Did Acura Miss the Mark on the Integra Prototype?

Photography: Renz Dimaandal

  • 2023 Acura Integra will be sold as a five-door liftback with a standard 1.5-liter turbo engine and six-speed manual option.
  • The Integra Prototype was unveiled on livestream ahead of the LA Auto Show, with much of the public criticizing its exterior design.
  • The Integra shares similar parts from the Honda Civic hatchback and will likely be offered in a high-performance Type S model in the future.
  • Expected to be priced around $30,000, this will be the first Integra built in the U.S.

One week ahead of the LA Auto Show, Acura hosted a private media event to livestream the return of the highly coveted Integra. There’s just one thing, though. It’s not exactly what diehard Integra fans and past/present owners were hoping for.

Many of us that grew up with naturally-aspirated and front-wheel-drive Hondas in the ‘90s fell in love with Acura’s DA and DC coupes. My personal favorite (along with a million other fanboys and fangirls out there) was the DC2 Integra. To this day, I still wouldn’t mind picking up a Championship White Type R but finding a clean one would cost upwards of $40K, according to BringATrailer (yikes!).

Anyways, back on the topic of this new prototype, Acura tells us the 2023 Integra will be introduced as a five-door “liftback”. Under the hood will be a turbocharged 1.5-liter VTEC engine (we’re guessing very similar to the current 200hp, 192 lb-ft Civic Si) and have the option of a six-speed manual transmission with mechanical limited-slip differential. Expected to be priced at $30,000 and intended to attract younger buyers in their 20s and 30s. On paper, it’s not terrible, but in real life, not everyone cares and can get past its looks.

All it took was a quick glance at my social media feed to see how strong the distaste was with the Integra Prototype’s design. Yes, it’s based on the Honda Civic, but boy, does it just look like an extension of the ILX or a “baby TLX,” which is what most people were hoping it wouldn’t resemble. I try to put myself in the shoes of the head honchos at Acura, who might have thought the Integra’s styling was a good idea. Elements such as the pentagon front grille and LED lights don’t surprise me and can be linked back to Acura’s latest design language as well as the Type S concept. There’s also a dual exhaust, 19-inch wheels, Brembo brakes, and a bright Yellow Pearl paint that’s feasibly reminiscent of Phoenix Yellow. I get it, but I’m not sure I like it, and that goes for everyone I’ve talked to. One of the biggest gripes I’ve heard is the taillights which are Hyundai Genesis-esque. It also lacks the design inspiration of the original Integra, which if you look at what Toyota did with the GR Supra and Nissan did with the new Z, they made valiant efforts. For the Integra, we see the logo embossed near the head- and taillights, and also questionably overlaid in vinyl across the lower side doors on this Prototype, but that’s it.

My fingers are crossed that Acura knows what they are doing. I’m sure it will handle well and be noticeably better than a Civic Si across the board. Perhaps we should all show a little more excitement that the Integra is back, but only time will tell because, as of right now, we can all mostly agree that Acura missed the mark.