January 18, 2013 4:42 PM | By David Booth for MSN Autos with Justin Couture, MSN Autos online editor

Comparison: 2013 Acura ILX vs. Buick Verano



2013 Acura ILX Tech vs. 2013 Buick Verano Leather (© Photo: Justin Couture)
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  • 2013 Acura ILX Tech vs. 2013 Buick Verano Leather (© Photo: Justin Couture)
  • 2013 Acura ILX Tech vs. 2013 Buick Verano Leather (© Photo: Justin Couture)
  • 2013 Acura ILX Tech vs. 2013 Buick Verano Leather (© Photo: Justin Couture)
  • 2013 Acura ILX Tech (© Photo: Justin Couture)
  • 2013 Acura ILX Tech (© Photo: Justin Couture)
  • 2013 Acura ILX Tech (© Photo: Justin Couture)
  • 2013 Acura ILX Tech (© Photo: Justin Couture)
  • 2013 Acura ILX Tech (© Photo: Justin Couture)
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2013 Acura ILX Tech vs. 2013 Buick Verano Leather

The battle for affordable luxury heats up
If, a decade or more ago, you had even suggested comparing a Buick — any Buick — to anything wearing an Acura badge, you would have been laughed right out of auto journalism. The once storied American brand had fallen into such disrepute, its cars so boring, its image so bland that it was the butt of now politically-incorrect, ageist jokes. Buick was the example that David Letterman trotted out whenever he wanted to illustrate how truly old someone was. Buicks were the kind of car that your dad's dad drove.

2013 Acura ILX Tech (© Photo: Justin Couture)

Acura, meanwhile, was a brand ascendant. Along with Honda, it was at the height of its powers, its reputation for reliability legendary and its promise of Teutonic-like luxury at Japanese prices attracting ever more customers. The thought of an elderly Buick taking on a spry Acura would have simply been ludicrous.

And yet, the surprise — ruining any suspense for the eventual outcome of this toe-toe comparison — is quite how well the Buick Verano fared when we recently tested it back-to-back with Acura's new ILX. And not in just such relatively easily-contested areas such as content and size, but in the engineering nitty-gritty of robust chassis and sophisticated powertrains.

(Continued): Chassis matters
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