How the 2023 Acura Integra Positions Itself Between the Civic Si and Type R
It certainly offers something different to the Civic Si.
Acura has finally dropped the production-ready 2023 Integra for the world to consider. So far, it looks and sounds compelling — much more compelling than it did at the prototype launch we attended. At first, I feared a car that was too close to the astounding 11th-generation Honda Civic Si in performance and content while lagging behind in styling. I’m happy to report that the hope of an affordable enthusiast performance hatchback is very much alive with the new, feature-heavy Integra.
It begins with the compelling spec sheet. The good bones are still here: a 200-horsepower turbo-VTEC L15CA engine from the Civic Si along with its six-speed manual gearbox complete with a helical limited-slip differential (or, if you must, an automatic CVT gearbox). This makes it the first Integra (excluding the DC2 Type R) to have an optional limited-slip differential, which is neat.
Instead of the Civic Si’s plain old passive suspension, the Integra replaces it with adaptive dampers that are driver-configurable via driving modes, much like the Civic Type R and Si. Unlike the last-gen Type R, drivers can have an individual mode to adjust damping, steering weight, and throttle response if they spring for the A-Spec with Technology Package. Those without will have to do with the preset Comfort, Normal and Sport.
Much of the details about the parts sharing between the Si and the Integra haven’t been revealed but it’s likely that it will use the same upgrades as the Si. Namely the Type R parts like the front lower control arm bushings, as well as the rear bushings and lower control arms. The important bit tying this all together are the adaptive shocks. Technical details are scarce but the Type R used them to individually stiffen and soften dampers during cornering for extra stability and grip. If they’re as brilliant on the Integra, then it will be a winner.
Then comes the tech stuff with some luxury details that, I hate to admit, pushed me over the line with liking the new Teggy. A heads-up display helps keep important info in the driver’s line of sight, not available on any Civic. Then there is the 16-speaker ELS stereo which I cannot wait to test out. It has a feature I, an audiophile of sorts, have never seen before in a car: speakers mounted in the headliner above the driver. The only other vehicles to share this innovation are the Jeep Wrangler with its rollbar-mounted drivers and the current Acura RDX.
All of that is nestled by an interior that looks very much like the spy shots we shared a few months back. With the red or white leather, the interior certainly presents better than it did in those rough shots, as does the body of the car in more subdued colors. The yellow on the prototype didn’t do it any favors.
On the whole, this car is definitely more than a casual reskin of the Civic Si, which was my initial fear. With the addition of adaptive shocks along with luxurious options, this car definitively places itself between the Civic Si and the upcoming Type R. Whether there will be an Integra Type S is yet to be seen (it definitely will not be all-wheel-drive), but if it does happen it might be the goldilocks formula I’m looking for from the hardcore Type R.
It’s reported to start around $30,000 and top out under $40,000, which places it squarely in affordable, even for the top trim. I love to see this affordable performance onslaught with the Toyota GR86, Subaru BRZ, Hyundai Veloster, the rumored Toyota GR hot hatch, and now the Integra. Is it the Civic Si you really want? I suppose we’ll just have to find out.
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