2023 Acura Integra and 2022 Honda Civic, Compared03/10/2022
History likes to repeat itself. The 2023 Acura Integra, to the surprise of exactly no one who is familiar with any of its previous iterations, is a heavily massaged Honda Civic underneath—just like it always was. What made previous Integras special was how the company tweaked, tuned, and massaged those bits to provide a very different driving experience—exemplified by the superlative third-generation Integra Type R, a masterclass in exquisite tuning and calibration. What this all means for the 2023 Integra won’t be clear until we get behind the wheel, but it’s certainly worth examining what’s shared with the 2022 Honda Civic Si (the most similar version of the current Civic crop) and what’s different, to suss out what the story is likely to be.
Big and Tall
You probably already know that the 2022 Civic Si is only available as a sedan, while the Civic Hatchback (available with a manual, by the way) makes do with a detuned version of the familiar 1.5-liter turbo I-4. The interesting and unique part of the 2023 Integra is how it essentially puts Si greasy bits inside a Hatchback shell. But it’s a little more complicated than that, because the sheetmetal is actually different, and the Integra is overall larger than its Civic cousins.
Given the shared bones, it’s no surprise that the wheelbase is the same across Civic and Integra, at 107.7 inches for both. But there is a much larger difference in overall length. Despite its hatchback profile, the Integra is 6.8 inches longer than the Civic Hatchback, and 1.8 inches longer than the Si Sedan. The Integra is also 1.1 inches wider than both its counterparts.
A roomier Integra fits with its luxury-sport dual purpose mission. That seems very much in character, but it leads us to the biggest Integra question pending: what does this all mean for weight?
The short answer is: We don’t know. Acura didn’t provide a curb weight specification—read into that what you will. For what we do know, the Civic Hatchback, which is much smaller than the new Integra, weighs just over 3,100 pounds in top-trim Sport Touring form. With almost 7 inches worth of additional body length over the Hatchback Sport Touring, and no mention of dramatic weight-saving features, there’s just one conclusion you can draw: The new Integra will weigh more than 3,100 pounds.
How much more than that is the open question, given the X factor of the weight of additional content (and, in all likelihood, additional sound deadening material for a reduction in cabin noise). We figure it’ll be at least 150 pounds worth of penalty for choosing the Integra.
A Slower Civic?
That heading is a bit unfair, as the Integra isn’t intended to be an Si-beater. Instead, it’s intended to be a much more compelling entry into the Acura lineup than the outgoing, milquetoast ILX. But the raw facts mean that the Integra is more likely to win on the subjective rather than the objective performance metrics. For one, it is almost certainly going to weigh more than the Si. But it adopts the Si’s drivetrain essentially verbatim, making the same 200 hp and 192 lb-ft of torque. More weight with the same power probably means a slower car.
As good as the new Civic Si is, it doesn’t appear so great on paper. It’s slower than its predecessor, managing only a 7.1-second dash to 60 mph. It takes longer to come to a stop from 60 mph, and it’s worse around the Figure Eight course. We blame a few things—single-mode dampers, suspension settings, and overactive stability control.
The thing is, the Si isn’t much worse than the previous model, and the subjective character has improved noticeably. The Si feels stable, confident, and fun, with a better powerband and greater tractability.
We predict that the Integra will suffer when we eventually get to test it, compared to its spunkier Si sibling. More weight, the same engine output, and a probable lean towards more ride composure will hamper it. As we said earlier, the real test will be whether the Integra can nail the intangibles, and that’s not something we can glean from the specs.
We also can’t, unfortunately, give you much of a sense of whether the Integra’s bigger body creates more room inside for passengers and gear. Honda hasn’t released those figures yet, either, so we’ll leave this section sparse for now.
The current Civic Hatchback’s spacious cargo area, though, is clearly an attraction for buyers. With something like 46 cubic feet of space with the rear seats folded flat, it adds a layer of utility to the already appealing package. We imagine that much of the Integra’s greater length comes behind the rear axle, so we expect the Integra to surpass the Hatchback in terms of raw carrying capacity. For those hatchback nuts out there, this is catnip.
Shifting Gears a Little
Let’s go back to the mechanical package for a second. While we said, and you’ve surely gathered, that the mechanicals are straight Civic, the Integra is all about offering combinations not available at a Honda showroom.
For one, it’s the only way to get the Si engine in a hatchback body. And it’s also the only way to get a CVT with that same engine; the Si being, of course, manual-transmission-only. That’ll certainly appeal to buyers just looking for a powerful, utilitarian sport-luxury tourer. A Honda spokesperson told MotorTrend that manual transmissions only make up about 5 percent of regular Civic sales, not accounting for the special manual-only Type-R and Si figures. At such a modest take rate, maybe Acura made a smart move.
The CVT-equipped Integra is also, thankfully, not detuned. The same 200 hp and 192 lb-ft of torque are available, but the limited-slip differential is not. Just guess how many Integra CVT intenders are likely to bemoan the loss of this performance upgrade. Even so, the CVT will sprout paddle shifters to enhance its sporty character.
To opt for the close-ratio six-speed manual and LSD, buyers will need to upgrade to the A-Spec package. That will upgrade the wheels to 18×8 inch units, and opting for the Technology Package will also unlock the adaptive suspension option.
Meanwhile, the Civic Si also sports 18-inch wheels and a standard limited-slip differential, but in another point of differentiation from the Integra it is not available with the adaptive dampers.
The Bottom Line
If the Integra sounds a lot like a more refined Si with a little more weight to carry around, that’s because that is almost certainly what it’ll end up being. But as we’ve said, the Integra has always been more about the experience than the numbers. Given that the latest Civic Si excelled in that department despite minor empirical dings in our testing is more ammunition in our belief that the Integra should be excellent to drive.
And if you’re worried about numbers, you can always dare to dream that Acura will pull out the stops on a new Type R model that could erase any concern about the objective numbers game.
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