Acura Integra Test Drive

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The new Acura Integra is a very good-looking and impressive car in real life. Although it was criticized by many when it first came out, the real thing looks very good in the flesh. And it actually doesn’t look like it’s related to the Honda Civic at all, just like previous generations.

The Integra is actually 6 inches longer than the Civic hatchback but still shorter than the Accord.

Inside, some Civic lineage is more obvious, but the Acura does look a feel more upscale. It looks a bit like a cross between a TLX and a Civic. I think Acura did a good job in updating the interior, giving it a very different feel from the Civic. The whole thing does feel more upscale, as it should. The front seats look a feel great, although the passenger seat still lacks a height adjustment. (why???)

The armrest is comfortable but also positioned too far back to be really useful. But it’s not adjustable and the storage space underneath is very small.

The rear seat is also very comfortable. Although not exactly as wide as the one in the 2023 Accord I drove a while ago, its flatter shape ends up being much more comfortable for 3 people. And legroom is not a problem. As you can see, there are no air vents fo the back.

My test car was a loaded A-Spec Tech model with a fantastic ELS 16 speaker system. The ELS is always excellent in every Acura model I’ve ever driven and is fantastic in the new Integra.

As you can see, the cargo area is obviously very similar to the one in the Civic Hatchback. Although it lacks the clever truck cover horizontal mechanism of the Civic. And, unfortunately, the big hatch is not powered. As it should be on a $37 395 car.

The version I drove had a 6-speed manual. The shifter design is slightly different from the one in the Civic manual. And I can tell you that the metal finish on top gets really hot on a sunny day. So hot I actually had to wait a few minutes before driving. (I had to cover it whenever the car was parked).

The Integra has great steering feel. The transmission is easy to use and in general, the car is a pleasure to drive. The suspension is ok but never gets really smooth. Even on Comfort mode. Speaking of modes, there is barely any difference between Comfort, Normal, and Sport. The suspension setting never seems to change at all. The steering is a little bit firmer in sport, and the engine feels a bit less punchy in Normal. This is something Acura fixed a couple of years ago on the MDX, where it now works great.

The main problem for me was noise. It seems there is a fake sound usually associated with a Sport mode. But I could hear it in all settings. Even Comfort. Which can be really annoying. (Even though Acura assured me the sound only appears in the Sport mode)

There is also a fair amount of road noise getting into the car, even around town at times.

In general, I think the Integra is a more comfortable car than the Honda Accord I recently drove. The suspension seems much better, and the steering feel is far superior. The steering wheel itself is also a bit thicker, just like it used to be on the previous generation Accord.

The Integra A-Spec manual is rated at 26MPG City and 36 HWY. I was able to get over 28 around town and had no problem averaging 40/42MPG on the freeway. Which is a bit less than what I got in the Civic Hatchback . But still really good for a non-hybrid car.

The 2023 Acura Integra is a very nice car and a pleasure to drive. It is also one of these very few cars you can still get with a stick shift (although only available on the top-of-the-line model).

It is sporty enough to have a lot of fun and still be comfortable enough for daily driving. Basically a great practical family car.

Its competition is of course the Civic Hatchback, although the Integra uses the powertrain from the Civic Si which is not available as a hatchback. No matter what, the loaded Integra is at least $4500 more than a loaded Civic Hatch. It does have a little bit more power, the ELS sound system, and driving modes with an adaptive damper system (Although I don’t think that really works). I only wish you could get the Tech package without the A-spec package.

I would actually compare it to the Accord as well. As it, I a bit larger than the Civic and a much more comfortable car than the new Accord. And much more practical with its giant rear hatch.

I think the “base” Integra would be a very strong competitor against the Accord EX/EX-L, for about the same price.

Conversation 7 comments

  1. The aesthetic transformation from two to three dimensions must be a truly miraculous one. Maybe Acura sales would greatly improve if it didn’t look like such a jumbled mess of contradictory lines and generally ugly shapes with no coherent vision in pictures.

  2. Imo, the Civic Sport Touring Hatch looks better and is also a much better value overall. Recently I have been finding out the 1.5T in both is not nearly as reliable as I had originally thought. It seems blown head gaskets are a real issue for the 1.5T, especially on the Accord, which actually has slightly more turbo boost than the Civic. Kind of disappointing, and very un-Honda/Acura like.

  3. “It actually doesn’t look like it’s related to the Honda Civic at all.”

    Really? The rear door windows are identical. Ditto for the knobs for heating/AC – as well as the panel directly above them.

  4. Civic in disguise? Yes. We have owned 2 MDXs and love them. However, Acura has a brand and product problem. They want to come across as luxury, but they ain’t. So, no rear vents are for the entry level Civic/Accord. Come on! Who is running their shop?

  5. There are so many on the road, yet I don’t understand the reason as it is basically a Honda Civic. It should have looked like a retro 90’s model with two real doors and AWD.

  6. We’re in that space where we’re looking for a new car, and specifically we like Honda’s. Honda/ Acura however is making it hard since the Integra feels like its missing something (amenities, quiet, and maybe a bit more room). Yet the TLX and the Accord just don’t seem like they got their two larger vehicles right either… or at least not right enough to sign the purchase form. They seem to get their SUVs right and unfortunately that’s probably where we’ll turn.

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