It’s not a good thing, yet that’s what Acura seems to be doing with the reintroduction of the Integra – competing against itself.
In this case, the new 2023 Acura Integra is literally going head-to-head with parent company Honda and the highly regarded Civic Si. The Integra has the same turbo engine as the Si, both have a standard six-speed manual transmission, utilize the same platform, and have an almost identical interior makeup.
The one big difference is the Civic Si is a proven commodity and costs $27,400, roughly $3,500 less than the Integra ($30,900). So, the question facing folks looking for a compact hatchback: is the untested luxury division Integra worth the extra cash?
Take a bow if you recognize the Integra name. It was introduced by Acura in 1985 and hung around the next 16 years. However, by 2001 sales had dipped from a high of 83,599 (1990) to 13,736, hence the end of Integra production. Its demise came after it had gained a solid core of drivers seeking performance on an entry-level luxury vehicle.
The 2023 Integra has the hype of being reintroduced. But will its previous cachet make a difference? Initially, it’s looking like a rebranded Civic. And the Integra doesn’t match up with the Audi A3, a superior hatchback that’s very sporty. One might also say the Mazda 3 and Volkswagen Golf GTI are better choices.
One reason many folks purchase a luxury vehicle is performance. The Integra looks appealing and when one gets behind the wheel the anticipation is you’re driving a speedy car. Not the case. Although we admit, the Integra feels faster, the fact is the six-speed CVT manual version goes a sluggish 0-60 mpg in 7.7 seconds. The automatic transmission model goes just a tad slower than the manual.
The Integra has one engine, a turbocharged 1.5-liter, four-cylinder that produces 200 horsepower and 192 pound-feet of torque. It may not be quick, yet it is efficient in terms of fuel economy. Considered among the best in its class, the Integra manual gets 30-37mpg and the automatic 26-36 mpg.
Fortunately for Acura, driving the Integra does have its positives. It’s lots of fun to take out on a curvy road in the country. It handles well on challenging roads and provides steadiness and the ability to absorb bumps.
Standard driver-assistance safety features include forward collision warning; forward automatic emergency braking; pedestrian detection; blind-spot monitoring; rear cross-traffic alert; adaptive cruise control; lane-departure warning and lane-keep assist; road departure warning; traffic-jam assist; and traffic-sign recognition.
AT A GLANCE – 2023 ACURA INTEGRA
- Performance: turbocharged 1.5-liter, four-cylinder, 200 horsepower
- Mileage estimate: 30-37 (manual), 26-36 mpg (automatic)
- Price estimate: $30,900 to $35,900
- Warranty: 4 years/50,000 miles; drivetrain: 6 years/70,000 miles; roadside assistance: 4 years/50,000; corrosion: 5 years/unlimited
As previously mentioned, the Integra resembles the Civic Si interior very closely. While that’s not a bad thing, considering the Si cabin is well put together, the bad thing is the Integra has no luxury feel. The steering wheel, infotainment screen, and climate controls are identical to the Civic. The lack of interior sophistication is a definite reason for choosing the Civic over the Integra.
The Integra comes standard with a 7-inch touchscreen, Bluetooth and Siri Eyes, eight-speaker stereo, USB port, and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration. The touchscreen is easy to use and doesn’t require one to take their eyes off the road to operate.
There’s considerable leg room in both front and back seats, but rear head room is lacking. The Integra can seat five passengers, but three adults in the back is a tight squeeze. Cargo area measures 24.3 cubic feet of space. We experienced problems opening the hatchback – there’s no pop out quality and no convenient button to close it.
From our vantage point, the new 2023 Acura Integra seems stuck between the value-driven Civic lineup and legitimate luxury models. And that’s not a good place to be.