First Drive: The 2023 Acura Integra Is Nice But Not Nostalgic

I’ll admit, my reaction to the initial launch of the 2023 Acura Integra was lukewarm at best. As a long-time Honda and Acura enthusiast, I expected the new Integra to hearken back a little more to the round-eyed entry-level car that held a special place in the import scene in the late 90s. However, Acura didn’t do that.

Instead, the 2023 Integra looks a lot like its current stablemates, only comes in a four-door body style, and is basically a new Civic Si in Acura clothing. None of that is bad, but I wish the Integra had a few more nostalgic touches to it.

2023 Acura Integra front view
2023 Acura Integra | Joe Santos, MotorBiscuit

Out with the old, in with the new 2023 Acura Integra

2023 Acura Integra headlight and logo
2023 Acura Integra | Joe Santos, MotorBiscuit

OK, so I can forgive Acura for not making the 2023 Integra look like the older model. At least the Japanese automaker included the “Integra” logo emblazoned into the front bumper like the old car. It also made it a five-door liftback, which essentially melds the old Integra sedan and coupe into one car. That’s good enough for me. Moving past that, I think the car looks sporty and elegant in person.

Acura has done a great job in incorporating the same subtlety sophisticated styling that you’ll find on the TLX but in a smaller package. The Diamond Pentagon grille looks great, and although the Jewel Eye LED headlights aren’t round like before, they work well with the car’s overall look. There’s even an “Acura” logo embossed in them. Nice touch.

The interior is spacious and comfortable

2023 Acura Integra front seat
2023 Acura Integra | Joe Santos, MotorBiscuit

Considering the Acura Integra is the brand’s entry-level car, you would think that it would feel cramped inside. It doesn’t, at least for someone like me who is only 5 feet, 8 inches tall. I surmise that anyone taller than about 6 feet, 2 inches would have issues, though, especially in the back seat.

Otherwise, there’s plenty of head, leg, and shoulder room in both rows, and the red Alcantara suede seats give enough support without feeling too tight – I only wish they had more thigh support. The visibility is good out of all four corners of the car, and of course and the driver’s position can be adjusted perfectly with the power seats.

As for the design, the Integra A-Spec trim that I’m driving for the week borrows a lot of its tech from the Honda Civic Si and the TLX. There are retro-styled grilles on the vents and plenty of soft-touch materials. Thankfully, the 9-inch infotainment screen that sits on the dash is a touchscreen as opposed to a remotely controlled screen like it is in the RDX and MDX.

It’s easy to reach and works well with the ELS premium sound system. All of the other buttons are clearly laid out as well.

The Integra’s 200-hp engine is smooth and provides enough power

2023 Acura Integra rear
2023 Acura Integra | Joe Santos, MotorBiscuit
Related

Three Reasons to Choose the 2023 Acura Integra Over the 2023 BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe

Under the hood of the 2023 Acura Integra is a turbocharged 1.5-liter engine that puts out 200 hp and 192 lb-ft of torque. It’s connected to a six-speed manual transmission, which has one of the best-feeling shifters I have felt in a while – the Honda gods smile upon this one.

As for driving impressions, I think that the Integra drives very smoothly, and the engine provides plenty of grunt in the middle of the RPM band. That’s great for climbing up hills and passing slower cars. The clutch is really light, though, so expect some jerky starts at first when trying to figure out the engagement point.

Otherwise, when looking at the 2023 Acura Integra for what it is – as opposed to what it was – I can say that it’s a comfortable commuter car to drive with sporty driving characteristics. Technically speaking, that is exactly what its predecessor was. Go figure.

I’m going to spend the rest of the week with the Acura Integra A-Spec, so be sure to check out the full review that’s coming soon.