Auto123 reviews the 2023 Acura Integra.
The arrival of new models is a commonplace occurrence, and usually, they create a buzz for a while, but once the novelty wears off, people quickly move on.
Except when an automaker decides to use a name from its past. Then it's like raising the dead. Thos for and those against take up arms. Bouquets and brickbats fly, as the case may be. Sometimes, they fly both at once.
Last year Acura announced the return of the Integra. This iconic model, launched in 1986 when the Honda ‘s new premium brand was a bouncing new baby, marked a generation. Now, that generation is angry, mainly because the new model has nothing in common with the old one.
Two questions: ‘What’s in a name?’ and ‘Why this and not a Civic Si?’
Except for a minority of purists, the first question’s been debated enough. But what about the model itself? Is it interesting, or is it not?
Let's get this thorny question out of the way first, shall we. The name of a model belongs to the company owning it. They can do whatever they want with it and in this case, it's a question of marketing, because frankly, Acura is going to sell more of a car with Integra pasted on the back than ILX, say. Because in fact yes, the new Integra is the evolution of the ILX sedan.
From there, it’s up to consumers, who can take an interest in the model or not. After the initial disappointment felt by old-timey Integra fans, which was understandable, there’s no longer much reason to be kicking up a fuss over the name, more than eight months after its presentation. It’s time to judge the car on its merits.
Anyway, since when does living in the past make us move forward? And if you’re interested in the original Integra, it is possible to find yourself an original. Knock yourself out.
More important, then, is that the new Integra comes with a lot of qualities, but also some defects that can almost be classified as cringeworthy.
What's appealing is that it has all the qualities of the Civic Si, but with a slightly more upscale touch, in the Acura style.
The problem is that this model costs about $10,000 more than a Honda Civic Si. Is it worth it? In my humble opinion, no. That's the first real challenge with this new Integra.
What you want when you visit an Acura rather than a Honda showroom is distinction. You get that with a TLX or with an MDX, but not with this Integra. The interior layout may be different in a few ways from that of the Civic, but Honda's DNA is still too omnipresent, especially with those wire mesh strips that hide the air vents. It's nice, but it's a signature already in play, introduced with the parent company. Where is the Acura signature?
What about the design, you ask? Here Acura gets things partially right; the front end is distinct. The back end, not so much. As for the hatchback configuration of the model, well, it's the same with the base Civic.
All of which makes it hard to justify the extra expense of this Integra.