The Acura ILX was a mainstay in Acura’s lineup for around 10 years, but it never really excited us like Acura’s first compact model, the iconic Integra. The Integra was the dream for many young car enthusiasts in the late 80’s through the 90s and now it’s back. Acura has revived the Integra, but does it bring back the excitement from the Integras of the past?
When the 2023 Integra was unveiled, fans were quick to discredit, by saying that it’s just a warmed up Honda Civic. But the truth is that, that is exactly what the Integra always was. Yes there is the much loved Integra Type R, but the other trims were basically sportier and more luxurious versions of the Civic with more style.
Acura has continued that strategy with the new Integra, which is based on the same platform as the Civic. Where it stands out though is that it borrows its turbocharged 1.5-liter four-cylinder from the Civic Si, which means that it has 200 horsepower and 192 pound-feet of torque on tap. That’s less horsepower than you get with the Volkswagen GTI, but there’s more than enough power here. The engine is super responsive, making the Integra fun to wring out on a back country road. For buyers that want more power, Acura has already confirmed the 2024 Integra Type S, which is expected to share its DNA with the Honda Civic Type R.
Since Honda refuses to make a Civic Si hatchback, the Integra is perfect for Civic Si fans that want the versatility of a hatchback. The Integra borrows a lot from the Civic Si, but it arrives with more standard equipment and a more refined driving experience.
There’s also another difference between the Civic Si and Integra – the transmission. The Civic Si is only available with a six-speed manual, while the Integra gets either a six-speed manual or a continuously variable automatic transmission. The only caveat is that the manual is only available on the top spec Integra A-Spec with Technology Package. But the good news is that the CVT will appeal to Civic Si buyers who want an automatic transmission, since the Civic Si only gets the manual. The manual also comes with automatic rev-matching.
Although the Integra shares much of its DNA with the Civic Si, it does get adaptive dampers, which are not offered on the Civic. The Comfort and Normal modes provide a smoother ride than the Honda, while the Sport mode stiffens the dampers to help you tackle the twisties. Even in Sport mode, the ride is never harsh. The Integra’s steering is also a stand out, since it’s quick with a good amount of feedback.
On the outside, the Integra stands out from the Civic, but inside you will notice there are some traits carried over to the Acura, like its air vents and infotainment system. The Integra comes standard with a 7-inch touchscreen that makes you use a wire to connect your smartphone. The upgraded infotainment system uses a 9-inch touchscreen with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The Integra also comes standard with a 10.2-inch digital gauge cluster.
The cabin is wrapped in higher quality materials than the Civic and heated seats are standard. There’s also plenty of room for your friends and thanks to its hatchback layout, there’s 24.3 cubic feet of cargo space. The rear seats also fold if you need even more space.
On the safety front, the Integra comes standard with all the active and passive safety features you’d expect, like adaptive cruise control, adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking, forward-collision warning, and lane-departure warning. Sadly the manual transmission doesn’t allow for low-speed use of the adaptive cruise control.
The pricing for the 2023 Acura Integra starts at $32,495. The 2023 Integra will be available in three trim levels: base, A-Spec, and A-Spec with Technology Package.
The return of the Integra puts Acura back on the map for buyers that want a sporty and luxurious compact car. It takes everything we love about the Civic and wraps it in a more stylish exterior with a more premium interior. Now we can’t wait until the Integra Type S arrives, which is slated for this summer.