There’s nothing significantly ground-breaking in regards to the technique behind the all-new 2023 Acura Integra. This effort to shore up the inexpensive facet of the premium model’s showroom borrows its bones from mother or father firm Honda’s relentlessly competent Civic, wraps it in a sleeker and considerably extra upscale package deal, and inflates the worth tag to supply an inexpensive expectation of revenue.
There are two key variations, nevertheless, that separate the Integra from the ILX that preceded it as Acura’s most inexpensive mannequin. The primary is the apparent paean to late-90s nostalgia encapsulated by the Integra badge, a little bit of stolen valor that appeals to that small phase of present prospects who can recall the sporty compact’s Quick and Livid glory period.
The extra vital replace to Acura’s Integra gambit? Execution. Whereas the ILX platform was left to wither on the vine for greater than a decade and fend off challengers from Mercedes-Benz (the CLA-Class), Audi (the A3) and BMW (the two Sequence), utilizing yesterday’s econo-car roots, the Integra doesn’t simply maintain tempo with the state of the Civic artwork. As a substitute, it makes positive to maintain tempo with that automotive’s most compelling drivetrain — a dedication the outdated ILX couldn’t keep
The tip end result might not run the desk with regards to the fun-to-drive near-luxe competitors, however the Integra manages to symbolize essentially the most interesting four-door to put on an Acura badge in years. In truth, the Integra’s largest battle possible received’t be in opposition to its similarly-stickered rivals, however relatively the discount that’s its Honda counterpart.
Paying Extra For Integra-ty
Though the now-departed ILX sedan cobbled collectively features of the sporty Honda Civic Si’s enchantment, by the top of its run it was a number of steps behind when it comes to efficiency and expertise. Maybe much more damning was the automotive’s total lack of chemistry with the driving force, counting on an computerized transmission tuned to the softer facet of the spectrum versus the three-pedal splendor of the constantly-evolving Si.
For 2023, Acura has elected to go all-in on aping the Civic Si’s go-fast bonafides, lifting not simply its turbocharged, 200 hp four-cylinder engine but additionally its six-speed handbook gearbox, a unit that comes paired with a helical limited-slip entrance differential. There’s even a set of adaptive dampers obtainable to these prepared to pony up for the Integra’s Expertise package deal, a characteristic that the extra modest Honda can’t lay declare to, and the Acura additionally boasts a barely stiffer unibody.
Nonetheless, fans should pay to play. As a way to stuff a stick shift between the Integra’s entrance buckets, consumers should pile on not simply the Tech package deal but additionally one thing referred to as the A-Spec package deal, including an additional $5,000 to the underside line that those that follow the continuously-variable computerized discovered on the $31,300 base mannequin keep away from.
Every of those pressured choices (which had been included on my tester) additionally set up objects comparable to LED fog lights, gloss black inside trim, and a louder stereo system (with a big infotainment show). That being mentioned, it’s clear that Acura is intent on trapping six-speed seekers prepared to bear the additional monetary burden to pattern a shift-it-yourself reincarnation of the unique Integra.
The mixed weight of nostalgia and the worth tag to get there may show to be an excessive amount of for drivers solely targeted on reliving previous glories. Whereas there’s lots to love about how the Integra tackles the each day drive, it’s not a stand-in for the Sort R poster that adorned so many teenage bed room partitions within the authentic Toretto period. That have is, theoretically, reserved for these prepared to shell out much more money for the Integra Sort S (which follows the Civic Sort R into targeted scorching hatch territory).
As a substitute, the handbook transmission Integra is finest appreciated for spicing up the commute in methods its auto-only Euro competitors can’t. Though not a pace demon (requiring simply over 7.5 seconds to succeed in 60-mph), the six-speed put in within the Acura is an artwork object finest appreciated by the palm and wrist. Its mechanism’s grace and smoothness when deciding on cogs elevates it above the “I assume it will do” perspective that so usually guides shifter design within the handful of contemporary autos that also make them obtainable.
Match that with the 192 lb-ft of easy-access torque from its 1.5-liter engine and a comparatively low curb weight of simply over 3,000 kilos, and the Integra is legitimately attention-grabbing to drive in nearly each state of affairs, cornering right and cruising with dignity in quieter moments. It might be a stretch to say to say it’s a smile machine, however it’s definitely a minimize above the extra insulated and sometimes unremarkable transportation delivered by inexpensive luxurious compacts. Add SUVs and crossovers to that calculus and the Integra turns into much more interesting to precise pilots.
Extra Cash, Fewer Thrills?
For these vanishing few who worth a clutch pedal, the Acura Integra presents a tough selection. By the point that 6MT has entered the equation, the Integra has put almost $7,000 between it and the sturdy Civic Si whose platform it largely shares, a not-insubstantial sum for very related efficiency. Sure, these trick shocks and a considerably spiffier inside assist Acura make its case (as does the Integra’s ultra-practical hatchback physique type versus the Civic Si’s sedan form). But when it’s the drive you’re after then the Honda low cost and the Si’s sharper total persona every maintain distinct enchantment.
Then there’s the specter of the Mazda 3 , a small hatch that gives not one, however two drivetrains drivers can shift themselves, by turns matching or exceeding the Acura’s output whereas additionally undercutting its pricing. With a effectively turned-out cabin and competent dealing with, this same-size rival hovers over the luxurious battlefield searching for out costlier badges to skewer by itself six-speed pike.
The 2023 Acura Integra is a welcome addition to a facet of the showroom that has all too usually been ignored by automakers nonetheless deep within the sport-utility singularity. Whereas it won’t be all-conquering, nor bargain-priced from each angle, it’s nonetheless a worthy counterpoint to established premium gamers far much less involved with forcing a bit enjoyable into the fracas.
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