Just a few hours before this piece was written, the 2022 Acura Integra Prototype was revealed. In a 7 minute long presentation, Acura VP and Brand Officer Jon Ikeda touted the heritage of the Integra and celebrated its return. The problem is the Integra didn’t return; a Civic in an Integra costume did.
Is the 2022 Acura Integra Prototype really an Integra?
As I watched the live stream along with thousands of other fans and heard Jon Ikeda say, “here it is, the Acura Integra,” I held my breath. Then, the bright Indy Yellow Pearl 2023 Acura Integra Prototype rolled out onto the stage.
From there, a feeling washed over that could only be described as “dissapointment.” The teaser images of the new Integra were so promising. The sleek headlight, raked liftback, and angular taillight all seemed to preview a car that had the sport-inspired silhouette of the DC2 Integra of the past.
What rolled out from behind that glass as the chip-tune beat blasted was far from what I was expecting. As someone who coveted Japanese sports cars as a late-90s high schooler, the legacy of the Integra badge is not lost on me. While I could not afford one myself, several of my friends had them, and we all knew how special the Integra was.
The 2022 Acura Integra needs to set itself apart from the Civic
Sure, Acura and Honda are the same company and under the hood of every Integra was a Honda engine. However, in those days, Honda and Acura did plenty to differentiate the Integra from the Civic. They were never the same car. Since Acura is Honda’s “luxury” brand, care was taken to make the Integra a “step up” from the Civic.
Back then, Honda gave consumers enough credit to know that they would quickly see right through a simple fascia and badge swap. It seems that those days are long gone.
I knew going in that the new Integra would share its platform with the new Civic, but I expected more. Judging by the comments on the reveal video, I am not the only one. At the time this article was written, the 2022 Acura Integra Prototype debut video has nearly twice as many “dislikes” as “likes.”
There are still some things to be happy about
As disappointed as I am with the 2023 Acura Integra’s styling, looks are not everything. After all, it is a car, and when sitting behind the wheel, outward appearances become much less important.
The new Integra will come standard with the same 1.5-liter turbocharged engine found in the new Civic Si. Acura did not confirm horsepower numbers. We expect the Integra to be more powerful than the Si.
If it is a worthy successor, it should be a fun car to drive. That may be enough to get past its exterior design.
There will probably be a new Integra Type R
A Type R variant of the 2023 Acura Integra was not confirmed during the reveal. However, the badge did get a mention when Acura VP Jon Ikeda mentioned the Indy Yellow Pearl paint on the prototype is a homage to the Phoenix Yellow color from the 3rd generation Integra Type R.
The Integra is how the American audience was first introduced to the Type R concept. I find it hard to believe that Acura would resurrect the Integra with no intention of doing the same with the Type R.
Obviously, a 2023 or 2024 Integra Type R will still look pretty much the same; but it is bound to get a performance boost so significant that even a staunch purist would forgive its design.
If not, well, there is always the aftermarket.