Acura's most talked-about model in 2022 isn't even on the market yet. The 5-door Integra sedan, which will debut this year as a 2023 product, got a lot of attention last year, but not necessarily for the right reasons.
In fact, it's because the return of the name doesn't come with what enthusiasts wanted - a unique, distinctive, branded product. Instead, it's a more upscale version of the Honda Civic that we'll be getting, a sort of déjà vu.
As for the use of the name, well, that's up to Acura; they can do whatever they want with it, whether they like it or not.
And here we are in March 2022, on the cusp of the model's debut in the spring. Today, Honda's luxury brand revealed some expected details, so we now have a better idea of what's in store. At least a more precise idea, because several anticipated elements have simply been confirmed.
This is the case for the mechanics. The new Integra will be powered by a 1.5-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine that will offer 200 horsepower and 192 ft-lb of torque. It's the same engine used under the hood of the Honda Civic Si, but it's described as more performance-oriented and tuned for more dynamism. The luxury compact is equipped with a continuously variable transmission (CVT), but its A-Spec trim will be available with a six-speed manual transmission.
With a starting price of $30,000 Canadian, you have to admit it's interesting. What makes this possible is the use of the Civic's chassis and components (cost reduction). You can look at it two ways; here is a slick Civic that won't have all the tools to compete with the Audi A3 and BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe of this world. That remains to be seen. What is certain is that it will cost a lot less. And we can guess that it will be more reliable, as history has taught us with this brand.
Another interesting point is that the presence of a hatchback is a distinct feature in the segment. It makes the model more practical with flat folding rear seats.
As standard, the Integra is getting a 7-inch screen at the multimedia system, as well as a 10.2-inch unit in place of the instrument cluster. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto apps (wired connection required) and an eight-speaker audio system will be part of the initial offering. Synthetic leather will cover the seats.
Upgrading to the A-Spec model will result in a more aggressively styled model. The wheel size jumps from 17 to 18 inches and glossy black accents are added to the front and rear sections, where there is also a spoiler. Inside, the pedals have a stainless steel surface and red is everywhere, including the instrument gauges and the seats in the form of stitching. Add in the Technology Package and you have an all-inclusive package with wireless connectivity to the aforementioned apps, as well as Amazon Alexa. The size of the media screen increases from seven to nine inches, too. The audio system has twice the number of speakers, the seats have more adjustments, there are more USB ports of all sizes, and nothing is missing. There's no price for the fully loaded version, but it's advertised at $38,000 in the US. It's hard to imagine a price below $40,000 here.
However, it's only on the road that we'll be able to really evaluate this model and find its true nature. If we discover a product with its own personality, the link with the Civic will be less painful.
To be continued.