunds, specialist forums, etc. We analyzed this data to provide insights into the best and worst years for these vehicle models.