2019 Acura ILX A-Spec First Drive: Finally, A Contender

Watchers of the auto industry have grown used to cars increasing in price at a regular rate. New cars cost more than their predecessors did. They just do. So when an automaker marches out and says it's slashing the price on a five-year-old car, it raises some eyebrows.

The 2019 Acura ILX has raised its share of eyebrows. The refreshed version of Acura's smallest sedan wears new skin and is now even more affordable, borrowing the $25,900 starting figure of the original 2013 ILX, while adding all the modern conveniences customers crave as standard. But is that enough to lure crossover-crazed customers into a new, more attractive compact sedan?

No, don't be silly.

While the ILX doesn't do enough to overcome the temptation of its high-riding rivals – a problem every compact sedan faces – it's a good buy for the clever few that recognize that CUVs aren't all they're cracked up to be. For these enlightened customers, the 2019 Acura ILX is an affordable counter to cars like the Audi A3 and the new Mercedes-Benz A-Class.

And that's largely because of what the ILX brings to the table. Even in its base $25,900 trim, the ILX comes standard with an advanced suite of active safety systems. AcuraWatch is, for all intents and purposes, a rebrand of Honda Sensing and packs much of the same gear: adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking, lane-departure warn...