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The new Acura Integra is good, actually

Commentary: Acura unveils a hot hatch and the internet complains. WTF?

What's the problem here, exactly?

Steven Ewing/Roadshow

Acura resurrected one of its most storied nameplates Thursday night with the introduction of the 2023 Integra prototype. Yet despite the Integra being -- *checks notes* -- exactly the type of car people complain about companies not making anymore, the internet was immediately aflutter with hot takes dissing Acura's revived icon. But, like, why?

The new Integra is a compact hatchback with a turbocharged engine and a manual transmission, and it should cost right around $30,000. This is literally what enthusiasts ask for: A small, affordable, sporty car that doesn't skimp on creature comforts or functionality. And it even has a real name. Not some stupid alphanumeric, a word!

A common complaint is that the Integra is too closely related to the Honda Civic and ought to be something different. It's true, the Integra shares the vast majority of its underpinnings with the new Civic Si. The 1.5-liter turbo engine is identical. The six-speed manual transmission carries over, too. Automatic rev-matching? Limited-slip differential? Yep, they're both Civic Si features that you'll find in the Integra. But how are any of these bad things? 

Sharing parts between cars is great for economies of scale, which allows Honda -- and Acura -- to keep production costs down. Sure, Acura could've gone all out with a new platform or a new body or a new engine. But then we'd have a $45,000 Integra and the bean counters would've probably dictated it be a crossover, and wow would you guys have hated that.

Steven Ewing/Roadshow

A lot of people say the Integra's design is too boring, that it's basically an Acura-fied Civic Hatchback. I'll leave styling out of this discussion since your eyes might see things differently than mine. But I like the Integra, Hyundai Genesis Coupe-like taillights and all.

The complaints of boredom also extend to the Integra's performance, which is interesting, since Acura didn't actually confirm any power specs. Don't forget, the original Integra wasn't really a sports car, either. Sure, Acura blessed us with the sweet, sweet Integra Type R, but that car accounted for a fraction of a percentage of all Integra sales. Before then, the Integra was a frugal and sprightly compact car -- you know, like the new Civic Si.

The 2023 Integra is exactly what it should be, and I'm stoked to drive it next year. It's a far more interesting effort than Acura's previous compact car, the ILX, and just like the Civic Si on which it's based, it'll be packed with features and technology for an affordable price.

Oh, and don't think this is all Acura has up its sleeve. There's almost certainly an Integra Type S in the works, which will likely share a lot with the next Honda Civic Type R, a car that holds holy grail status among enthusiasts. Are you guys going to complain about that, too?