In resurrecting the Integra title, Acura opened the door for fans to attract comparisons between the brand new hatchback and its storied predecessors. And whereas Adverse Nancies proceed to give attention to the truth that the brand new automobile is not a direct successor to the high-performance, low-volume Sort R, the reality is, the 2023 Integra is precisely what it ought to be.
The Integra shares most of its framework with the Honda Civic Si, and this commonality completely tracks based mostly on Acura’s historical past. Integras have all the time been gussied-up Civics, and the brand new automobile is basically an Si hatchback — one thing Honda does not supply — with a better stage of normal gear and extra refined highway manners. Extra importantly, the 2023 Integra is a considerably extra interesting entry level into the Acura lineup than the dumpy outdated ILX.
As a result of it shares its underpinnings with the Civic Si, the Integra makes use of a 1.5-liter turbo I4 engine, making the identical 200 horsepower and 192 pound-feet of torque because the Honda. In contrast to the Si, the Integra comes normal with a repeatedly variable computerized transmission, however a six-speed handbook carries over, as effectively. Weirdly, you possibly can solely get the stick on the top-trim Integra A-Spec with Expertise Package deal, however Acura says greater than half of all Integra preorders are optioned this fashion, in order that’s excellent news.
The CVT certainly opens the Integra as much as a wider vary of shoppers than the manual-only Civic Si, although it clearly kills a number of the Acura’s enjoyable issue. I’ll say, the Integra can be an ideal automobile for first-time handbook drivers. The sunshine clutch has a transparent take-up level and the stick itself has brief throws with stable engagement. Just like the Si, the Integra additionally comes normal with computerized rev-matching, which makes the handbook much more forgiving (and simpler) to make use of whereas driving within the metropolis or throughout stop-and-go site visitors. Sure, you possibly can flip this off, however I by no means wish to. Heavy Los Angeles site visitors is a kind of litmus check to the each day livability of a stick-shift, and the Integra’s is a fatigue-free expertise.
No matter transmission, the Integra’s A-Spec/Tech trim comes with adaptive dampers, which might clarify why Honda eliminated these from the Civic Si. (Gotta depart a number of distinctive options for the Acura, proper?) The Integra’s Consolation and Regular settings ship a cushier journey than the Civic, whereas Sport stiffens the dampers appreciably, for taut cornering traits with out pointless harshness.
The Integra’s hefty steering is a pleasure to make use of; it is fast to reply and there is loads of suggestions concerning the quantity of grip out there at highway stage. The bottom automobile rides on 17-inch wheels whereas A-Spec and A-Spec/Tech fashions get 18s with 235/40 Continental ProContact all-season tires, and bigger 19s can be found via Acura’s accent catalog. Nevertheless, you possibly can’t purchase an Integra with higher-performance tires from the manufacturing unit, which is form of odd, particularly contemplating Honda will promote you a Civic Si with Eagle F1 summer time tires for a mere $200 upcharge.
A-Spec fashions get 18-inch wheels, however some summer time tires can be good.
Regardless of the trim, Acura packs the Integra with energetic and passive security applied sciences, together with adaptive cruise management, lane-keeping help, forward-collision warning, lane-departure warning and extra. Nevertheless, the stick-shift does not enable for low-speed use of the adaptive cruise management, which means Acura’s Visitors Jam Help perform is a no-go on handbook A-Spec/Tech automobiles.
Alternatively, A-Spec/Tech fashions include a 9-inch touchscreen infotainment system, operating a carryover model of the software program within the Civic Si. Wi-fi Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are normal, as are USB-A and USB-C ports and a charging pad. Base and common A-Spec Integras downgrade to a 7-inch touchscreen with wired smartphone compatibility, however irrespective of the mannequin, you will discover a 10.2-inch digital gauge cluster, although the colours and graphics are considerably lackluster in comparison with techniques from rival luxurious manufacturers. (Audi Digital Cockpit for the win.)
The Integra’s cabin is just about a carbon copy of the Civic’s, simply with a wider vary of colours and barely extra premium supplies. My A-Spec/Tech tester has leatherette seats with microsuede inserts, although solely the entrance chairs get this cloth flourish, which makes the rear bench look decidedly low-rent by comparability. Throughout the board, the Integra comes with heated entrance seats, one other curious Civic Si omission, once more maybe to make the Acura appear extra upscale.
There’s a variety of Civic within the Integra’s inside, however that is not essentially a nasty factor.
Due to the hatchback physique fashion, the Integra is way extra cargo-functional than the sedan-only Civic Si, with 24.Three cubic toes of area within the trunk. You may fold the rear seats flat for extra storage, however the load-in top above the rear bumper is fairly excessive, making it powerful to load cumbersome gadgets. Boxier rivals just like the Volkswagen Golf GTI are a lot simpler to pack.
Which brings me to a fast cleaning soap field grievance: The place’s the rear wiper? Acura tells me the Integra’s fastback design is slick sufficient that air transferring over the roof will clear water off the glass whereas driving. However that does not assist me once I wish to wipe away morning dew or in a single day rain when backing out of my driveway. No matter added drag a wiper would trigger certainly would not make that significant of an affect on styling or gasoline financial system. The Honda Civic hatchback has a rear wiper, in any case.
The bottom Integra begins at $31,895 together with $1,095 for vacation spot, whereas a top-tier A-Spec/Tech prices $36,895 whether or not you select the CVT or handbook transmission. That is a roughly $3,000 financial savings in comparison with a loaded Volkswagen Golf GTI, which is each extra comfy and extra entertaining, and it is 1000’s lower than automobiles just like the Audi A3 and Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class, although these rivals are extra luxurious inside.
The Integra seems to be nice, and the hatchback design is fairly useful.
However whereas the Integra seems to be like an ideal worth in comparison with different luxurious compacts, the more durable comparability is as soon as once more the Civic Si. Even with the entire A-Spec/Tech trim’s added fanciness and performance, I am unsure it is price an $8,000 leap over an Si with summer time tires. And if you happen to aren’t trying on the Acura from a efficiency side, it is laborious to disregard the properly appointed Civic Sport Touring hatchback ($31,145 together with vacation spot) or perhaps a turbocharged Mazda3 ($32,915) as options to the bottom and midrange Integra.
Nonetheless, the 2023 Integra is a good automobile. It has a stable powertrain, good highway manners, a number of tech and the peace of thoughts that comes with Honda/Acura’s repute for nice construct high quality and total longevity. It is a becoming illustration of what prior Integras all the time had been — even when the inevitable hi-po Sort S is the one we’ll undoubtedly covet sooner or later.