Vehicle Type: A four-door, five-seat compact luxury hatchback
Price Range: From $31,895 to $36,895, including the $1,095 destination charge
Powertrain: A 200-horsepower, 1.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine with a six-speed manual or continuously variable transmission (CVT) and front-wheel drive (FWD)
What’s New for 2023?
After a 22-year absence, the Acura Integra returns as a brand-new model for 2023. It replaces the ILX and is one of only two sedan models remaining in Acura’s U.S. lineup. Acura builds the 2023 Integra in Marysville, OH. It is currently on sale at Acura dealers nationwide.
- Return of Integra nameplate
- Manual transmission option
- Good fuel economy
- Sporty ride and handling dynamics
- No Type S performance version
- No two-door coupe/three-door liftback body style available
- No all-wheel-drive (AWD) option
- Engine isn’t especially powerful
Would we buy one? Probably, but not until the Type S arrives. While the new Integra has its redeeming qualities (decent looks, class-exclusive six-speed manual transmission, advanced driver-assistance and safety tech, engaging driving dynamics), the promise of a higher-performing Type S version is worth the wait. After all, Acura offers the larger TLX sedan in Type S trim, so, logically, the automaker will do the same for the Integra. Perhaps more importantly, the upcoming Honda Civic Type R packs 315 horsepower and world-class performance—something Acura should also strive for with the Integra.
The 2023 Acura Integra is an all-new, five-passenger, compact entry-luxury sedan, joining the larger TLX sedan in the Japanese automaker’s lineup. It is the spiritual successor to the outgoing ILX compact sedan, though Acura claims the Integra isn’t a direct replacement for the ILX. Acura offers the Integra with a turbocharged four-cylinder engine, a CVT or a six-speed manual transmission, and front-wheel drive.
Rivals for the Acura Integra include the Alfa Romeo Giulia, Audi A4, Audi A5, BMW 3 Series, BMW 4 Series, Cadillac CT4, Genesis G70, Infiniti Q50, Infiniti Q60, Lexus IS, Lexus RC, Mercedes-Benz C-Class, Polestar 2, Tesla Model 3, Volvo S60, and Volvo V60.
We spent a week driving the 2023 Acura Integra A-Spec with Technology package with the six-speed manual transmission, Liquid Carbon Metallic exterior, and red synthetic leather interior. The test vehicle’s price was $37,395, including the $1,095 destination charge.
Overall Score: 4/5 stars
Driving Experience: 4/5 stars
Take a quick scan of the Integra’s spec sheet, and you might wonder what Acura engineers were thinking. After all, things like “four doors,” “1.5 liters,” “four cylinders,” “CVT,” and “200 horsepower” don’t exactly get your heart racing. However, when you consider more subjective things like ride, handling, braking, the sound of the engine under full-throttle acceleration, the exhaust note, and the heightened engagement from shifting your own gears, the Integra is indeed a legitimate driving enthusiast’s vehicle.
While the Integra’s zero-to-60-mph acceleration times won’t blow you away—especially when equipped with the CVT—the engine is eager to rev up to its 6,500-rpm redline. The engine delivers maximum horsepower at a peaky 6,000 rpm thanks to its VTEC design, and maximum torque is available in a broad band from 1,800 to 5,000 rpm. Mid-range power is quite good, owing to its turbocharging, with very little in the way of turbo lag. With the manual transmission, you can really rev up the excitement, pun intended.
Speaking of the manual transmission, it comes with automatic rev-matching for smoother downshifts. It works extremely well in the Integra, seamlessly engaging just as you begin to shift into the lower gear and eliminating the need for heel-and-toe gymnastics. Manual-equipped Integras also benefit from a limited-slip differential, which maximizes available traction when accelerating out of corners.
Driving the car, it’s clear that Acura engineers spent a lot of time refining the Integra’s ride and handling characteristics. The standard Integrated Dynamics System (IDS) lets you choose from three drive modes: Comfort, Normal, and Sport. In Normal mode, the car offers a silky smooth ride on the straights but also responds well when the road gets twisty. Handling is surefooted, and body lean is minimal. Switch to Sport mode to adjust throttle response, steering feel, gauge presentation, and, on CVT-equipped models, transmission mapping. Naturally, Sport mode was our favorite, providing the most engaging and visceral drive experience. There’s also an Individual mode available on the top trim that lets you further customize how your Integra behaves.
Safety Features: 4.5/5 stars
Every 2023 Integra comes standard with AcuraWatch, a comprehensive suite of advanced driving-assistance systems (ADAS). Features include adaptive cruise control, forward-collision warning with automatic emergency braking, lane-departure warning with lane-keeping assistance, traffic sign recognition, and traffic jam assist (CVT only). Other standard safety equipment includes blind-spot warning with rear cross-traffic warning. Our test vehicle also had front and rear parking sensors and low-speed braking control.
The Integra possesses a couple of unique safety characteristics. First, Acura designed its rigid Advanced Compatibility Engineering (ACE) body structure to improve crash compatibility between varying-sized vehicles and enhance occupant safety in angled frontal collisions. This not only helps passengers in the Integra but also helps keep others safe. Additionally, the Integra introduces new driver and front passenger airbags specifically designed to cradle the head to reduce traumatic brain and neck injuries—a segment-first, according to Acura.
Neither the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) nor the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has rated the Integra for crashworthiness. However, the NHTSA gives it a maximum of five stars for rollover resistance.
Value: 3.5/5 stars
The base Integra starts at $30,800, plus a $1,095 destination charge ($31,895 total). As an entry-luxury model, it offers everything you need and a few no-cost “extras” like a moonroof, heated front seats, and synthetic leather seats. Despite those niceties, the middling engine output, standard CVT, and having to pay extra to get many of the nicer features undercut its luxury-brand cache a bit.
Compared to its primary compact premium car rivals—the Audi A4, BMW 3 Series, Lexus IS, and Mercedes C-Class—the Integra represents a strong value. Its base price is thousands less, and the Integra also has more standard safety features. Further strengthening its value proposition compared to those same competitors is that the Integra comes with the new Acura Maintenance Program, offering select factory-scheduled services at no cost. It also has a strong powertrain warranty, which provides coverage for six years or 70,000 miles, whichever comes first.
Where the Integra loses some value equity is by requiring buyers to spend nearly $37K to get a stick shift. That’s right. The only way to get the six-speed manual transmission on the Integra is to buy the top-of-the-line A-Spec with Technology package, which has a manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) of $36,895, including destination. This seems backward to us. Yes, the manual shifter is fantastic, but making people pay more to do more of the work appears counterintuitive. By doing this, Acura is essentially penalizing enthusiasts—the same group of buyers (brand advocates?) they would seem to be targeting.
Also, when you compare the Integra to similarly equipped models from mainstream brands like the Mazda3, Volkswagen Jetta GLI, and Honda’s own Civic Si, the Integra’s value proposition fades even more. Those non-luxury models all offer similar or better performance, many upscale features, and lower pricing. Some even offer all-wheel drive, which the Integra does not. But they don’t have a luxury badge or the prestige that goes along with it, and in today’s auto market, that still means something.
Tech Features: 4.5/5 stars
Front and center in the Integra is a state-of-the-art digital instrument cluster, which the automaker calls the Acura Precision Cockpit. The 10.2-inch digital gauge display is impressive to look at and use, providing crisp, clear graphics and the ability to customize what you see by toggling through various display modes. We especially liked the miniature Integra depicted at the bottom of the display that mimicked some of the vehicle controls, such as flashing turn signals, brake and headlights, and open doors.
Atop the center stack in the base Integra and A-Spec trim, you’ll find a 7-inch touchscreen that is the gateway to the car’s infotainment system. The base system has an eight-speaker audio system, Bluetooth hands-free with streaming audio, wired Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone mirroring, Siri Eyes Free, and a single USB-A port.
Spring for the Technology package, and you’ll get a larger, 9-inch touchscreen, an ELS Studio 3D premium audio system with 16 speakers (including two mounted in the headliner near the front passengers), wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, SiriusXM satellite radio, HD Radio, Qi wireless charging pad, three USB-A ports (one in front, two charge-only in back), and one USB-C port (charge-only).
The Tech package also comes with Wi-Fi hotspot capability, AcuraLink connected services, Alexa Built-in, and an excellent 5.3-inch head-up display whose graphics rival the 10.2-inch digital gauge display. Acura includes more in the package, mostly related to seat controls and lighting. At $3,000, the Technology package is an expensive option, but you get a ton of extras. The ELS Studio 3D audio system alone is worth the price of admission.
All the various technology features worked flawlessly during our week with the Integra. Pairing an iPhone was quick and easy, changing vehicle settings a breeze, and the graphics on the various screens were crystal clear.
Practicality: 4/5 stars
While it may not be an SUV -- whose popularity with U.S. car buyers seemingly has no bounds thanks to its utility -- the Integra is nonetheless a very practical car. Four doors, ample front seat head- and legroom, and a liftback body style, while not necessarily valued among the sports sedan set, all add significantly to the Integra’s everyday usefulness. Those wanting to transport young children in the back will appreciate the Integra’s wide-opening rear doors, and the kiddos will have plenty of legroom.
Despite its relatively low ride height, the Integra isn’t tough to get into and out of. Thanks to the large windshield, forward visibility is excellent. And despite the coupe-like profile, rear visibility through the liftback’s glass panel is perfectly acceptable. The “fast” roofline does, however, make it slightly uncomfortable for taller riders in the back.
With 24.3 cubic feet of cargo space with the rear seats up, there’s plenty of room for two full-size suitcases and more. The high lift-over point, however, may be somewhat problematic when loading heavier objects. It can also be a pretty far reach to collect things that have migrated to the front of the cargo area, next to the rear seatbacks. Put the rear seatbacks down, and cargo space increases tremendously. Indeed, the Integra’s cargo-handling capabilities are a selling point.
Styling & Design: 3.5/5 stars
Acura made an interesting choice when it opted to bring the Integra to market as a five-door liftback rather than a traditionally styled four-door sedan. After all, the Integra filled the ILX sedan’s shoes in Acura’s four-model U.S. lineup, so they could have easily replaced it with something similar. But as consumer preferences continue to shift toward SUVs, sedans aren’t nearly as popular as they once were.
Also, remember that the original Integra was available as either a three- or five-door liftback, and it starts to make sense that the new model would feature that same body style. Despite protests from the Integra faithful, Acura decided not to bring a three-door version to market, most likely because luxury coupes are even less popular than sedans.
Whatever Acura’s reasoning for building the Integra as a liftback, the design works. The low cowl, thin A-pillars, long wheelbase, coupe-like roofline, and tall rear end all work together to give the Integra a unique, well-proportioned look that’s somewhat reminiscent of the current Honda Civic. Acura scores additional points for including an embossed “Integra” logo on the front and rear fascias, a nice throwback to previous generations.
Inside, the Integra’s design more closely resembles the Civic. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. The Civic is an extremely well-executed automobile inside and out. While the Integra’s interior is nice, it’s not appreciably better than what’s in the Civic.
Efficiency: 3.5/5 stars
Bucking the current auto industry trend, the Integra doesn’t come with any hybrid powertrain option. Instead, Acura relies on small displacement and turbocharging to achieve commendable fuel economy with its Integra, which also has environmental benefits.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the CVT-equipped base Integra and the A-Spec return 30 mpg city, 37 highway, and 33 combined. Fuel economy is slightly lower on the A-Spec with Technology package and CVT, at 29/36/32 mpg. The numbers fall even more for the A-Spec with Tech package and the six-speed manual transmission, thanks to its 26-mpg city rating (highway fuel economy is the same at 36 mpg, and combined mpg is 30).
In our 497.5 miles of testing, we averaged 32.7 miles per gallon, outperforming the EPA’s combined city/highway estimate by 2.7 mpg. Full disclosure: many of those miles were on the freeway, which boosted our numbers a bit.
For comparison, the EPA rates the Audi A4 at 28 mpg combined, while the BMW 3 Series and Mercedes-Benz C300 each get 29 mpg. Further, according to EPA estimates, the Integra is the only one in that group that will save you money in fuel costs over five years compared to the average new vehicle.
What’s it Going to Cost Me?
Pricing for the 2023 Acura Integra starts at $31,895 and rises to $36,895, including the $1,095 destination charge. There are three trim levels from which to choose: base, A-Spec, and A-Spec with Technology package. Because Acura equips each trim level with popular features, there are no factory options other than choosing which transmission you want on the top A-Spec with Tech package and some extra-cost exterior paint colors, which add $500 to the bottom line.
The base Integra starts at $31,895 MSRP. Standard equipment includes a 200-horsepower, turbocharged 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine, CVT or six-speed manual transmission, front-wheel drive, and 17-inch wheels. It also comes with LED headlights and taillights, a moonroof, drive modes, a 10.2-inch digital instrument display, a 7-inch infotainment touchscreen, an eight-speaker audio system, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, heated front seats, synthetic leather seating, blind-spot and rear cross-traffic warning, and the aforementioned AcuraWatch suite of ADAS.
The A-Spec starts at $33,895 and adds a Sport Appearance package, LED fog lights, 18-inch Shark Gray wheels, black trim accents, and a rear spoiler.
Finally, the A-Spec with Technology package adds front and rear proximity sensors, Individual drive mode, adaptive dampers, a 9-inch touchscreen, interior LED ambient lighting, and other equipment as outlined above in the Tech Features section.
If we were buying a 2023 Integra, we’d spring for the top A-Spec with Technology package and opt for the six-speed manual transmission because it’s simply the most engaging. After all, isn’t driving what it’s all about?