2016 Acura ILX
When the Acura ILX arrived for 2013, even we had a hard time not dwelling too much on its civic-minded origins. Fortunately for Acura, the ILX did appeal to buyers; more importantly, to that holy grail of demographics, elusive younger buyers. So, let’s see if that group might find a new ILX even more appealing.
While the 2016 Acura ILX is not all-new, as far as mid-cycle re-freshing goes, this one is quite thorough.
Now assembled in Honda’s Marysville, Ohio plant right alongside the recently introduced mid-size TLX. And, much like it, the compact ILX takes the majority of its design cues from Acura’s flagship RLX, yet also adds enough sporty elements to keep those 20 and 30-somethings interested.
So understandably Acura’s Jewel-Eye headlights are now standard; as well as an aggressive looking front fascia with large air intakes down below.
ILX wheelbase is unchanged at 105.1-inches, as are most exterior dimensions, save for overall length which grows by almost 3-inches. A-SPEC trim adds a rear spoiler, sweet-looking 10-spoke 18-inch machined-finished alloy wheels with 225/40 tires, fog lights, and some tacked-on rocker trim.
Inside, it augments the seats with Luxe-suede coverings, and adds sport pedals to what has become a very roomy and increasingly premium feeling interior. Other highlights include adopting the familiar Honda/Acura dual screen center stack, and making a multitude of additional AcuraWatch radar and camera-based safety systems, like Collision Mitigation and Lane Keeping, available.
Push button ignition and a Multi-View rear camera are standard. The Tech Plus package adds navigation with AcuraLink, as well as a color Multi-Information Display in the sporty looking gauge panel and 415-watt ELS premium audio with 10-speakers.
The front seating area is indeed spacious, and surprisingly luxurious in feel; very reminiscent of the TLX and RLX. The seats are quite comfortable in back as well; but head and knee room are both insufficient for full-size adults. Cargo space is unchanged at 12.3 cubic-ft. and the area is well-finished.
A folding rear seatback is standard, but it’s a single piece, not split; and the only release is located in the trunk. It’s probably the only remaining real reminder of this ride’s economy car roots.
Perhaps because of the shorter attention span of all of those younger buyers, engine options have been simplified; with now just a 2.4-liter I4 available. The direct-injected piece outputs 201–horsepower and 180 lb-ft. of torque. Gone, are the base 2.0-liter I4 and, at least for now, the ILX Hybrid.
Attached to the 2.4 is an 8-speed DCT, but unlike most dual-clutch units; there’s a slushbox-style torque converter to maintain the feel of a traditional automatic, particularly when accelerating from a stop.
Most of our drivers had good things to say about the trans, and the overall surprisingly sporty driving experience as well; though like many 8-speeds, it can at times be in a hurry to find higher gears.
Of course you can learn a lot more about a car on the track, and here we were equally impressed with how nicely the ILX handled our slalom test. Accurate turn-ins without a peep of understeer, and a well-balanced chassis had us scooting through the cones with ease.
The body structure has been stiffened; and the MacPherson strut front, multi-link rear suspension re-tuned.
But, there’s not really enough power to get you into too much trouble; as we found out when doing straight-line runs.
It took us a leisurely - for a sporty sedan - 7.1-seconds to hit 60, and 14.7 to finish out the ¼ at 93 miles-per-hour. There was zero torque steer at launch, and not a lot of grunt either. But the engine does rev quickly, and like most 4’s pulls strongest in the upper rev ranges. Shifts were quick and firm.
Braking from 60 averaged a good 121-feet. Stability was excellent and fade minimal.
Government Fuel Economy Ratings are 25-City, 36-Highway, and 29-Combined. We averaged a very good 31.6 miles-per-gallon on Premium fuel. So, the Energy Impact Score is much better than average with 11.4-barrels of oil ingested yearly, while expelling 5.0-tons of CO2.
Pricing for the ILX starts at a very sensible $28,820. And even the top line A-SPECs starts at just $35,810.
It’s an unfortunate truism that the more successful you become, the harder it is to become more successful. But we think Acura is certainly heading in a great direction now. And injecting the 2016 Acura ILX with both more performance and more prestige will ensure that it not only stays appealing to those hip, young trendsetters, but it will become a whole lot more appealing to a broader spectrum of sport-luxury sedan buyers.
- Engine: 2.4 liter
- Horsepower: 201
- Torque: 180 lb-ft.
- 0-60 mph: 7.1 seconds
- 1/4 mile: 14.7 seconds @ 93 mph
- EPA: 25 mpg city/ 36 mpg highway
- Energy Impact: 11.4 barrels of oil/yr
- CO2 Emissions: 5.0 tons/yr
2023 GMC Canyon
Canyon Goes Bigger
Most people know the GMC Canyon as the Chevrolet Colorado’s professional grade cousin. And while that sounds like just marketing speak, with an all-new design of GM’s midsize truck platform comes more genuine brand separation. So, let’s see what the third-gen GMC Canyon delivers in real time!
Small trucks are once again a big deal, and part of the reason is that they are no longer small. There’s not much about this 2023 GMC Canyon that resembles the ¼-ton Sonomas, S-10s, Rangers, and Datsun trucks that were wildly popular in the 1980s.
Of course, then, people were willing to sacrifice certain “big-truck” things for an easier to use and more economical pickup experience. Well, we don’t seem to be big on compromise for much of anything these days, and the current midsize crop of trucks deliver more than ever. So fittingly, the 2023 Canyon will be available as a Crew Cab only with a 5-foot bed. No more extended cab or long bed options. Wheelbase is about 3-inches longer than before, with the front wheels pushed more towards the front. It definitely looks tougher, and they’ve even eliminated the much-hated front air dam that protruded well below the front bumper.
The Canyon also comes exclusively with the high-output version of GM’s 2.7-liter turbocharged I-4, with a stout 310-horsepower and 430 lb-ft. of torque. At times it feels even more powerful than those numbers would indicate, with its diesel-like torque delivery enabling a best-in-class max tow rating of 7,700-lbs. No choice of transmission either, strictly 8-speed automatic, but you can still decide whether you want rear or 4-wheel-drive.
At minimum, ground clearance is 9.6-inches, which is more than an inch taller than last year, and almost 2-inches over Chevy’s base Colorado. And since it’s all about the off-road packages these days, our AT4 tester comes with 4-wheel drive, off-road suspension, locking rear diff, 2-speed transfer case, hill descent control, and 18-inch wheels with all-terrain tires.
And that’s just where things get started, as at the top of the heap, there’s a new AT4X with 10.7-inches of ground clearance, enhanced front and rear e-locking differentials, 33-inch mud terrain tires, Multimatic dampers, and an additional Baja Drive Mode. We’ll have more on the AT4X real soon.
But for all Canyons, including this AT4, GMC went tech-heavy, as all get 11-inch infotainment screens and a fully digital driver display in either 8 or 11-inches. Plus, an available head up display comes with most trims, and there are even optional underbody cameras.
Unique AT4 features include a Jet Black and Timber interior motif with stitched logos on the leather front seats. Those seats are definitely comfortable, and it feels maybe a tad roomier than before, but still well shy of the sprawling space in a full-size truck. It’s even more noticeable in the rear, though there are more practical storage options back here.
The AT4 gets a sliding rear window, along with a tailgate storage system to complement the integrated ruler, and bed side-mounted 120-volt power outlet. The Canyon already delivered one of the best rides in the midsize class, and the taller suspension seems to only improve on that; it’s not quite crossover plush, but certainly great for a body on frame truck.
Though the higher ground clearance and off-road emphasis kept it from being a track star. Indeed, healthy amounts of understeer and body roll greeted us in our handling course. It was a little hesitant off the line in speed runs, but once rolling, power poured on steadily. 0-60 in only 7.5-seconds, and through the ¼-mile in 15.6-seconds at 91 miles-per-hour.
Government Fuel Economy Ratings for the AT4 are 17-City, 21-Highway, and 19-Combined; we averaged an acceptable 18.2 miles-per-gallon of Regular. Pricing starts with a 2-wheel-drive Elevation at $38,395. That puts it at midlevel Chevrolet Colorado, with is consistent with the mission of the new Canyon. All other trims come with 4-wheel drive, this AT4 starting at $45,395, and the AT4X now eclipsing Denali as the highest offering at $56,995.
So, as small trucks have grown, so has the price of entry. But if that doesn’t scare you off, there is no denying the 2023 GMC Canyon is yes bigger, but also bolder and badder than before. Does that necessarily make it better? We say positively yes!
- Engine: 2.7L Turbo-4
- Horsepower: 310
- 0-60 mph: 7.5 seconds
- 60-0 Braking: 121 feet (avg)
- MW Fuel Economy: 18.2 mpg (Regular)
- Transmission: 8-speed auto
- Torque: 430 lb-ft.
- 1/4 Mile: 15.6-seconds at 91 mph
- EPA: 17 City / 21 Highway / 19 Combined