- The new Integra is finally here, and the masses still aren't pleased.
- While we think the way it looks is perfectly fine, the engine isn't.
- We know Acura could have done more.
There is one glaring issue with the 2023 Acura Integra, and it's not the way it looks. In fact, it looks pretty sharp, especially in person. There are plenty of nice retro touches strewn throughout the Integra's well-penned bodywork. It isn't just a modernized version of the original (or the fourth-generation Integra) here to tug at your heart strings. That's good. What's not so good is what's under the hood.
It's the same 1.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that powers the current Honda Civic Si. It makes the exact same amount of power and torque as the Si, too — 200 horsepower and 192 lb-ft of torque, in case you were wondering. We know the Civic Si is great to drive, but according to our test numbers, the 2022 Si is actually slower than the previous car. The first 2022 Si we tested took 7.7 seconds to reach 60 mph, whereas a 2017 Si sedan needed just 6.8 seconds in our hands to do the same deed. That doesn't bode too well for the Integra.
2023 Acura Integra
What makes it worse is that we know Acura could have done better. The Integra, Civic and Honda Accord are all loosely based off of Honda's global compact platform. That means the 2.0-liter turbo-four from the Accord Sport, which makes a far more hearty 252 horsepower and 273 lb-ft of torque, would likely fit in the Integra's engine bay. Not only that, but the Accord 2.0T was available for years with a manual transmission, so it's not as though enthusiasts would lose out on the option for three pedals.
Now, there is zero chance the engineers at Acura have not considered exactly what we just proposed, so we asked what the reasoning behind the smaller engine really was. According to an Acura spokesperson, it comes down to cost. "Integra isn't just about outright power or performance. Keeping the starting price at attainable level is fundamental. We believe the driving experience of the new Integra will exceed expectations for buyers in this segment," according to Acura.
It wanted the Integra to be an accessible entry point to its lineup, and the smaller engine from the Civic was the best way to do that. Acura also said the 1.5-liter engine has been tuned specifically for the Integra, but we'll find out if there are any real differences once we hit the road and get one on our test track.
2023 Acura Integra
What Acura didn't say is that the 2.0-liter engine from the Accord (which shares its architecture with the previous Civic Type R) won't fit in the Integra. So it's clear Acura is holding the base Integra back for an eventual Type S model. We expect more details on that car closer to the end of this year. Remember, the last Civic Type R made 306 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque. That's a big jump, even over the Accord Sport 2.0T, and the performance gains over the standard Integra will hopefully take the Integra to the next level.
While we still think the base Integra is deserving of a more potent powerplant, keeping costs low — especially given the car market's current condition — is as good a reason as any for this move.
We'll reserve final judgment until we drive it, but we were still hoping for a little more under the hood to set the Integra apart from its Honda sibling.