The Acura Integra and Acura Legend were pioneers when the upscale division of Honda debuted in North America in 1986. The Integra was a streamlined, more sporty version of the Honda Civic. It became a top-selling, front-wheel sports coupe. It won plenty of awards and then went away.
Sports coupes and sedans fell out of favor with the ascension of sport utility vehicles. But the Integra is back after more than a 20-year absence.
The 2023 edition is far removed from the original. The vehicle was unveiled with a four-speed automatic transmission or a five-speed manual transmission and with 113 horsepower. As the car matured, it was repeatedly named to yearly top-10 lists.
The new version features a turbocharged, 1.5-liter, four-cylinder engine with 200 horsepower, also with an automatic transmission standard. A six-speed manual transmission is optional. The latter transmission, with its smooth, short-shifting way, provides the same driving ease that powered the original Integra to its lofty status. Gas mileage averages are strong, 29 miles per gallon in city driving, 36 mpg on the highway.
A four-door, five-passenger hatchback, the Integra is still based on the Honda Civic and it’s manufactured in Marysville, Ohio. The reviewed A-Spec trim (equipped with a technology Package) has a starting price of $35,800 and with taxes and a $1,095 destination fee, prices out to $37,395.
The A-Spec treatment features aggressive interior and exterior accents more prevalent on track-focused cars. The Technology Package adds puddle lights, front/rear parking sensors, and an adaptive suspension, which adjusts shock absorbers and springs according to driving conditions.
There are also a head-up display, low-speed automatic emergency braking, ambient LED cabin lighting, wireless Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, three USB-A ports, a nine-inch infotainment touchscreen, Amazon Alexa compatibility and wireless charging.
Comfort, Normal and Sport driving modes, complemented by a customizable driving setting, are also part of the tech upgrade.
A 12-way power-adjustable driver’s seat with memory settings, four-way power-adjustable front passenger seat, heated front seats, a 12-way adjustable driver’s seat with memory settings, add to the impressive mix. A powered moonroof and a 16-speaker ELS Studio audio system further expand the value component.
Standard safety features include forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking, blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert.
For complete sports car-minded buyers, the A-Spec package also includes a lip spoiler, gloss black finished detail and 18-inch alloy wheels toned in Shark Gray. The contrasting exterior paint colors work well against the red micro suede interior.
The liftback section supplants a trunk, and with the 60/40 rear seats folded down flat, the Integra offers a substantial load space when backseat passengers aren’t involved.
Integra owners from yesteryear will likely be fans of the new vehicle. There’s plenty to like. While not traditionally quick, Integra’s adept shifting and solid dynamics provide the car’s appeal among driving enthusiasts.
The entry level Integras’s 0-to-60 miles per hour time in 7.0 seconds doesn’t set the pace for the segment. And the new Acura faces well-heeled competition from the Audi A3, Mercedes-Benz CLA Class and BMW 228i. All have starting prices in the mid-$30,000 range. The Volkswagen Golf GTI begins at about $30,000.
Still, the Acura Integra, like its competitors, fits the category well. It’s fun to drive, particularly in town with its sharp corning and maneuverability. It’s fun to drive on the freeway, too, with its smooth, steady plow down the road.
Offered with its stacked supply of standard and optional features, the 2023 Acura Integra A-Spec costs about $10,000 less than the average price of a new car in the United States.
Welcome back, old friend. May you fare well and stand out in a tough crowd.