Acura Automobiles: 2013 ILX

Internal testing* by Acura indicates that the new ILX should achieve top marks in both government (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) and independent (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety) crash testing. This includes a projected 5-Star Overall Vehicle Score in NHTSA’s latest New Car Assessment Program (NCAP) testing, and GOOD ratings in the Frontal, Side, Roof and Rear test categories by IIHS. Internal testing also indicates that the ILX should meet the IIHS requirements for a TOP SAFETY PICK.

The new ILX incorporates numerous passive safety technologies as standard equipment. These include the latest generation of Vehicle Stability Assist™ (VSA®), an Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) with Brake Assist, side-curtain airbags, front-side airbags with a passenger-side Occupant Position Detection System (OPDS) and a front seat design that can help reduce the severity of neck injury in the event of a rear collision. An Advanced Compatibility Engineering™ (ACE™) body structure helps make the ILX highly effective at absorbing and distributing the energy of a frontal crash.

Additional standard safety features include dual-stage, multiple-threshold front airbags (SRS), front seatbelts with automatic tensioning system and load limiters, and a pedestrian injury mitigation design in the front of the vehicle. Driver- and front-passenger seatbelt reminders and daytime running lights (DRL) are also standard equipment. A Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children (LATCH) child seat mounting system is standard for all ILX models. The lower anchors are positioned on the two outboard rear seat locations and the top tether is positioned on the top of the center seating position (near the rear package tray location).

* Official crash test data not available at time of publication.
** Government star ratings are part of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) New Car Assessment Program ( Models tested with standard side airbag.


  • Vehicle Stability Assist™ (VSA®) with traction control
  • ABS, Electronic Brake Distribution (EBD) and Brake Assist
  • Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS)


  • Advanced Compatibility Engineering™ (ACE™) body structure
  • 3-point seatbelts at all seating positions
  • Automatic tensioners with load limiters for front seatbelts
  • Dual-stage, multiple-threshold front airbags
  • Front-seat side airbags
  • Side curtain airbags
  • Lower Anchors and Tethers for CHildren (LATCH) system
  • Pedestrian injury mitigation design elements


Incorporating the latest Advanced Compatibility Engineering™ (ACE™) body structure technology, the ILX enhances occupant protection and crash compatibility in frontal collisions. The ACE™ design utilizes a network of connected structural elements to help distribute crash energy more evenly throughout the front of the vehicle. This enhanced frontal crash energy management helps to reduce the forces transferred to the passenger compartment and can help to more evenly disperse the forces transferred to other vehicles in a crash. Additionally, ACE™ helps minimize the potential for under-ride or over-ride situations that can happen during head-on or offset frontal impacts with a significantly larger or smaller vehicle.

Unlike most conventional designs that direct frontal crash energy only to the lower load-bearing structures in the front end, ACE™ actively channels frontal crash energy to both upper and lower structural elements— including the floor frame rails, side sills and A-pillars. By creating specifically engineered “pathways” that help distribute these frontal impact forces through a greater percentage of the vehicle’s total structure, the ACE™ system can more effectively route them around and away from the passenger compartment to help limit cabin deformation and further improve occupant protection. Integral to the ACE™ design is its unique front polygonal main design structure.


Structures in the front of the ILX are designed to help absorb energy in the event of a collision with a pedestrian. As a result of sufficient clearance between the hood and hard engine parts, the hood is designed to deform if contact is made with a pedestrian. Additional features include energy-absorbing fender brackets and deformable hood hinges.


The ILX has as standard equipment Vehicle Stability Assist™ (VSA®) which is an Electronic Stability Control system that works in conjunction with the vehicle’s Drive-By-Wire™ throttle system and 4-channel ABS system to enhance control while the vehicle is accelerating, braking, cornering or when the driver makes a sudden maneuver. VSA® functions by applying brake force to one or more wheels independently while simultaneously managing the throttle, ignition and fuel systems to control engine power with the goal to help the vehicle maintain the driver’s intended path of travel.

The VSA® system constantly analyzes data from six sensors that monitor wheel and vehicle speed, steering input, lateral G forces and yaw rate. VSA® compares the driver’s inputs with the vehicle’s actual response. Whenever the actual response falls outside of a predetermined acceptable range, VSA® intervenes with a corrective action. For example, if VSA® detects an oversteer condition, the system may apply braking force to the outside front and rear wheels to counteract the unintended yawing effect. In the event of understeer, VSA® may apply braking to the inside rear wheel while reducing engine power to help return the car to its intended course.

VSA® also provides a limited-slip differential effect for the front wheels by applying braking force to a slipping wheel, thereby redirecting driving force to the wheel with more traction. VSA® is calibrated to function in a nearly transparent manner, and in many cases a driver will not be aware of its operation. However, any time that the system is enhancing vehicle stability, an indicator light flashes in the instrument cluster. While the driver can deactivate the VSA® stability enhancement and traction-control functions via a switch located on the instrument panel, ABS remains fully operational at all times.

A new and additional type of control algorithm in the VSA® system enables more responsive handling under icy or slippery conditions. The concept for this additional algorithm is based on patented knowledge gained from humanoid robotics research and development work.

The conventional VSA® feedback loop, which operates by comparing the actual vehicle course with the intended course based on an ideal vehicle response, is augmented by additional control applied via a secondary feedback loop. This additional feedback loop is a type of filter that in effect quickens the estimation of the intended path (based on the driver’s inputs) and acts in parallel to the conventional “actual versus intended course” stability control, and is used to augment that control.

Like conventional VSA®, the additional control loop also considers steering wheel angle, yaw rate, wheel speeds, throttle pedal angle, vehicle acceleration and other variables. VSA® then lightly brakes individual wheels as needed, to predicatively direct the vehicle along its intended path, and is able to induce more yaw more quickly than conventional VSA® on low friction roads. This advanced VSA® system control loop results in faster reacting stability control and reduced transient understeer, which may occur on icy or other slippery roads. This makes the vehicle more responsive, improving path accuracy, and enhancing the fun-to-drive character that is a trademark of Acura vehicles.


A function of the VSA® system, the Brake Assist feature recognizes emergency braking situations and almost instantly helps the driver apply full braking force. This Brake Assist feature is controlled by special logic that evaluates the pedal application rate and force to recognize a panic stop situation. At that point, the VSA® modulator pump increases braking pressure while the pedal is still being pressed to ensure maximum stopping force, an action that helps shorten braking distance significantly.


All models of the ILX are fitted with four-wheel disc brakes with 4-wheel disc brakes with vented front rotors and solid rear rotors. The ABS system also incorporates Electronic Brake Distribution (EBD) circuitry that automatically proportions brake force based on the vehicle’s weight distribution.


Both the driver and front passenger seating positions have advanced front airbags (SRS) that incorporate dual-stage, multiple-threshold activation technology. One or both of these airbags will be deployed only in the event of a sufficient frontal impact. If deployed, these airbags are capable of being inflated at different rates depending on crash severity, seatbelt usage and other factors. Like all Acura vehicles, the driver’s front airbag is located in the steering wheel while the passenger airbag is located in the top of the dashboard.


Driver’s and front passenger’s side airbags (mounted in the outboard area of each front seatback) are designed to help provide thorax protection in the event of a severe side impact. In addition, the front passenger seat is equipped with the Occupant Position Detection System (OPDS), an innovative system designed to deactivate the side airbag if a child (or small-stature adult) leans into the side airbag deployment path. When the passenger returns to an upright seating position, the side airbag reactivates so it can deploy to help protect the occupant in a side impact. The OPDS utilizes weight sensors and sensors in the passenger seatback to determine the height and position of the occupant.


All outboard seating positions include as standard equipment a side curtain airbag system. The side curtain airbags deploy from modules in each roof rail in the event of a sufficient side impact, providing a significant level of head protection in the window area. Like the other airbag systems in the vehicle, the side curtain system utilizes sensors to determine the most appropriate timing and rate of deployment of the airbags.


Three-point seatbelts are standard for all seating positions. The front seatbelts are equipped with automatic tensioners and load limiters to help minimize injury potential in a frontal collision. When an impact occurs, the automatic tensioner tightens the seatbelt (shoulder and lap) to help hold the seat occupant firmly in position. Each front seatbelt retractor incorporates a load limiter that works in conjunction with the automatic tensioner. The load limiter functions by permitting a small amount of controlled seatbelt slack shortly after the automatic tensioner is activated to limit the peak restraining forces, thus reducing the potential of serious injury. The front seatbelts also feature adjustable height shoulder anchors. To help increase seat-belt usage, a reminder for the driver and front passenger has been incorporated into the instrument cluster. After starting the vehicle, a weight sensor detects whether the front passenger seat is occupied. If the driver or front passenger has not already fastened the seat belt, an icon in the cluster illuminates and a chime sounds as a reminder to do so.


The driver and front passenger seats are designed to help mitigate the severity of neck injuries in the event of a rear impact. A wide spring range is incorporated in the seatback and bottom cushions.


The front and rear seats feature individually adjustable head restraints for all passenger seating positions. All rear head restraints comply with the latest Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS) for rear passenger head restraints that took effect for all-new 2011-model-year-and-later vehicles. The rules closely specify the size, position and operation of the rear-seat head restraints.


Lower Anchors and Tethers for CHildren (LATCH) provide a simple and convenient method to install compatible child safety seats in a vehicle. In all models of the ILX, the rear outboard seating positions are fitted with dedicated LATCH attachment points. The LATCH system features built-in, ready-to-use anchors allowing compatible child safety seats to be installed without using the vehicle’s seat belt system. In addition, the rear center seating position features a tether anchor (located at the top of the seat near the rear package tray) that can be used to secure a single child safety seat. The ability to choose which location works best for individual needs can help families more conveniently maximize interior space. 


The ILX is fitted with a Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) that alerts the driver whenever the air pressure in one or more of the vehicle’s tires decrease significantly below the recommended level. Using four sensors (one in each tire), TPMS monitors and transmits information on tire air pressure to the ECU. When the pressure in one or more tires drops to a potentially critical level, it causes a low tire-pressure indicator (located in the instrument cluster) to illuminate.


Acura operates two of the world’s most sophisticated crash test laboratories specifically created for the development of improved safety designs and technologies. The Tochigi facility in Japan contains the world’s first indoor multi-directional car-to-car crash testing facility and plays a critical role in the development of enhanced designs for occupant safety, pedestrian injury mitigation and vehicle-to-vehicle compatibility.

Acura RD America’s development center in Raymond, Ohio performs advanced testing on all North American-developed models. The facility features the world’s first pitching test sled, which aids efficiency by enabling economical and speedy crash-test simulations with certain interior safety components (such as seats and seatbelts) prior to conducting a crash test with an actual vehicle. The facility also features one of the world’s highest-resolution impact barriers, which enables precise measurement of the distribution of crash impact load forces on a vehicle.

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