2023 Acura Integra: Controversial Return

Had it not been for the name, this new compact car from Acura would no doubt have been received with great joy. But because Integra evokes countless memories for an entire generation of drivers, the brand’s strategists saw fit to bring it back to life.

A viable idea, yes, but one that would be ruined by two things. First, by announcing the return of the Integra, without us being able to have an idea of ​​the model, suggesting the return of a sports coupe. Then came the unveiling of a clumsy colorful yellow car, as if we wanted to bring the era back to life. tuning from the beginning of 2000. Enthusiasts were therefore disappointed to realize that the Integra was only a five-door compact whose appearance was far from what they had imagined. In fact, at the sight of this “concept” one could say that this car was downright ugly.

Of course, the months passed, the dust settled, and then Acura revealed the technical data for its new Integra. Another disappointment when we then realized that this car used the same technical elements as the Honda Civic. In short, Acura confirmed that this new compact only succeeded the aging ILX, which in itself was descended from the Civic.

Photo: Antoine Joubert

Civic for a long time

Although the manufacturer does not specifically want to connect Integra with the Civic, you should first know that throughout its first career, which lasted 24 years, Integra used components from the Civic. Especially the platform, the transmissions and the suspension elements. Today we use the same structure, the mechanics of the Civic Si as well as an almost identical dashboard. Is this a defect? Because when I think about it, the Audi A3, today’s rival to Integra, has taken advantage of the genes from the Volkswagen Golf forever, and no one complains about that.

Now it is true that we would have liked more. A little more nerf under the right foot, maybe even four-wheel drive. Alas, that’s not the case! Instead, Acura serves us a 1.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that has been increased to 200 horsepower. An engine that impresses in the manual Civic Si, which Integra can also get, in its upscale A-Spec Elite version. But most buyers here are likely to opt for the automatic. Unlike ILX, which had a dual-clutch gearbox, we are talking here about a standard continuously variable gearbox (CVT). Nothing that attracts driving enthusiasts who will naturally get the enhanced impression of driving a Honda Civic. That said, the gearbox does a good job and utilizes the power efficiently, far from being disappointing.

Photo: Antoine Joubert

Select the manual and you will be amazed at the driving pleasure. It must be said that this transmission comes with a non-slip differential and an adaptive suspension (also offered on the A-Spec Elite CVT version), which provides energy for driving. But the great beauty of Integra lies in this balance between performance and fuel economy, as the announced average rating is 7.4 l per. 100 km, or 7.8 l / 100 km with the manual.

Without the shadow of a doubt, enthusiasts would have liked a Type R version. A performance model that could have utilized the mechanics of the future Civic of the same name, whose power will exceed 300 horsepower. Would Acura prepare a surprise for us? Nothing is impossible.

Photo: Antoine Joubert

Nicer than expected

If the concept unveiled in November 2021 was particularly ugly, I can tell you that my eye was won by the new Integra. It certainly does not have the burning coupe we have all dreamed of, but with the A-Spec clothing, the Integra looks really good. This one differs from the base model especially by its 18-inch rims (instead of 17), its black window belt, its spoiler and its diamond headlights. We bet that very few people will set their sights on the basic version, which is more classic and which is only offered in two exciting colors. White and silver gray.

On board, the A-Spec version also impresses more thanks to a more sporty clothing, but above all with the option to replace the black imitation leather cover with red, which will be accompanied by suede in the A-Spec Elite version. The driving position is of course very similar to the Civic’s. More or less we find the same dashboard, the same instrumentation and the same central screen. Too bad, since a particular driving position would have just made it possible to further obscure the origin of this model. Note, it remains beautiful and impeccable from an ergonomic point of view. Only the select and luxurious aspect that is so coveted by the customers is not quite there.

Photo: Antoine Joubert

Upgrade to the A-Spec Elite upholstery and you get things like a superb 16-speaker sound system, head-up display, heated head restraints and several seat adjustments that are also flawless in terms of comfort. The driver can find an optimal driving position so that he can take full advantage of the car’s surprisingly dynamic handling. Compared to its predecessor, the ILX, the Integra also provides more space in the rear seats, as well as a load volume of 688 liters. It must be said that the tailgate makes the car much more practical than the ILX, which did not offer a convertible boot. Moreover, we can also mention the fact that it is a return to the basics of Integra, which in its debut was offered as a five-door model.

Photo: Antoine Joubert

Fun strategy

While Mercedes-Benz is leaving its A-Class and luxury compact is losing popularity, Acura continues to relaunch a hatchback that Americans have always hated. A formula that at first glance may seem daring, but which will give Honda’s luxury department the opportunity to excel and perhaps attract some manual gear enthusiasts who have a little more to gain.

Of course, Acura is not looking to make Integra its best-selling model. The manufacturer expects that RDX and MDX will fill this role. But Integra allows you to achieve a certain level of luxury and performance in a convenient format while using very little fuel. A formula that is rare on the side of traditional cars. As for the bill, it is rising significantly compared to the ILX’s. You pay just over $ 45,000 for the most lavish version, or $ 8,000 more than the most luxurious Civic hatchback, from which you have to deduct 20 horsepower.

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