2023 Acura Integra First Drive Review
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First Drive: 2023 Acura Integra Review

The revival of the Integra nameplate comes with big shoes to fill. Does this new Integra have what it takes to honour its legacy? Canada Drives took the new sportback sedan for a spin in Austin, Texas to find out.

Key Features:

  • Seriously fun to drive
  • Loaded with content at a decent price
  • Practical hatchback configuration

Direct Competitors:

  • Audi A3
  • BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe
  • Cadillac CT4
  • Mercedes-Benz CLA

When Acura announced that the Integra would return to its lineup, the entire internet lit up in flames. After all, the Integra, along with other Japanese sports cars of its era, has become somewhat of a legend in the automotive community, especially for those who grew up during the 1980s and 1990s. Thus, there’s a lot of hype around its return.

Did Acura manage to capture the nostalgia that comes with this legendary sports compact car? We flew down to Austin Texas to drive the all-new 2023 Acura Integra during its North American launch to find out.

New Acura Integra price and main rivals

2023 Integra | Photo: Acura 

While the return of the Integra nameplate is a big deal, the car on which Acura has slapped it is a tad less exciting. It replaces the old ILX within Acura’s lineup as the brand’s entry level model. So no, there’s no coupe variant. At least not yet. The Integra is, for now at least, only available as a sportback sedan, meaning it has a hatch for added practicality.

2023 model starts at under $35,000 and comes in four trim levels

The Integra therefore slots within the subcompact luxury sedan segment, where it takes on rivals like the Audi A3, BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe, Cadillac CT4 and Mercedes-Benz CLA.

Where Acura beats the competition is in pricing. The Integra kicks off at a rather reasonable $34,350 before freight and PDI charges. There are four trim levels to choose from: Integra, A-Spec ($37,050), Elite A-Spec Package ($42,550) and Elite A-Spec Package with 6-speed manual ($42,550). 

2023 Acura Integra pricing for all four trims including freight and PDI:

4 Trims Available

Drivetrain

MSRP

2023 Integra

FWD

$36,725

2023 Integra A-Spec

FWD

$39,425

2023 Integra Elite A-Spec Package

FWD

$44,925

2023 Integra Elite A-Spec Package with 6-speed manual transmission

FWD

$44,925

2023 Integra interior and cabin tech

Because the Integra is technically based on a Honda Civic, it shares much of its interior with that car. The dashboard is basically taken straight out of a Civic albeit some slight design changes around the air vents. The entire center console, infotainment system, gear levers (manual or automatic) and digital gauge pod are all identical to a Civic’s as well.

2023 Integra A-Spec interior | Photo: Acura 

That’s not to say that stuff doesn’t operate well. Because it does. From an ergonomic standpoint, the Integra’s switchgear and screens simply work, with well laid out controls and easy to grasp information. The Civic’s touch-based infotainment system is also miles better than Acura’s irritating trackpad layout.

Integra A-Spec trim adds a more premium interior touch

While heavily Civic based, the Integra goes out of its way to appear like a higher end product. Material quality is considerably better and more attractive, especially in A-Spec trim. There’s leather in the door inserts, fake carbon fiber on the dash and chrome accents around the shifter and steering wheel. The ELS premium audio system flexes some stylish speaker grilles, while the seats look and feel like premium items.

2023 Integra A-Spec interior | Photo: Acura 

The Integra’s rear seat area is also massive, just like in a Civic. And since this car utilizes the Civic hatchback’s body, it’ll engulf 680 litres of your gear, more than any other subcompact luxury sedan currently on sale. 

Performance and driving impressions

2023 Integra’s key performance specs (across all trim levels)

  • Engine: 1.5-litre turbocharged inline-4 with VTEC
  • Transmission: Sport-tuned Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) with Paddle Shifters
  • Horsepower: 200 @ 6,000 rpm
  • Torque: 192 lb.-ft. @ 1,800 – 5,000 rpm

Acura doesn’t hide the fact that underneath the Integra’s sheet metal essentially sits a Honda Civic Si. It therefore inherits the same turbocharged 1.5-litre four cylinder that’s good for 200 horsepower and 192 lb-ft of torque. The Integra is the only car within Acura’s lineup to not be all-wheel drive. It sends the power to the front wheels via a continuously variable transmission (CVT) or a six-speed manual gearbox. Opting for the latter unlocks a mechanical limited slip differential.

2023 Integra A-Spec | Photo: Acura 

The Elite A-Spec also gets adaptive dampers, which can’t be had on the Civic Si. Acura then says it has re-tuned the suspension and stiffened up the chassis about 5% compared to a Civic hatchback.

Out on the twisty Texan roads we were driving the Integra, we appreciated its well sorted chassis and ability to rotate when applying throttle thanks to the limited slip differential. Although it’s always a softer, plushier ride than in a Civic Si – even when those dampers are set to their sportiest setting – the Integra is huge fun on a winding piece of road. It’s composed, mature and quick to react when looking to have a bit of fun.

The turbocharged 1.5-litre engine continues to be a peach. Even if the Integra is 172 pounds heavier than a Civic, you’d never know it from the way this four-cylinder puts its torque down low. It also likes to rev, releasing all its horsepower at 6,000 rpm. Even the pumped in audio Acura has filled the cabin with rather fun and addictive. But we do feel the Integra deserves an extra 20 horsepower to really feel different than the Civic Si on which it’s based.

2023 Integra A-Spec | Photo: Acura 

Verdict: does the 2023 Acura Integra honour its past?

The quick answer to that question is no. The Integra does very little to remind us of what it once was. Except for INTEGRA logos printed inside its front and rear bumpers, a nod to the famous DC2 Integra of the 1990s, the new car’s design does nothing to reminisce the past. Instead, it looks and feels precisely like what it is: a rebadged Civic Si.

But when looked at in its respective segment, the Integra makes a lot of sense. It’s considerably less expensive than its European competition yet comes loaded with great content. Plus, it’s seriously fun to drive, has more cargo space than anything else in this class and is the only car of the bunch that can be had with a manual transmission. The 2023 Acura Integra is very polished ILX, but it’s no Integra.

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