2023 marks the return of a somewhat iconic model for the Acura brand as the Integra is re-integrated the fold.
This was a model that, when I was younger, was very sought after but sadly one I never experience until this year.
The wait was worth it, though, because in its current form, the Integra is a nice ride.
The premium sport compact is available in four trims: Integra, A-Spec, Elite A-Spec and Elite A-Spec MT.
I was able to enjoy the top-tier Elite A-Spec with the manual transmission (MT) and what a treat it is.
Pricing starts at $34,350, while as tested the price point was $50,424.
That includes a $500 charger for the Platinum White Pearl exterior, as well as $4,664 for the Carbon Package.
Acura says there is limited availability of this package, which includes a carbon fiber spoiler and mirror covers, as well as side and rear underbody spoilers.
Powertrain: The Integra is powered by a 1.5-litre turbocharged engine, delivering 200 horsepower and 192 pound-feet of torque. There are two transmissions on the Integra, including a continuously variable transmission which is standard.
Our tester, thankfully, came equipped with a rarity these days – a six-speed manual transmission that just makes the drive so much more enjoyable.
The engine is plenty powerful for the Integra and while there is some turbo lag, it does nothing to get in the way of the enjoyment behind the wheel.
Fuel economy for the Integra with manual transmission is a combine 7.8 litres per 100 kilometres (estimate), while I was able to achieve a respectable 8.3 L/100 km.
Exterior: The new Integra is very nicely designed. The front end features a split grille, with a large Acura logo front and centre on the upper grille. That is flanked by slim headlight assemblies.
You would almost think the Integra is glaring at you menacingly, with the upswept corners of the lower fascia trim in black adding a somewhat evil grin to the look.
Nicely sculpted lines on the hood and side panels give the body a sporty appeal.
The black accents, including the carbon fibre ones in the optional package on our tester, further enhance the exterior styling – but I think the Integra would still look good without those added bits.
Large wraparound taillights accentuate the rear design. The trunk opens more like a hatchback that a normal sedan, with the glass panel lifting up, giving wide access to the cargo area.
Unlike most vehicles, the name of the model is not an applied decal but is embossed in the front and rear bumpers. Nice touch. A few A-spec badges adorn the exterior of this trim to differentiate it from the rest.
Interior: The inside of the Integra Elite A-Spec MT is exceptional, especially with the red leatherette and Ultrasuede fabric. There’s just something about red that makes the cabin feel more upscale and definitely in line with the sporty nature of the vehicle.
The seats up front are very comfortable and provide good lateral support.
The layout is clean and functional, with climate controls neatly organized below the air vents, and all audio controls housed on the screen above. Speaking of those air vents, their design is very unlike what you normally see in a vehicle, and the mesh look is one I fully support.
A minor quibble I had was with the cupholders and the manual transmission shifter. Taller water bottles will definitely be in the way of where your arm will rest while handling the shifter, so be aware of that. Definitely a very minor item.
In the rear, the seats are all leatherette, vs. Ultrasuede up front, but they too are comfortable, and legroom is above average.
Infotainment: The Acura system is very similar to that of Honda’s, although with a little less colour. Nevertheless, I found it to be easy to operate and navigate through the menus, which are clearly delineated.
A few physical buttons mixed it with the on-screen controls means you aren’t always having to navigate through menus for simple functions.
It is compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and comes with satellite radio and other features most modern vehicles have now. Wireless device charging is also equipped on this model.
Drive: This was a very enjoyable week behind the wheel of the Integra with a six-speed manual. The engine response and performance are excellent, and the transmission is very smooth to operate through all the gears.
The steering response was quite good, which further enhanced the driving experience. The car handles very well, even in fast corners.
The driving dynamics can be controlled via a switch in the centre console, but even in the normal setting, I found the Integra was well setup for driving enjoyment.
The cabin can get a bit noisy at times, especially under hard acceleration, and thanks to the exhaust notes. But I didn’t find that overly bothersome.
Conclusion: If I was in the market for an Integra, the Elite A-Spec MT would be my choice. I would probably do without the carbon fibre add-ons, which makes it an even more attractive vehicle from a price point perspective.
It looks great, the interior is well appointed and comfortable, and the drive – if you appreciate the control of a manual gearbox – is really enjoyable.
2023 Acura Integra Elite A-Spec MT
Price as tested: $50,424.00
Configuration: Front engine/Front-wheel drive
Engine/transmission: 1.5-litre turbocharged 4-cylinder/6-speed manual
Power/torque: 200 horsepower/ 192 lb-ft of torque
Fuel (capacity): Premium (46 L)
Combined fuel economy ratings (L/100 km): 7.8 L/100 km
Observed fuel economy (L/100 km): 8.3 L/100 km
Warranties: 4-years/80,000 km (basic)
Competitors: BMW 2-Series, Honda Civic Si, Hyundai Elantra N, Subaru WRX, Volkswagen Golf GTI
Website: Acura Canada