Tested: 2023 Acura Integra

Acura has resurrected an iconic name.

Introduced in 1987 alongside the Legend, the Integra helped form the foundation of the brand. Like that original, the 2023 Acura Integra is based on the Honda Civic.

The fifth generation Integra is a hatchback, much like the current Civic Si. What lies beneath is shared, but the Integra’s body is completely new, 4.5-cm longer and 2.7-cm wider.

 

2023 Acura Integra
Photo: GARRY SOWERBY

 

Earlier Integras achieved legendary status, especially as an affordable second-hand car.

The basics were so strong, the performance and dynamics so pure that enthusiasts were able to enjoy engineering that was previously only available in much more expensive vehicles.

The new Integra has the basics to continue, rather than live off, that reputation. It has a turbocharged 1.5-litre four-cylinder engine driving the front wheels through manual or automatic transmissions – yes, you read that correctly – the 2023 Acura Integra comes with a six- speed manual transmission! Unfortunately, the tester had the automatic, and a continuously variable one at that.

 

 

Hats off to the engineers. This CVT does not behave like one.

Paddles behind the steering wheel allow the driver to simulate shifts between pre-set ratios. Or you could simply leave it in drive. Under full-throttle conditions, the transmission is programmed to simulate those shifts, all by itself. Otherwise, it simply goes about its job without drawing attention to itself like most CVTs.

The engine, taken intact from the Civic Si, along with bigger brakes, is smooth, responsive and, unlike that iconic earlier Integra, does not rely on trick camshaft timing and revs for maximum performance.

 

2023 Acura Integra
Photo: LISA CALVI

 

The new Integra has a turbocharger, allowing it to shine at low revs.

With 192 lb. ft. of torque, available from only 1,800 rpm, there is plenty of grunt to make things exciting. Sort of. In terms of outright acceleration, the Integra could use more suds. Let’s just say there is room for a future derivation – and plenty of choices within the Honda engine family.

The well-engineered chassis could certainly cope with more power. It handles the current 200-horsepower with ease. Stiffer than even the donor Civic Si, it is composed and welcomes an enthusiastic hand at the helm.

 

2023 Acura Integra
Photo: LISA CALVI

 

Much of the driver-focused ability rests with the three-stage adaptive shock absorbers.

The driver can select from Normal. Custom, and Sport modes. Each alters not only the suspension, but also steering and throttle response. Unlike many such systems, there is a detectable difference between them.

I preferred Sport, with its crisper throttle response and additional heft to the steering wheel. With the suspension at its firmest setting, body is minimized, and corners welcomed. You can also work through the individual setting mode, setting the steering and engine at Sport and the suspension in Comfort to filter out nasty road blemishes.

 

As befits a car aimed at the luxury segment, the chassis, engine, and suspension exhibit excellent highway manners.

The long wheelbase provides for a smooth ride, the responsive engine makes passing a breeze, and there is minimal road and wind noise.

The adaptive cruise control does an excellent and unobtrusive job of maintaining the distance from the vehicle in front. Visibility to the sides is good thanks to narrow pillars. But the flat rear glass somewhat limits the view to the rear.

The interior is spacious, and the cargo area large, and easily accessed through the hatch. Despite the sloping roofline, there is a decent amount of headroom in the rear, in addition to good legroom.

 

 

There is a lot on commonality with the Civic, particularly with regards to switch gear, and minor controls. Fit, finish and material quality are first rate. But to my eyes, the preponderance of black makes it a little less pleasant than some competitors who have discovered the colour chart.

The 26-cm instrument display is clear and changes background colour in relation to the drive mode chosen. Next to it and atop the centre stack, the 23-cm infotainment display allows wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay hook up. There are USB-A and a USB-C ports, and a wireless charging pad for your phone.

The 16-speaker EL audio system is exemplary with crisp, clean highs, and clear lows.

After a two-decade-long break, the Acura Integra is back, a family car for the driving enthusiast. A thoroughly modern semi-luxury car, with the advantages and attributes of Honda engineering.

 

2023 Acura Integra
Photo: GARRY SOWERBY

 

FACTS & FIGURES – 2023 Acura Integra Elite A Spec

 

PRICE

Base: $45,056

As tested: $52,659 including freight

 

SAFETY

Collision mitigation braking system, forward collision warning, lane departure warning, road departure mitigation, blind spot information system, rear cross traffic monitor, lane keep assist, traffic jam assist, traffic sign recognition, LED headlights with automatic high beams, front and rear park sensors

 

INFOTAINMENT

23-cm touchscreen, Bluetooth wireless interface, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capability, 16-speaker ELS Studio Premium audio system, satellite radio, Alexa built-in, 4G LTE WiFi hotspot, wireless phone charging

 

STANDARD EQUIPMENT

Adaptive cruise control, 18-in alloy wheels, heated power mirrors, power sunroof, dual zone automatic climate control, remote keyless entry, tilt/telescope steering wheel, 12-way heated power driver’s seat with memory, four-way heated passenger seat, heated steering wheel, and rear seats, adaptive shock absorbers, heads-up display, Ultrasuede/leather seating surfaces

 

SIGNIFICANT OPTIONS

Protection package, $703.80; carbon package, $4,525

MECHANICAL

Turbocharged 1.54-litre four-cylinder, 200 horsepower, 192 lb.-ft. of torque, premium fuel recommended. Continuously variable automatic transmission, front-wheel-drive. NRCan rating (litres/100km city/highway): 10.1 / 7.5

 

DIMENSIONS

Length, 4,735; mm; width, 1,829 mm; wheelbase, 2,736 mm; weight, 1,402 kg

 

COMPETITION

Audi A3, BMW 2 Series, Genesis G70, Lexus IS, Mercedes A-Class

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