The Acura ISX is the company’s current subcompact executive model – and its first subcompact car since the discontinuation of the Integra in 2001. Whilst not at all new at this point, Acura has recently facelifted the ISX for the 2019 model year. So with that in mind, what has changed to keep what is now a seven-year-old design fresh against the competition?
Starting with the outside, and what strikes the eye instantly is the sharper styling that the ISX now proudly wears. Sporting the new family ‘diamond pentagon’ signature grille, the lines are now far more angular and arguably aggressive throughout the exterior when compared to the previous update from 2016.
The interior continues to broadly stay similar to the older updates of the ISX, but Acura has made sure to keep the car up to date with technology. As such, you can now spec the car with Apple’s CarPlay and Google’s Android Auto, which ensures the car stays up to date despite being on sale for so long.
Previously, the ISX came with a relatively wide range of engine and transmission options, with the choice between 2.0l, 2.4l or 1.5l hybrid motors, and either a 6-speed manual or an 8-speed automatic. The 2019 ISX however keeps things as simple as things can be, with the 2.4l motor mated with the 8-speed auto being your only choice today. With 201bhp and 180lb/ft, the car can sprint from 0-60 in 6.6 seconds, and top out at 130MPH. The engine has been described by some reviewers as a bit flat in low rev ranges, but the gearbox itself is responsive to changes in throttle input – lessening the issue to some degree.
Acura claims 24MPG city, 34 highway, and a 28 combined figure. That puts the ISX on a competitive level economy-wise, but it’s not class-leading. Given the need to rev out the motor to achieve speed in the ISX, it has the potential to be a gas-guzzling car for a four cylinder.
The sector that the Acura competes in is quite fierce, which could explain why Acura has felt the need to update the ISX again after just a couple of years. The Honda Civic Sedan is offers a far lower starting price ($18,000 vs. $26,000), and comes with a larger trunk, better fuel economy, and generally a more up-to-date design. Don’t discount the $19,500 Mazda 3, either, with its fresh design, excellent safety options, and features a new, efficient 2.5l ‘Skyactiv’ motor.
More upmarket choices include the Audi A3 and Mercedes CLA, both of which offer far superior quality in terms of the interior, and have efficient turbocharged motors. It’s worth mentioning, however, that these cars have a far higher starting price, and it’s easy to push them to the $40k mark with a few options specified.
As a new buy in 2019, the ISX is a handsome and solid car that presents no major flaws. However, with the fresh-faced competition offering superior value for money and quality interiors, it’s hard to ignore the ISX is quintessentially old.