Over the next 18 months, Honda will revamp and reposition its Acura range as well as discard its long quest of top-tier luxury-car status for the brand. For several years, Honda has been trying to boost Acura into the front ranks to compete with Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Lexus. But Honda will settle for providing mid-level premium vehicles that favor fuel economy over performance. But there’s one exception.
The Acura NSX, which is a rival to the Ferrari, will be displayed at the Detroit auto show next month. Honda will bring back a new version of the mid-engine supercar that ended in 2005 after having been around for 15 years.
The NSX will use a compact, direct-injection V-6 teamed with a lithium ion battery pack rather than a monster engine. To recalibrate the Acura, three new or redesigned sedans will be rolled out in the next 18 months, including a smaller compact and a bigger flagship.
Honda Motor Co. CEO Takanobu Ito said that the company isn’t contented with the present positioning of Acura and would want to display interesting and pleasing technologies and demonstrate an outstanding environmental performance.
Acura is developing the ILX compact sedan, which is built on Honda's global Civic platform. It will debut in the spring. It replaces the ageing TSX that used the structure of the European Accord. Due next fall is a redesigned RL flagship that is bigger than the current version.
A redesigned mid-sized TL sedan is expected to follow in the spring of 2013. During a briefing for dealers and the media, Vicki Poponi, American Honda assistant vice president for product planning, said that its sedans “haven't been doing the job for the brand."
Through the 2013 Acura ILX compact sedan, Acura hopes that this will help the brand position itself to target new customers. Specifically, the brand is focusing on Generation Y, a group of people in their 20s to 30s who want luxury cars that deliver high-value propositions. Three innovative powertrains will be made available to choose from, all of which are efficient and athletic.
It will also have what may be the first gas electric hybrid from Acura. Powering the base level ILX will be the 4-cylinder 2.0-liter inline engine capable of 150 hp at 6,500 rpm with peak torque at 140 lb.-ft. coming at 4,300 rpm. This engine is coupled with the automatic 5-speed Sequential SportShift transmission resulting in EPA-estimated fuel economy of city at 24 mpg and highway at 32 mpg.
Indeed, with an athletic and smother appearance, the 2013 ILX is able to combine efficiency with performance and luxury. The exterior has a design that has aerodynamic efficiency while highlighting its style. It also has an airy and large greenhouse which allows for remarkable outside visibility. For the 2013 ILX, it has rather compact proportions for a luxury sedan that can carry five passengers.
Aside from offering an interior with ample space for the passengers, there is also enough space for cargo. All of these are qualities that a number of young professionals who are always on the go prefer. Acura Design Studio Head Jon Ikeda shared that for those who buy luxury cars for the first time, the priorities are generally on affordability, environment-friendliness, and exterior styling.
All of these, he added, are in the new 2013 Acura ILX. The goal of coming out with this new model was to offer the ILX as the first option for young buyers who want to be part of the luxury market, he continued.