Review: All-new 2023 Acura Integra comes across as a little confused
Acura has kicked off the fifth-generation of the Integra for 2023. As the luxury make’s entry-level sedan, the Integra was the way many Acura fans were introduced to the brand. It disappeared after 2001 but is now making its comeback.
At a Glance
- Great hatchback styling
- Good fuel economy
- Manual transmission available
- Not all that sporty
The Integra entered the market as an Acura model in 1986, helping push Honda’s new luxury nameplate. Although the Integra was billed as an entry-level luxury car, it was mostly known for its performance – especially in relation to its relatively low price point.
The new Acura Integra, introduced for the 2023 model year, hopes to carry that same kind of reputation. It’s a four-door, small hatchback that is styled like a fastback. It’s a good-looking car with a well-balanced visual appeal. Our test model A-Spec (pictured) typifies the eyeball-catching look of this new Integra.
Based on the Honda Civic and its new platform, the 2023 Acura Integra clearly aims to please both the nostalgic crowd who remember the early years of this model and the newcomers who might be tempted into the Acura nameplate with this new rendition. We think that doing so has muddied the waters for the car.
The 2023 Integra is powered by a 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine that outputs 200 hp (149 kW) and 192 lb-ft (260 Nm) of torque. If that sounds familiar, that’s the same engine found in the Honda Civic Si. But in the Integra, it mates to a continuously variable transmission (CVT) by default. A six-speed manual transmission is available with the Acura Integra, but only in its top A-Spec w/ Technology trim and not on the base model. So those hoping to get a 2023 Integra with a low price point and manual trans are out of luck.
So while the manual transmission is a “no cost” option on the top trim level of the Acura Integra, going from the base model at US$31,300 to the A-Spec w/ Technology ($36,300) is essentially a $5,000 upgrade. To balance that, though, the upgrade in packaging means a lot of extra equipment, including adaptive suspension dampers and better engine and exhaust sounds. Plus several added convenience and safety items not found in the A-Spec or base models.
But it’s important to note that the 2023 Acura Integra with the CVT is just another boring front-wheel-drive car and all of the sportiness of the Integra’s past is nowhere to be found. With the manual transmission, however, it’s at least an engaging drive, even if it’s not terribly quick.
The good news for sport-centric aficionados who love their Hondas and want a sporty Integra, this changes with the 2024 model. The upcoming 2024 Integra Type S (based on the Civic Type R) jumps to 320 hp and also has a manual transmission option. But it won’t be cheap. It’s a full $20,000 more than the base model is now.
Putting worry about the lack of sportiness in the Integra aside, though, newcomers to the Acura nameplate will probably enjoy the 2023 Integra as is. It’s comfortable, quiet and luxurious enough (given its price point), and eye-grabbing enough to be a great car for those not hung up on how fast or sport-based their sedan is. For Acura newbs that haven’t fallen into the “Acura = Fast” marketing, the Integra is a great car.
Not only is the Acura Integra one of the lowest priced entry-level luxury sedans one can buy, it’s also one of the most value-oriented. That aspect of this car gets overlooked. The Acura Integra is far cheaper to get into than a comparable Audi A3, BMW 4 Series, or Mercedes-Benz C-Class. And for about $2,000 more than a Honda Civic Si, one gets a more luxurious-appearing and feeling vehicle than its cousin.
That, in a nutshell, is really what the 2023 Acura Integra is. A better version of the Honda Civic Si. For not very much money, one can get a base level Integra with more equipment included and have a vehicle that’s much lower cost than options from other luxury makes. The upgrade cost to get the manual transmission may be worth it to some (and it’s still lower cost than the competition), but we think it’s a pretty steep price to pay despite how much that package adds to the car.
Those looking at the 2023 Acura Integra should be looking at it as an entry-level luxury sedan with some sporty good looks. And nothing more.
Product Page: 2023 Acura Integra