Acura has announced that production of the highly anticipated 2023 Integra has officially started in Marysville, Ohio. Deliveries of the iconic nameplate are expected to begin in June, with orders now available.
But with pricing showing a starting price of $31,895 — more than $3,000 more than the mechanically similar Honda Civic Si — one wonders if public interest is still strong. We now know that we did get a facelifted version of the ILX (also based on the Civic) with a higher price tag and a more desirable name. The Integra comes with a 200-horsepower turbocharged 1.5-liter inline-four, mated to a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) or a six-speed manual. But the CVT is standard, forcing customers who want a manual to shell out $36,895 for the A-Spec (including destination) — which also comes with adaptive dampers, a sportier look, a limited-slip differential and Acura’s technical package.
While the technical details may be enough to justify the price increase, every version of the Integra still comes with 200 horsepower and 192 pound-feet of torque driving the front wheels. This makes it difficult to rationalize for those looking for performance cheap, as there are faster vehicles priced very close to the Integra. While most of these are small sedans and base performance coupes with turbocharged four-wheel drive, there are also a few V6-powered sedans that hover around $35,000.
It might not be fair to call the Nissan Maxima a sports car. But this model offers a 300-horsepower 3.5-liter V6 for about the same price as the A-Spec. We doubt it will survive the Integra’s creaking in corners, and we’re disappointed that it also comes with a CVT. But it’s a very comfortable cruiser that will likely embarrass Acura in a straight line.
Toyota also sells a V6-powered version of the Camry, and consumers can still find remaining examples of the underpriced 2022 Avalon on the same lot for about $35,000. Subaru even revamped the all-wheel-drive WRX to make it more suitable for everyday driving for the 2023 model year — and it’s all but guaranteed to be the fastest car when placed alongside the next-gen Integra. But if material comforts are less of a concern, Honda offers a nearly identical Civic Si for $28,315, while the 306-horsepower Type-R sells for about the same price as the A-Acura spec (before dealer markup).
Where exactly should the Integra be installed? Honda has a reputation for delivering models that don’t look that impressive on paper, and still manage to be a legendary performance car that offers a high level of driving satisfaction. But the Integra appears to be little more than a drop-in replacement for the ILX, running an emissions-friendly 1.5-liter (instead of the ILX’s 2.4-liter) and packing technology. Only part of the formula seems to cater to die-hard enthusiasts drooling over the rosy memories of the previous Integra – leaving us with a model that’s actually a luxurious variant of the Civic Si.
If so, there’s no doubt that the 2023 Acura Integra will be an interesting ball around the corner. But when the Hyundai Elantra N and Volkswagen Jetta GLI lurk around at a lower price, it’s hard to see it dazzling. Obviously, we need to watch him dance before drawing any real conclusions. Although the feeling that the market for near-premium sedans with sporty conceit may not be as strong as the automaker needs has persisted.
Maybe we’re all waiting for that Type-R engine to roll off the assembly line. But what do you say? Are you still interested in the next-gen Acura, or is the Integra just the next ILX to take advantage of a nostalgic name?
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