Passions flare up as fans and enthusiasts fear the Integra may not live up to expectations.
Acura’s track record from the last 15 years has been spotty.
Will the Integra be a marketing tool or a bona fide recreation of the original?
Nearly ten years ago, I was invited to a lunch-and-learn meeting by Acura Canada as part of the activities surrounding the 2012 Montreal Auto Show. In brief, they admitted that they’d strayed from the brilliant path they were on from the moment they opened their doors in early 1986. In the decade since, they got a thing or two right, one wrong, and I truly fear for the upcoming Integra.
My report on the session, which can still be found online, had me doubting that Acura was going to rekindle the fire that once burned in their loins. To be fair, Acura has made improvements with its latest batch of products however, from what I’ve seen and read with regards to Type S models (excluding the NSX), they’re still off.
The main reason I’m biting my nails and struggling with the return of the Integra is that Acura’s once more not being consistent. The Teg will be sold alongside the RDX, TLX, and MDX. Why Integra? Why not RSX? Integra is a word that will contrast with the alphabetical monikers we’re now used to.
More importantly, the Integra is a beaming legend and reminder of when Acura was untouchable, flawless, inspirational, and aspirational. This creates massive, MASSIVE, expectations on behalf of all 35- to 55-year old fans of the brand who remember the real Integra. These people also happen to be those who are likely to buy one. Such a slippery slope…
Had Acura decided to revive the RSX moniker, this would have given the car a chance to prove itself rather than being introduced and marketed as the new Integra. This is an extremely heavy burden to bear for a car that mustn’t fail or fall short.
In my insignificant opinion, the 5-door hatchback Integra cannot simply be a rebadged and mildly rebodied 11th generation Honda Civic hatchback. Nor can it be motorized by the 1.5-litre turbocharged engine from the Sport, but it will. I expect that the base Integra will be powered by the Si’s version of the 1.5T with roughly 205+ or so horsepower with either a 6-speed manual or an adapted 8-speed DCT from the ILX (I hope).
If Acura does remain somewhat consistent, it will offer a Type S version (which was never available with the Integra but was with the RSX) and it will feature the next Civic Type R’s 2.0T powertrain (I hope).
More than the NSX, the new Integra, despite it too not generating big sale numbers, will tell all those who are passionate about Acura whether or not they should once more embrace Honda’s premium brand or move on. I’m not a religious person but I pray this isn’t a Mustang Mach-E type stunt to get people to talk about the brand/car.
I fully realize that I represent an infinitely small percentage of Acura’s bottom line and that fanatics also have little impact on the car company’s fortunes. Having said that, many car companies who’ve ignored their fanbase by dragging, pulling, or ruining once-great cars have suffered declines in sales and market shares.
If I uncapped my true feelings about this move, this story would be even more difficult to read. The bottom line is this:
Please Acura, do right by the Integra. Please.