The 2023 Acura Integra is a welcome breath of JDM compact fresh air that joins the new Honda Civic Si as a cheaper enthusiast special. Mechanically, they appear identical. But there will be a clear division between them: The new Integra will be offered as a five-door liftback whereas the Civic Si only comes as a sedan. This was absolutely by design. And so, enthusiasts, this is the choice you will have to make.
By now, undoubtedly, various stories about the new Integra across the internet will have comment sections filled with people moaning about how the lack of a coupe option will somehow make the car less sporty. Conversely, the comments sections from stories about the Civic Si and Civic hatchback have been filled with people mew-mewing about why it wasn't a five-door and how it needed an Si version, respectively. "Where is my Honda Civic Si hatchback!" they screamed into their screens. (Now do you see how hard it is to please an enthusiast audience? That's a trick question. You can't, it's impossible.)
The answer to all of that screeching is the new Acura Integra. It rides on the new Civic's platform, and we already know that platform can deliver a hatchback body style. It also borrows the Civic Si's engine and transmission combination—which are very nice and I can vouch for them myself.
Its interior, too, is strikingly similar to the Si's. Here, take a look.
The peppy engine/manual transmission/hatchback formula has long been revered as the enthusiast cocktail. See also the Ford Fiesta ST, Ford Focus ST, Ford Focus RS, Subaru Impreza WRX, Volkswagen Golf GTI, Volkswagen Golf R, Hyundai Veloster N, and Honda Civic Type R. And seeing as Acura is Honda's luxury division, it also makes sense to slap what's currently the most enthusiast-focused version of the new Civic with an upmarket Acura badge and charge around $30,000 for it. Honda's a for-profit company, after all.
With the Honda-badged Civic hatch starting at $24,365, the Civic Si starting at $28,315, and the new Integra starting at just above that, you're looking at your new Civic hierarchy. When the new Type R comes out, it'll probably start in the $38,000 range and if Acura makes an Integra Type S, that'll probably be closer to $40,000. This is all just speculation, but you read it here first.
So for all the enthusiasts out there caterwauling about why ABC automaker won't make XYZ car to suit their very, very particular enthusiastic needs, Honda and Acura actually did it. The new Integra is a five-door, manual sports car. And ordinarily, I'd leave this piece off with musings about how we should wait and see how it drives, but I think we already have a pretty good idea.
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