Before we delve into the world of the all-new Acura Integra, let’s address the elephant in the room. This isn’t the same beast that gearheads passionately drooled over in the ’90s, especially the iconic Integra Type-R. However, change isn’t always a bad thing, and the new Integra, although different, doesn’t deserve all the hate it sometimes receives.
The new Integra starts with a base price slightly over $30,000 and is equipped with a 200-horsepower turbo-four engine that mirrors the one found in the Honda Civic Si. But, if the 200 horses don’t quite tickle your fancy, there’s a rumor buzzing that an Integra Type-S is in the pipeline, with an expected announcement later this year. While some may question its price tag compared to rivals, the Integra offers much more than numbers on a spreadsheet; it’s designed for driving enthusiasts. So, let’s dive into the remarkable traits that make the new Integra one of the coolest cars you can buy.
1. It’s Stickshift with an LSD
In its top-spec A-Spec variant, the Acura Integra comes equipped with a crisp 6-speed manual transmission featuring automatic rev-matching, along with a limited-slip differential (LSD). For those who understand, the LSD is a game-changer, particularly in a front-wheel-drive car. It enhances cornering stability, making it easier to take those sharp turns, and it’s a boon for anyone looking to indulge in a bit of controlled tire-shredding.
2. It’s a Reskinned Civic, But Better
While the Integra shares its turbocharged inline-four engine with the Civic Si, the similarities don’t stop there. It’s actually based on the Civic platform, sharing its foundation and core components. However, where the Integra shines is in the refinement of certain aspects where the Honda Civic falls short. Despite being slightly heavier, the Integra offers a roomier interior, a larger trunk, superior materials, and a more luxurious overall experience. It also boasts additional technology enhancements.
3. Blissful Engine Note
In an era of muted and sanitized engine sounds due to stringent emission and noise regulations, the Acura Integra manages to buck the trend. Acura has gifted the Integra with a raw, raspy engine note that resonates without artificial crackles or pops. Whether this is the result of clever engineering or not, the result is an engine sound that feels genuine and evokes the spirit of driving enthusiasts.
4. Adaptive Dampers
Opting for the A-Spec trim level is highly recommended if you’re considering the Integra. In addition to the manual transmission and LSD, this trim level includes sporty seats, a rear spoiler, and, most importantly, adaptive dampers. These adaptive dampers allow you to adjust the Integra’s suspension stiffness with the push of a button. It’s not just about changing ride quality; it transforms how the car behaves when thrown into a corner.
5. Chuckable Personality
The Integra practically begs you to push its limits, especially in tight corners. It’s a car that encourages spirited driving and rewards those who love to explore its handling. While it may not be the fastest in a straight line, its prowess in tackling corners is where it shines, reminiscent of the original Integra’s spirited nature.
6. Cabin Quality
Once again, the A-Spec Integra stands out. It boasts faux-leather sports seats with suede inserts, heated and electrically adjustable, providing both comfort and style. The technology inside is on par with luxury cars, featuring a crisp 9-inch touch screen display with built-in Alexa, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, wireless charging, a heads-up display, adaptive cruise control, and numerous safety features. The pièce de résistance is the ELS Studio 3D sound system, which stands as one of the finest audio systems in any car.
7. Captivating Looks
The Acura Integra’s design is nothing short of stunning. Its 19-inch wheels perfectly complement its fastback-inspired design. From afar, it’s a visual masterpiece, but the real magic lies in the intricate details. Both the front and rear lights have special names, with the LED tail lights dubbed “Chicane lights” due to their racetrack-inspired appearance. The Jewel Eye LED headlights follow a similar aesthetic, vividly detailed. Even the Integra name is engraved under one of its headlights and one of its tail lights. A wide array of accessories further elevates its design, including an illuminated front emblem, blacked-out emblems, carbon fiber mirror caps, a carbon fiber rear spoiler, side skirts, and a rear diffuser.
Beyond its fun factor, stunning design, and top-tier technology, the new Integra is a practical daily driver that caters to families on a budget. With seats up, its trunk offers a generous 24 cubic feet of cargo space, but the 60/40 fold-flat rear seats open up even more room. While rear headroom may feel slightly cramped for taller adults, it excels as an overall daily driver.
In conclusion, the new Acura Integra is more than a mere revival; it’s a compelling package that caters to driving enthusiasts and practical daily needs alike. While it may not be the Integra of yesteryears, it shines as a modern-day performer with an enticing blend of style, technology, and exhilarating driving dynamics.