Cars are expensive, y’all. It’s fun to be an automotive journalist because, when I get curious about a vehicle, I can borrow it for a week. Then I look at the window sticker and my inherent thriftiness takes over and I get a little nauseous, which leads me to consider rejecting all possessions and becoming a monk. After a week with a well-spec’d Acura Integra I sheepishly opened up the email with the sticker, looked, and did a double-take. This car is a good deal, and if I’m going to persuade my family to ditch our trusty Subaru Forester for an Integra I need it to be a good deal.
Previously, I tried to argue we should drop our 2016 Forester and buy a Ford Maverick. My family liked it, but they couldn’t be persuaded to get a truck as our only car because of the space issue. Then I went the other way and tried to get them to bite on a Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid. A minivan, though, for three people seemed like too much space. Perhaps there’s an in-between?
The first three generations of the Acura Integra are rightly legendary cars built on a great formula: Take a light, front-wheel drive platform, toss a in little extra power, add a little extra nice, pair it with a silky smooth manual transmission, and sit back and watch while the checks and accolades roll in like the Monterey fog. Somewhere along the way, however, Acura’s product planners got lost in that fog. The brand replaced the Integra, which sold as many as 80,000 a year, with the softer and meeker RSX, which barely cracked 30,000 units when it debuted.
After a series of mediocre replacements (ahem ILX), the Acura Integra is back. It’s good! Sure, it’s basically a Civic Si that costs more money, but the Civic SI is good. And this is good, too.
Argument One: It’s A Goldie-Locks Car
Has there been a bad Civic? I can’t think of one. [Editor’s Note: Hold the phone here! In 2012, Honda rolled out a cheap-ified Civic that was panned by the entire motoring press. In fact, I’m pretty sure…[checks the internet]…yes! You yourself ripped on that car!:
You called it an “also-ran”! Anyway, lets’ get back to the new Integra. -DT]
The new Civic is a nice size and, in Si trim, provides just enough power (200 horses) in just enough car. All that being said, I don’t think the new Civic is quite what I want. I’m a newly minted 40-year-old and I want something with a little more prestige — a little more presence. An Acura badge.
Is it small? No. Is it big? Also no. At 186 inches long, it’s a hair shorter than my beloved E39, but with a little more front and rear legroom and a good-sized hatchback. The E39 is all we need, so why not add another sedan? With 24.3 cubic feet of trunk space (some of it pressed against the seats) it’s noticeably smaller than the Forester’s 30+ cubic feet of big open space, but it’s plenty of room for our usual luggage/groceries/whatever.
Is it fast? No. Is it slow? Also no. With a 0-60 mph time in the mid-7 range it’s faster than the Forester. Plus, the 200-hp VTEC-equipped 1.5-liter turbo four feels a lot faster than the naturally aspirated 2.5-liter boxer-four that lugs the Subaru around. Peak torque comes before 2,000 RPM and stays there. It’s a family car, not a sports car (that’s the E39’s job).
Is it efficient? Yes! In this trim, with the manual transmission, it’s got a combined EPA-rated 30 MPG with a good 36 MPG on the highway and 26 MPG in the city. That’s better than the Forester, though not enough to see a huge amount of cost savings.
How well did this argument do? 5/10
Argument Two: It’s Kinda Nice, And We Deserve Kinda Nice
Again, it’s fun to cruise around town in a Bentley, but the opulence is wasted on me. I’m not that fancy. I’m somewhere in the middle, between David Tracy and Kristen Lee [Editor’s Note: But I own an i3! -DT]. Our Subaru Forester has served us well through our daughter’s HOW-DID-PIRATES-BOOTY-GET-IN-THE-DOOR-HANDLE?!? phase of her life, being both easy to clean and not so nice that I deeply care when I step on a half-digested peanut butter cup.
Now that we’ve raised our daughter to become a prim and proper seven-year-old, why not upgrade to something a little nicer? The Integra, relative to our cloth-seated “Premium” Forester, is extremely nice. It’s like going from Eggo Waffles to Crepe Suzette.
This particular car featured the A-Spec package, so there’s a rear decklid spoiler and styling tweaks like the more aggressive, snarling front bumper. More importantly, it features the Technology Package, giving the car the best version of the interior. The red synthetic leather seats are supportive and feature microsuede inserts. The cabin feels modern and everything you touch feels right. The rotary dials for the climate controls have that diamond-patterned texture I’m a sucker for, and the hatching that covers the main vents on the dash look good.
Plus, the Technology Package also brings an unobtrusive head-up display, front-and-rear parking sensors, and the ELS Studio audio system. I’m not an audiophile and lack the sophisticated understanding to properly describe the aural joy this system brings, but I tossed a bunch of random ass songs at it and it sounds a lot better than Forester which has, I think, three speakers? Four, maybe? Maybe.
Back to the window sticker (or monroney in automotive journalist speak). This is a good car with a lot of features for $37,395, delivered. That’s good news, because I want the stick (more on that later), which means I’m stuck with the A-Spec and manual transmission, unless I want to wait for the 2024 Integra Type-S. I got the Forester for about $26k delivered, but that was a pandemic ago, so the extra price seems well worth all we get. A short list:
- Apple Carplay
- Adaptive Cruise Control
- Collision Warning
- Lane Departure Warning
- Lane Keep Assist
- Dual zone climate control
- Keyless Entry
- LED headlights
And that’s just off the top of my head.
How well did this argument do? 7/10
Argument 3: It’s Fun To Drive!
The Maverick is fun to look at. The Pacifica is fun to hang out in. Neither are exactly fun to drive in most situations. The Integra is fun to drive. What Acura has pulled off here is what we mostly give credit to Hyundai for: An engaging, front-wheel drive car you can wheel through the closest thing your town has to twisties and back without raising the constabulary.
My driving notes for this car aren’t great as it’s mostly exclamations: “Fun!” and “Sharp” and “Shift, shift, shift!”
All the pieces you need are here, including MacPherson struts up front and an independent multi-link rear with a slightly thicker sway bar (18mm on the A-Spec compared to the 17.5mm on the base). More importantly, the A-Spec brings a helical limited slip differential and three-way adjustable dampers that let the driver choose between Sport, Normal, and Comfort tuning.
The reason why journalists love this car, however, is the six-speed manual transmission. For all the things that made the third-generation Type R the car to own, that car’s shifter is sublime. I had the chance to sneak a little time in a basically new, museum quality DC Type R and it was all I could do to prevent myself from shifting 9,000 times during the short transit.
It’s this car, right here, and I shot it while directing the above video and it was one of those cars that end edup being better than everyone said.
Cleverly, the engineers at Acura decided to mimic that shifter. Even the shift knob is the little throwback to the original, which had the shape of a tall, ’70s era game show host microphone. It’s a little bigger, IIRC, but the light clutch and super precise, short ‘snickity-snick-snick’ shifts represent a “21 Jump Street”-quality reinterpretation of the original.
Did I do fun little front-wheel burnouts whenever I was alone? Absolutely. No one noticed. I wouldn’t rank the 1.5-liter VTEC turbo as one of the all-time great engines, mostly because it tends to have a synthetic whininess to it at higher revs. It’s fine, but it’s one area where it doesn’t quite have the chutzpah of its predecessor.
The only other gripe I have with the new Integra is that it looks pretty much identical to the TLX, especially from the front. I feel like the designers could have pushed the design language a little further.
Still, it’s a fun car you can live with every day. I work hard. I deserve to play hard, and the Integra is just the right amount of play hard for our lifestyle:
How well did this argument do? 0/10.
Tough crowd! While my daughter adored the red interior and my wife enjoyed the nicer interior, the parts of it that appeal to me (it’s fast) are less interesting to them. They want somewhere to put a bike. I’m apparently welcome to trade my E39 for an Integra, but that violates my thriftiness and I just got that car.
If you’re considering going back to sedans from a crossover, and you’re not ready for an electric car, I can recommend the Integra. What you lose in space the Integra more than makes up for in driving enjoyment.
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- Every Argument I Made To Trade Our Crossover For A Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid
- Every Argument I Made To Trade Our Crossover For A Ford Maverick
- The 2024 Acura Integra Type S Will Be A Second-Hand Icon
Photos: Author, Acura
This is all well and good but I am confused by the Interspecies Reviewers Spotify playlist
You missed one good argument… the Acura Civic…Uh I mean Integra… will get around 20% better fuel economy.
So you’ll save some money on fuel AND be more ‘green’.
I have an ’18 Civic Si with essentially the same powertrain. I easily get upper 30s MPGs on highway trips. I get that the Integra is heavier but I wouldn’t be surprised if it does better than it’s ratings.
Incidentally, I previously had an ’03 RSX-S. That was a great little car and my Si is very reminiscent of it but with enough room for the whole family.
You can always get a roof rack for the bikes.
Edit: Subaru is known for crappy audio. Pretty much anything else is better.
I have a 2019 Si and get over to 40mpg on the interstates (if I behave…). 30 or 32 around town. It’s a great car, but I could use a little more luxury in my old (46) age.
Buy a Brompton. Then you can put a bike in the Integra.
Definitely doesn’t fit with the cheapskate part though.
Matt, I don’t know if you even convinced sedan loving me, but it was a nice try.
I am glad they are making the Integra again. My perfect car size is a 90s Integra 4 door. About 2800 pounds, room for adults up front, room for kids in back, or even an occasional adult for occasional duty. Give me around 200 HP, a manual, and RWD (too much to hope for, could settle for a sporty FWD package). Probably the closest we have gotten to that in a relatively modern car is 80s BMW 3 series. I drove a 325IS (admittedly a coupe and not a sedan) a couple years ago and was quite smitten with the package.
Will anybody build anything like that, hell no, because 3800 pounds is the new 2800 pounds for sporty coupes and sedans. If the built something that small it would never sell, at least not in the United States.
As someone who just went from a 2013 ILX 2.4 6MT to the 2023 Integra A-spec tech 6MT, I have to say I have some things I like better, and some I don’t.
Engine: The 2.4 in the ILX had more power and smoother delivery. But the Integra does get better mileage. Not by a lot, but by enough to notice. So, I’ll take it. I still prefer NA to turbo, however.
Transmission: Same in both.
LSD: VERY nice to have. I can really tell the difference with that, and it’s great.
Driving technology: As others have mentioned, the driver assist stuff sucks hard if you’re in any kind of traffic, but since I live in New England, when I’m driving up 91 and things thin out, it’s kinda nice. I just wish you could set the follow closer on the ACC, and the other things are WAY too aggressive. Also the lane keep assist tries to keep you DIRECTLY on the center line of the road, which is way too close to other traffic. I generally don’t use that part.
The drive modes… I’m almost always in individual, which I have set for Engine:Sport, Steering: Normal, Suspension: Comfort, Idle Stop: Off.
You can tell the difference in a huge way with the engine settings, and a bit with the steering, but the suspension settings appear to basically do nothing. That said, the ride and NVH are worlds better than my ILX was.
In-Car Technology: I thought I’d hate it, but I actually do love the android auto aspect of it, and the other stuff I am fine with.
The heated seats suck. They’re basically useless. I wish it had cooled seats.
Speaking of seats, the seats kind suck too. Less comfortable than the ILX and I hate microsuede/alcantara/whateveryouwanttocallit. Give me all leather, please.
That said, the hatch is freakin amazing. As someone who regularly loads computers/printers/etc into my vehicle, having a hatch is a game changer, and you can fit a lot of stuff in there. Also, the thing is really a blast to drive. I look forward to driving anywhere, and sometimes just go out for a drive for fun.
Overall, I think I mostly posted the things I dislike above… but I love the car. I’m glad I bought it, and there is basically nothing else out there that fit my needs as well.
If you need a place for a bike, get a hitch and rack. I had one for my Focus ST with its stupid center exhaust that dropped the exhaust about 3/4″ (not really obvious) and the 1-1/4 receiver fit sandwiched half-hidden between the exhaust and the bumper cover. There are complete stealth ones, too. I have one of those for my GR86 that bolts behind the bumper beam and the 90* receiver slides up into it from underneath. When you don’t want it visible, one bolt and the 2″ (much nicer than 1-1/4!) receiver is removed. If they have one for that car, there must be something for the Integra. If not, the Civic one might even work. I had to modify a gen 1 86 for mine as the gen 2 wasn’t out at the time. The rear bumper beam is the same part number between the two, so I rolled the dice that it would fit. Not quite as simple as bolting it on, but I got it to work.
JFC some of these rants still going on about the name as if the Integra was some sacred being. It was good for what it was. I haven’t seen one that wasn’t a pristine Type R in years because they rotted to shit long ago (as Hondas did) or got trashed by dirt bags because they were cheap cars accessible to them. This nostalgic nonsense is a serious disease—it was a rebodied Civic FFS and while those weren’t bad cars—especially the old double wishbones that Honda hasn’t had in 20 years—they’re not these untouchable legends. The Mach-E crybabies make more sense! The 200 or so people who would actually buy a smaller 2-door new Integra with the torque of a Dremel that has to rev to the moon to move rather than those who just say they would buy it but would come up with dozens of lame reasons they wouldn’t if Honda actually built them won’t make them a profit. That whole segment of small, cheap FWD coupes is dead because not enough people want them regardless of who makes them. The OEMs are in business and hope to stay in business.
This car, and other small FWD luxury/performance cars interest me, but I’m worried that I’d just be disappointed.
I’ve got a 2014 Hyundai Elantra GT. It’s got 175HP, 6MT, leather interior, and panoramic sunroof. Riding on 17” alloys wrapped in 215/45 Michelin PS 4 A/S tires. The only major negatives are the torsion bar in back, and lack of LSD.
Overall I like the car, and it’s hard to justify replacing it. I just can’t really figure out how to have fun with it, in spite of the decent manual. Is it the lack of LSD? I thought the grippier rubber would be a bit improvement, but it still doesn’t launch in any exciting way, and going through curves, I can get the tires to spin, but it doesn’t do anything exciting.
Is the car just lackluster and I should test drive something like this? Or am I right in thinking that upgrading to anything else FWD will be the same issue?
For context I have a fun car, a 2003 MR2 Spyder. But I would love to have a DD/family car that is more fun. Maybe I should just hold out for an Ioniq 6N to appear?
This is an easy one man…stay with Hyundai and go check out the Ns. If you want stick the Veloster and Elantra offer it. If you want a little more comfort and need to sell your partner on it then go with the Kona N like I did. They won’t give you the same interior quality as an entry level luxury car but whoaaaaa buddy do they offer the fun in spades. Plus if you put them in eco mode they do a damn good of impression of the commuter cars they’re built off of.
The Veloster N is what the CTR should have been.
Got to reply here because I drove a like Hyundai for several years and now drive one of the early 2023 Integras.
First, I liked the Elantra GT. Mine was the 2014, first year with the 175 hp 2.0, top trim with big screen and pano sunroof. I liked the Golf-ish shape and associated utility. It was fun to rev it up coming down on-ramps, drop it a couple gears and accelerate. I got rid of it for two reasons, one, the front seats weren’t that comfortable. I had to move to the back seat on a long road trip. Two, I can’t remember.
So I bought a BMW 128i as a fun car. And it was fun. But it wasn’t practical. I had to move the seat up so my short legs could shift, and move it way back so I didn’t swing to door into adjoining parked cars. Among other things.
Now I have the Integra with the manual (all three were 6-speed). The manual stacks up to the Bimmer, but the turbo 4 doesn’t stack up to the sweet inline six. Not even close. But here’s my POV. The Acura is more fun. I felt that I would have needed to take the Bimmer to the track to really enjoy it. That’s something I just wasn’t going to do. But the Acura, man I have fun every time I drive it. And handling, fantastic, I can just feel the LSD take hold, so different from the many FWD cars I’ve had. The tires however, are a common complaint as they can’t keep up with the suspension. The seats are good. Not like the Bimmer’s sport seat for sure, but a big improvement on the Elantra for me. And there’s tons of modern tech that works pretty well. That’s not important to me, but it’s convenient. Overall, I’m a big fan of the car and really happy that I bought it. Keep in mind that I ordered it before I saw one, drove it, or knew the price. A decision I would never have made in normal circumstances, but only with a Covid-addled brain.
BTW I told all my friends that the GT on the Elantra stood for Great Trunk.
Or… for $10K less you can get a Civic Sport Hatch which also has a 6-speed manual and the 1.5T engine. (Down a few horsepower from the Si/Integra and no LSD, though).
Civic Sport hatch no longer has the 1.5T – with the new generation, the LX & Sport trims of the hatch share the NA 2.0 engine combos with their sedan counterparts. Essentially because they no longer export the hatchbacks from the Swindon plant where they didn’t have the 2.0 on hand.
Oh, that’s too bad! It’s a nice engine/transmission combo, I had a NA 2.0 sedan with the 6MT – the 1.5T is much punchier, especially at the low end, and gets better MPG, I average 37+.
On the other hand the sport touring hatch is the 1.5T, but it’s price is approaching the base Integra and it still lacks the LSD. I really like the looks of the new hatch (I think the sedan is a little dull).
I agree, the Civic hatch design seems a little better integrated than the sedan.
I think the only way a base Integra is a better buy over a top Civic is if there’s some sweet lease deal or other incentive from Acura. A base Integra drops down in some features like the 7-inch center screen vs. the 9-inch and lacks wireless CarPlay/Android Auto, the power passenger seat, rear center armrest, and dual-zone HVAC (drops to single-zone). You have to step back up to the Technology package to get those so you’re back at another ~5-6k over a loaded Civic. And that’s the only Integra with the LSD (on 6MT) too.
You forgot the argument that after you’ve wrung it out for the next nine years, you can pass it to your daughter, who will, then, probably be the only American under the age of 50 who can drive a manual transmission.
Damn, good one!
The new Integra is fine. Yeah it’s a sorta fancy civic, but that’s what most of these were back in the day anyway. The pearl-clutching every time I hear the Integra mentioned is unjustified.
You should still get the van instead though. The E39 is fun. This can function as the utility/family vehicle. As someone who just drove his new (for me) van about 2k miles up and down the east coast this past weekend, it’s a glorious thing to have around.
I remain confused as to why this car continues to get praise heaped on it left and right. If the car blog/YouTube content I’ve consumed is to be believed this is essentially one of the greatest cars of my generation…and yet I don’t get it.
First of all…it’s slow! Why is hitting 60 somewhere in the 7s getting praised so much? Every article I see is like HOOO BOY SHE’S A HOT LITTLE SEDAN when cars like the Elantra N, GTI, etc. hit 60 TWO SECONDS faster. I don’t think speed or 0-60 times are everything but the Integra is not fast. Point blank. A freaking mild hybrid FWD Audi A3 hits 60 a second faster than this and has 0 sporting aspirations. It has lousy brakes too! They’re tiny, unbranded, and C&D recorded a stop from 70 in 178 feet. That’s like…entry level crossover braking, and the same car clocked .88 on the skid pad. So it’s not some handling demon either.
Second of all…it’s expensive! Honda sticks you with a garbage pile CVT until you load the car to the brim and it comes out to be around $37,000. That’s nearly 10 grand more than a Civic SI and puts it in line with all the entry level luxury sedans from the competition…all of which are faster, offer all wheel drive, come with automatics that have actual gears, and carry more badge prestige.
Styling wise it’s…fine? A neighbor bought one in blue and it looks alright but it’s not like it’s some striking car, and I’ve seen them in traffic going to the opposite direction and didn’t realize it wasn’t an ILX until I saw the back. At this point I’m convinced that everyone is just so drunk on the Honda kool aid that there isn’t much objectivity left. I get that we don’t drive stat sheets but this vehicle is simply not competitive on paper.
I think I’m going to see if I can rent one on Turo for a weekend because I’m convinced that either everyone has gone mad or the Integra is a truly transcendent driving experience that can’t be quantified. Those are the only plausible explanations I can come up with. Or is it all just because of the manual? I have never and will never claim to understand the hysterical nature of the SAVE THE MANUALS or NO MANUAL NO DICE gang.
I like driving stick, but it’s not a priority for me personally in a daily. I honestly think a lot of these manufacturers are laughing all the way to the bank when it comes to equipping manuals…particularly ones like Honda that have the audacity to put it behind a paywall. I don’t see how offering a manual is enough to make up for a pile of shortcomings, but you all can do you.
Also I don’t mean any of this a slight to you Matt. I really enjoy your articles…I’m just getting really confused by the Integra love fest in the car media these days. It just doesn’t add up to me and I think the universal adoration of Honda products is getting a little out of hand…and I say this as someone who owns a Honda.
generally speaking, i agree that the praise for the sporting pretensions of this care are mediocre. the 2002 Nissan Sentra Se-r Spec V I daily-ed for 13 years could hit 7 seconds 0-60, and a .90 on the skid pad. it also had a rather nice ( though long truck throws fixed by a SS kit) 6 speed manual. back in 2002 that was a big deal, and it was considered a pretty hot little subcompact. today, my minivan is faster and has only marginally less handling prowess. they missed the mark in a sporty luxury car.
I think the manual has a lot to do with it. It feels better than almost any six-speed I can think of in a sub $50k car. Plus, the VTEC 1.5 turbo is really fun in those 20-30 mph/low-gear turn situations. If I was going to autocross this car I’d definitely get an Elantra N, or even a Sonata N, no brainer. A Civic Si still screams sport-y car, whereas the Integra is great for stealth hooning.
Many of the reviews did seem to soften on the car considerably since the initial drives. I certainly can see there’s a “sum of its parts” argument that it’s more fun to drive rather than just reviewing by spreadsheet stats. But it’s still pricey IMO.
I’ll add a counterpoint that it’s a small practical 4-door car with a stick – which is a choice that’s all but gone now for “everyday” cars, especially with a hatch/liftback. The only other option I can think of as such is the VW GTI/R, which has less interior volume. Arguably it’s also something of a manual Accord replacement – for the Honda fan that wants more than a mere Civic. But then, the new Civic has also been reviewed extremely well and some reviews of the new Accord seem to wonder if the Civic makes it almost redundant. There’s a few areas they could have stepped up on the Acura that they clearly didn’t – lower trim Integras don’t have a fold down rear armrest; none have rear seat HVAC vents, which is one thing on a Civic at $30k, let alone thousands more for the Acura.
I’m considering the Type S. The lack of HVAC vents for the back passengers is a real kick in the balls especially given the price point for the Acura. Since they’re available in other markets on the Civic I wonder if they’ll appear on a future refresh? I imagine an aftermarket install would be tedious.
I could definitely see that as a mid-cycle addition, I think that’s when they added them on the CR-V in the gen before last. It would be interesting if everything’s routed already in both Civic and Integra and it just needs the parts to “add” it.
Honda dropped heated rear seats from US-spec top Civics in the current gen, that’s another thing they could throw in the Integra – that even upper-trim Canadian Integras and Civics get. (Some folks have argued that they dropped heated front seats on the Si to make room for the Integra, but I think that was just a chip/supply chain reason.)
I’m all about save the manuals, so I checked one out while I was searching for a new car for the past 9 months.
Much to my surprise, the nearest Acura dealer had one in stock, manual and all… for $37k.
Seems to me that this car fails as a sports car, and almost succeeds as an economy car. Problem with that is, it’s not nearly as efficient as a $23k Jetta Sport with a manual. Sure it looks a bit better, and performs better, but if you’re in the market for an economy car, that’s not worth an extra $14k.
So yeah, I don’t get all the buzz about it either. If I was going to spend that much, I’d go right past this to the new Supra or Z.
It’s a piece of shit and I hate it. If it didn’t have an integra badge on it none of us would even be talking about it.
You Ok? Need to talk to someone?
I’m going to get roasted here, but in my apartment’s parking lot the other day I saw a white ILX A-Spec, a new white Integra A-Spec, and an old silver RSX (like the one I owned back in the day) parked next to each other, and you know what? I liked the way the ILX looked better. It reminds me of a baby TLX, and the Integra just didn’t look right sitting next to the RSX. Like, I see from where they drew their inspiration, and I’m sure the Integra is way better than either of them, but it looked to me like a bad Photoshop where they added two doors to the RSX just to see what a sedan version would have looked like.
I’ve seen a couple final ILXs lately, and have surprised myself that I didn’t hate how it looks. Front ends are sorta indistinguishable across the TLX and Integra and final ILX, but considering it was its second facelift over its lifespan, it didn’t look out of place.
I really like the new Integra. I leased a TLX A Spec last year and its a nice car but for how big it is the interior is kinda small. And the mileage is garbage. I wonder how bad the space penalty is on the Integra interior…
After some review the Integra actually has MORE interior space than the TLX
It is good for what it is, even if some of that space is tucked in places where it’s not super useful.
Honestly has me thinking about swapping. The MPG is significantly better than what I’m seeing real world in a TLX with the 2.0T
What you really need is a longroof Integra wagon. With a manual.
Yeah, 100%. I might be able to persuade my family to get that.
I’m going to go with no, and start being an angry old man early in life and admit this car is something that makes me feel “triggered”.
That car is NOT an integra.
Acura has produced schlock for a long time now, and that is an ILTS or some other meaningless named car with a badge change, meant to cash in on nostalgia for suckers.
Think “Acura Integra” in your head, I have had 2 of them. They were both small, light, tossable, killer engine, amazing suspension, and just fantastic vehicles. When they replaced it with the RSX, it got taller, a lot taller, heavier, fatter, and rounder, and the magic was gone.
Objectively, this is larger in every dimension, weighs 500+lbs more, does NOT have the amazing F1 inspired double wishbone suspension, the visibility is not nearly as good.
Subjectively, it doesn’t have that clean, lean JDM styling that made it attractive, it has that overly busy, americanized Acura with no purpose styling, and maybe it’s just me, but although it doesn’t exist anymore I still see remnants of that god awful beak grill they refused to acknowledge was terrible for far too long.
Every single Honda/Acura enthusiast I know thinks this car sucks and is a total joke. When we heard they were bringing back the integra, all of us were paying attention. We’re at the point in our lives where maybe we’d consider buying a new car, for the first time, maybe it made sense? We were all thinking of something like this:
We were all excited. Yes, us honda/acura enthusiasts, instead of talking about engines and chassis builds 2 decades old, were discussing a new car. Then they dropped this giant, ugly, fat, heavy sedan on us that looks almost identical to one of their previous models, and slapped an integra badge on it.
This wasn’t a let down, this was insulting. Every time I see one of these, which is thankfully rare, I roll my eyes and get a bit angry at what could have been a revival for the entire brand, but instead of listening to actual car people and enthusiasts, they obviously listened to some out of touch marketing executive at Acura USA.
I’m going to be real with you, the only reason you’re even considering this is you have a family, you don’t have a lot of time, and you want something new and reliable that makes you feel something again. That’s fine. But you are going about this the wrong way. Every car, all of them, will need work and maintenance. Want super reliable, sure stick to japanese cars, I agree. But this is Autopian, dammit! This is where shitboxes and builds are celebrated, instead of just hocking the latest garbage from the OEMs and pretending they’re amazing. Buy something older, more interesting, japanese, and maybe even lightly modified, since you don’t have time yourself. I don’t mean major turbo swaps or slammed suspension, but cars with a mild drop, mild brake upgrades, maybe a catback exhaust and a mild tune on factory components, this is what you should be aiming for!
TLDR: This car sucks, this is a very “Autoblog” choice. This is Autopian. The past is just as important as the future here, and “newer” is not always superior. Look into ALREADY BUILT Forester XTs. Sti drivetrain, reliable as long as it’s not boosted to hell, incredible aftermarket for everything, common enough that everyone knows how to work on them. You will be able to find clean XT wagons with manual trans for WAY less than this godawful Acura, it will blow the DOORS off from one, be more fun/engaging/visceral to drive, and financially speaking, you’re not dumping your money into the toilet with a depreciating asset. Know how much decent XT builds go for? $12-15k. Know how much they cost 5 years ago? $12-15k. Know how much they’ll be worth 5 years from now? $12-15k
Life is short. Don’t be boring. This car is boring and awful. Buy something cool. Feel alive again. Save money.
I have no quarrel with the Integra-specific part of your rant. I think Honda would have better served choosing a different name for this car.
But for the second part, just as you use “Autoblog” as an insult, I’m going to say you go too far into a “Jalopnik, everything new sucks, everything used is great” mindset. Not everyone wants or can handle a modified car. Not everything needs to be framed as a “depreciating asset”. (Jesus H Christ do I hate that term as a slur against new cars).
Believe it or not, some of us are more interested in reading about the latest and greatest than the wrenching articles. There’s plenty of those out there too for those who want them. The staff collectively owns at least 30 old cars (Not sure if Gossin is officially on staff, if he is then the number is probably 50). Your perspective is exceedingly well-represented here already. It would be nice to hear about the ownership experience of new cars too. If even one writer had a daily driven vehicle less than 8 years old, it would improve the coverage here IMO.
The goal is to have something for people who love new cars and old cars. Obviously, I plan to write about my old e39 a bunch, but I also have a normal, new-ish car and will be replacing it soon. My idea with this project is to test out all the different options and see what fits as a different way of thinking about car reviews.
Also, I’ve driven the oft-praised DC2 Integra Type R and all the cars replacing it and, honestly, this Integra gets pretty close. It’s very different, but it’s the best Integra since that car and what the car would have likely become through evolution anyway.
It gets close? Really? It gets close.
So I guess once Realtime gets one it’ll be close to winning the world challenge touring car championship 4 years in a row?
Get the heck out of here. It’s not close at all. I’m out before I start swearing about it, but this thing was a slap in the face to anyone who enjoyed cars from Honda’s golden era. I hate it. Do not buy one. Go test drive a lightly modified forester XT and get back to me.
You’ve convinced me. I’m just gonna pop on down to my local Subaru dealership and ask to test drive their “lightly modified” engine swapped 20-year-old Forester demo car. I can’t wait to try out how well the lane centering works and see what sort of gas mileage I can eke out on my commute.
I really enjoy this approach to car reviews and I hope you keep doing them. They feel like a natural progression from Jason’s old “Will it Baby?” articles
Let the record state that less than 10 minutes after I wrote this comment, a story was posted to the main page expounding at length upon the virtues of a $500 30 year old shitbox over a brand new $90,000 vehicle.
I think the site’s credibility can survive Hardigree buying one new car for his kid to ride around in.
Cool let’s make it an actually good one then, not something relying on a badge on it’s trunk to be interesting.
It isn’t an “Autoblog” car because it’s new. It’s an “autoblog” car because it’s mediocre garbage that has NOTHING in common with what made the integra nameplate actually worth remembering in the first place.
I didn’t say wildly modified. Literally everyone can handle a lightly modified car, there is nothing inherently complicated or unreliable about a car with a catback and a tune.
I’m done arguing. Keep defending the milquetoast ice cream rebranded as “Frost White Explosion” or some other marketing garbage to hide the fact it’s boring old vanilla. I hate this car.
Lol I’m sorry some combination of me and/or this car has really triggered you today, but I assure you not everyone feels that all cars are generally improved by mods, or that the lack thereof implies some failure of imagination or excitement in our driving lives.
I wouldn’t buy one of these, but I wouldn’t look down on anyone else buying one if it spoke to them.
Show us on the 1:18 die cast model where the new Integra hurt you. Jesus dude, get a grip. You’re Don Quixote tilting at windmills, raging about a vehicle you haven’t even driven.
Yet, you recommend, of all the possible cars- a used, modded Subaru Forester? I happen to daily a Subaru Forester… as does the author. They are some of the dullest cars ever engineered, and it doesn’t matter which model or generation. Ours makes my mother’s 6mt Honda Fit feel like an F1 car. The most ‘interesting’ aspects of the vehicle would be the painful church-pew seats, and engine-out repairs at 90xxx miles.
No addition of power or suspension mods will ever make a Forester engaging or objectively a nice car…. Unless your idea of ‘visceral’ is an uncontrolled 4-wheel power slide into a lamp pole, or you crave complements from the owner of your local vape store.
I’m sorry, I don’t even disagree with you about the new Integra, it is kind of a disappointment. But to suggest a used Forester as a ‘better’ replacement for the author’s current family vehicle (also a Forester) is downright comical.
The good news about engine-out repairs is that he’s recommending an engine swap anyway.
Your advice is objectively awful for someone who has a family. Modern cars are many times safer than near twenty-year-old fancy Civics. If you’re only driving yourself it’s just fine, but it’s not fine to endanger others because you want to “feel something.”
And your reading comprehension is objectively awful, because at zero point did I say get an old integra. Read the last paragraph that you completely skipped over if you want to respond to what I was actually suggesting.
Mr Thrifty did I miss the sticker price and the accouterments?
Oops found it.
I know it’s supposed to be more of a hatchbacked Civic Si, since it has an LSD, and the adaptive dampers that the current Si lost. But for a nice/fun daily, does it really seem ~$6k nicer than a Civic Sport Touring hatch 6MT?
Nicer trim on the Acura sure, but even regular Civics are said to punch above their weight for interior. And the Civic has more interior space and a rear wiper (why drop that on the Integra?). Over the Civic the Integra has better color availability inside (black) and out, and just better availability in general – it already seems much easier to find a 6MT Integra than a non-Si manual Civic.
I have not driven the new Civic Si and it seems fine, but it’s not for me. This car needs to balance long-distance cruising with around-town errands and the odd fun weekend trip. The lack of things like heated seats also sorta kills the Civic for me (for this car).
Yeah, sizewise the Civic sedan is the ideal size for me, just slightly bigger enough than my GTI which feels a little tight after years of more midsized sedans; as a hatch owner though, it would be tough to step back into a sedan for the occasional times I do need the flexibility. Plus stepping backwards with no heated seats – and aesthetically, the Si seats just don’t do it for me – and I have the plaid seats in my GTI, so take that for what you will when it comes to my taste.
But my point was more relative to the Civic Sport Touring 6MT hatch which has most of if not all of the same creature comforts as the Integra. It’s more trim and aesthetics and the Acura ELS sound over Civic’s Bose system.
$10K over the Civic Sport hatch with the same engine/transmission!
That 186-inch wheelbase may have killed the deal for you.
Lol, fixed! Thought it would have given us plenty of room, even it was a PITA to park.
Kids do love a longitudinally Integra-ted bowling alley!
If you love driving, you’re going to hate the Honda version of these:
I doubt if any manufacturer does ANY of these well.
The ACC leaves far too much distance between your car and the one in front if you’re anywhere near a metropolitan area. Even when set to minimum distance, where it’s dangerous at higher speeds, there’s way too much space at slow speeds. Then, when someone inevitably cuts into that space, it’s VERY aggressive slowing down to restore the desired distance.
Sure, for the great wide open spaces, it’s sorta nice to have ACC, but even then, either you’re not likely to be around anyone else traveling at just the exact speed you feel like traveling at that moment, or you’ll feel creepy following some rando for twenty miles at exactly fifteen car lengths. It’s also a pain when you’re blissfully cruising and some jackwad thinks they need to get back in the right lane twenty feet in front of you at 70 mph even though there’s no one else around for miles, then the system panic brakes…
The other three are annoying because they’re always there, adding subtle torque to the steering wheel in your hands. You can’t steer precisely because you never know if you’re going to need slight pressure, or slightly more pressure to turn the wheel the three degrees you intend to turn it.
And the Lane Departure Warning and Lane Keep Assist OFTEN shake the wheel hard in construction areas, thinking you’re going off the rails when you’re really just staying in the flow.
If you’re loafing it, and don’t care about driving, these are excellent systems to help you get from A to B safely, as long as there isn’t any active road construction on your route. But they’re actually the most annoying thing ever all of the rest of the time.
A fellow ACC hater! It seems like everyone loves ACC, and I cannot for the life of me understand why. The best argument I have heard is that makes crawling in absurdly congested traffic more tolerable, but even in the few times I have used it those situations it just seemed kind of janky and made me more tense than just driving myself.
I drive a lot on divided highways in California. 2-6 lanes total. Especially when passing isn’t an option, it would be really nice not to have to modulate the cruise control up and down by 5mph every couple minutes. That’s my desire for ACC.
Agree. I like the adaptive cruise for the most part, but my general use is on not very crowded highways for road trips. The rest of the stuff I have off all the time.
Of note on the ACC, in light misty rain it once told me it had to shut off because of the sensor being blocked. It would be nice if the car could default to old school cruise control at that point, but nope, had to pull over and go wipe the sensor off.
I don’t know what you have, but at least in a Honda you can turn the cruise control off, then hold down a button for about three seconds. Then your system is in “standard” cruise control the next time you hit the “set” button.
Thanks. I’m in a TLX, I’ll give that a try if it ever happens again.
These are easy to turn off on my Integra. I like em when cruising down the road, but not on my daily.
Next up, Rivian R1S argument?
Honestly, not a terrible idea!
Hahahahah, I entirely forgot about the 2012 MY Civic. That one was, if not bad, at least extremely mediocre. One MY out of 51 isn’t so bad.
Gotta love getting fact checked in your own article.
Not only fact-checked, but fact-checked by my own past self.
Sometimes, I guess we really are our own worst enemy…