Makeover of Honda’s premium brand Acura will start this spring

Article by Christian A., on March 26, 2012

Honda Motor Co. is set to begin the redesign of its Acura luxury brand this spring. The timing could hardly be better since aside from the redesigned RDX compact crossover and the new ILX small sedan coming in spring, a preview of the refurbished RL flagship due this fall will be displayed at the New York motor show next month. Also, the volume-leading TL sedan and MDX mid-sized crossover are prepared for revamp for 2013.

By the end of 2014, the highly publicized NSX supercar is set to arrive. Six years ago, executives at Honda made a decision to bring the Acura brand upscale. They also cancelled the compact RSX hatchback, which is the brand's entry-level luxury offer and Integra's successor.

The timing could not have been worse because in less than three years, many of Acura's rivals publicized their intentions to provide products that suit the niches of Integra and the RSX. In addition, the worldwide economy had fallen and many buyers of premium automobiles pared back their purchases. Acura will go back to the entry-luxury segment with the ILX sedan in May.

The vehicle will have no hint of the RSX or Integra's sportiness. The brand is optimistic that it will appeal to the Generation Y clients. According to Acura Division general manager Jeff Conrad, the downfall of Lehman Brothers transformed the "philosophy for luxury purchases."

He explained that people are more logical in their buying decisions, taking pride in the transaction they strike." He noted that the Gen Y "aspires to luxury," but require "a little help getting there." The new range will showcase the ILX, TL, TSX and RL sedans. Conrad stated that the luxury brand has no intentions to eliminate any of these four sedans despite the fact that there is some overlap. He further explained that they have had a "pretty strong reliance" on sport-utilities and that they want to strengthen their sedans. He also disclosed that they are remaking the entire range "over the next few years."

Acura’s newest compact sedan, the 2013 ILX, is expected to serve as the door for new customers to become part of the brand. The main demographic being targeted by this model is the so-called Generation Y, people who are in their 20s or 30s who want luxury cars that deliver high value.

The 2013 ILX will offer three efficient and highly-advanced powertrains. The first of this is under the base model which is the 4-cylinder inline 2.0-liter engine capable of 150 hp at 6,500 rpm with peak torque of 140 lb.-ft. and available at 4,300 rpm.

Coupled with the automatic 5-speed Sequential SportShift transmission, EPA fuel efficiency rating is estimated to be 24 mpg for city and 32 mpg for highway. For those who want a more exciting drive, the second powertrain is the 2.4-liter engine having output at 210 hp and available at 7,000 rpm.

Maximum torque meanwhile is 170 lb.-ft. at 4,300 rpm. Paired to the manual 6-speed transmission having close ratio, fuel efficiency rating is 20 mpg for city and 29 mpg for highway. In addition to the two excellent powertrains, Acura will be launching the ILX Hybrid, its first hybrid vehicle. It makes use an Integrated Motor Assist electric motor with the inline 1.5-liter engine. This is then mated to the Continuously Variable Transmission.

Fuel economy rating for the engine is 35 mpg for city and 38 mpg in the highway. The 2013 ILX is not just about efficiency and performance as this is combined with a luxury and a design that is sporty and smooth. While it does continue to have an exterior that shows style and having aerodynamic qualities, the airy and large greenhouse ensures excellent visibility to the outside.

Since this luxury sedan can seat 5 passengers, the 2013 ILX has adequate space on the interior with enough space as well for the cargo. Even with this, it continues to have compact proportions, making it a good option especially for young professionals who are always on the move.

Topics: honda, acura

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