- The 2023 Acura Integra starts at $32,495 in the United States and at $36,945 in Canada, freight and delivery charges included.
- Decent performance, good handling characteristics, affordable for a luxury-brand model.
- Too few interior and exterior customization options, costly if we want a manual, could be more powerful.
It’s worth getting right to the point about the 2023 Acura Integra. If you’ve owned an Integra in the past, or several, this may not be shocking news to you: this new fourth generation is all grown up, more refined and luxurious, and more expensive than ever.
Does it look too much like a Honda Civic for its own good? Probably. The previous generations were also Civic-based and bared a general resemblance with the mainstream Honda, but they had different bodywork to at least give them some distinction. The new gen loses that advantage, but gains other qualities in return.
Available only as a five-door hatchback, the 2023 Acura Integra is the brand’s new entry-level model, replacing the outdated Acura ILX that shared its architecture with the 2012-2015 Civic. Instead of a naturally aspirated 2.4L four, the Integra is equipped with a turbocharged 1.5L inline-four—yes, the same one as found in the Civic Si—that generates 200 horsepower and 192 pound-feet of torque. However, let’s stop talking about the Honda and concentrate instead on the Integra’s competitors, namely the Audi A3, the Cadillac CT4, the BMW 2 Series and the Mercedes-Benz CLA. We could also throw in sportier mainstream models such as the Hyundai Elantra N, the Mazda3 turbo, the Subaru WRX and the Volkswagen Golf GTI.
A six-speed manual transmission is available, but it’s only offered in the model line’s most expensive variant. Otherwise, we get a continuously variable automatic transmission that does the job. Ok, we’d prefer a conventional eight-speed automatic, but the CVT will likely be satisfactory for most owners.
The Integra with the automatic transmission boasts city/highway/combined fuel economy numbers of 30/37/33 mpg, or 7.9/6.3/7.2 L/100 km. The A-Spec consumes slightly more fuel, and with the manual gearbox, the numbers drop to 26/36/32 mpg in the U.S. and climb to 8.9/6.5/7.8 L/100 km in Canada. During our test with the three-pedal A-Spec, we managed a decent 29 mpg or 8.0 L/100 km.
Pricing starts at $32,495 in the United States and at $36,945 in Canada, freight and delivery charges included. The loaded A-Spec we tested with the manual gearbox is listed at about $38K (USA) and $45K (Canada).
Why You Should Buy a 2023 Acura Integra
- Surprisingly or not, the Integra’s little turbo engine is quite energetic, with good low-rpm torque for brisk take-offs. Our A-Spec tester was equipped with the six-speed manual gearbox, which also enhances the driving experience with its short throws, precise shifts and light clutch.
- There’s a lot to like about the Integra’s interior furnishings. The leather and suede seats in the A-Spec are both comfy and supportive, the driving position is excellent, and the overall design is clean, modern and tasteful. The climate controls are intuitive to use, and so are the wheel-mounted buttons. There’s plenty of storage space on the centre console as well, despite the presence of the shift lever.
- As expected, the 2023 Acura Integra can handle a twisty mountain road as well as it can comfortably cruise down the highway. Again, it isn’t the sharpest tool in the lux subcompact car shed, but it’s far from sloppy either. For the ultimate back-road barnstormer, we’ll have to wait for the 2024 Acura Integra Type S, which will boast the Civic Type R’s turbo 2.0L four, but with 320 horsepower on tap.
- The infotainment system screen may be a harder reach for some drivers, but at least there are a couple of buttons for accessing the main menus in addition to a physical volume knob. Audiophiles should appreciate the ELS Studio sound system, too.
Why You Shouldn’t Buy a 2023 Acura Integra
- The most enticing variant aside from the upcoming Type S is the A-Spec with the row-it-yourself gearbox, but it would be nice to see that transmission in a more-affordable, lighter-equipped base trim.
- As much as we like the turbo 1.5 engine, it lacks the kick-in-the-pants thrust of the 2.0L mills found in the 2 Series and the GTI. The VW is the Integra’s most direct and most formidable adversary, and it’s a little more engaging to drive. The Integra is the least powerful of all the models mentioned earlier.
- Some competitors—like BMW and Mercedes—offer more interior colour choices, not to mention more exterior paint colours. Acura should serve up more customization options, even if the Integra is its entry-level model. It’s especially the case in Canada, which doesn’t get the Orchid interior color that the U.S. market has. The Canadian Integra A-Spec can be chosen with the Apex Blue Pearl paint job with the automatic transmission, but not with the manual. Why not?
- It’s not a big deal, but an all-wheel drivetrain isn’t available. While that makes the Integra less costly than its luxury-brand adversaries, the Audi, Cadillac, BMW and Mercedes-Benz can all be equipped with AWD, as standard or as an option.
The 2023 Acura Integra is an interesting luxury-brand, sporty little hatchback. It serves up decent performance, good handling characteristics. It’s a better entry-level model than the ILX could’ve ever been. However, there’s nothing here to get the ol’ adrenaline pumping, but the upcoming Type S variant should trigger that. If an affordable premium compact is on our radar, the Integra could be a compelling choice. Nostalgic Integra fans must realize that they have matured in the last 20 years, and so has the car. In other words, it should be enjoyed for what it is, and not for what it’s called.