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 Negative Nancies proceed to give attention to the truth that the brand new automotive is not a direct successor to the high-performance, low-volume Type R, the reality is, the 2023 Integra is strictly what it needs 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 at all times been gussied-up Civics, and the brand new automotive is basically an Si hatchback — one thing Honda does not supply — with a better degree of normal tools and extra subtle street manners. More importantly, the 2023 Integra is a considerably extra interesting entry level into the Acura lineup than the dumpy outdated ILX. Because 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. Unlike the Si, the Integra comes customary with a constantly variable computerized transmission, however a six-speed guide carries over, as nicely. Weirdly, you possibly can solely get the stick on the top-trim Integra A-Spec with Technology Package, 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 among the Acura’s enjoyable issue. I’ll say, the Integra could be an important automotive for first-time guide drivers. The gentle clutch has a transparent take-up level and the stick itself has quick throws with strong engagement. Like the Si, the Integra additionally comes customary with computerized rev-matching, which makes the guide way more forgiving (and simpler) to make use of whereas driving within the metropolis or throughout stop-and-go site visitors. Yes, you possibly can flip this off, however I by no means wish to. Heavy Los Angeles site visitors is a kind of litmus take a look at to the day by day livability of a stick-shift, and the Integra’s is a fatigue-free expertise.Regardless of transmission, the Integra’s A-Spec/Tech trim comes with adaptive dampers, which may clarify why Honda eliminated these from the Civic Si. (Gotta depart a number of distinctive options for the Acura, proper?) The Integra’s Comfort and Normal settings ship a cushier experience 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 obtainable at street degree. The base automotive 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 by Acura’s accent catalog. However, you possibly can’t purchase an Integra with higher-performance tires from the manufacturing unit, which is sort 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 could be good. Steven Ewing/CNETNo matter 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. However, the stick-shift does not permit for low-speed use of the adaptive cruise management, that means Acura’s Traffic Jam Assist perform is a no-go on guide A-Spec/Tech vehicles.On the opposite hand, A-Spec/Tech fashions include a 9-inch touchscreen infotainment system, working a carryover model of the software program within the Civic Si. Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are customary, 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 methods from rival luxurious manufacturers. (Audi Virtual 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 material flourish, which makes the rear bench look decidedly low-rent by comparability. Across 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 number of Civic within the Integra’s inside, however that is not essentially a nasty factor. Steven Ewing/CNETThanks to the hatchback physique model, the Integra is much extra cargo-functional than the sedan-only Civic Si, with 24.3 cubic toes of house within the trunk. You can fold the rear seats flat for extra storage, however the load-in peak above the rear bumper is fairly excessive, making it robust to load cumbersome objects. Boxier opponents just like the Volkswagen Golf GTI are a lot simpler to pack.Which brings me to a fast cleaning soap field grievance: Where’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. But that does not assist me after I wish to wipe away morning dew or in a single day rain when backing out of my driveway. Whatever added drag a wiper would trigger certainly would not make that significant of an affect on styling or gas economic system. The Honda Civic hatchback has a rear wiper, in any case.The base 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 guide transmission. That’s 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 hundreds lower than vehicles just like the Audi A3 and Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class, although these rivals are extra luxurious inside.
The Integra seems nice, and the hatchback design is fairly practical. Steven Ewing/CNETBut whereas the Integra seems like an important 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’m undecided it is price an $8,000 bounce over an Si with summer time tires. And in case you aren’t trying on the Acura from a efficiency facet, it is arduous 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.Still, the 2023 Integra is a superb automotive. It has a strong powertrain, good street manners, a number of tech and the peace of thoughts that comes with Honda/Acura’s popularity for excellent construct high quality and total longevity. It’s a becoming illustration of what prior Integras at all times have been — even when the inevitable hi-po Type S is the one we’ll undoubtedly covet sooner or later.