Can the return of an iconic nameplate usher in a brand new Motor Authority Finest Automotive To Purchase winner? It might, within the type of the $31,895 Acura Integra.
The Integra has a historical past for cheap thrills that dates again to the mid-Nineteen Eighties. It peaked with the 1992 GS-R mannequin, which made the lower for our 100 Vehicles That Matter sequence. However Acura ditched the title when it moved to the RSX , and left a giant chunk of its historical past behind.
With the brand new Integra, Acura has axed the drained ILX from its lineup although it’s retained the entry-level components of bettering upon the bones of the Honda Civic.
The Integra begins with a strong platform primarily based on the 2022 Honda Civic Si, and fixes most of our gripes with the Honda within the improve course of. The bundle provides as much as an Integra that recaptures the glory of days previous, in accordance with Senior Editor Kirk Bell.
2023 Acura Integra
Each Integra is powered by a 1.5-liter turbo-4 rated at 200 hp and 192 lb-ft of torque. Whereas base and A-Spec fashions ship energy to the entrance wheels through a CVT with seven simulated gear ratios, lovers will need the highest A-Spec with Expertise Bundle mannequin for $36,895 as a result of it unlocks the 6-speed handbook transmission possibility. That handbook is a winner, with brief, clear, exact throws and strong engagement. Bell known as the transmission “far too enjoyable” to move up.
Small enhancements to the Integra over its Honda sibling add as much as make a giant distinction: the Integra’s chassis is 5% stiffer, and it has bigger 27-mm hole entrance and 17.5-mm strong rear stabilizer bars (18 mm on the A-Spec mannequin).
2023 Acura Integra
The only largest improve over the Civic Si, and the one which cures the sporty Civic’s greatest flaw, is the set of adaptive dampers Acura installs with the Expertise Bundle. They settle the suspension on the freeway. Whereas the experience continues to be gentle, physique motions are managed.
With an ultra-quick 11.52:1 ratio (base fashions are even faster at 11.33:1), the Integra’s steering delivers deft responses. It doesn’t really feel too fast and the Integra isn’t darty on the freeway.
2023 Acura Integra
Inside, there’s seating for 5, however actually solely 4 will match comfortably. The game entrance bucket seats are well-bolstered and supportive, however the rear seat backside is low and the quick roofline cuts into rear headroom. The usual 7.0-inch touchscreen feels a bit small, however the A-Spec with Expertise Bundle mannequin beneficial properties a 9.0-inch touchscreen that options the Civic’s easy-to-use tile-based interface and wi-fi Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The hatchback physique model gives 24.3 cubic toes of house, and the rear seats fold practically flat to increase the cargo space.
The Acura Integra isn’t excellent. The handbook transmission ought to be an possibility throughout the board. At 200 hp, it additionally needs for energy on backroads. One other 50 to 75 hp would do the trick. It’s additionally about as highly effective because the RSX Kind S from 21 years in the past, which says one thing a couple of lack of progress. A forthcoming 2024 Integra Kind S ought to deal with that neatly.
Will the Integra’s charming handbook transmission, well-sorted suspension, and fast steering be sufficient for it to win over two scorching hatches, an outrageous SUV, a luxurious EV, and a sport sedan? Examine again on Jan. 4 after we reveal the winner, together with the champs from our sister websites, The Automotive Connection and Inexperienced Automotive Stories.