Comparison between the 2021 Mazda3 and the 2021 Acura ILX

The 2021 Mazda3 has high-end ambitions, but how does it stack up against the 2021 Acura ILX? Let’s see how they compare.

2021 Mazda3

2021 Mazda3 starting price: $ 20,650 | Price yours or View listings near you

Above average: Commit to driving; all-wheel drive available; luxury interior; choice of body styles; powerful turbo engine option.

Below average: Limited space in the rear seats; rear visibility of the tailgate.

Consensus: The 2021 Mazda3 is a premium offering, especially at the top of its model lineup. This lineup includes three engines, automatic or manual transmissions, available all-wheel drive, and sedan or hatchback body styles.

Acura ILX 2021

2020 Acura ILX

Starting price of the Acura ILX 2021: $ 26,100 | Price yours or View listings near you

Above average: Agile handling; high resale value.

Below average: One choice of engine; the basic infotainment system lacks smartphone mirroring; all-wheel drive not available.

Consensus: The Acura ILX carries a luxury nameplate but is priced closer to that of mainstream brands. With a high resale value and low cost of ownership over 5 years, this makes the ILX good value for money. But there’s only one powertrain, and functionality is limited.

Mazda3 vs ILX: top-of-the-range compacts


2021 Mazda3 Turbo

The sporty and fun-to-drive 2021 Mazda3 offers superior handling and a host of premium features. Sedan and hatchback body styles are available. The hatch is the most versatile luggage carrier, but suffers from large blind spots in the rear.

The cockpit is, however, upscale in design and features and can be fitted with a head-up display, navigation system, power seat with memory, and leather. All versions include a list of active safety features, though Blind Spot Monitoring and Rear Cross Traffic Alert come in at the mid-level.

Unusually for this segment, Mazda offers all-wheel drive as an option. The available shifter is even rarer, but it is reserved for a single body style and a single trim level. Three engines are available: The base 2.0-liter four with 155 horsepower serves as the price leader. Most versions use a 2.5-liter engine developing 186 horsepower paired with a 6-speed automatic transmission.

At the top is a 2.5-liter turbo, developing up to 250 horsepower and 320 lb-ft of torque. It comes standard with all-wheel drive and can be used with either body style.

Acura ILX

2020 Acura ILX A-Spec

The ILX is the entry-level model of Acura, a compact sedan based on a transverse engine and front-wheel drive architecture. All ILX models are powered by a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder developing 201 horsepower and mated to an 8-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. Fuel economy is 24/34 mpg city / highway.

Acceleration is adequate and handling is responsive, but the engine needs to rev up to get the most out of it since peak torque of 180 lb-ft only comes in at 3,600 rpm. The riding position is comfortable, but the ILX’s rear seat is small, as is the trunk at just 12.4 cubic feet.

ILX is a multi-year class winner of the KBB 5-Year Purchase Cost Award. It is available in four trim levels: Basic, Premium, A-Spec with Premium and A-Spec with Technology. The base car features a sunroof, power seats, heated front seats, adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assist and forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking. The Premium adds leather, blind spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, satellite radio and an 8-inch touchscreen.

The A-Spec gets exterior elements in dark chrome and black, a rear spoiler, 18-inch wheels and leather and Ultrasuede upholstery with contrasting stitching. The Technology Pack adds premium ELS navigation and audio among other features. The basic infotainment system is only a 5-inch screen and lacks Android Auto or Apple CarPlay.


Responsive handling; compact dimensions; 5 Star NHTSA Security.

Advantages Mazda3 2021

Fuel economy; optional turbo engine power; all-wheel drive available; superior infotainment system; low starting price.

Advantages Acura ILX 2021

More powerful standard motor; longer warranty; resale value

Which one is right for me?

The 2021 Mazda3, especially in its turbo-powered top trims, competes convincingly with other high-end compacts. It offers a choice of body styles, engines and all-wheel drive.

The 2021 Acura ILX offers sporty handling, crisp looks and optional packages like the A-Spec variant. However, it comes with a single front-wheel drive-only transmission.

Ready to buy a Mazda3 or an Acura ILX? Buy one on sale now near you

2021 Mazda3 Acura ILX 2021
Popular powertrains
Motor 2.0 liter I-4 2.4 liters I-4
Powerful 155 hp @ 6,000 rpm 201 hp at 6,800 rpm
Couple 150 lb-ft @ 4000 rpm 180 lb-ft @ 3,600 rpm
Transmission 6-speed automatic 8-speed DCT automatic
Fuel economy 31 mpg (28 city / 36 highway) 28 mpg (24 city / 34 highway)
Also available 2.5 liters I4; 2.5 liter turbo I4; 6-speed manual; AWD n / A
guarantee 3 years / 36,000 miles 4 years / 50,000 miles
Powertrain warranty 4 years / 50,000 miles 6 years / 70,000 miles
NHTSA Global Security 5 stars 5 stars
Maximum seating capacity 5 5
Wheelbase 107.3 inch 105.1 inch
Total length 183.5 inch 182.2 inch
Width 70.7 inch 70.6 inch
Height 56.9 inch 55.6 inch
Turning diameter 37.3 feet 36.8 feet
Headroom, forward 38.0 inch 38.0 inch
Headroom, aft 37.3 inch 35.9 inch
Legroom, front 42.2 inch 42.3 inch
Legroom, rear 35.7 inch 34.0 inch
Shoulder room, front 56.2 inch 55.6 inch
Shoulder room, rear 55.3 inch 53.6 inch
EPA passenger volume 96.0 cubic feet 89.3 cubic feet
EPA cargo volume 14.4 cubic feet 12.4 cubic feet

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