It’s more than 15 years since Acura sold an Integra (or the rebadged RSX), which helped to establish Acura’s performance credentials in the early days of the brand. Middle-aged former Integra owners will cast a nostalgic glance at the new Integra sport compact, reborn for 2022 as a Honda Civic-based five-door hatchback, but Acura also has young enthusiast drivers in its sights – just like the early VTEC cars did in the 1990s.
Below, a quick 1986 vs 2022 Integra comparison, just for fun:
2022 Acura Integra pricing
North or south of the border, the Integra is offered in a simple, three-grade lineup. Note that cars marketed as A-Spec with Technology Package in the US are known as Acura Elite with A-Spec Package in Canada.
- Integra: US$30,800 / C$34,350
- Integra A-Spec: US$32,800 / C$37,050
- Integra Elite with A-Spec Package: US$35,800 (A-Spec with Technology Package) / C$42,550
All prices are MSRP.
There’s only one engine option, a 1.5-litre VTEC turbo with 200 hp and a limited-slip differential. Only the Elite/Technology Package cars may be specified with the 6-speed manual transmission, at no extra charge; all other cars get a CVT.
The Integra is well equipped, especially at the highest trim level. Available accessories include exterior trim in carbon fibre (full package for C$4,525/US$2,649) plus various racks, mats, badges and wheels. Finished in the optional Majestic Black Pearl paint (C$500/US$500) with carbon trim, our Integra Acura Elite with A-Spec Package test car came in at C$47,575 (US$38,949).
The 2022 Integra mixes the exterior styles of an Acura TLX and a Honda Civic, with which it shares a platform and powertrain. The overall look is more understated than a Civic Type-R, which is about right for Acura’s premium positioning. Nevertheless, after an evening out, we found that our black test car on 18in rims (standard on A-Spec and up) had blended in seamlessly with the import crowd gathered in the parking lot.
Interior and equipment
The extra-cost pearl or metallic paint (white, grey, black, red or blue) is available variously with a black, red or grey interior. We got the sporty red. On Elite/Technology Package models only, the supportive bucket seats’ backs and squabs are trimmed in attractive ‘Ultrasuede’; other benefits of the top grade are additional power seat adjustment, a head-up display, a larger infotainment screen, heated mirrors and LED ambient lighting.
The hip point is very low, befitting the Integra’s sporting intentions – perhaps too low for some – but you can raise the seat to optimize the driving position. Once you’re settled, the ergonomics are good. There’s a wide, all-digital cluster ahead of you, a central screen that peeks slightly awkwardly out of the dash but works fine, and elegant metal levers to redirect air from the vents. Their satin metallic look is echoed elsewhere, including in the A-Spec’s shifter and stainless-steel pedals.
A deep trunk that offers useful cargo space is logical for a FWD relative of the Civic but is somehow still surprising because of the Integra’s emphasis on performance. The rear seat folds, too, creating a handy hauling area beneath the hatchback.
Here’s our other full look at the Acura Integra interior.
Powertrain: engine and transmission
Our Integra’s 1.5-litre, 200-hp turbo motor and 6-speed manual transmission with rev matching are familiar from the Civic Si. Peak power arrives at 6,000rpm but drivability is improved by maximum torque of 192 lb-ft from as low as 1,800rpm.
The chassis could probably handle more power but start using the mid-range torque to overtake and you’ll soon find yourself traveling faster than the speed limit.
We haven’t driven a CVT Integra, but most will be sold with this transmission. ‘CVT’ and ‘sporty’ rarely belong in the same sentence, but Acura says its engineers have programmed simulated gear changes under full-throttle acceleration and reduced the ‘rubber-band’ characteristic of some CVTs, whereby the car’s acceleration doesn’t match the engine note. They’ve also tuned it to provide more intuitive engine-braking feel under deceleration.
Staying with transmissions, let’s get to the 6-speed manual. The short-throw shifter falls nicely to hand and the tight, deliberate shift feel means there’s no doubt which gear you’re selecting. If anything, the shift on our test car was a touch on the notchy side; we’d expect it to loosen up with use.
The Type-R-style rev-matching feature achieves its goal of making every driver feel like a hero on the downshift, but we found ourselves needing to be surprisingly delicate with the reapplication of power when shifting up. It’s one area of several that contributed to the Integra feeling less fluid than the Type-R – not that the two are designed to compete.
The Integra’s throttle response is relaxed in the Integrated Dynamics System (IDS)’s Normal mode, but sharpens up in Sport, to the point where it’s easy to chirp the tires off the line. All-season Contis are standard (and aren’t the quietest on the highway) but you might want to swap to summer tires at the appropriate time of year if you want to drive the Integra hard on a regular basis. There’s enough fun to be had with this package to make it worth your while.
In the case of the Elite/Technology Package cars, IDS also changes the settings for the adaptive damping. In everyday use, the overall feel of the A-Spec (which also has a thicker rear stabilizer bar than the base Integra) is firm but compliant – about right for the positioning of the car.
Sport mode also backs off the steering’s power assistance, although the difference isn’t night and day. A handy Individual mode enables you to pick and choose your favourite settings from the IDS menu.
- nostalgic name
- available manual transmission
- surprisingly practical
- only top trim gets manual option
- could handle more power
- too similar to the cheaper Civic Si
In a market where auto makers are hardly lining up to introduce new, gas-powered sport compacts, we’re happy to see the Integra back in action. Perhaps we appreciate it more for what it represents than for what it is: adaptive damping aside, there’s not much here mechanically that can’t be had for less money in a Civic Si. But kudos to Acura for creating this likeable throwback, which reminds us that there used to be more to creating performance cars than putting a bigger engine in an SUV.
Shopping for a 4-door car? Here are the rest of our sedan reviews.