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'American Coyotes' Series

Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

By The Miami Herald
Friday, Nov. 9, 2012, 8:55 p.m.
 

If the all-new 2013 Acura ILX were the new kid in the 'hood, he might find himself up against a quizzical bunch.

Some would ask: Whatever happened to that other entry-level guy from Acura, the Integra? And the one that followed, the RSX? And some might suggest that he looks awfully familiar — a lot like his kin, the Honda Civic.

Just who are you, anyway?

Well, the ILX would say he's the newest gateway to the Acura brand. Acura folks hope it serves to introduce the brand to those who want a bit more refinement with their fun, and then maybe will stay with the brand down the road when they have more money to spend.

While it gets its platform from the ninth-generation Honda Civic and inherits a good number of its parts, the ILX is slightly wider and longer, has engineering all its own and an interior that is striking and says anything but Civic.

Up front it has its own rendition of Acura's pointy-nosed grille, a lower roofline than the Civic and inflated rear fenders that give it a broader look.

And, once on the road, the ILX's upgraded chassis (for better handling) and more responsive steering will make you forget it's even related to the Civic.

Improvements have been made, too, to make this ride quieter than the less expensive subcompacts. Here's hoping engineers will go back to the drawing board; there's still a fair amount of the road noise to contend with on the highway.

The standard powerplant is a 2.0-liter, inline 4-cylinder that generates 150 horses and 140 pound-feet of torque. Speed is regulated by a smooth-shifting 5-speed automatic tranny. Zero to 60 takes a somewhat leisurely 9 seconds, but it's no worse than half the other guys in the segment.

Mileage figures to be around 24 mpg city, and as much as 35 on the open road.

For more kick, go for the 2.4-liter engine — same one that's in the sprightly Civic Si — that generates 201 hp and comes with a smooth six-speed manual shifter. The 2.4 clips a full two seconds off the zero-to-60 and sacrifices only a few mpg.

For the tree-hugging purists, Acura has a hybrid, featuring a 1.5-liter engine coupled with an electric motor and a CVT (continuously variable transmission). Power dips to 111 hp but fuel economy jumps to around 38 mpg. Tip: If it's hybrid economy you seek, there are others that offer even better mileage — the Civic hybrid, to name one.

On the twisty roads, you'll find the ILX to be eager and confident, taking corners without argument and staying flat.

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