After 17 years without one, the arrival of a new Acura Integra is cause for rejoicing.
But the reception hasn't been unconditional. Many of the faithful, no matter how happy they are to see the late, unlamented ILX take the off-ramp to oblivion, have quibbles. Four doors and a seeming over-reliance on the new Honda Civic Si for its core material are chief among them.
Hey, in this day, age and marketplace, a two-door coupe is a lousy business case, and gunning it out with the Toyota 86 and Subaru BRZ would probably just get all three (ish) cars killed. So four doors it is.
So about the rest of it---yes, that is the 1.5-liter four-cylinder turbo found under the hood of the Civic Si, making the same 200 horsepower and getting 26/36 city/highway mileage compared to the Si's 27/37 when equipped with a six-speed manual transmission (automatics get 30/37). It also delivers essentially the same seven second 0-60 runs, which won't set anyone's hair on fire. The differences exist, though. For starters, you can get one with an automatic (cue the cries of "heresy!"). The Civic Si is manual-only, which is a non-starter for a lot of city dwellers. As a sign of its bona fides, though, Acura says 65% of its Integra customers will choose the manual transmission. Acura also says the Integra gets exclusive software tuning and an exclusive exterior structure that's two percent stiffer than Civic sedan models (including the Si) and five percent stiffer than the Civic hatch (on which the almost-here Civic Type R will be built). Combined with the limited-slip differential and adaptive damper system, an afternoon of attacking Sierra two-lanes south of Lake Tahoe showed the Integra to both ride and handle better than the Civic Si.
Inside is where the sharing with Civic hits its peak, but, frankly, it's hard to improve on the Civic's new dash layout, and Acura steps up the game with materials and color choices unavailable on the Honda.
The base price of the 2023 Acura Integra A-Spec Tech model is $35,800. The includes a long list of equipment that's standard on every Integra (12-way power driver's seat with memory, four-way power passenger seat, heated front seats, dual-zone automatic climate control with air filtration, a moonroof, heated exterior mirrors and a full suite of active safety features), as well as what comes with the A-Spec model (styling tweaks, 18-inch alloy wheels, LED fog lights, a rear decklid spoiler and sport pedals) and with the Tech Package (16-speaker ELS Studio premium audio system, sport seats with microsuede insets, head-up display, wireless phone charger, low-speed braking control, front and rear parking sensors and rain-sensing wipers).
And, apart from $500 for the Liquid Carbon Metallic paint and $1,095 destination and handling, that's it. The as-tested price of the 2023 Acura Integra A-Spec Tech is $37,395.
Yes, that is more than $7,000 more than the as-tested price of the Civic Si I reviewed in February. And that's not insignificant. But the Integra isn't a fancy Si, it's a refined Si, better able to put the 200 horses under the hood to good use.