Acura Flips the Script and Makes the Integra’s Manual a Pricey Option

It’s a tale as old as time: An automaker releases a sporty little car, and its most affordable base model is the one with the stick shift. Many brands delete the manual transmission option at the higher trim levels, assuming that buyers won’t be interested. But, Acura is flipping the script with its newest release. The 2023 Acura Integra will arrive with a six-speed manual transmission—but only as a pricey add-on.

The Acura Integra will come standard with a CVT

The 2023 Integra will arrive with three basic trim level options, and all three will land as automatics. The Acura Integra base model, the Integra with A-Spec Package, and the Integra A-Spec w/Technology package will all come standard with Acura’s continuously variable automatic transmission. 

Sport-minded drivers will need to order the 2023 Acura Integra A-Spec w/Technology package if they want the pleasure of a manual.

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Why did Acura choose to make the manual an option? 

Without hearing it directly from the manufacturer, we can only guess why Acura turned our expectations on their head. There are a few possible explanations. Acura may have assumed that buyers wouldn’t be as interested in the manual and placed it at the top of the line as an option for the select few. However, we see that demand for the Integra’s manual transmission is high.

Another possible explanation is that Acura knew exactly what its audience wanted. The sports enthusiasts would rush for the manual transmission, and everyone else would happily accept the CVT. Acura would be able to satisfy its larger group of average drivers with a more affordable, standard CVT, and coax a few thousand dollars more from buyers who were committed to the manual.

MotorTrend suggests that this was a very conscious decision made by Acura to satisfy the market with cars that still feel like tuners.

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What other Acura cars offer a manual transmission standard? 

Currently, the 2023 Integra is the only new production Acura car that offers a manual transmission. The Acura ILX, MDX, NSX, RDX, and TLX all offer standard automatic transmissions. 

This begs the question: will other new Acura cars adopt a manual in the future? Or will Acura quietly retire the Integra’s manual transmission in a few years after the hype has died down? There is a chance that the Integra will remain the only model in the lineup with a manual, but it seems strange for the brand to keep only one stick-shift car in the family.

View of the cockpit and dashboard of the 2023 Acura Integra; steering wheel, dials, and CVT shifter
2023 Acura Integra with standard CVT | Acura

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What other sports cars offer a manual transmission standard?

Plenty of other compact sports cars come standard with a manual transmission, including the Honda Civic Si, the Hyundai Elantra N, the Subaru WRX, the Mazda MX-5 Miata, and a number of BMW cars. 

Drivers who want a manual transmission but don’t want to pay a premium for the privilege have a lot of options on the market—for now. Overall, the manual transmission is slowly disappearing. In 10 years, it may be hard to find a car with a stick.

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