Compact Charmer: Driving Impressions of the 2023 Acura Integra

    The Acura Integra and the Honda Civic Si have a lot in common. Both cars offer exhilarating performance and a fun driving experience. However, the Integra takes things up a notch with its fancier interior, upscale features, and brand-exclusive elements. It’s like a more luxurious version of the Civic Si.

    During my time with the Integra, I found it to be a reliable and enjoyable companion on the road. Whether I was zipping between locations or cruising on the highways of Florida, the Integra never let me down. One area where it surpasses the Civic Si is in terms of comfort. The seats are more padded and less constricting, providing a more comfortable driving experience. The mix of leatherette and Alcantara upholstery adds a touch of luxury, although it lacks the grippiness of the Civic Si’s fabric seats. The addition of heated seats is another bonus that puts the Integra ahead of its Honda counterpart.

    The ride quality of the Integra is also superior, thanks to its standard adaptive dampers. The turbocharged engine sounds cleaner and more refined, enhancing the overall driving experience. But perhaps the best part of the Integra is its price. Even in its loaded A-Spec trim, the Integra offers comparable comfort to pricier German competitors without breaking the bank. It’s a fantastic package that is hard to fault.

    However, there are a few minor drawbacks to consider. One of them is the garish red interior. Acura has been trying to make it work for years, but it falls short compared to the rich and bold red interiors offered by brands like Lexus and Porsche. The color choice and application in the Integra’s seats appear half-hearted and unappealing. Opting for black or white upholstery is a better choice.

    Another editor’s favorite aspect of the Integra is its lightweight and nimble nature. Despite competing with more established brands like BMW and Audi, the Integra holds its own when it comes to handling. It tackles corners with ease, aided by its direct steering and composed suspension tuning. It’s a playful and enjoyable car to drive, even when compared to its more established competitors. Furthermore, Acura deserves praise for keeping the weight of the new Integra relatively low, considering the added technology, safety features, comfort, and space it offers.

    However, one downside of the Integra is the amount of road noise it transmits on the freeway. The lack of noise insulation or perhaps the choice of tires results in a less comfortable and quieter ride compared to its German rivals. While this might not be a deal breaker for some, it’s worth considering if a quieter ride is a priority.

    One editor appreciated the adaptive suspension available on the Integra. Unlike the harsh suspension of the Civic Si, the Integra’s adaptive suspension provides a plush and comfortable ride in Comfort and Normal drive modes, while still offering dynamic performance in Sport mode. It’s an upgrade worth considering, especially for those seeking a more comfortable driving experience.

    However, one criticism is that the Integra still carries some obvious Civic DNA in its cabin. Features like the mesh accent across the dash that hides the air vents and the Honda bits such as the silvery knobs and touchscreen are reminiscent of the Civic. While the rest of the cabin feels premium, these reminders of its Civic roots can be a bit of a letdown.

    In conclusion, the 2023 Acura Integra is a compelling option for those seeking a sporty and luxurious hatchback. While it may not be perfect, with some minor drawbacks in terms of interior design, road noise, and reminders of its Civic origins, the Integra excels in its performance, comfort, and affordability. It offers a fantastic driving experience paired with upscale features that make it stand out in its class.

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