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Reviving a Legend: The 2023 Acura Integra

The Integra is back! Last seen on the market in 2006 (although it was marketed under the RSX nameplate from 2002 after Acura decided that three-letter designations were more luxurious-sounding), the Integra is a storied model for the brand. Although it was an affordable front-wheel drive car, it offered a level of performance that was unheard of for its time, and, along with the iconic Acura NSX, it was one of the classics that put the Acura brand on the map. The new Integra seeks to bring back some of that performance and mystique with a more modern take.

A New Face for the Integra

The new 2023 Acura Integra occupies an interesting position as it has to replace two models on opposite ends of the Acura lineup. On the one hand, it is a replacement for the aging Acura ILX compact sedan, which was introduced for 2013 and is based on the 9th generation Civic (the 11th generation was just launched this year). On the other hand, the new Integra also needs to be Acura’s new halo car and take over the role that will be left empty after the impending discontinuation of the NSX. This pulls the Integra in two very different directions, and it is not entirely clear that Acura has managed to pull it off.

Like previous Integra models, the newest version is based heavily on the Honda Civic. Unlike previous Integra models, the new car is neither a two-door coupe nor does it have its own unique engine options. With the Civic Coupe hitting the end of the line after the 2020 model year (a lamentably justified decision given that it represented just 6% of Civic sales), there was no two-door chassis for Acura to build on. Instead, the new Integra is based on the four-door Civic Hatch, which is much more practical but decidedly less sporty. Fortunately, the Integra does spice things up a bit with a sharp-looking Acura front-end, “chicane” daytime running lights, and some ‘00s-style side decals.

A yellow 2023 Acura Integra is shown parked in a parking garage with its headlights illuminated.

An Enthusiast’s Car

Under the hood is a 1.5-liter turbocharged engine (the first turbocharged engine offered in an Integra) paired with an available manual transmission and limited slip differential. This is almost certainly the powertrain from the 2022 Honda Civic Si, which offers 200 horsepower and 192 lb-ft of torque. There will also be an automatic transmission option, which should be welcome news to drivers who desire the Civic Si but are not a fan of shifting gears. However, there is still no word on whether this automatic will be the 10-speed gearbox from the rest of the Acura lineup or the CVT from the Honda Civic.

However, we expect that this is not the only engine option that will be available for the Integra. This nameplate has always had high-performance versions, including the Integra GS-R and the Integra Type R. Given the effort Acura has made to revitalize its Type S performance brand, launching new Type S variants of the TLX, MDX, and NSX for 2022, we believe that there will also be an Integra Type S armed with the 300-horsepower 2.0L engine from the Civic Type R. There is also the possibility that Acura will offer the Integra with its trademark Super Handling All-Wheel Drive, which would open up entirely new markets for the model.

Is It Worth the Price?

So far, so good. While it may not be a performance legend, the new Integra is a solid car that should appeal to many drivers, especially if the potential for Type S and all-wheel drive models is realized. Unfortunately, there is a catch—the price. The 2023 Integra is planned to start at “around $30,000,” which is roughly $5,000 more than the outgoing Acura ILX and $3,000 more than the 2022 Civic Si. That price tag also puts the Integra in direct competition with higher-performance models such as the 241-horsepower VW GTI ($28,695), 250-horsepower Mazda3 Turbo ($29,900), and 275-horsepower Hyundai Veloster N ($32,500).

While it is too early to count the Integra out, we are not sure that it will manage to fill Acura’s expectations of simultaneously being their entry-level sedan and halo car – especially since its pricing seems to reflect a desire to move up market and compete against luxury models like the Mercedes A-Class and BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe. Hopefully, Acura can surprise us and make the new Integra a worthy successor to that legendary nameplate.