Friday, December 9, 2022
Reviews 2023 Acura Integra A-Spec 6MT Review: Exactly as Good as it Should...

2023 Acura Integra A-Spec 6MT Review: Exactly as Good as it Should Be

The all-new 2023 Acura Integra A-Spec is wonderful, but it’s not without problems 


  • Pricing in Canada starts at $34,350 in Canada and $30,800 in the US.

  • The Elite A-Spec is priced at $42,550 and is the only version available with a manual transmission.

  • The extremely excellent 2023 Honda Civic Si goes for $33,130.


I’m not sure how to start this test. In fact, and this is not complicated: I love the Honda product as a whole. I will add that Acura used to be one of my favorite car brands, but I changed my mind completely in the late 2000s. Without delving into the details, I allowed myself to forgive them for their offenses until recently.

2023 Acura Integra A-Spec 6MT | Photo: Olivier Delorme

The return of the Integra name to Acura’s lineup was as much of a shock to me as it was to Mustang fans when the Mach-E was announced. Of the many monikers in Acura’s repertoire, the seven-letter word is Acura’s second most sacred word, so I shouldn’t be surprised that they dared to risk sullying it – I still believe they blew it with the NSX, so why not do the same thing with “Integra“?

This time, however, Acura didn’t miss. At the same time, they shot themselves in the foot by raising expectations to a dangerously high level and indirectly insisting on comparisons with the beautiful 11th-generation Honda Civic Si. I want to mention that I have nothing against badge engineering as it allows manufacturers to amortize expenses, but in my opinion, Honda should have saved the name for a short while more.

2023 Acura Integra A-Spec 6MT | Photo: Olivier Delorme

The bottom line is that Honda/Acura knew exactly what they were doing when they selected the name. They expected the criticism, for many people to point out that the “Integra” name doesn’t fit within Acura’s current naming scheme, and countless comparisons to be made with Honda Civic Si.


An amended Civic Si and not necessarily for the better

Tastes differ, but the Civic Si‘s bodywork is far more homogeneous and elegant than the Integra’s. Physically, the only advantage of the latter is the presence of its hatchback, nothing more. The car takes many visual cues from other Acura models, including the Jewel Eye LED headlights available on the A-Spec version. The A-Spec also adds a spoiler on the tailgate and carbon fibre-like appliqué.

2023 Acura Integra A-Spec 6MT | Photo: Olivier Delorme

The interior, which is well done, takes everything that’s good about the new Civic and adds smooth surfaces and a little more texture here and there. Describing the Integra’s dashboard as more luxurious is accurate, if only just, but the Honda’s could easily replace it and no one would notice the difference.

That’s not the case with the front seats. The Civic Si’s seats offer massive lateral support for the backrest as well as for the buttocks and hips. The seats in the Integra Elite A-Spec we tested are flat and offer minimal support.


A Honda Civic Si + on the road

2023 Acura Integra A-Spec 6MT | Photo: Olivier Delorme

I’m not a religious person, but my God the Integra is good to drive. Honda builds by far the most rewarding front-wheel drive cars in the world. The driver feels involved in the action as it transmits a constant flow of information to the driver. That’s why it’s not for everyone, just like the Civic Si.

Like the Si, the Integra is not intended for drag racing. Its turbocharged engine produces generous torque at low engine speeds, and you can’t help but fall under its spell. Like a good Honda engine, it is responsive and always very taut. In fact, this is only the result of the old butt-o-meter, but the Integra gives the impression that it’s got a little more muscle than the Si. The powerband seems more generous if only by a few percentage points.

2023 Acura Integra A-Spec 6MT | Photo: Olivier Delorme

Equipped with the excellent 6-speed manual transmission, the only thing refined about the Integra is the perfect execution of its mechanical components. Shifting gears is a pure delight. Pedal placement for heel-toe is perfect, the shifter travel provides a satisfying mechanical sound – one thinks he or she is a manual-driving God – I guess the Integra brings out my religious side…  The steering is heavy and optimal in normal mode and the brakes are powerful. Basically, it made me misbehave all week.

The Acura’s clear advantage over the Honda is limited to adjustable shocks. With the help of the driving modes and especially the “Individual” option, the degree of damping can be adjusted to suit the driver’s wants and needs. The configurable mode allows you to select “normal” damping and “sport” balance (steering, engine) to make even the worst roads in Quebec enjoyable and exhilarating.


Cross-shopping the Audi A3? Wrong store

Like the Civic Si, the Integra isn’t trying to please everyone, despite what Acura suggests. This is why it’s not an alternative to the Audi A3, Mercedes-Benz CLA, or BMW 2 Series. Plain and simple, the latter three are not entirely driver’s cars. However, step away from the A-Spec 6MT trim, opt for the CVT, and I suspect that the driving experience will be far different.

And about the 6-speed manual, though the take rate might be high now, it will quickly taper off. There’s a very finite number of drivers that will select the $42,550 Integra A-Spec 6MT over the Civic Si (or even the Volkswagen Jetta GLI) for the roughly $8,000 premium. The new CVT-laden Integra will probably find eventual success in its lower trims as an alternative to pricier Benzes and Bimmers, as has always been the case.

2023 Acura Integra A-Spec 6MT | Photo: Olivier Delorme

2023 Acura Integra A-Spec 6MT | Photo: Olivier Delorme

2023 Acura Integra A-Spec 6MT | Photo: Olivier Delorme

2023 Acura Integra A-Spec 6MT | Photo: Olivier Delorme

2023 Acura Integra A-Spec 6MT | Photo: Olivier Delorme

2023 Acura Integra A-Spec 6MT | Photo: Olivier Delorme

2023 Acura Integra A-Spec 6MT | Photo: Olivier Delorme

2023 Acura Integra A-Spec 6MT | Photo: Olivier Delorme

2023 Acura Integra A-Spec 6MT | Photo: Olivier Delorme

2023 Acura Integra A-Spec 6MT | Photo: Olivier Delorme

2023 Acura Integra A-Spec 6MT | Photo: Olivier Delorme

2023 Acura Integra A-Spec 6MT | Photo: Olivier Delorme

2023 Acura Integra A-Spec 6MT | Photo: Olivier Delorme

2023 Acura Integra A-Spec 6MT | Photo: Olivier Delorme

2023 Acura Integra A-Spec 6MT | Photo: Olivier Delorme

2023 Acura Integra A-Spec 6MT | Photo: Olivier Delorme

2023 Acura Integra A-Spec 6MT | Photo: Olivier Delorme

2023 Acura Integra A-Spec 6MT | Photo: Olivier Delorme

Trending Now

More power and more range for the 2024 Volvo C40/XC40 Recharge

The 2024 model year will switch to a RWD setup. Expect more power and more range. Will Polestar follow Volvo with the 2?   It...

Polestar 2: 68 hp and 15 lb-ft for less than $2,000

It's a simple over-the-air (OTA) update. The sprint to 100 km/h is done in 4.42 seconds. The real gain is in the acceleration.   Polestar...

Escalade and Camaro Could Become GM’s Next Sub-Brands

Escalade will handle crossovers and SUVs. Camaro will do the same but for physically smaller vehicles as well as sporty cars. General Motors’ newly-formed...

Volkswagen Launches Updates for 2021 ID.4 Owners, Includes New 12V Battery

New content updates for ID.4, Not OTA Update comes with new 12V battery for some cars   Volkswagen is rolling out some updates for the...

Is Rivian Build Quality Dropping?

According to a detailer, panel fit has gotten worse. Rivian is ramping up production and it looks as though corners are being cut. Assembling...
Matt St-Pierre
Trained as an Automotive Technician, Matt has two decades of automotive journalism under his belt. He’s done TV, radio, print and this thing called the internet. He’s an avid collector of many 4-wheeled things, all of them under 1,500 kg, holds a recently expired racing license and is a father of two. Life is beautiful. Send Matt an emai

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.