There’s more than one way to bring back a classic car. One is to go with a retro design theme, evoking the car people remember as closely as possible with modern safety standards. Another is to throw out tradition and design an entirely new car with the name of an old familiar one. But there’s a third angle that is particularly hard to pull off—creating a new model that honours its ancestry with elegant little touches calling back to the cars fans remember so fondly.
Honda's Acura luxury brand went for the most demanding approach in bringing back its most beloved nameplate. And they nailed it. Inspired by past Integras, including the original that helped launch the Acura brand in Canada in 1987, the 2023 Integra will become the new gateway performance model in the Acura lineup, a luxury sport compact with an evocative 4-door hatchback design and fun-to-drive spirit.
"The Integra is an exciting new chapter in the history of one of the most iconic models Acura has ever built," said James Marchand, Assistant Vice President of Acura Canada. "It's return marks our commitment to delivering performance-focused and fun to drive vehicles that are rich in style, versatility and attainable to a variety of consumers and lifestyles."
Officially, what you see in front of you is a prototype of the 2023 Acura Integra. But we expect the finished product to look very close to this.
The body fits thoroughly into a modern auto showroom. It shares lines with the all-new 2022 Honda Civic Hatchback it’s based upon that’s already on sale in Canada. Acura’s sharp-beaked fascia and pentagon grille transform the look into something sportier. But remove it, and you’d be looking at a more muscular Civic. The headlights integrate daytime running LEDs in a chicane shape—an exceptionally stylish touch.
But little flourishes connect it to the beloved Integras of the 1990s. The slightly bulbous liftback mirrors the proportions of the first Integra. The prototype is painted in Indy Yellow—one of the most popular colours offered on the old Integra Type R. Acura says the single-piece, wide taillights are an homage to 1990s Integras.
The production Integra will be available with a 6-speed manual transmission with rev-matching throttle technology. Acura hasn’t said what other transmissions would be offered. A limited-slip differential should add sporty character in turns.
The new Integra's cabin is a mystery for now. We expect dimensions will be similar to the current Civic hatch. Acura Canada says more details on the 2023 Acura Integra will be released closer to its market introduction in the first half of 2022.
And before you ask, there’s no word yet if a high-performance Integra Type-S based on Civic Type-R mechanicals is in the works.
What’s the same?
As mentioned, the new Integra shares a lot with the latest Civic hatch.
For example, under the hood sits the 1.5-litre turbocharged 4-cylinder engine from the 2022 Honda Civic Si. In the Honda, it’s good for 200 horsepower. Acura says it is more potent in the Integra but didn’t give a specific figure. It’s the first Integra to come from the factory with a turbo, though many turbos eventually found their way into older Integras.
When will it go on sale?
Acura Canada says the 2023 Integra is scheduled to go on sale sometime in the first six months of 2022.
How much will it cost?
When it does, expect a Canadian market price in the “mid-$30,000s”, a reasonably low target for Acura that we think could tempt some Civic Si shoppers to step up to the more luxurious Acura badge.