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What the what? Small cars were supposed to be getting safer, with more air bags and driver’s assistance features than we even know what to do with. So why is only one small car on top this year? The 2023 criteria were improved because all small cars are pretty darn safe.

But what makes the 2023 Acura Integra four-door sedan a safety winner?

What is an IIHS Top Safety Pick + award?

The IIHS rates cars as Top Safety Picks or Top Safety Pick +. While the Top Safety Pick is a safe car, the little plus symbol means a bit more. Many small cars you can buy today earn a Top Safety Pick.  In this case, the + is based on five bonus criteria in addition to meeting other safety criteria:

  • Good ratings for the driver and passenger side tests
  • A Good rating for the updated side impact test
  • Acceptable or good headlights standard
  • Advanced or superior raring for daytime vehicle-to-pedestrian crash prevention
  • Advanced or superior rating for nighttime vehicle-to-pedestrian front crash prevention

The 2023 Acura Integra four-door sedan is the only small car to meet all five criteria

The interior of the Acura Integra Type-S | Acura
2024 Acura Integra Type S interior | Acura

The Acura Integra did so well in most categories, it’s easier to point it its faults instead of its safety bonuses. Its seat belt reminders could be better. Its headlights are average. It may not be the best for a LATCH child seat. That’s it.

The Integra has standard blind-spot detection, lane departure warning and lane departure prevention. It also scored well on all of IIHS’s crash tests. Other than that, the 2023 Acura Integra’s score sheet looks like football field: all green.

What is the 2023 Acura Integra?

The 2023 Acura Integra is slow for its expectations
2023 Acura Integra A-Spec | Acura

Acura brought back the Integra after a long hiatus. In all reality, it was simply a clever way to name its long-in-the-tooth ILX sedan that never really sold that well. Fans still love the original Integra, and Acura as a brand might not exist if it wasn’t for the sporty original. It may not be as well equipped or sumptuous as a BMW 3 Series or an Audi A3, but that’s not this car’s point.

The Integra starts at about $33,000, but the hot A-Spec version is the one you want for $36,000. It gets the 200-horsepower 1.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder from the Honda Civic Si, and it’s front-wheel drive. In the A-Spec, however, you can order a manual (instead of a boring CVT) and a limited slip diff. Like the Civic it’s based on, it gets stellar fuel economy, but unlike the Civic it is covered in leather. You can think of the Integra as the grown-up’s version of the boy racer Civic SI.

While the Acura Integra isn’t perfect, it did with the North American Car of the Year award.


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