The Acura Integra is sort of like the wealthier man’s Honda Civic Si. Alongside the exhilarating performance that makes the Si so lovable, Acura throws in a fancier interior, a few more upscale features, and some brand-exclusive bits that make the overall package that much more compelling.
And for many, a fancier Civic Si makes a lot of sense. There are a few very minor things keeping the Integra from luxury performance car perfection – which we make sure to point out in the text below – but assuming you’re willing to overlook our nitpicks, the 2023 Acura Integra is hard to fault.
Gallery: 2023 Acura Integra Driving Notes
Brandon Turkus, Managing Editor
- Favorite Thing: Fairly Priced Increase In Comfort
- Least Favorite Thing: Garish Red Interior
I spent my time with the Integra zipping between Orlando International Airport, my grandparents’ house in The Villages, and Daytona International Speedway, and not once did it let me down on the boring roads of the Sunshine State.
The seats are superior to the Civic Si, with more padding and less constricting bolsters, while giving up little of the support needed for sporty driving. The mix of leatherette and Alcantara feels rich and premium, although it lacks some of the grippiness of the Civic Si’s fabric upholstery. While I didn’t use it during my time with the car, the addition of heated seats instantly puts the Integra above its Honda-badged sibling in my book. Ride quality is superior too, thanks to the standard adaptive dampers of the A-Spec, and the turbocharged engine sounds a bit cleaner and more refined.
The best part, though, is the price. The Integra, even in loaded A-Spec trim, is as comfortable (if not more so) than pricier German competitors without demanding much more than the Civic Si it’s based on. That’s great and worthy of praise. But it does this while also still being a freaking riot to drive. It’s fantastic.
The Integra is much more fantastic if you avoid the horrid red upholstery. Acura has been trying and failing to make this a thing for several years and on an array of products, but I’m just so, so over it at this point. Where Lexus pulls it off with a red as rich and bold as arterial blood and Porsche simply commits by making everything red, Acura’s color choice (a muted burgundy, which reminds me of my grandma’s 1986 Oldsmobile Cutlass Ciera) and application (on the seats only) is half-hearted and ugly. Go for the black or white.
Brett T. Evans, Senior Editor
- Favorite Thing: Lightweight And Nimble
- Least Favorite Thing: Freeway Road Noise
The best part about driving a 2023 Integra is how light on its feet it is, both in everyday driving and when hustling down my favorite road. Thanks to a respectably low 3,073-pound curb weight, the Integra handles esses and switchbacks with ease, and the direct steering and composed suspension tuning only help. Overall, the Integra feels far more playful than I was expecting given it competes with the likes of the BMW 228i Gran Coupe and Audi A3 – competent cars, sure, but not really exciting to drive.
What’s more, the 2023 Integra only weighs a couple hundred pounds more than a 2001 Integra, an impressive feat given the added technology, safety, comfort, and space that the new one offers. Acura deserves all the praise it can get for building a modern sporty hatchback that is as enjoyable and approachable as the new Integra is.
However, I might be willing to forgive some added weight if it meant a quieter freeway ride. An unfortunate amount of tire roar makes its way through the open rear cargo area, and the Acura is palpably less comfortable, sonically speaking, than the aforementioned BMW and Audi. Whether it’s due to tire choice, a lack of noise insulation, or both, the Integra is too noisy at speed for a premium car. Given how much I love driving the ‘Teg in every other situation, I’d be willing to put up with the racket. But it could be a deal breaker for some shoppers.
Jeff Perez, Senior Editor
- Favorite Thing: Adaptive Suspension
- Least Favorite Thing: Too Many Civic Bits
One of my only issues with the Honda Civic Si is its harsh suspension. Every bump and broken road feels back-breaking. Considering the Civic Si and Integra share the same platform, I expected some of the same here. But Acura amended that with a feature that’s available on the Integra and Type R: an adaptive suspension.
For an extra $3,000 as part of the Technology package, the adaptive suspension is worth the splurge. The Integra’s ride feels plush in the Comfort and Normal drive mode settings yet firms up enough in Sport mode to feel dynamic – but still usable day-to-day. It’s basically a comfier Civic Si.
I know this is a pretty weak criticism given the Integra’s history – but the Civic-ness is still too obvious in the cabin. One of the dead giveaways is the mesh accent across the dash that hides the air vents behind it. That’s a neat feature in the Civic, but it’s such a signature for the compact that seeing it here on the Integra almost feels like a cop-out.
The silvery knobs and the 9.0-inch touchscreen with the Technology package are all Honda bits, too, but at least the rest of the cabin feels properly premium for the class. All of the leather is high-quality and all of the plastic is soft and looks nice.
2023 Acura Integra w/Technology