Austin, Texas – It’s easy to get caught up in a hype machine named after Tom Brady, a retired car driver. A lot Examples to point out, and they just keep coming. 2023 Acura Integra adds to this growing list. Expectations are high; You hear internet commenters unreasonably high.
An entire generation has grown up, got their driving licenses and graduated from high school which we will call Integra Drought which started when the last Acura Integra closed the line for 2001 model year. And while Acura prefers to think of the RSX 2002-2006 as the “fourth generation” since it is called Integra abroad, it makes sense that it is not mentioned here in the United States. You can tell How It makes sense to look at how big a deal Acura is making today with a revival called “Integra” – at the moment, you must have seen one of its countless commercials. In short, it symbolizes Acura’s serious return to a small, sporty and enthusiastic-centric compact vehicle. The outgoing ILX never captured the zeitgeist of the Sport Compact in the 2010s, and it faded into the background of a much larger and better small luxury car scene. It wasn’t an Integra, and Acura never pretended it was.
To sort out what the new 2023 Integra is and isn’t, Autoblog I (the longtime and current owner of the 2001 Acura Integra GS-R) sent me to Austin, Texas, where I was able to drive it through the city, on the wide-open Texas highway, and through the winding switchback. Unlike some new Acura models that were originally developed in the United States, Intigra was developed in Japan. The design was conducted at Waco Studios outside Tokyo, with engineering work done in Tochigi. Meanwhile, production on the same line as the TLX is taking place exclusively in Marysville, Ohio. Many involved in the development of the new Integra have also worked on previous generations of cars, so you can believe that Acura / Honda made the new one and is at the top of its history.
Like Integras of the past, everything starts with Civic. It shares a 107.7-inch wheelbase with the Civic, as both cars run on the company’s global small car architecture. However, don’t think that Integra is a civic hatchback with an Acura badge. Each single body panel of the car is 100% exclusive to the Integra, and the overall length and width of the car is larger than any Civic – it is 6.8 inches longer than the Civic hatchback and 1.8 inches longer than the sedan. Also the integrity of the integrator plus side. The new structure and design makes the car 5% harder overall than the Civic hatchback and 2% harder than the sedan.
Of course, the Civic with which the Integra will be compared is the C model due to the division of two powertrains: a 1.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder that produces 200 horsepower and 192 lb-ft of torque. It has a fat torque curve, which gives a maximum twist from 1,800-5,000 rpm, and the redline is a reasonable 6,500 rpm. The VTEC screams of the past are no more, but Acura is still using VTEC for exhaust valves, and unlike many smaller displacement turbo engines, it sprints through the final 1,000 rpm with an addictive interest. There is no loss of accelerating power at the top of the touch, which makes using the full rev range more satisfying.
If this new Integra is considered something like the previous generation, the stock issue may not be long for the world. Nonetheless, Akura has created a unique “coil-type” exhaust for Integra that gives it a little extra roar at the top rpm. In practice, the noise is rather quiet and underestimated, and it will not make much head turn below 5,000 rpm. Inside, the exhaust is integrated with Acura’s “Active Sound Control” system (supplemented fake sound through speakers) to provide enough volume to entertain one, but it can still use more drama.
The single best feature to talk about here is the Integra six-speed manual transmission, an alternative to Integras with the exclusively range-topping A-Spec technology package. In typical Honda fashion, there is no better manual transmission than this to move the price point. From the second my hand fell to the small, precise shift knob, my brain went back to the great shifters of the RSX Type S over time. Acura has updated the auto rev-matching experience for 2022 which conveniently throws the throttle for you in downshift. . It easily shuts off through the infotainment system if you want to rev-match yourself instead. Assuming you appreciate an exceptional manual transmission transfer experience – and for the two-thirds manual of the Integra pre-order – then you’re going to like it.
If you haven’t already heard of other controversial migration (or rather, lack of migration) experiences through a constantly changing transition. In Acura’s defense, automatic Integra is always a bore vs. manual, so history at least. It provides something that not only the manual Civic Si gives. On the other hand, “History” and “At least it exists” are quite heinous excuses for offering Civic’s CVT in response to VW GTI / GLI’s dual-clutch DSG. People will rightly notice that the ILX actually had an eight-speed dual-clutch, and wonder why the more enthusiastic-based Integra doesn’t get such an enthusiastic-based automation?
Acura says that CVT Auto meets the performance target for what it wants and what it is worth, at least it is one of the best CVTs on the market. Acura is programmed “step by step” for shifting through seven gears and you can select those steps “manually” via the pedal shifter on the steering wheel. Both functions are not unique, but they are appreciated. So CVT’s ability to bounce the revs up more automatically is more performance-oriented just as you can slow down or go down. The CVT initially starts a little slower, but once the speed increases, it responds quickly to throttle applications and pedal pulls.
So the reasons why CVT is not so bad, now here are more reasons that you should still stick with the stick. A helical limited-slip differential is a manual-exclusive that pays large handling dividends. You also get a unique lightweight flywheel that enhances the throttle response.
Performance-minded people should place “A-Spec” in their minds. This is the only way to line up your own gears, among other reasons. Compared to the base “Integra” trim, the A-Spec offers a slightly larger rear stabilizer bar (18mm vs. 17.5mm), a slightly modified steering ratio and larger 18-inch wheels and 235-section-width tires – base Integra 17-inch wheels. And comes with 215-section-width tires. Pony up for “A-Spec with Technology Package” and you’ll find a choice of transmission, highly customizable adapter damper, the above-mentioned Active Sound Control system, and a customizable “Personal” mode that lets you program a personalized mode setup. Acura lets you change across different functions.
Adjustable dampers are added to the list of alternatives where the Integra Civic C goes above and beyond. The previous generation Civic C adapted damper standard equipment, but they are completely missing from the current model. Coincidence? We don’t think so.
Acura only had “A-Spec” cars with technology packages available for use (both manual and CVT), so I was able to run Integra in its most aggressive form. Already fascinated with the new Base Civic and C, it’s no surprise that the Integra is also an excellent driving machine. Turn from Integra’s variable-ratio electric steering rack quickly, and the tall hatchback feels light on its feet. The carb weighs just 3,073 pounds for the manual A-Spec models, which is 121 pounds more than the Civic C – not a terrible penalty for all the extra luxury and utility.
Chassis engineers were loyal to the old Integra, allowing a slight lift-throttle overstayer. It never feels dangerous, but if you go looking for it, there is sport. Engineers also exercised restraint in tuning adapted dampers. Choosing even the toughest “sport” setting leaves you with a pleasantly consistent ride. The sport has greater restraint and a little less body inclination, but its rigidity will not destabilize the car on the perforated bits of the pavement. Integra, even in its most spicy form, is not a track car out of the box. Instead, it is set up to excel in enthusiastic backroad engraving. All-season tires provide plenty of grip and stability to make the car feel sporty on the road, but they won’t lead to eye-popping skidpad numbers. The brake pedal is stiff enough and responsive, but there was a limit of 15 to 20 minutes of rigorous on-road use before the first sign of fading.
And while it’s easy to get caught up in the performance, it’s important to remember that this car is not only more luxurious than the Civic Si, but also offers more utility thanks to its hatchback body style. While the second- and third-generation four-door Integras were traditional sedans, the 2022 Integra followed the original-generation four-door with its sloping liftback-style trunk and each two-door (including RSX). The eagle’s eye will notice that the groove you hold in your hand is basically the same as the liftback groove on the RSX. The seamless design makes it annoying to lift heavy objects above and above the rear bumper, but your total space is a win. The cargo room behind the foldable seats is 24.3 cubic-feet, almost like a civic hatchback and comparable to many smaller SUVs.
Audio Finds can only find an upgrade to Integra compared to a successful comparable Civic for a 16-speaker ELS Studio sound system. For a compact luxury car, it’s amazing how good this system sounds. Available head-up displays, lots of nice Acura seats and high-end interior trims are just a few of the main reasons why the Civic goes for Integra. All the features are also noticeable, including the 9-inch touchscreen infotainment system available in contrast to the controversial True Touchpad system found in other Acura. Added to that are wireless Apple CarPlay and Wireless Android Auto, a 10.2-inch digital instrument panel, a wide array of USB ports (both front and rear) and a complete suite of standard driver support systems that even work with the manual.
My only problem with Integra styling is the lack of indie yellow paint in the palette of paint options. It is long, wide, smooth and purposeful. And no, it’s not a coupe, but let’s see, how many of you have bought a coupe? Honda has a reason to shut down the Civic C coupe at this point – no one is buying them. The new Integra is exactly what it should be, and it starts at a much higher performance point than any previous Integra. The A 36,895 demand for the manual A-Spec model you want is a bigger hurdle than the িক 28,315 price of the Civic Si (base Integra starting at $ 31,895). In my book, though, that money has been spent on legitimate upgrades on Honda. The new Integra is both faithful to the original and, thanks to the inevitable progress of progress, better than ever.