2017 Acura ILX vs

2017 Acura ILX vs. Two thousand seventeen Audi A3: Compare Cars

People’s Vote

People’s Vote

2016 Acura ILX A-Spec

As the luxury market grows, driving a car with a luxury badge has become as much a way of affirming you’re on a path toward affluence and success as it is one that you’ve arrived. So it’s no surprise that most of the established luxury brands have extended their reach downward, to cars that aren’t just a little smaller but a bit more affordable, too.

And if you’re shopping for a vehicle that will buy you into the luxury fold, yet still be affordable and sensible-sized for urban lifestyles, the Audi A3 and Acura ILX should certainly on your list.

There are alternatives on the market—like the Mercedes-Benz CLA—that are flashier and more flamboyant; yet both the ILX and the A3 suggest slew of more conservative, elegant overtones (and undertones) to do the badge justice.

In both cases, it’s worth pointing out that you’re not getting fairly the pedigree you might find in either of these brands’ more expensive models. These two compact sedans do share some of their underpinnings with mainstream vehicles. The A3 goes after its own design but is built on some of the same underpinnings as the latest Volkswagen Golf and a host of other upcoming VW products. And it shares some of its powertrains (and their transverse layout) with VW’s puny car lineups. Yet the A3 offers all-wheel drive across the lineup—a key difference for those in snowy climates. The ILX, which is closely related to the Honda Civic, on the other forearm, is suggested only in front-wheel drive form.

You can see a bit of the Civic in some angles of the ILX’s design, even however it doesn’t share a single inch of sheetmetal and its much more lavishly trimmed dash goes after entirely different contours. Like much of the rest of the Acura lineup, it plays the conservative card on styling—although it’s missing a little of the magic that the TLX and RLX carry in their proportions. Meantime, you have to look closely to differentiate the A3 from the larger A4; it’s a scaled-down take on the A4 in some respects, and about the same size and proportions as the very first A4 from twenty years ago.

These two models skirt the line inbetween convenient, tech-savvy, and value-oriented on one side, and give you just enough of a taunt of sportiness and an engaging drive on the other side. Inbetween the basic versions of the A3 and the ILX, we think the ILX is the clear winner, tho’. That’s in part because Acura has gone and finessed what used to be the top engine on the ILX—a 201-hp, Two.0-liter four-cylinder engine—with direct injection, and made it standard for 2016. As well, they’ve added a standard seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission, and the two function harmoniously when the roads turn hilly and curvy. In the A3, you have a choice inbetween a base front-wheel-drive or an all-wheel drive model, both of which utilize the same Two.0-liter, 220-hp engine for 2017. A dual-clutch automatic gearbox is the only transmission.

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