2020 Volkswagen GTI vs. 2020 Acura ILX

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

© 1999 - 2020 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2020/05/29

The GTI has a standard Automatic Post-Collision Braking System, which automatically applies the brakes in the event of a crash to help prevent secondary collisions and prevent further injuries. The ILX doesn’t offer a post collision braking system: in the event of a collision that triggers the airbags, more collisions are possible without the protection of airbags that may have already deployed.

Both the GTI and the ILX have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, front wheel drive, height adjustable front shoulder belts, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available lane departure warning systems and rear parking sensors.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does 35 MPH front crash tests on new vehicles. In this test, results indicate that the Volkswagen GTI is safer than the Acura ILX:

GTI

ILX

Driver

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Neck Compression

53 lbs.

56 lbs.

Leg Forces (l/r)

108/102 lbs.

57/324 lbs.

Passenger

STARS

4 Stars

4 Stars

Chest Compression

.4 inches

.5 inches

Neck Injury Risk

37%

40%

Leg Forces (l/r)

305/150 lbs.

768/623 lbs.

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does side impact tests on new vehicles. In this test, which crashes the vehicle into a post at 20 MPH, results indicate that the Volkswagen GTI is safer than the Acura ILX:

GTI

ILX

Into Pole

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Max Damage Depth

13 inches

14 inches

HIC

247

299

Spine Acceleration

45 G’s

56 G’s

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

For its top level performance in IIHS driver-side small overlap frontal, moderate overlap frontal, side impact, rear impact and roof-crush tests, its standard front crash prevention system, its “Acceptable” rating in the new passenger-side small overlap crash test, and its available headlight’s “Acceptable” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the GTI the rating of “Top Pick” for 2019, a rating granted to only 139 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The ILX was last qualified as a “Top Pick” in 2017.

Warranty

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The GTI’s corrosion warranty is 2 years longer than the ILX’s (7 vs. 5 years).

Volkswagen pays for scheduled maintenance on the GTI for 2 years and 20,000 miles. Volkswagen will pay for oil changes, lubrication and any other required maintenance. Acura doesn’t pay scheduled maintenance for the ILX.

There are over 2 times as many Volkswagen dealers as there are Acura dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the GTI’s warranty.

Reliability

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The Volkswagen GTI’s engine uses a cast iron block for durability, while the ILX’s engine uses an aluminum block. Aluminum engine blocks are much more prone to warp and crack at high temperatures than cast iron.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Volkswagen vehicles are more reliable than Acura vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Volkswagen 12th in reliability, above the industry average. With 40 more problems per 100 vehicles, Acura is ranked 26th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2019 Auto Issue reports that Volkswagen vehicles are more reliable than Acura vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Volkswagen 1 place higher in reliability than Acura.

Engine

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The GTI’s 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder produces 27 more horsepower (228 vs. 201) and 78 lbs.-ft. more torque (258 vs. 180) than the ILX’s 2.4 DOHC 4-cylinder.

As tested in Car and Driver the Volkswagen GTI is faster than the Acura ILX (automatics tested):

GTI

ILX

Zero to 60 MPH

5.6 sec

6.6 sec

Zero to 100 MPH

14.3 sec

17.2 sec

5 to 60 MPH Rolling Start

6.5 sec

7 sec

Quarter Mile

14.3 sec

15.2 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

100 MPH

94 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

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In heavy traffic or at stoplights the GTI Automatic’s engine automatically turns off when the vehicle is stopped, saving fuel and reducing pollution. The engine is automatically restarted when the driver gets ready to move again. (Start/Stop isn’t accounted in present EPA fuel mileage tests.) The ILX doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.

Environmental Friendliness

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In its Green Vehicle Guide, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rates the Volkswagen GTI higher (7 out of 10) than the Acura ILX (3). This means the GTI produces up to 24.5 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the ILX every 15,000 miles.

Transmission

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The GTI Automatic’s launch control uses engine electronics to hold engine RPM’s precisely in order to provide the most stable and rapid acceleration possible, using all of the available traction. The ILX doesn’t offer launch control.

Brakes and Stopping

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For better stopping power the GTI’s brake rotors are larger than those on the ILX:

GTI

ILX

Front Rotors

13.4 inches

12.3 inches

Rear Rotors

12.2 inches

11.1 inches

The GTI’s standard front and rear disc brakes are vented to help dissipate heat for shorter stops with less fading. The rear discs on the ILX are solid, not vented.

The GTI stops much shorter than the ILX:

GTI

ILX

70 to 0 MPH

159 feet

184 feet

Car and Driver

Tires and Wheels

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For better traction, the GTI has larger tires than the ILX (225/40R18 vs. 215/45R17).

The GTI’s tires provide better handling because they have a lower 40 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the ILX’s standard 45 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the GTI has standard 18-inch wheels. Smaller 17-inch wheels are standard on the ILX.

The GTI has a standard space-saver spare tire so you can replace a flat tire and drive to have the flat repaired or replaced. A spare tire isn’t available on the ILX; it requires you to depend on roadside assistance and your vehicle will have to be towed.

Suspension and Handling

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The GTI offers an available driver-adjustable suspension system. It allows the driver to choose between an extra-supple ride, reducing fatigue on long trips, or a sport setting, which allows maximum control for tricky roads. The ILX’s suspension doesn’t offer adjustable shock absorbers.

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the GTI is 1.2 inches wider in the front than on the ILX.

The GTI’s front to rear weight distribution is more even (60.4% to 39.6%) than the ILX’s (63% to 37%). This gives the GTI more stable handling and braking.

The GTI SE handles at .95 G’s, while the ILX A-SPEC pulls only .83 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

For better maneuverability, the GTI’s turning circle is 1 foot tighter than the ILX’s (35.8 feet vs. 36.8 feet).

Chassis

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The GTI is 1 foot, 2.2 inches shorter than the ILX, making the GTI easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

Passenger Space

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The GTI has 4.2 cubic feet more passenger volume than the ILX (93.5 vs. 89.3).

The GTI has .4 inches more front headroom, .3 inches more front shoulder room, 2.2 inches more rear headroom, 1.6 inches more rear legroom and .3 inches more rear shoulder room than the ILX.

Cargo Capacity

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The GTI has a much larger trunk with its rear seat up than the ILX (22.8 vs. 12.4 cubic feet).

To allow full utilization of available cargo room, the GTI’s hatch uses gas strut supported hinges that don’t intrude into the cargo area. Its intrusive beam hinge reduces the ILX’s useful trunk space.

The GTI’s standard folding rear seats are split to accommodate bulky cargo. The ILX’s standard single piece folding rear seat is not as flexible; long cargo and a passenger can’t share the rear seat.

Ergonomics

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The power windows standard on both the GTI and the ILX have locks to prevent small children from operating them. When the lock on the GTI is engaged the driver can still operate all of the windows, for instance to close one opened by a child. The ILX prevents the driver from operating the other windows just as it does the other passengers.

The GTI’s front and rear power windows all open or close fully with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside the car. The ILX’s rear power window switches have to be held the entire time to open or close them fully.

The GTI’s rain-sensitive wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically based on the amount of rainfall on the windshield. This allows the driver to concentrate on driving without constantly adjusting the wipers. The ILX’s intermittent wipers change speed with vehicle speed, but can’t turn on and off or change speed based on changing rainfall.

Heated windshield washer nozzles are standard on the GTI to prevent washer fluid and nozzles from freezing and help continue to keep the windshield clear in sub-freezing temperatures. The ILX doesn’t offer heated windshield washer nozzles.

To improve rear visibility by keeping the rear window clear, the GTI has a standard rear wiper. The ILX doesn’t offer a rear wiper.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) conducts detailed tests on headlights for their range both straight ahead and in curves and to be certain they don’t exceed acceptable amounts of glare to oncoming drivers. The GTI’s available headlights were rated “Acceptable” by the IIHS, while the ILX’s headlights are rated “Poor.”

While driving with high beams on, sensitive light sensors standard on the GTI Autobahn detect other vehicles which could be blinded and automatically switch to low beams. The ILX doesn’t offer automatic dimming high beams.

To help drivers avoid possible obstacles, the GTI SE/Autobahn has standard cornering lights to illuminate around corners when the turn signals are activated. The ILX doesn’t offer cornering lights. The GTI SE/Autobahn also has standard adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle.

Both the GTI and the ILX offer rear vents. For greater rear passenger comfort, the GTI has standard rear air conditioning vents to keep rear occupants cool in summer or warm in winter. The ILX doesn’t offer rear air conditioning vents, only heat vents.

The GTI Autobahn’s Park Assist can parallel park or back into a parking spot by itself, with the driver only controlling speed with the brake pedal. The ILX doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

Economic Advantages

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The GTI will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. The IntelliChoice estimates that the GTI will retain 45.13% to 46.99% of its original price after five years, while the ILX only retains 36.22% to 38.53%.

Recommendations

© 1999 - 2020 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2020/05/29

Consumer Reports® recommends the Volkswagen GTI, based on reliability, safety and performance.

The GTI was chosen as one of Car and Driver’s “Top Ten” for 14 of the last 14 years. The ILX has never been a Car and Driver “Top Ten” pick.

Motor Trend selected the GTI as their 2015 Car of the Year. The ILX has never been chosen.

The GTI was chosen as one of Automobile Magazine’s “All Stars” for 5 of the last 13 years. The ILX has never been an “All Star.”

The Volkswagen Golf/GTI outsold the Acura ILX by almost three to one during 2019.

© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.

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