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Sunday Drive: Acura brings back the Integra for 2023

By Craig and Deanne Conover - Daily Herald | Dec 17, 2022
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On a Sunday Drive high in the mountains above Payson on the Nebo Loop road while checking out all the late autumn leaves.
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The new 2023 Acura Integra.
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The new 2023 Acura Integra.
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The new 2023 Acura Integra.
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Inside the new 2023 Acura Integra.
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Inside the new 2023 Acura Integra.

It’s back! For 2023, Acura has brought back one of its nameplates, the Integra — or, as some may remember it, the RSX. It was last seen in the U.S. back in 2006 after the last 450 were produced and sold.

This was caused by the shrinking coupe market as it only had two doors at that time. We were very happy indeed to hear that the new model was back in the Acura line as many manufacturers are cutting sedans and even their coupes altogether.

It comes back this year as a five-door lift back and has many similarities to the new Honda Civic. It proved to be a very engaging ride during our test drive.

Our week with the Integra was originally planned to last for only five days. However, through some extenuating circumstances, we got to keep this fine new sedan for over 12 days, giving us even more opportunity to bask in its glow and enjoy the excitement of driving it.

Acura pointed out that 50% of buyers purchasing new Integras have not owned them before, and over 65% of all buyers are taking it with a manual transmission. Now, there is a statistic that we would not have expected: folks wanting to get back into a sedan and engage with that sedan through a manual transmission.

Our test ride came with a manual gearbox, and we loved it. We had the opportunity during one of the last beautiful weekends of October to take this spirited sedan up and over the Nebo Loop scenic byway from Payson to Nephi.

With temperatures still in the low 70s and without a cloud in the sky, it could not have been a more perfect time to enjoy driving up in the Utah mountains. The trees showcased vibrant reds, oranges and yellows throughout the entire drive. We also took the opportunity to stop and hike around a couple of lakes high up Payson Canyon.

There were more than enough curves to really get a good feel for the Integra and plenty of time to spend going through its gears up and down the canyons. With the windows down and the moonroof open, it was the perfect fall drive!

The new Integra comes equipped with a 1.5-liter turbocharged engine that generates 200 horsepower and 198 foot-pounds of torque. It will get to 60 with the manual transmission in seven seconds. This may not be as fast as other cars, but the pure rush it produces while going through the gears is so worth the effort.

The transmission also comes with a rev-matching system when down shifting. This made the ride even better when going backward through the gears as the engine would wind up in anticipation of the next down shift.

The new Integra may have been developed and designed in Japan, but it will be the first Integra to be built fully in the new Marysville, Ohio, plant! In fact, all of the Acura line is manufactured in this new plant, which is quite a testament to the automaker’s commitment to making its cars here in America.

Inside, the Acura lived up to the design standards that have set the brand apart throughout the years. It comes with an awesome deep red leather interior with black suede inserts on its heated seats. The steering wheel was also heated, making the cool fall mornings much easier to endure.

Also inside the new Integra A-Spec is the award-winning ALS Studio 3D Premium Audio system. It’s a very long name, but it’s an outstanding system that features 16 speakers located throughout the interior of the vehicle, including inside the headrests behind the driver and passenger.

With over 500 watts of power and 12 channels of surround sound, we had to admit it is one of the top two or three audio systems on the market today. We know it is a great system when Craig, who has owned a professional sound business for more than 40 years, loves it so much that he tries over 50 different songs from his iPhone just hear how they would sound in the Acura.

The infotainment system was a huge 9-inch touch screen that hooked wirelessly to our phones using Apple CarPlay as its base when connected. It would also function with Android Auto without the wire. There was also a new, larger wireless charger designed for the next generation of smartphones.

Of course, all of the great Acura safety features come standard on the new Integra, including blind spot monitor, rear cross path traffic monitor, forward collision braking and mitigation, and pedestrian detection. The suite also includes road departure mitigation, adaptive cruise and lane keep assist with traffic jam assist. We have found the cruise and lane keep assist features to be some of the best in the business in Acura vehicles, and we were not disappointed this time around.

An awesome design combines with a very compelling ride in the new Acura Integra, giving us something that everyone can enjoy in an everyday driver with all the luxury we would have expected from this carmaker.

Base price: $35,800

Destination charge: $1,095

Price as driven: $37,395


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