2023 Acura Integra A-Spec: Out of Context, This Car Looks Great – Road Test

The return of the appeal Acura Integra caused a lot of ink to flow. Many followers of the old model raised their fists in the air and said that this new model has nothing in common with its predecessor.

I myself expressed my disappointment in an opinion column when the first concept was revealed in 2021. Then, when it was launched in the United States last summer, I decided it was little more than a vulgar next-generation Acura CSX with a famous name. My colleagues, Samuel and Luc-Olivier, have the same opinion in their review of the show.

Now that the dust has settled, and we’ve all collectively recovered from the fact that Acura doesn’t seem to understand the nostalgic weight of the Integra name, I decided to put it back to the test for a week to get it right. to better study it.

A weird mix between a Civic hatchback and a TLX

In terms of design, my opinion has not changed. I can see the Integra looking pretty good from some angles, especially the front where its grille gives off a nice touch of luxury and quality. The iconic Jewel Eyes LED headlights and OEM Precision grille make this car look like a miniTLX, and I love it!

The 4-door hatchback Integra features a receding roofline in its design, allowing it to display “sportback” airs. It gives its rear part a look of sportiness and versatility, and it makes the car stand out.

Unfortunately, everything goes wrong when you look at the Integra in profile. It’s hard to hide its Honda Civic hatchback origins. In fact, we noticed that it was exactly the same as his cousin’s window belt. In the case of the Integra, especially in A-Spec trim (the one we tested), its 18-inch black rims look small and disappear inside the fenders. This makes the car seem too long and out of proportion.

Four variations are offered. A base Integra costs $36,840. My model, a top-of-the-line Elite A-Spec MT, was $50,065 due to the $4,525 carbon fiber trim package.

A Civic interior, but very well put together

In its A-Spec version, the Integra inherits excellent sports seats covered in a mixture of leather and alcantara. They are both beautiful and extremely comfortable. I will add that access to this model is as simple as in a Civic thanks to wide opening doors and low seats.

The layout of the cabin is almost identical to a Civic, except for a slight change in the side design, the grille of the air vents that do not extend as far as the dashboard, in particular. For the rest, it’s exactly the same presentation as a Civic: same steering wheel, same digital instrumentation, same multimedia system and same physical controls. And to be honest, everything is well placed and easy to handle, and the overall quality of the finish is really very good.

Rear visibility, meanwhile, is slightly worse than a Civic hatchback due to the more compact rear window and slightly steeper tailgate. The lack of windshield wipers also gave me some problems during snowstorms.

However, Acura should be congratulated for being nearly flawless when it comes to ergonomics. This interior offers some great storage solutions, and the USB/12-volt connection ports are easy to find. The wireless charging pad proved handy, as did Android Auto’s (in my case) wireless connectivity.

At the rear, it’s obvious that the sloping roofline of the Integra affects its headroom, especially when entering the car. This problem remains present when we occur on board. However, it should be noted that, in addition to this defect, the rear seats of an Integra are spacious due to the ample leg and shoulder room.

Let’s finish the cargo area. It’s clear that its hatchback configuration allows the Integra to outperform every luxury subcompact in the segment. We end up with a trunk that can accommodate up to 680 liters of cargo space, which is huge for the category. However, it should be noted that a Civic hatchback remains more versatile with its 693 liters. The reason ? Integra’s ELS sound system subwoofer, which I must admit sounds great!

The engine is completely taken from the Civic Si, or almost

Mechanically, the Acura Integra is essentially a clone of the Honda Civic Si with a few minor details. One engine drives it, a 1.5-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder. It develops the same 200 horsepower and the same 192 lb-ft of torque as its cousin and sends power to the front axle through a mechanical limited-slip differential. Unfortunately, the manufacturer’s excellent SH-AWD all-wheel drive is not offered, an opportunity Acura missed in my opinion.

As with the Civic Si, this engine can be mated to a 6-speed manual transmission, but only in the Elite A-Spec as the model we tested. The mechanical difference is based on the fact that the Integra can be paired with a continuously variable transmission (CVT), which is impossible on the Civic Si side.

Another technical detail is the presence of adaptive dampers that are offered on an Elite A-Spec and absent on a Civic Si.

Still fun to drive, but clearly underpowered

Where the Integra doesn’t miss the mark is its ability to quickly create a link between its driver and its mechanics. True to the automaker’s products, this small sedan is always fun to drive. You will never get tired of running your little engine and handling its manual gearbox which is really precise and efficient. However, despite an engine that likes it, we’ve always felt that the Integra lacked punch and deserved a bit more power.

I will add, however, that this little engine continues to surprise with its consistent torque delivery and responsiveness. My average fuel consumption of 7.8 liters/100 kilometers in winter is also in line with the manufacturer’s claims (7.2 liters/100 kilometers).

While I think Acura could add more personality to the Integra’s driving modes – as the differences in road behavior from one mode to another are almost imperceptible – I was impressed with the smoothness of the shocks its absorber, both in sporty and relaxed driving. The Integra is comfortable on a rugged road, but also encourages sporty driving where it executes our commands with tremendous precision and maturity.

All that said, when you realize what kind of context the Integra lives in, unfortunately you realize that, at a comparable price, it is possible to get your hands on cars that are clearly better and, even that is, more is known.

I’m thinking of the Volkswagen Golf R with its all-wheel drive, the Hyundai Elantra N and its clearly more electrifying performance or, even, the Honda Civic Type R that costs just a few thousand dollars more than the Integra this. And at $50,000, it’s confusing to know that the example you see on screen is quietly entering Audi S3 territory.

A good car, but not a good buy

So I’ve concluded that the 2023 Acura Integra is, on the whole, a well-rounded, fun-to-drive, pseudo-performance car, but it’s not different enough from a Honda Civic. A harsh truth then confronted him: he was really too expensive for what he had to offer.

If Acura had given it the RDX’s 2.0-liter engine and even SH-AWD all-wheel drive, it might have been easier to justify its high price. In the end, I’d suggest sticking with the Civic Si instead, which is better value for money and will be just as fun to drive. Be aware, however, that because of the features listed above and its proven mechanics, the Acura Integra remains a vehicle we recommend.

More details :

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *